I don’t think it’s rained since October. Two weeks ago we had an inch and a half but in most places the trees are not really leaving out well and there’s no grass.
At any rate, here’s an angel of rain promise, it is a form of Beauty; she is an aspect of Hagia Sofia, she makes no compromises nor takes halfway measures, she is bigger than the both of us, she has either come back to this land or she was here all along in the second subvisual level of disappearance or concealment, she is noble. She confers nobility and courage on those who stand in her path, she is called rain.
Thursday the 28th I drove to Hunt Texas — a beautiful area — as I was invited to speak to the Village Literary Society of Hunt, a great group of book-loving women who have been together for many years. Marilyn Butcher was the mistress of ceremonies. They were a terrific group! I love book clubs. Books are chosen by the readers, not professors, they aren’t graded, and people can agree and disagree all they want. So their questions are always informed, smart, thoughtful. And of all the groups I speak to, book clubs are most likely to ask technical questions about writing. And they baked me a cake! This is a goodlooking cake.
Is that gorgeous or what?
And March 22 I was in Keller Texas, a suburb of Dallas for another lively group centered on the Keller Library, and they were ready to laugh at all my funny stories, and in fact we laughed through most of the presentation and their questions, too, were astute and very smart. They were really fun. And the security guard asked to have his picture taken with me, said he was a devoted fan of News of the World!
He was a BIG guy.
Also a wonderful trip down to Castroville which I will put up in the next post. I had been invited there by at least three different Castroville historical groups, all intent on saving every last little stone house, we had a lot to talk about as the old stone house Jim and I had restored in San Antonio’s Historic District (King William Historic District) was called the Huth House, and the Huth family was an old Castroville family that were seed dealers. I asked my dear friend Evelyn to come and go with me (she drove) for a free dinner and fun. Those are such good groups of people in Castroville and I’m honored to have been asked to speak and Evelyn was a hit because she’s so pretty and personable — and of German descent too. I will get that post up as soon as I can.
My IT helper guy, Harold Nelson of River PC helped me figure out this new WordPress format and I am still getting used to it.
I read reviews online that said all the new bells and whistles were great for professionals and people who conduct business online but were confusing for computer illiterates like authors and occasional posters. So at any rate, I will get Evelyn to send me photos of the Castroville trip as I was too busy to take any.
And so between then and now the horse girlfriends have been to Big Bend and East Texas, my editor Jennifer Brehl has started on work on The Solitary Photographer (working title) yay!!! and my music group has played now for three different funerals, dear older people, passed away, we sent them off with song.
I spent sometime with Harold Nelson of River PC today figuring out the ins and outs of the new WordPress complications. Harold lives in a tiny town 10 miles north of my tiny town, and he does wonderful work all over this area keeping people up to speed. So many city people have moved in out here, often building very large beautiful houses, because they can work online. So things are changing fast.
And so the finished manuscript (finished so far) is with my editor Jennifer Brehl and am just waiting on her editing suggestions.
I won’t be posting here any more for some time, WordPress has changed everything, and now there is this complicated mess about”blocks” and no place to add media (pictures) and I just don’t have the time to spend all morning and half the afternoon figuring out their clever new terminology about bl0ocks, classic blocks, other kinds of blocks and so on. So my blog is shut down for the foreseeable future.
Dark Tabby (DT) sits and looks out over the valley for long periods of time everyday, I have no idea what he sees or what he looks for.
He is the Number One Son of the little stray I took in more than two years ago, who came to be named Sooty. He’s about a year and a half old and probably has many adventures, and every morning trots away from the house expecting more.
The trailer is out for News of the World, and it looks great. Many people have been calling me with congratulations. Had to cancel my usual yearly trip to Missouri because of Covid complications — my cousin’s husband was exposed and although not showing any symptoms, must quarantine for two weeks. The people to whom he was exposed aren’t showing any symptoms either but tested positive. So it goes. I will miss it! I miss the smell of the Missouri forests, and the tree colors, especially the sweet gums, and Susan was going to help me on research for the new book I am working on. However, myself, June, April and Evelyn are going to haul to north Texas the last of October for a Halloween trip to a ranch near Waco.
I see from my last blog post I said I would post the next day, ha ha so much for that.
News of the music group:
(Tom, Kim and Mark)
This was at the O.A. Fisher camp last night, it was outdoors so no worry about Covid. Tom was playing a viola, he was so happy with it, a new fun toy! It sounded terrific, lower and richer than the fiddle and it has a different tuning, actually just loses the high string and then adds a bass string in C which sounds like a bagpipe drone. And double stopping with it is just amazing, sonorous. Kim has a crystal-clear voice, Mark a great bass. Kim and Mark are very studious about their guitar chording, and work hard to get it just right. I tootled along when appropriate.
Chuck did a spiritual blues number, as a solo, he has a great blues voice. We did Amazing Grace a capella, Tom opened it with one verse on the viola, then we all picked it up a capella.
Last week we played for Jim Willis’ funeral, playing under a great live oak in the Jones Cemetery where all the Fishers are buried. Jim was employed by Bethlehem Steel for many years and retired here with his wife who was a Fisher. A lovely man. So we stood among the gravestones and played. Reminded me of that scene in The Old Curiosity Shop where Little Nell and her grandfather come upon the actors/players/comics and the stilt man in the graveyard, where they rest their props and baggage on the graves.
Diane with her hammer dulcimer, she gets a very good full sound out of it, it must be hard to play as none of the strings are numbered or lettered and they all look alike!
And this is the wonderful Daphne Murray, my Australian correspondent, with her new grandson, 10 days before she died. She was in her mid-nineties. Her daughter Paula sent this photo to Harper Collins as she didn’t have my address, and my editor Jennifer Brehl sent it on to me, so including it here. Will write Paula today so she has my address, Jennifer commented, ‘this is so sweet’. And so it is!
And I should have a better post up here by tomorrow, I have shamefully neglected this blog. It is inexcusable! I am properly abashed. It’s just that it has been been 102, 103 F. here and I have been working on a new novel and re-reading some of my favorite books about polar travel, where explorers languish in -45 F. which I have experienced. I have at this point actually fond memories of -60 F. A re-reading Worst Journey In The World. For fun.
(Above: one of Herbert Ponting’s photos of the Antarctic when on Scott’s expedition 1911)
I have been trying to save trees, dragging hoses here and there, and researching the old French settlements south of St. Louis. Trying to get documents in that archaic French so I can use the language. I have an ancestor who was from the old French settlements, Francois Bouyer, looking for him too.
Ste. Genevieve, Mo. on the Mississippi, founded 1735. Research; for work.
She was such a great correspondent, in her nineties, in Australia. We wrote one another for years, I don’t know how many. A very distinguished, lively gossipy lady, wife (widowed) of a former governor of New South Wales, born in England with many memories of World War II, a Land Girl on one of the King’s tenant farms and therefore knew many people in the inner royal circle, had something funny and lively to say about absolutely everything, from dinner with Queen Elizabeth to dogs to brown snakes, to the fires in the Australian bush, to how much she hated ironing (“I would rather cut my throat”) to memories of the D-Day invasion and a young pilot who waggled his wings flying over, just for her.
Her last letter came in April, and we tended to write one another once a month but then somehow I delayed….I just felt something had gone amiss. Several days ago came a letter from her daughter Paula and as soon as I saw Paula’s name on the return address I knew she had passed. Paula said she had passed away suddenly and peacefully just after she wrote that letter. Paula had written me soon after but her letter seems to have gone astray.
How I will miss her.
She initially wrote because she had read Enemy Women and loved it and from then on we just kept on writing. She was so funny, so acerbic! She was utterly fearless and said whatever she thought. She met Glenn Armstrong somewhere in South America when she and her husband were traveling on some sort of commercial trip. She had stories about her girl’s school in London, the Vietnam Vet the next farm over who came and shot a brown snake for them, about the new pup, about her quilting club.
I better stop. Rest in peace, a unique voice is gone, a lively observer of the 20th century, a kind and deeply good person. I was so privileged to have her as a writing friend. I don’t even know what she looked like.