Postponement, Cats, Edits AND DUST

I’m postponing the chapter of Witchfinder for tomorrow for two reasons:  First I feel like my head is entirely made of cotton wool (more on this later. No, not sick.  At least I hope not.)  And second I’m hoping to be able to write a little more on it tomorrow, and so feed you guys a little more.

The cotton wool: I realized, late as usual, that my contract for the reissue/re-edition (it’s a “corrected” – actually ret-conned [is that what they call it in comics when you change the older to accord with the newer?] version of the books) of Draw One In The Dark and Gentleman Takes A Chance required me to send them the revised books by the 12th.

In a way it’s fortunate I realized this early this week (grin) because I’ve in the past done stuff like send back contracts after the manuscript was due.

The other reason it was fortunate for me to do this is that in going over the other books – line by line – I found several clues to what I thought was this totally new twist in Noah’s Boy.  Which goes to show you.  I don’t know what it goes to show you, but it does.

So, anyway, I think this is just editing-head and I can clear the cobwebs with vigorous house cleaning.

This is good because the house (and the laundry!  The horror, the horror) are way behind.  I’ve never understood this, but when I get sick, and despite Dan’s best efforts to keep up (in his copious spare time) and the kids’ occasional efforts to keep up (in their defense, they were ramping up to finals) if I get sick for two weeks, I end up a month behind in housework.  This makes no sense.  In this case, perhaps it was because everyone else in the house was sick too, and because the illness has such a long “slog back from” that while I’ve been “normal” for two weeks, I haven’t been “normal-normal” – i.e. I run out of steam too easily, etc.

Which brings me to all my late guest blogging and people must think I’m ignoring them/blowing them off.  I’m not.  I went down the line edit rabbit hole, then I realized I might as well do this slower, and as a conjoined tour for DSR and A Few Good Men.  Partly this is necessity, because writing two guest blogs atop my normal post seems to knock me out again.  So, if you’re waiting for me to post, please be patient.  And if you’re one of the people who is also/instead waiting for my art – we’ve just ordered a new scanner, my current one having succumbed finally to years of maltreatment and cat hair.  We didn’t want to spend the money, but since my best art is still done by hand, on physical media, it’s the only way to do it.

Cat hair brings me to – I couldn’t talk about it, because Marshall was having finals and Miranda is his special cat.  Miranda-cat, all of twelve, and a petite, feisty Cornish Rex princess has been diagnosed with a malformation of the heart valves which normally strikes large dogs.  At first – pre EKG – the doctors assumed it was hardening of the heart, which is apparently normal for her breed and would give her maybe six years with careful handling, bringing her to normal lifespan for OUR cats.

This issue is more serious, and if we’re very careful with her, we might have one more year.  I can hear you say “But Sarah, you knew cats have short lifespans.”  Yes, we did, but we didn’t count on THIS this soon.

On the good side, when she goes it’s likely to be “congestive heart failure” which means it will be quick and mostly painless.

Anyway, for now she’s still raining punishment (for being younger and well) on the boy cats, so it’s probably not eminent.

On the “I hope cottonwool is just the editing” – I’m sneezing an awful lot and getting congested, but I THINK that’s just the cat hair and household dust.  I sort of cleaned the last two weeks but not up to my standards.  And I’m not ABLE to be lazy about this stuff – I’m allergic to cats and deathly allergic to household dust.  (Yes, I know.  Allergic to cats?  Well, it’s mild, and since I have to clean for the dust, anyway…)

Okay, so now I go clean and listen to a Heinlein juvenile (Space Cadet) while I do so.  I’ll post chapter (or hopefully more) tomorrow.

57 responses to “Postponement, Cats, Edits AND DUST

  1. I look forward to posting your guest blog, but I don’t want you to hurt your health over it.

  2. It is always difficult to catch up. Assuming you are already running full out, a day off means a day behind — and picking up that lost day, if you only find 20% carve out of time each day, will take five days.

    And no, that is not retconning. Retroactive continuity fixes do not involve rewriting the older work, it is reframing it. The best I can do by way of explanation is by example — citing what I think may be the first effort at retconning, if only because continuity freaks are a relatively recent occurrence.)

    In 196? (? = not important enough to look up) Marvel Comics The Avengers #4 retrieved Captain America, frozen in suspended animation at the end of WWII, revived the character and continued his adventures. By the 1970′s elaborate continuity had become a sales point for Marvel and people noticed that the company had published Captain America adventures in the 1950′s — these being anti-Communist where the early adventures had been anti-Nazi (and japs.) At DC the creators had handwaviumed the discontinuity between their 1940′s characters and their 1960′s revisions (Flash, Green Lantern, most notably) with reference to theories of multiple space/time dimensions, thus Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-3 where the characters had swapped roles: Superman a villain, Lex Luthor a hero, etc.

    So the writer on the Captain America book retconned, creating a storyline in which the government had recreated the Super-soldier experiment after the War, but having lost certain of the processes due to the assassination of the program’s creator, Dr. Erskine, the process produced a Captain America who was mentally unstable, becoming increasingly rabidly anti-Communist until the program had to be shut down, with Cap II put into suspended animation until a cure could be found. The release of this second Cap in the 1970′s (technician disgruntled by warming of relations with USSR turned off the suspended animation) resulted in a confrontation between the Caps of two eras: 1940′s idealism meets 1950′s McCarthyism.

    The retroactive continuity implanted a storyline to explain — not rewrite — an apparent continuity lapse.

    That I a) know this stuff and b) feel compelled to explain it c) makes me regret I don’t drink alcohol.

    • Here’s another example. In Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion could talk, Toto coudn’t. Stands to reason — Toto was from Kansas. But in later books, every other animal brought to Oz acquired speech. Many books later, Baum revealed that Toto could talk, he just didn’t bother to.

  3. Off topic, but I have been wondering ever since reading Darkship Thieves. How do you pronounce Usaian?

  4. Which type of dust mask do you wear, in order to keep your sinuses from being compacted with cat dander?

    • the cheapest disposable ones.

      • The guys used to make fun of me for wearing a dust mask when I cleaned out the hangar(s). Then the rumor went around that you could get hanta from dead rodent bodies and all of a sudden everybody wore masks while cleaning out hangars. A lot of them still do. *smirk*

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Close enough, it’s really in the feces, and you get it when you stir up clouds of dust while cleaning.

        • if I find rodent dung, I’ll spray it down with a mix of clorox and water before cleaning it. It kept me healthy esp. since I have to be careful with the suppressed immune system.

        • I have a real mask, but it fogs my glasses.

          • I found that to be the problem with wearing safety goggles while using the chain saw: they would fog up my corrective glasses preventing my seeing what I was trying to cut, a circumstance which the person holding in place the limbs to be severed was apt to finding disconcerting.

            • Limbs having many meanings in this case. Yes, I confess I’m less than religious in my use of dust masks, just take long shower afterwards and rinse my nose.

            • I have quite a few friends who fall timber for a living. OSHA requires the wearing of safety glasses, to a man they all refuse to wear them, saying it is much more dangerous to wear safety glasses that fog up so you can’t see what you are doing, than it is to work without them. Their thoughts being sawdust in your eyes is a lot less dangerous than cutting a corner of falling a tree, because you can’t see.

          • One of the hardest things I did in the military was trying to do my job while wearing full chemical warfare equipment. A full ensemble includes a gas mask with hood, a two-piece chemical warfare suit (pants and jacket), rubber gloves, and boot coverings. Those things are not only uncomfortable, they’re HOT! Their primary purpose is to keep air from outside from entering the suit, so that if chemicals are present, they don’t harm or kill the wearer. My greatest difficulty was trying to use a standard-size computer keyboard while wearing rubber gloves that were either a size too small, or two sizes too large, half-filled with sweat! And yes, a gas mask will definitely fog your glasses, and you can’t take it off to wipe them! When your job is picking out minor features from imagery taken from either ~500 feet or 72,000 feet, that’s a problem and a half.

  5. Sorry about Miranda.

    I’m allergic to cats too. Or used to be, but I’ve been keeping them for a bit over two decades now and no longer get much in the way of symptoms, unless you count the occasional temporary red eye when I get something into an eye. And over the counter eye drops for allergies usually work for that. As does picking the cat hair off (most common cause, usually I find one of those thinner undercoat ones sticking to my eyelashes or someplace else near the eye).

    The weird part is that I also used to be allergic to dogs, but while I haven’t had one since my teens those symptoms seem to have mostly disappeared too. With cats it could be what seems to be called allergen immunotherapy if it’s done by injecting the offending stuff into you in increasing doses, and so building up tolerance – maybe I have just build up that tolerance by just having them around for years. But cats and dogs aren’t related, so that shouldn’t explain why I can now stand them too. And I’m still obviously allergic to horses, when I ride I need to remember to take antihistamine well beforehand or I will start sneezing.

    How many chapters do you think you still need for Witchfinder?

  6. The practice of comic-book companies starting properties anew every 7-10 years, in order to rope in new customers as well as force old customers to buy the new product:

    Retconartistry. :)

  7. Ah… Miranda. No. I can’t say anything more. I’ll just hope she has longer in this world than the vets expect.

    I think “it goes to show” (re: finding clues where you weren’t aware that you wrote them) that the story is very, very sneaky sometimes. Or you could say that your subconscious took notes and guided you through Noah’s Boy to make them work. (But who was driving your subconscious, EH? EH?)

    No, I’m not actually going anywhere with that. Well, not intentionally.

  8. I can empathize with your cat allergies. For almost my entire married life (30 years in 2 weeks) we’ve had cats. Have kids, have pets; and cats were high on the list.
    Now, the kids are grown. out on their own, and the only time I’m near cat hair is when we visit them. Good luck on your own quest!

    • I LIKE cats. I grew up with cats. I doubt we’ll ever be without. but the next batch we might train to be bathed once a week ;)

      • Ouch. Good luck with that.

        Butcher’s gloves might be a good investment. At least in the beginning. Although I don’t know if they come in opera length.

      • We had really fierce fleas summer before last,so bad that Frontline was not giving my poor cats much relief from the fleas invading the house, even after I started spraying the rooms about twice a week with Hot Shot® Natural Home Insect control. It uses lemongrass oil to kill the bugs on contact and smells something like Ben-Gay®. Much nicer than the nasty chemicals from the foggers. So each week, I would grab a cat and wet it down thoroughly before bathing it in Hartz® Flea and Tick shampoo. I was surprised when they didn’t try harder to get away. Mostly they just looked and sounded Very Sad that I was getting them all wet before giving them a full-body massage. I would then dry the first cat with a towel and take it out to the kitchen for some kitty treats. That would bring the second cat within reach and I would repeat the washing, drying and treats. I think they actually realized that after the bath, they weren’t as itchy, after a few times.

        • When we lived in North Carolina, our house was in a subdivision in between wooded areas. For some reason this meant the fleas were UNMANAGEABLE. We fogged once a month, I vacuumed with moth balls in the vacuum. We had flea collars and flea shampoo and STILL we had serious fleas. So once a day I would flea-comb the cats.

          One of the reasons I love Colorado is… no fleas. Within days of bringing the cats here, the fleas dropped off…

          • Yes, I was combing them too. About 20-30 minutes each, and dropping the fur and fleas into my trash can that I had sprayed with the HotShot®. Hundreds of the nasty, itchy, bitey bugs, every time. I watched them stop moving in the liquid from the sprayer. After a couple of weeks of the flea baths, the cats weren’t insisting that I comb them every day, just the day or two before the next bath. And then it was down to dozens of bugs, and this summer just a few of them. It’s been so warm in Michigan this season that I actually did see a flea on one of them the day before the last dose of Frontline® was due. Live fleas in December! <..>

            • I’m allergic to fleas, so summer in the south is sheer torture. I’ve told my husband if I have to go back, I shall wear flea collars as anklets…

              • *Snort* One year, some coworkers give my MC flea collars for her birthday. She does not find this nearly as amusing as her coworkers do. The joys of having a were on the staff.

  9. I grew up in Louisiana, so I know how much a problem insects are in the area. The three things I really hate about the South (other than the humidity which makes my back curl up and whimper) are cockroaches, scorpions, and redbugs (chiggers). Surprisingly, since my two years in Panama, I don’t get overwhelmed by mosquitoes. In fact, they don’t bother me at all.

    • Mosquitoes I can handle, after all I did work several summers in Lapland. All other kinds of bugs, on the other hand… not so well. In the end of the summer I worked in Canada I stayed one week in New York before flying home. Cheapest hotel near Times Square a travel agency in Thunder Bay could find me. Lots of cockroaches. I spend evenings swatting them with the phone book. And I didn’t sleep too well. Fortunately I didn’t find any in my luggage once I got back home, perhaps that may have had something to do with the fact that half of my luggage, the one with my clothes (I had one bag when I went, but had to buy an other one in New York because I bought so many books and left with two) came home a week later than I did, it had made a detour somewhere in Asia.