November used to be my favorite month, because it was the month of my birth and because it was the time the lights went up for Christmas in the city of Porto and also because it was cold but not really cold, so the sort of enjoyable cold that makes it pleasurable to curl up by the wood stove with a cat or three. (Grandma had a big armchair by the stove, and I read in it and the cats slept on me.)
The lights were important because dad used to take me out to the city for a whole day. We usually went and watched some sports event. Didn’t matter which, because what mattered was I got to be daddy’s girl for the whole day. And then we’d eat out, and then we’d walk around the city watching the workmen put up lights. This was also when street vendors first set up for the holidays, and dad used to get me a toy, which was a big thing because I’d been trained early not to ask to be bought things. Mind you, the toy was on the level of a macdonald’s toy, but its selection and decision on what to buy made it lots of fun. The one I remember was a little plastic chicken that laid plastic eggs when you pressed on its back.
Then as night fell, dad would get me a rolled-newspaper-cone of chestnuts and we’d walk around seeing the lights light up. And then we came home on the double-decker bus and unless it was really full, we sat upstairs, on the seat over the driver so I could pretend to be driving. Sometimes dad got me chocolate coins or chocolate cigarettes but I had to be careful and not get any on my clothes, because chocolate was one of the things mom was sure I was allergic to. (Yes, she had some excuse, but also was not very scientific in her observations.)
I wonder if dad had or has any idea how important and magical that annual day out was for me, magical enough that I still warm myself at the memory almost half a century later.
I find my kids have this sort of magical memories, sometimes from things I did just because it was convenient, like take them for high tea after school because Dan was working out of town and neither of them liked the same foods, so cooking dinner was a pain and it was easier to take them for high tea (the shop was on the way from from school) and then give them an egg or hotdog for dinner. (Instead of cooking three separate dinners.)
Today I start NaNoWrimo to finish Through Fire and Darkship Revolution and — if it works out — to write To The Dragons in full. That way I can send it to Toni while I’m in Portugal for the holidays. Yes, it’s insane, but one year I wrote two novels — The Musketeer’s Seamstress (might be apprentice) and Plain Jane — so it should technically be possible.
A bad start though. I woke late because I had disturbed dreams all night of being woven into a wicker mannequin of the sort you use for dresses. I think because my asthma has made a come back in the night. So I shall use the pump and caffeinate.
And meanwhile you might want to read Amanda Green taking down the Telegraph (it got jealous of the attention the Guardian gets from us and decided to be stupid about Amazon) on Book Plug Friday.
Speaking of Book Plugs, I hope you’re doing better than I because October was dismal. Mind you, I have nothing new up. But I’ve heard this complaint enough that I wonder if Amazon saw this downward trend in indie sales, too and hence created KU. If so, they really need to make it independent of your exclusive status and somehow pay more to the authors, because I don’t think they’re getting enough people in it or enough quality. The books I’ve got from it tend to be very mixed. At any rate, tying things up in the Kindle exclusive is a bad idea. Bezos doesn’t need it to beat the competition; all it does is limit the offerings.
Oh, and if you read nothing else this November, go read this John C. Wright gift to his fans. And then tip him or something, because in a just world this story would win ALL the awards.
And now I go caffeinate. And write.