Friday, July 27, 2007

alas, poor shawl mk II

Not so poor, that shawl. I may have saved it, actually, but I'll finish it first before breaking out the champagne. It looks so vulnerable, sprawled across those beautiful thistles, though. One tug and it would be, if not exactly curtains, then shreddies, perhaps. The holes, though. Ohhhhh, damn them, every one. I'll try to tweak and mend when I block it, but if it doesn't work, the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments will be hideous to behold.

On the ongoing sweater for the youngest daughter epic, I also may have saved that too. I'm about to do a deeply scary thing and unravel ( be still, my beating heart) both orang-utang sleeves from the cast off edge backwards. this is to avoid hemming them both with a large and bulky seam and inadvertently giving my elfin youngest knitted shoulders like a Teamster on steroids. But then, I can sew the sleeves on and Have Done With It. God. Enough already. It does make me wonder if I'll ever be able to watch my youngest daughter wear the sweater without breaking out in hives. Me, not her.

My Dragons got the go-ahead this morning from Bloomsbury UK, US, and Germany, so whenever I'm back in the studio for a longish period, I'll be able to begin on the artwork. How good is that? From first draft to start date in six weeks? Perfect. The book will be beautiful, especially since it hasn't been distorted out of all recognition and turned into an ongoing compromise arrived at by an editorial commitee.

Talking of which, I've just sent off the final edit and rewrite of my beloved but much revised Witch Baby text. Despite the rigours and multiple changes that the text has undergone, I continue to love it to bits. I've been rewriting it since last summer, and at various points along its life, I've wanted to
cry me a river, followed by a loch, followed by an ocean
beat my head against a brick wall
give up being a writer and get a proper job stacking shelves
have a heart-to-heart with my editors in which an axe is notably present
hurl myself under a train

Never have I ever had such a struggle to produce a book. Looking back to the Darker Days, I'm amazed I kept going. There have been a few occasions when I wanted to repay the advance and give up entertaining any ambitions regarding being a writer. Tough? Rawhaaaaaade, baby. Put me in such a bad mood, too. Every edit seemed like another impossible summit for which I was ill-equipped and rapidly running out of oxygen. But hey. That was then, and this is now, but I swear if the next book is even a tenth as hard, I'll have to call it quits. Too damaging to my tenuous grip of the creative process. It's like being constantly reminded of how far you have to fall when you're attempting a high-wire act.

I am feeling good today, and not just because of the close-to-completion feelings engendered by the above, but also because today was the first day for six weeks that I felt able to haul myself along to the gym. Six weeks is an awful long time and an awful lot of lost fitness. Some of my usual routine was entirely beyond me in my new role as Debi the Milquetoast (as opposed to Debi of the Steel Buns). Didn't have to do a whole lot to elevate my heartrate up to its max either. And still, no running. Today, I just walked very fast on an increasingly raked footplate. Today's cruising altitude was a pathetic 10% incline, but it felt brilliant to be actually doing something again.

My vague plans for running and hill-walking this summer are on hold, though. Tomorrow we trek up to Wester Ross for one week of what had been supposed to be mountain-heaven. Some weeks ago, we'd talked about climbing the Ben Dheraig range, but one little trek in hill-walking boots along a beach in Aberdeen last weekend put paid to that. Sadly, I'm not out of the woods yet, and may not be for some time to come. The idea of getting halfway up something big and pointy and then having my foot pack in and then having to call out mountain rescue...heck no. Good sense prevails. I'll walk in to the foot of Ben Dheraig and then sit at the base and make small, keening sounds.

OOOOOh, I would've
If I could've
But my foot
's gone kaput.

That was the Dirge of The Thwarted Hillwalker, brought to you today by our sponsors; Mr Gordon and his fine green bottles.

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