diony: (Default)
2014-02-26 10:10 am


I managed to write fiction yesterday morning, which was excellent, but not to make the post about it that I planned to do. And today my children are both home, and tomorrow is my volunteer day at my daughter's school, so a busy time again, although right now a moment of something like calm as my daughter spends her media time on the Sesame Street website.

And of course as I type that, I see my son has not managed to fall asleep after all, so I must go upstairs and see if his diaper needs changing. So exciting and dramatic, the life of the stay-at-home mother. But the worst of it is passing. I remember some author, I truly do not know which one, writing about the compromises of the time when her children were very young, and how one must remember that it does pass. I had found that place with my daughter, just when I succeeded in becoming pregnant again, and then the first year of my son's life had much room, he was quite the calm infant and slept much, but now he is ready to explore the world all the hours, so it is harder. But it will pass, it will pass, it will pass.
diony: (Default)
2014-02-24 11:34 am

stepping back in

I had hoped to work on fiction some this morning, but my son did not wake up until after my daughter had left for school, so he is only now napping and I am a little in the rush to eat and prepare and all; I must get him up around 1315 wil-he-nil-he (I assume this phrase to be the origin of willy-nilly -- and the internet says I am right, but oh how I miss having the free online OED access that I once had through my university) so that we may go get his sister and then go to the doctor and his growth may be checked (he is extremely small for his age and so we check regularly) and his sister may have her shots so that next week I may enroll her in transitional kindergarten. That in itself is going to be quite an adventure, I find, since all the proof-of-residency documents are largely in my housemate's name, who is not related to my daughter in any way, and so I must establish the chain of proof that we truly live here despite the absence of the documents in my name. Extremely annoying.

I had a lovely weekend, with Potlatch on Saturday, during which I met many interesting people, and then on Sunday a lot of lying in bed reading Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice which was excellent until I realised at the ending that it was the start of a trilogy and thus Leckie did not see fit to close the thematic questions she had opened. I compare it to Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys which is the beginning of a series and yet complete in itself in ways I find satisfactory (people disagree loudly on this, I know) and wonder just what the difference is. Perhaps a post to come on that, in a day or two. For now, the rush to get ready for the afternoon. It is both easier and harder for having had such a good weekend.
diony: (Default)
2014-02-19 11:06 am
Entry tags:


Oh, how I have been reading. I have made a decision this year to try not to read anything I can tell is badly written; when I realise it so, I declare myself done with it. It is both simpler and more complicated than it might seen, as I have always been the sort of person to keep going just in case the book gets better, or just in case the flaw is in myself and I might suddenly understand the true glory of the work before me. This year, no; if it is bad, then it is bad, and I quit. This had slowed my reading speed a good deal, because I am no longer racing through poor works to find out how the story ends, and instead only reading those things I may give my full time and attention to.

I find it interesting that, when I have told people in my circle of friends about this decision, so many react with outrage, as though I were in some way criticising or challenging them. It relates to other thoughts I have had, about media consumption and identity, but they are not fully formed yet.

So what have I read? A great deal of manga, some terrible that I gave up on partially through, one indifferent series that I finished and then put into the bags going to the used bookstore. One I am quite fond of -- CLAMP's xxxHolic does not yet exhibit the difficulties I find with almost all other CLAMP series, but then I have not finished it yet, so it still has time to fall apart. Combining as it does the visual and the text, reading manga puts my mind into a usefully liminal state, where the urge for image and word balances, and sometimes I may get to my own feelings more clearly through it. And sometimes of course, not, and it is just enjoyable, like any reading might be.

More titles must wait for another post, as I should eat something.
diony: (Default)
2014-02-19 10:53 am

February? Really?

Time has moved again and left me behind, but now I notice it and say, goodness, how did February get here so quickly? I blame the children; with all this growing that they do, where is the time for anything else?

Aside from parenting, I have been reading a great, great deal, writing much less than I would like, knitting a little, and watching more television than used to be my way. We have finished the first season of Spice and Wolf, an amusing anime about a wolf-deity in the shape of a girl becoming the companion of a travelling merchant. I like the personality of Holo, the wolf-deity, with her intense fondness for apples (which I share) and the sudden moments in which one is reminded that she is not, after all, human, and her values and choices upon a different scale and frame of time. But it is all interesting and well-done, and I liked to see a non-modern story in which much of the weight of plot was upon market values and currency speculation, rather than fighting or questing.

The other television I am watching regularly is Person of Interest -- we are more than halfway through the second season, and it is quite, quite enjoyable, and so very well done. The only problem with seeing something with such good craft is that it makes it impossible to enjoy even the amusing moments of a show (such as Warehouse 13 which we watched for a while and then stopped) which is poorly crafted.

This coming weekend I am going to Potlatch SF, to discuss China MiƩville's The City and The City and meet other local and semi-local fans for the first time in a long while. The hotel is a few light rail stops away from my home, which combined with the literary nature of the con made it irresistible. I am some combination of anticipatory and anxious, and strangely also already missing the weekend with my family, despite the fact that I spend every weekend with them -- I think it is knowing how much my daughter will be upset that I am going away for long periods each day. It is truly fine, but it surprises me to feel it.
diony: (Default)
2013-11-27 12:02 pm

and more and more

Really, this month has been ridiculous; I have been sick twice, most recently these past few days, and right now my husband is ill enough we may have to push back our Thanksgiving dinner to Friday. (We are fortunate to have flexible guests.) I feel overwhelmed with minutiae, and worst of all have had no time to write, which I am beginning to realise is not good for my whole self. Hard to put into words, that, but I do feel it.

Good things have happened; there was a lovely birthday party for both my children as well as my daughter's best friend, a three-in-one that went better than I could have hoped, and I did have a very nice birthday dinner despite the pre-illness exhaustion. I had a lovely brunch with friend S. My daughter has begun doing gymnastics again and is in love with it, not just the glitter or the idea of it, but with the work; it is amazing to watch her struggle with her own shyness and find ways through, to go out on the floor with a new teacher and try something she has not tried before, and then as she settles into it she expands into the space and begins working hard to learn what is being taught. I like seeing the teacher correct her and she tries again and again to get it right, determined and without sulking, and then so proud when she succeeds. The list of things she would like to learn keeps growing; Spanish, she says, and soccer, and ballet, and more about animals and space and so on. Of course it has always been a long list -- when she was smaller it was to dance like the Red Army Dance Ensemble, to scuba dive, and to drive a garbage truck -- but I think now she is beginning to see that there are paths to it, that she might pick something and take a class and work at it and fail and try again and learn. It took me a very long time to bring that into my conscious awareness, and even now, I think, I still have many blind spots for it, so I am glad to think she is laying the foundation already.

And the minutiae returns, my son awakens from his nap and I must get up and get him and feed him lunch -- my daughter is engaging in some video time, something we try to keep within strict limits but it does spread, especially on a day like today when I am not feeling at my best and she is a little cranky as well. It is so easy to let her spend a few hours watching something I approve of (Curious George, right now, for the science and the lack of interpersonal aggression) so that I may have some space to breathe, but too much of it is not good for her nor for me.
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2013-11-13 04:11 pm

A Ritual to Read To Each Other

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

William Stafford
diony: (Default)
2013-10-29 11:32 am

walking through confusion

After the cat, my daughter was very ill for a few days -- nothing frightening, just a terrible cold, but it is the sickest she has been in her own memory, lying on the couch with her voice gone, coughing and feverish and exhausted. Now she is better, but not entirely, and my son is sick with the same, which is harder because he is still an infant and so when he coughs and wheezes he just cries and says "mamamama" in the hopes I will fix it. Meanwhile, I am ill-tempered, as I keep planning delightful escapades for myself (today was going to be brunch with a friend) and then having to reschedule due to ill mammals, which is irritating, and I would like to go to Korean BBQ for my birthday this weekend, but not if the children are still sick since they may not sleep well and will need someone familiar here when they wake.

Or, perhaps, I am just borrowing trouble.

What I did not say when I wrote last Wednesday was that it was my birthday, because writing about the cat dying on my birthday was just -- too annoying. But it was my birthday, and when my husband got home from work we went on light rail to a new sushi restaurant and ate many lovely things, and then to the 8-story university library a few blocks away to roam for the hour before closing. We each found some books; my library shelf is now truly absurd and overflowing, although that is not really that uncommon, and I am going through them at a good clip, largely by determining rather quickly that some of them (Edith Pargeter, for example) are just unreadable. It was, in spite of losing Jinian, a good birthday.

I told my daughter we might need to buy a new oven, since the old one is broken -- although my housemate is hoping he can repair it -- and she said, thoughtfully, "And a new kitty. Can we have a black and white one that is not too shy of kids?" I am not certain if we will, yet, but it seems plausible. My feelings are more mixed than I would have expected; children are such work, and so are cats (even though not for me because my housemate does most of the cat care), and she is too young for a kitten but two cats is definitely the limit, so if we acquire another one now that means perhaps many years before a kitten. But then, there are so many older cats who have trouble finding homes... so, yes, a mix.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-23 01:35 pm

need not apply

A busy week, a scattering of thoughts. Coherency unlikely, as past performance is no indication of future returns.

First and foremost, my beloved cat Jinian died today, after a good long 20 1/2 years of life. I am, of course, sad, but it was not a shock, and she left quite peacefully on her own schedule, so that was all good. It is not easy, it is not pleasant, but in a world in which death has to happen, that was a good way for it. My housemate and I buried her out back, near the walnut tree. I am not looking forward to breaking it to my daughter, but I think once she has settled with it some we will plant some flowers on the grave.

After that, truly scattered. Some writing has gotten done, but less than I would like; the cat's sudden decline over the last week took time, and my husband has had yet another audit to change the family's schedule. Then again, no amount of writing is as much writing as I would like to do. I have read some books, and will write about them soon; namely, one more Sayers, one novel by Brenna Yovanoff, one by Sarah Rees Brennan, and perhaps a fourth thing I am not recalling right now. Some poetry, James Thomson, a little Byron, just dipping my toe in. A very great lack of time, most frustrating. Some good books on hold at the library.

On the domestic front, our oven is broken well and truly and must be totally replaced, which is a pity, as I discovered it trying to make cornbread (which was then made on the stove, and burned, and came out inedible to all tastes except my housemate's, who ate a lot of it) and have generally been baking more this last few weeks. I am, it is rumoured, acquiring a chest freezer through the ridiculous generosity of a friend, and then must see about joining a meat CSA, or not, and making a proper trip to the butcher shop now that we have somewhere to store the results, and perhaps some menu planning so that it makes sense to buy a large quantity of meat and cook it and then use it as leftovers through the week.

And then, on Friday, our Dear Austrian Friends are coming for a five-week visit -- not staying with us (tempting, but where oh where would we put a family of four?) and that will be a lovely mad whirl. My daughter befriended their daughter (and vice-versa) in the then-local park in November of 2010, at the tender age of almost-14-months (their daughter being not-yet-one at the time), and as time went on the mother V. and I became closer, and the girls became closer, and sometime that following summer we began letting our lives twine together with the children in many similar activities, and eventually it went from pleasant companionship to friendship on the part of the adults, V. and I went to the theatre, the father P. becoming a friend to both me and my husband, and the girls got closer and farther and fought and made up and both learned to speak enough that their games began to grow, and then in 2012 their daughter started pre-school, and my daughter joined her there, and V. had her second child while I was pregnant with my son, and so on until last December, when they had to go back to Austria. We've kept in touch, a very tiny amount of Skype (I am phenomenally shy of phones, videos, seeing my own face, etc.) and a lot of google chatting, and now suddenly they will be here and we will all meet again. I am looking forward to it so much I do not actually feel anything. We have told my daughter, who handles anticipation poorly, that she will see her friend (whom she has never forgotten, speaks of much, and sometimes tells me accurate memories involving going back to when they were both 18 months old) by Halloween, but if all goes well they will come over on Saturday morning and be a delightful surprise. My daughter will shriek and jump up and down and then probably go hide for ten or fifteen minutes until the initial shyness wears off, but -- we will see.

And there, I have written so long that I must rush now or we will be late to do pick up. Well, as a means to soothe grief, it is a good one.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-12 08:41 pm
Entry tags:

more about Antonia Fraser's fiction

I've now finished Antonia Fraser's third and fourth mysteries and I am delighted to announce that Jemima Shore, Investigator, did in fact live up to her name in these, investigating with some will (not as much as I would like, but enough to be consonant with her character; a reluctant heroine in some senses) and intelligence and not a single faint yet. Fraser seems to have found her ground in these; she is writing a world that she is confident in, media and the creative artist -- not the Bohemian, but the ones who are concerned with survival, so the mix of those who create and those who promote and those who do the technical work that makes the creation and the promotion happen. In both A Splash of Red and Cool Repentance the characters are themselves interesting, a little too large for life, perhaps (reminding me of some 80s night-time soap opera, Dynasty or the like) but coherent enough, and following their own paths through the story. Not all of them are likeable, but they are (especially in the former) there enough to be liked or disliked, and that was a great improvement on the first two.

Fraser also does some things I found interesting with physical detail, material culture, which reminded me of the 1960s gothics as written about by Joanna Russ and also of shoujo manga -- the way that who consumes what, and how (in this case mostly clothing, but also make-up, jewelry, interior decoration, flowers) is meant to tell us things about their characters. I think I cannot read much of what she is saying, the early 1980s are both too close and too far, but sometimes she makes it explicit, Jemima Shore's beige clothing with the hints of red and navy, calm with a little splash to signal Jemima's own professional distance and intelligence but with passion beneath.

Cool Repentence is clearly doing something intertextual with Chekov's The Seagull that I missed through lack of familiarity with the text. Although I was very, very annoyed by the ending for a variety of reasons.

And yet, and yet. The books are profoundly dissatisfying; Fraser is not using the mystery genre to do anything, she is not investigating or commenting or even looking deeply, she is writing these beautiful people in their interesting world behaving badly or well, and in the end it does not really come to anything except casual encounters and the move on. Very 1980s in its way, I think, it gives me a certain flavour I did not have before, but I find it boring. I was hoping for real novels that make use of the mystery genre, like Sayers, and these are sensation fiction. No wonder Shore kept fainting in the first two books. I cannot decide if I am going to read the last one I have from the library or not. Right now, not; I am going to read something I will enjoy more instead.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-07 11:12 am
Entry tags:

All right, then.

I am on to the third of Antonia Fraser's mysteries (A Splash of Red), and this one looks like it might be an actual mystery in which the protagonist investigates the mysterious happenings, rather than the second which was really a 1960s gothic set on a Scottish island, or the first which started off looking like a mystery and then stalled out because Jemima Shore simply would not actually investigate anything... or believe that a murder had happened... or generally behave in the ways necessary for the genre. I suppose one might see it as a fascinating experiment in what happens when one's protagonist resolutely refuses to engage in genre tropes, but I thought it made for a poor novel. Ms. Shore, sadly, did much better in the gothic, where she ignored the menace of the strange old house she found herself in, got involved with the brooding handsome man with a hawk-like profile, and then fainted dead away at a strategic moment. It is enough to make me throw up my hands and go read Amanda Cross, except the third really is growing on me a little; we will see if she manages to write either an actual mystery, or if not that something in a genre I am interested in reading. So far we have a female author whose work is being compared to Alison Lurie, and the protagonist is reading Nadine Gordimer, so I am hoping for intertextuality -- which I will miss, not having read either of those authors, but still, it would really be a step in the right direction.

Up next: Well, the same things as last time, since rather than reading any of them I am continuing to read Fraser. How did I get to be nearly forty without realising that I am incredibly stubborn? Answer comes there none. At least I am no longer willing to waste my time; I did skip large chunks of the first book, and skimmed a healthy portion of the second. (Yes, I might have just stopped, but there kept being little moments of grace, and I do like her history so much, I want to give her every chance.)
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2013-10-06 11:27 am

sunday morning

The cold I was holding off with sheer willpower for the week around my Montreal trip has finally caught up with me, so yesterday was spent mostly asleep aside from celebrations of my daughter's birthday (cake, presents, sushi), and today is looking somewhat the same. It is a long, long time since I have had time and space to sleep as much as my body demands, and in a sense I am enjoying it (and grateful to my husband for taking on the care of both children), but also it is deeply irritating, when there is so much I wish to read, write, see, think, do. Every silver lining with its own cloud, I suppose.

I just finished Antonia Fraser's Quiet as a Nun. It was not very good, unfortunately, but I am trying the next one (The Wild Island) anyway. So far the prose is better, at least.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-04 12:58 pm

back to the even tenor of the usual day

The week draws to a close, and I more or less settled back in to the rhythm of everyday life, although as always there are little pieces that are not the 'normal' -- my husband has an audit, so is working twelve hour days, and thus most days (but not today) I am driving my daughter to school, which unbalances my expectation of the rest of the time. And today I had brunch with two friends who had taken the week off of work -- we talked a lot about my trip to Montreal, and reading/writing, and origami, and cats -- and that was new and lovely, especially as my son fell asleep such that I was able to leave him napping with my housemate and go out for an hour and not worry about his bottle or his diapers or any of those things. I have gotten used to leaving him here asleep when I go pick up my daughter from school (it is perhaps a 75m round trip) but this was the first time I had done during the day it just to go enjoy myself, and if my housemate doesn't object I suspect I will again.

Also the cleaners came, which is always a touch stressful, but excellent. When we (myself, my husband, my housemate, two cats, one child, one yet-to-be-born child) moved into this beautiful large 100+ year old house at a ridiculously low rent, I decided that I would simply admit that my desire to live in a clean house & my willingness to spend time keeping said house clean were at odds, and that the solution was to redirect money. So we do, and cleaners come once a month to do the sort of cleaning I never get around to -- washing floors and vacuuming and bathtubs and sinks -- and we live in a very cluttered but never really dirty house, and domestic tranquillity is increased, if not insured.

So now I am here, full of brunch, about to go acquire my son from his crib (where he is drumming on the bars and saying "Ah! Ah!" semi-musically), soon to go get my daughter from preschool, enjoying the clean house, and very much anticipating the weekend. We will have sushi for my daughter's 4th birthday (her choice, she is very, very fond of sushi) and I will write, I dearly hope, and read, and think, and garden -- the roses need attention -- and perhaps take some photographs, or go to the farmer's market, or make something autumnal for Sunday dinner like a stew.

I am not certain what I think of this theme for my journal; it is, to my astonishment, perhaps too much blue.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-04 12:24 pm

many happy returns

Happy birthday, [personal profile] oursin!
diony: (Default)
2013-10-02 01:24 pm
Entry tags:

some scattered thoughts upon reading

My reading follows a very predictable rhythm in its form if not content; I get too many books from the library, return those and get more, and manage to keep up with the cycle for a while until suddenly I run into a wall and return all the books to the library and start over again. This usually happens in autumn, and so it is no surprise to me to have returned from Farthing Party full of the desire to read more speculative fiction and particular sorts of literary work, and less interested in the random assemblage of library books I have out.

On the plane I read The Documents in the Case (which is an epistolary novel by Dorothy Sayers and Robert Eustace, her only mystery novel without Lord Peter) and while it was really not very good, being written more to touch on some philosophical ideas about science and religion than anything else, it did give me the thought that perhaps for my (still very theoretical) PhD I might try to do something with female criminality in literature. The novel was clearly a take on the Thompson-Bywaters case, and I know two other novels from the period which treat it, and then going back to the Victorians there is Lady Audley's Secret, and I can imagine a line from the one to the other, although it might go earlier and end later -- there would be much research -- and also they are different flavours of criminality, and if there is enough out there, I might do all of it on the sort of Edith Thompson idea, the woman as evil muse -- and that could spill into art too, so very fertile ground when I can see so many ways to go from the core. This is quite a pleasant surprise, really, as the desire to do the PhD and teach and study more has been strong for a while, and I have had a rough idea of what I might like to look at, but never anything so specific, and I think I am more likely to get into the program I would like if I have a very good idea about whom I want to work with and why.

Up next -- well, that is complicated. I might read those other Thompson-Bywaters books, but I should take notes if so, just in case. I have a children's novel by Jill Paton Walsh to finish (The Dolphin Crossing, a very early one if not her first), and a mystery by Antonia Fraser, who is an excellent historian but I am not yet certain what I think of her fiction -- this is the first I have tried, and it is interesting, but it has not really come into focus for me. And further out I have an Atwood novel, and I would like to read Susan Palwick, and I am slowly rereading Jane Duncan's "My Friends" books because they are quite enjoyable even when frustrating... and so it goes, there is always more to read than I have the time for, especially as I am also wanting to work on my fiction and send email and spend time in relationships and all. But better that than the reverse.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-02 11:42 am

feast and famine

I got home from Montreal late Monday, although not so late as it felt to my body, the joy of travelling west. Yesterday was settling back in, and celebrating my daughter's birthday, and then today she is back at pre-school and I am starting to find a little more the rhythm of the days. I'd never understood before, when my husband would go away, why it was so hard for him to pick up the child care again, and now I do; it is not a lack of will or good intention, but simply the reflexes dull. I kept forgetting yesterday how much I have to focus on the clock, on doing things in order, on listening and reacting, and at one point got so involved in a kitchen conversation with my housemate that I mostly missed feeding my son his breakfast, as he lost patience for sitting still before I had given him much food.

Today, though, there is some space and time to breathe, and look around, and think. Montreal was beautiful, and even the parts which were not were new, and I find I am hungry for that sort of newness; I have been living here in the Bay Area for a long time now, since the spring of 1995, and while it is a very good place, I am a little done with it. San Jose is newer, we moved here only last fall, but right now the centre of my life is still up where we were before, as that is where Julia's preschool is, and thus where her friends are and the excellent German butcher shop and so on and so forth. I am seeing how to change it, but the preschool is both excellent and affordable, so it isn't going to happen this year. Still, a new city, another language, different weather... I would like to travel more, very much, but I think even more than that I would like to live in some different places. A goal for the many years to come.

I made bread yesterday with the dough I had left in the refrigerator before I went, half semolina this time, and it seems to have come out well. My son loves to gnaw on the crusts, and Julia likes to eat the soft inside, which is a fortuituous combination. It is a little too sour for me, but that is fine, the joy is in the making of it.

Speaking of that, I should eat. Montreal had lovely food, and I especially enjoyed my first poutine experience -- and the chocolate brioche French toast at Cora's -- and the amazing macarons -- but so much of the time I was so taut with the energy of being in a new place and seeing my girlfriend and all that I didn't actually remember to eat. My body is now taking me to task for that.
diony: (Default)
2013-10-01 05:03 pm

first and last and first again

I went to the last Farthing party and it was lovely, and many people asked me if I used any social media, and I suddenly realised that I did not -- not in the way they meant, at any rate. I gave up posting on Livejournal a long time ago, after my daughter was born, and although I have worked at a few other things, I have not really made a space to be mine personally.

So this, here. With this same username that I have used for almost two decades now, which I both love and hate; it has much association I'd rather shed, but that is the past for you, as someone would say. I have decided for a time at least not to worry about all the things I worry about, anonymity and privacy and which strands of my life I am weaving together, or trying to leave some colours out.

Some months ago I found this quote from Dorothy Sayers' Whose Body:

"It _is_ a game to me, to begin with, and I go on cheerfully, and then I suddenly see that somebody is going to be hurt, and I want to get out of it."

"Yes, yes, I know," said the detective, "but that's because you're thinking about your attitude. You want to be consistent, you want to look pretty, you want to swagger debonairly through a comedy of puppets or else to stalk magnificently through a tragedy of human sorrows and things. But that's childish. If you've any duty to society in the way of finding out the truth about murders, you must do it in any attitude that comes handy. You want to be elegant and detached? That's all right, if you find the truth out that way, but it hasn't any value in itself, you know. You want to look dignified and consistent -- what's that got to do with it? You want to hunt down a murderer for the sport of the thing and then shake hands with him and say, 'Well played -- hard luck -- you shall have your revenge tomorrow!' Well, you can't do it like that. You can't be a sportsman. You're a responsible person."

It struck hard then, and today, deciding on making this space, it struck again. Because, yes, I should always rather stalk magnificiently than be my messy self, but it is the messy self or nothing, I fear, and better to be something. If I am going to write, and it is at long last abundantly clear (to me at least) that I am, I must, as Sayers says, do it "in any attitude that comes handy".