October 2010

Books read in October:

  1. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.
  2. Thomas the Rhymer, by Ellen Kushner.
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling.
  4. The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin.

I didn’t get to dress up for Halloween, but I did sing in Evensong so I still got to sweep around town wearing a black gown. Tonight is NaNoWriMo Eve — it isn’t even November yet, and I’m already behind: behind on housecleaning, marking essays, my own research, least of all planning the novel that I’m going to write in the next 30 days. Note the faint strain of panic, everyone, and wish me luck.

My Ebenezer

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I’ve come;
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering far from the fold of God.
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed his precious blood.

-from the hymn, ‘Come thou fount of every blessing’.

It’s been happening at odd moments here and there across the past couple of weeks: I’ll be listening to the radio while doing dishes, or walking into town, to a friend’s house, down a perfectly mundane street and think, ‘Yes, I love this place’. This afternoon, restlessness drove me out of the office and down to the sea. Despite it being chill, damp, windy, I walked the length of East Sands and back. For the most part it was only me and the waves, the gulls, and the flock of swans gliding across the bay. I don’t go down to the sea nearly often enough, but the deep pull of the tide has already cast its spell on my heart, the crash of the surf resounds always even in the silences of night. I thank the Lord my God that of all the shores I could wash up on I was cast here, to this small town on the edge of the North Sea.

‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.’ (1 John 4.18-19)

Words, words, words

This morning I found an old Dove Promises wrapper in my Bible. It read, ‘Find your passion’.

My passion is words — words strung into stories, stories that tell of our lives, of our past, future, where we come from and where we are going. Stories about what we do, believe, feel, think, live, love, and how, why. Stories about who we are.

It’s no wonder my life is wrapped up in books.

The Autumn Monster

Six pumpkins, five adults, two children, and a very yellow kitchen.

Morley and Charlie with the autumn monsters.

Glowing masterpieces.

Humphrey and Boggart hard at work warding off evil spirits.


I woke up with Ros’s cold. It’s been raining steadily all day. I taught another double-session of The Dream of the Rood and have been fielding emails from students about their essays due on Monday. I’m glad I went to The Central this afternoon: that half-pint was rather nice.

Off to make dinner — here’s hoping the poltergeist has had a Friday drink, too.


Things I have not done:

  • Washed my breakfast dishes;
  • Done laundry;
  • Emailed/Skyped/Called at least 5 people with whom I regularly correspond (and have not done so for weeks if not months);
  • Put out chickpeas to soak so I can cook them later;
  • Renewed my railcard;
  • Read my NYT headlines for the past three weeks.

Things I have done:

  • Picked blackberries;
  • Prepared for tutorials;
  • Successfully led a 2-hour tutorial on The Dream of the Rood;
  • Eaten a fudge doughnut.

It’s Monday

After cutting my finger open with the cheese grater, setting off the fire alarm and running around in a frenzy trying to find something long enough to reach the ceiling to turn it off, melting the only scraper we have, getting olive oil on my jeans — let alone the reappearance of the kitchen poltergeist — I finally got my dinner of chicken parmesan. The sheer amount of times I exclaimed, ‘Heavens!’ this evening would be enough to catch any angel’s attention.

It’s Monday.

I was going to call my parents tonight, but once they read this post, I think they’ll understand why I might call them later this week instead.

I want a new cheese grater for NaNoWriMo Eve. And a mallet.

Lazy days

On Thursday afternoon, my supervisor and teaching mentor sent me home for three days of officially sanctioned sleep. Since then I have slept a total twenty-eight (28) hours. Though I did have to go into town yesterday to turn in my timesheet and buy groceries, and during a burst of energy today I’ve cleaned the bathroom and put in a load of washing, I have otherwise been doing nothing. I am enjoying it while I can.

To there and back

Hello readers. I suppose it’s been a while. I don’t know why most people say that jet-lag is worse going west instead of going east, because the last two times for me it has definitely been worse on the return journey.

I was in the U.S. the last two weeks: Boston and Northampton and Quincy in Massachusetts; Dayton, Ohio; and Denver and Vail in Colorado. I don’t make traveling simple, do I? But I had a lovely, all-American time with Laura, Sarah, and Kelly. I went to a Red Sox vs. Yankees game, the Air Force Museum, and spent a weekend at Sirens, an annual conference on women, writing, and fantasy. This year’s theme was Faerie, and Kelly and I presented on folkloric and religious syncretism in Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard. I talked etymology with Marie Brennan, heard an excellent keynote by Terri Windling, had breakfast with Sherwood Smith, Ellen Kushner, and Mette Ivie Harrison, and also discussed PhDs, theses, and editors with Mette Ivie Harrison. All in all, it was a rather successful conference.

I may or may not have almost been denied entry upon my return to the U.K., thanks to one visa expiring after the other visa started, but after a brief discussion it was determined that the failure to activate my visa was not my fault, but Edinburgh’s. Ah. Still, the first thing you don’t want to hear upon landing is an immigration officer demanding, ‘Where are your papers?’, especially when you’ve only had two hours of sleep on a 9-hour flight. I am back home now, in my house in a town by the sea, with an office and friends and students to teach, so all is well.

Some things

Apple picking. Laura Veirs and The Watson Twins concert. Red Sox versus the Yankees. Playing with kitties. Just some things I’ve been up to.

I bought a book from Half Price Books today. And a few sweaters, since I’ve been wearing the same few sweaters the past few winters. I just took some clothes out of the dryer and, oh!, how soft they are! how warm! Now I’m going to go read Wolf Hall or chat with Sarah and hopefully snuggle with a kitty.