"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, December 04, 2008

Return now to the place....

The title comes from a Celtic prayer, a benediction we hear in our parish nearly every Sunday morning. "Return now to the place where God has given you responsibility."

And that's exactly what I've done.

On Tuesday morning I woke to sunny skies in London, a splendid travel day.

By evening, I was curled up on the big sofa with my beloved responsibilities Ruth and Jewel, surrounded by a mountain of accumulated mail--mostly mail-order catalogs and magazines. When we collected Ruth and Jewel at their kennel, Ruth was beside herself with joy and Jewel delighted. This is the longest separation I've ever had from them. (And if I add in the days I was with my family and not in NH, the dogs and I were apart for most of November!) Their "other mother," the kennel manager, reported that they were "wonderful, as always."

And yesterday--another brilliant bright day--I faced another responsibility. It was Organisation Day for the Legislature.

Jet-lagged me would've preferred to lie abed late instead of rising, dressing, and preparing for a very busy and important day. I attended a majority party caucus, followed by a House session at 10 a.m. With my veteran and newly-elected colleagues, I raised my hand and swore the Oath of Office. And then endured a lengthy session of voting for House Speaker, House Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, State Treasurer, Secretary of State. Oh, and we had House Resolutions to debate (at length) and pass or kill.

We didn't even get a lunch break, and didn't adjourn until 3 p.m. and I didn't get away till 3:30. I hope we didn't frighten the freshmen! I told the ones sitting near me that Session Days usually aren't like that, adding that we normally break for lunch. And we have electronic voting. (We couldn't use the electronic system because people were in temporary seats, the permanent ones haven't been assigned yet.) So we had voice votes, and when there was a division we had to do a standing vote and wait till heads were counted.) Didn't have the heart to explain that the floor debates are often that tedious!

One more responsibility remained--a 4 p.m. meeting at the town library.

I arrived home at 6, not having eaten a bite since breakfast. My body, still on London time, was convinced it had not only missed lunch but supper, too!

Today, thank goodness, is a bit less eventful. I'm scrambling to design and order our Christmas cards. I've got a mandolin lesson (and after a month of no lessons and little time for practise, it ought to be interesting!) Then I must run some errands--replace the ear muffs I lost somewhere in Shepherd Market. (Not to self: do not wrap them round a wrist!)

Didn't know what to expect when able to step on a scale for the first time in over a fortnight. Before the trip, I took off an extra 3 pounds as a cushion so I could comfortably eat my way round London. I returned home to find I'd gained not an ounce, and in fact had lost a further 3 pounds. I suppose it was because I was eating so sensibly, and walking so constantly--most days I averaged 3 miles per day, with a personal best of 4 miles, only using the tube for lengthy cross-city journeys.

Before departing the UK I filed a newspaper article about the trip, accompanied by the Queen's photograph. For many, many years I've periodically provided a "Letter from London"..."Letter from Dublin"..."Letter from Bratislava"...or photographs for the travel section. The managing editor loved it, means to publish it in either this Sunday's edition or next. Biggest circulation day!

My brain is bursting with inspiration, I keep scribbling notes for new scenes and additions to existing scenes in the book. Because we do a quiet Christmas at home, I can often accomplish quite a lot of writing in this month, and I really hope I can. And yet since returning less than 48 hours ago, the blank calendar page that used to be December is rapidly filling up--not a few meetings but mostly holiday parties!

There might be some follow-up blogging about the trip when I get a chance. If the phone stops ringing--constituents, lobbyists, interns.

Here in my place of responsibility.

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