"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Changing Landscape

The trees are hurriedly shedding their leaves, though there's still some lovely colour here and there. Despite the change of season, and some extremely low temperatures, one of my roses continues to produce. A few minutes ago, I was admiring Eglantyne, a David Austin English Rose.

It's very concerning, the vast quantity of red berries on the winterberry just outside my office window. The branches are heavily burdened, bending down to the ground. The wild shrubs and bushes I see when driving about the neighbourhood are also loaded with berries. We had many, many more acorns and beechnuts than usual. Odd, because it was a very unstressful growing season and all the trees are healthy. Is this nature's way of warning us of a harsh winter? There's no denying that Lola's winter coat is coming in thick and fast--and early. She's an Alaskan husky who looks ready for an Alaskan winter.

This day brought a sudden a change to our domestic life here at the Lodge. This morning the Chap began a new phase of his professional life, very exciting and rewarding and lucrative and all good things. But he'll be working from an office about 20 minutes away, instead of here in our forest. After a dozen years of daily togetherness--except when he's commuting overseas--I'm not at all accustomed to having the place to myself day in, day out. It's an adjustment. No more darting into his lair to pose a question or seek an opinion or just hang out or deliver a cup of hot tea.

Not that his constant presence was so very distracting, but I've high hopes of greater productivity as a writer. I remind myself that I wrote my first seven novels during a period when he went to an office.

No telling what Lola and Ruth will make of it all. I predict the wee dog will be overcome with excitement when the Chap returns at the end of his day.

In addition to banging out the manuscript, I've plenty of busy work to keep me occupied, mostly planning for upcoming travel--pleasure and research. I've been doing all things necessary to ensure my reader's passes at various libraries are in effect, and will be pre-ordering materials. At the moment, I'm obsessed with the details of the Siege of Belgrade (1688), in which my male protagonist takes part. Fortunately, I've located a contemporary account,published in the same year, which should prove immensely useful.

Last spring, Hampton Court was my obsession. Just now, it's Windsor Castle. Haven't been there for yonks, look forward to my return--and my first time with the Chap as my escort. He last went there in his student days. My female protagonist is buried in some unknown location within St. George's Chapel, and I feel a pilgrimage is in order.

In case anybody is wondering what became of Gilbert the Chipmunk, the short answer is, I'm not sure. By now, his tattoo has probably faded, making it impossible to pick him out of the chipmunk mob. Yesterday I spotted two smallish rodents--one in the backyard and one near the wood pile--and either might have been our former lodger. Perhaps he's the shameless perp who stole those miniature hyacinth bulbs I planted on Sunday....I knew it was chipmunk territory, but I wanted them there enough to risk it.

I continue working with the Graduate every day, so she doesn't lose all the knowledge she gained. She is a working breed, after all!

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