I have a fair few craft books. Half a shelf, maybe? They’re mostly about either beading or patchwork. I very rarely make anything straight out of them; I tend to use them as a reference for techniques I can’t quite do yet, or just flick through looking at the pretty pictures. (This is not a pretty picture. Sorry.)
In two weeks’ time I shall be on the ferry to Spain, and I have to confess that I still don’t know where my towel is. I’ve taken everything out of the airing cupboard, the hall cupboard, the various boxes of cycling impedimenta, the suitcases and holdalls under the bed… And put it all back again, obviously. But no towel. At least, not the towel I was looking for. The airing cupboard was, of course, full of the things, but they were all the gigantic cotton bath sheet version, which won’t do at all. I did find two other microfibre camping towels. Neither of them are mine, but I’ve been offered a loan of one of them. I weighed them both on the kitchen scales to see which to take.
I also thought I’d lost my very lightweight fleece, but it turned up at the very back of the top shelf of my wardrobe. (It’s that shapeless brown object in the photograph.)
I found my hat and my waterproof (hmm, well, but it’ll do) and my Swiss Army knife and the bandana I bought in the cathedral shop in Santiago de Compostela the last time around. (This was easy. I knew where they all were.)
Also, I tried on all the walking trousers I’ve accumulated over the years. I have one pair that fits perfectly. Everything else is either too small (the ones I wore last time I did the Camino) or too big (the ones I’ve bought since). I’m going to take the ones that fit perfectly and the ones that are too big but don’t actually fall off.
And yes, one of the objects in that photograph is not like the others. Yes, that shoe box does contain shoes. No, I’m not planning on walking 110km in kitten heels from Hobbs. But I am setting off straight after a wedding, and I thought I might as well get everything down off the top shelf of the wardrobe at once.
It occurred to me that I should probably have a fanfic policy.
On the one hand, it seems a little bit unnecessary, given that as far as I know nobody has any intention of writing any fic for Speak Its Name. On the other hand, I’ve written the first fic in many a tiny fandom, and it feels like false modesty to assume that nobody at all, in the whole world, ever, would want to write in a universe just because I was the one who invented it.
I must make one thing clear: this is a policy for me. What anybody else does is up to them.
As soon as a world of my creation is taking up space in someone else’s head, it’s their business what they do about that. Personally, I do not mind at all if people write the missing scene or the crossover with Check, Please! or the OT3 or the coffee shop AU, or if they nominate it for Yuletide, or if they want to argue with the premise of the whole thing through the medium of fiction.
More to the point, my minding or not minding is irrelevant. I cannot and would not stop anyone writing (see also drawing, making fanmixes, whatever) what they like.
However. As a creator, I need to keep my own headcanon tidy. While I doubt it’s going to become a full-blown series, I am planning a sequel to Speak Its Name, and I could do without its getting tangled up with anyone else’s conception of the world. As a fan, I know it is dreadfully awkward when a canon creator leaves a comment, even an approving one, on one’s fic.
And so this is my policy regarding fanfic of my works: I’d rather not have it drawn to my attention. I won’t go looking for it and I certainly won’t comment on it.
I had heard of this book, which is about St Teresa of Avila and St Thérèse of Lisieux, before. Until I picked it up in Oxfam a couple of weeks ago I had somehow managed to miss the fact that it was written by Vita Sackville-West.
There’s a picture of a page of the first draft of A Spoke in the Wheel, too, if you’re really desperate to know more about that. Although I should warn you that it’s pretty much illegible, and I deliberately chose a page that doesn’t give away much of the plot.
When I was in my early teens, this book was one of my absolute favourites. It’s about a British teenager who finds himself in Romania just as the Ceaucescu regime is falling. I loved it for the idealism, for the music (the narrator is a member of a youth orchestra), for the sense of hope.
The lanyard came from a friend of my father’s who used to work for the EU, and is included with a certain wistfulness.
From a practice walk on Tuesday – this is what Cambridge looks like in the spring.
(Twelve miles, carrying 8.5kg. Nothing to speak of in the way of hills, unless you count the Castle Mound. I’ve obtained the items of kit that I wished I had last time – waterproof trousers, a silk sleeping bag liner – and have come to a decision about the rucksack question.)
This year I’ve been doing Lent differently; by which I mean that I’ve not been doing very much differently at all. I haven’t given up anything, partly in an attempt to disconnect the idea of virtue from that of self-deprivation, and partly to see if there’s any correlation between Lenten discipline and the seasonal depression that tends to land early in March and lift around Easter.
It turns out that not giving up meat, not giving up alcohol, not giving up coffee, not giving up tea, not giving up biscuits, and not giving up anything else, has made precisely zero difference, and March has been as much of a slog as it always is. This has, oddly enough, made me feel rather optimistic. It would have been annoying to discover that I’d brought all my misery on myself by trying too hard to be ‘good’. Next year I can do what I feel like doing and not worry about it. And I also know for next year not to schedule any social events during March, because I’ll either flake out and disappoint people, or turn up and then cry and embarrass them.
I keep meaning to write about the structure of the Church year, and how useful I find it. Firstly, there’s the way that it keeps turning on and on with or without my involvement. I can fail to get out of bed three Sundays running, work a weekend away, and then go on holiday, and when I come back I can still reorient myself by the colour of the altar frontal, the readings, and the anthem. And then there’s the fact that there is actually an officially sanctioned time for feeling dreadful, followed by a time of feeling a huge amount better and being thankful for that. That bit’s coming up soon. I’m looking forward to it.