August 19th, 2016

So much updatery

I didn't intend to be silent for a week! I've done a great deal in the last six days, though, so all is explained. Let me give you a list of 10. It really ought to be a list of 30, I have 4000 words to write today, so I don't have time to list 30 things I've done!

1. I spent a half day at the National Library yesterday, reading Mary Elwyn Patchett and trying to sort out my very confused thoughts about Australian spec fic for children. I am now much less confused and have a much better idea of what happened from the 1890s to the 1970s. The Patchett is for an article I'm writing today, and the general background is so that I can accept or refuse other articles based on a much surer foundation. Also so that I can teach the subject if it ever becomes necessary. Also so that when people ask me about Australian spec fic for children, I have contexts in which I can place my reading. (My reading was sufficient, but my contexts were not.) I had to stop before 4 pm because my brain refused to process any more and I was getting tired. In that time I read 4 books in their entirety (we're talking about books for 12-16 year old children, so this isn't as great a feat as it looks) and the appropriate pieces (sometimes a dozen pages, sometimes a hundred) of another 11. I think this means my research capacity is returning. This is very good news, for I have my new big research project ahead of me. I did a bit of work for the new big project, but just background thinking, while I had the books in front of me.

2. The local library has produced books for my fun reading project. My fun reading project is Maori speculative fiction. Alas, the library has the right authors, but not always the right book. I'm reading those authors anyway, even if there is no spec fic component to the work. This week's reading is a book by each of Maria Lewis, Patricia Grace and Witi Ihimaera. I already knew Ihimaera's work, because of Whale Rider and don't mind excuses to read more, for I love his writing.

3. I'm almost out of editing! One more manuscript and I'm done. Most of my teaching is done, too. This means I'm entering the financial dry, but have a novel coming out. I wasn't sure I could do more than one thing at once, for the last few years have been a trifle difficult, but I think I'm back to normal and will take on more paid work if it's offered. If it's not, I'll do my own writing.

4. The Beast came out in very affordable paperback this week. It won't be available in the US until January, but I'm very chuffed it sold well enough to be in paperback.

5. I've done my final proof for the novel and done most of the planning for my end of the launch in Melbourne. I'll be out and about in South Bank on the Sunday, if friends want to join Julia and myself for lunch and drinks.

6. I've been cooking. You can tell a higher pain day (today - because we're getting Weather, so it's normal aches rather than anything serious) because it's a bit harder. On Tuesday I invented a cake using leftover ingredients and it proved very edible. This is a bit more important than it sounds, because to all intents and purposes I just threw everything into a bowl. I didn't measure anything. My capacity to cook has fully returned... Last night and today and made candied peel for my honey cake for New Year, and I think I might make liqueur with my left over peel next week. This is the most amazing citrus I've ever tasted, and it's specific to here, and I wondered how good the peel was last year but had no capacity to create. This season, life's so much easier and I can do it in the interstices of everything else. Its main problem is that the fruit is very pithy. Anyhow, my honey cake will contain the most aromatic candied peel I've ever had, and in a few months there will be liqueur.

7. I've already got chocs for Conflux, because it coincides with Jewish New year and because I have the book launch in between now and then. I also want to invite any people who need somewhere to go for first night Rosh Hashanah to my place. I'll have dinner for those who need/want. This includes any of you who are visiting Canberra at the time. I'll do my 'Canberra family' dinner later in the week, when Conflux is not running interference. I'll do the actual family thing when I'm in Melbourne for the launch. This festive year might just work out!

8. Last Sunday, Donna and Matthew and I went to see Sharyn and Chris and the boys. This was a 3 1/2 hour drive in each direction. It was tiring and it pushed my limits, but I was fine the next day. This means I can do normal travel! I made raktajino for the trip (since I'd made some for Conor in the morning and it was easy enough to make a bigger batch), but didn't put in enough sugar. Matthew and Donna are very polite, which means I didn't know until I got home that their flask was a bit difficult to drink.

9. Being open about the heart stuff has paid amazing dividends. Two women (one a rello, one an acquaintance) with similar symptoms have taken their symptoms to their doctor and had tests and found out they, too, have heart conditions. Not as advanced as mine and thus easier to treat. I'd rather not have gone through the trials and tribulations, but at least if I had to it means that women's symptoms are taken more seriously. All these two women had to say was "My friend/rello had these same symptoms and she had a quadruple bypass" and the tests I wasn't given were forthcoming. If one's going to be misdiagnosed, then the best possible outcome is other people benefiting.

10. I got to see two of my UK friends yesterday. This rounded out a very nice week.