In fact, I'm pretty sure I have seen letters to the editor to the effect of when will Tim Dowling's wife kick him out or run screaming into the distance?
And one must think that this is a more general likelihood for the male columnist writing lifestyle columns very much based on his own life and domestic/familial mishaps.
But it turns out that it is not Tim Dowling who is now reporting on the breakup of his marriage, it's actually Tim Lott who is writing I have left the family home. Divorce proceedings are under way. My wife and I have separated after years of struggling to make our marriage work.
Apparently he has been diagnosed with inattentive-type adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He admits that 'I can be very disengaged, disorganised and abstracted – tendencies I had previously put down to a creative temperament' (one may well consider that those characteristics have often been excused, particularly in the human male, precisely because CREATIVE PERSON, rules do not apply, even if in this case there is a diagnosable reason).
One does wonder that one does not see this more often: I rather think that the marriage of the guy I remember from some while back who used to bang on about the joys of fatherhood and his meanie wife not wanting to have more children did break up.
Re Tim Dowling, I do rather wonder if Mrs Dowling bears as much resemblance to her avatar in his columns as Paul Dashwood did to The Provincial Lady's 'Robert', but who knows.
I did, for a wonder, find myself nodding at Dowling's column this week over the reflection:
It occurs to me that we’ve accidentally passed on a load of mild phobias and private snobberies as if they were a template for living. Long after our roles as parents and children have been discharged, we will still be bonded by these local rules and preferences.
I pick up my fork and feel its strange weight. I realise that even our most dearly held family prejudices will probably dissolve in time; once you leave home you discover that many kind and decent people eat from absurdly big bowls.
Which made me wonder further how many of the strictures recorded by Nancy Mitford in Noblesse Oblige were in fact specific to the Mitford family rather than the upper class as a whole.
Achieved at last: haircut and teeth cleaning (the dental practice had a cancellation).
Trucking on with executor type things. Thought that while I'm waiting for various information, I might as well start filling in the probate and tax forms in case there's any other info I need. Do they really need to know whether any of my father's cousins are still alive? His parents were one of 12 and one of 13, but, while a lot of Home Town were related to us, we did not have huge jolly family get-togethers and I have not seen even the ones we had some contact with for decades. WOT.
Also Trucking On: O, I thought, I will take this opportunity to scan the will so that I can send the designated of copies when I finally have everything put together. Dear rdrz: the Probate Office is very, very, very determined to tell you that your original will should not have any staples, paperclips or (I guess) treasury tags holding the pages together. The solicitor who was holding the will had, oh so very usefully, clipped it into a folder with eyeletty things - besides the two, top and bottom, holding it in the folder, there were 2 more eyelets and 2 staples holding it all together. Y O Y. Retired archivists do not, I may add, receive as a ritual leaving gift an inscribed destapler, which would not have worked on the eyelets anyway. I managed to remove them, at the expense of one broken nail and several lacerations on my fingers.
Also wrote a letter to my sister as one is obliged to inform other named executors that one is in the process of proceeding to probate, in writing, by which I take them not to mean, by text, which is our habitual means of communicating.
Achieved in academic-related matters, sending off abstract/description of what I'll be talking about to two events I have committed to. Now I have to write the things.
Dept of embarrassing myself: While at the hairdressers my stylist was commending the non-black colour of my purse as making it a lot less easy to misplace. Dr rdrz, I could not find it this morning. I eventually found it had fallen out onto something with entirely insufficient contrast for me to spot it the first time I looked.
Though I'm not sure that it's characters so much as a particular voice.
And it's probably not quite the same thing as finding oneself in a situation where one has the sensation of falling into a work by a particular author - which was sometimes my experience when negotiating with the inheritors of archival collections, which could vary from Agatha Christie to Angus Wilson (don't think I ever came across anything quite in the Henry James Aspern Papers mode).
Or like thinking a certain place is a setting for Particular Type of Murder Mystery.
Have had the experience of being so (negatively) haunted by the mood of a book after finishing it that I had to go and read something entirely different stat.
Will record here - though I think I've said it before - I'm very glad that life didn't turn out like Iris Murdoch novels.
What I read
Finished Battle for Bittora - I was a bit *sigh* that the romance went the way it did, and I thought the ending was a bit, well, rather late in the day for her to have that epiphany. Not sure the elements meshed very happily, in all.
Elizabeth Gill (not, I may say, the currently alive novelist of that name who pops up in the GoodReads sidebar but a crime novelist who died in 1932), The Crime Coast: a Benevenuto Brown Mystery (1929, recently reissued by that publishing co that keeps sending me freebie ebooks. Aka on original publication as Strange Holiday.) Not bad - there is a bit of that info-dumping of back story that takes the form of people going on in a way that does not sound in the least like normal conversational English, but I will entirely give it points for its not being 'the dago dunnit': even if the Argentine brother and sister are both fairly dodgy in other ways. Lush descriptions of the South of France and the arty bohos that hung out there. Perhaps just that bit too much happy coincidence leading to the solution.
George Macdonald Fraser, Flash for Freedom (1971) - I collected my father's Flashman paperbacks when I went to the old homestead the other week - I thought he had more than I found, but may have been wrong about which ones he had. Anyway, I think Flashy still holds up, because, unlike too many characters, he is clearly intended to be reprehensible, so the codfish is not called for.
Molly Keane, Good Behaviour (1981). I have been aware of this book ever since it came out, and feeling fairly meh about it: but read something the other week that inspired me to get a copy, but no, it just doesn't ring my bells. I was thrown quite early on when we had a lengthy episode in more or less omniscient about the governess (and I'm not convinced Aroon is capable of making that up). I can live with unsympathetic characters and unreliable narrators, but have come across plenty I have enjoyed more.
Cassandra Khaw, Hammers on Bone (2016). I will give it points for actually following through on the noir tone with noir tropes, and the mean streets being those of Croydon, even if a) the situation of the central character was not dissimilar from something else I read recently and b) the horror elements didn't do it for me. But don't think I shall be picking up the next part.
Also discovered somewhere I did not expect two of my Florence King collections and did a bit of dipping into these.
On the go
Winifred Holtby, The Truth is Not Sober: short pieces by Holtby, I think previously uncollected - no, first came out in 1934, but I don't seem to have come across it before this reissue by Blackthorn Press, because so far, none of the stories seem familiar. Only part way in - a section of fable-type satirical stories, nice but a bit slight.
Annibel Jenkins, I'll Tell You What: The Life of Elizabeth Inchbald (2003) - not far into this yet, but seems like a solid bio of late C18th actress and woman of letters.
Behind the cut, a tour of some of the new stuff we've done in the last few months, plus a look at some older changes that could use more love:
* Image Hosting Frontend
* HTTPS Beta
* Create Entries Beta: progress report
* Selective comment screening
* Other alphabets in site search: fixed!
* Icon file size limit increased
* Dreamwidth: Did You Know?
* Team Dreamwidth
( DW News, 15 Feb 2017 )
That's it from us for another update! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page.
Comment notifications may be delayed for an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to dw_news. This was posted at 5:35AM EST (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.
I now have a hair appointment (tomorrow, and one can now book an appointment with one's favoured stylist online), a doctor's appointment (early next month), and dental hygienist session in the fairly distant future, because they are booked solid (but will let me know if there's a cancellation before then).
On my last visit to the dental practice I was told they would be moving in the new year. However, their website, email footers, etc, all give the old location...
In other news, someone has identified May Morris as the sender of a handmade valentine to GB Shaw.
I do wonder how serious it actually was. Because though GBS was a mega flirt, one gets the sense that there was not much follow through...
Perhaps not quite in the 'Run, girl, run! Don't look back' category? (Whereas re Wells, one might wish for a time machine to go and leave warnings.)
What do you do or say when a friend loans you a book that you have no interest in reading? He or she usually thinks it’s a great book and wants you to share the experience. Happens to me often enough to wonder about the proper etiquette. I imagine I’ve done it to others as well.
Speaking as someone who thinks it's quite pushy enough to go about telling your friends about some amazing book that they should read -
- Which is, I depose, a book of a different colour ('I'm looking for a book - it had a green cover': Library Lore, trad) from saying 'I read a really good book on X or by Y' -
And different from offering to lend a friend whose tastes one already knows some book that is within the general parameters of that taste even if not specifically by a designated author.
Which again, is different from pressing it into their hands and telling them they MUST read it.
Do people do this? Is it actually A Thing? What is the world coming to?
And maybe the answer is that one only reads ebooks these days...
Also, if they love the book so much, why are they pressing their copy on other people?
(Did I not post some while ago about someone who read a book and then thought you should liberate it into the wild by giving it to someone else, rather than keeping it and maybe re-reading it?)
I'll Never Tear You Apart (7861 words) by actonbell
Fandom: The Magicians (TV), The Magicians - Lev Grossman
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Julia Wicker & Marina Andrieski, Julia Wicker/Marina Andrieski
Characters: Julia Wicker, Marina Andrieski
Additional Tags: Missing Scene, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Nightmares, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Past Rape/Non-con, Rape Recovery, Past Murder, Pre-Slash, Kissing, First Kiss, Hair Braiding, Magic, Femslash if you squint, unabashed Mariolatry, Marianism - Freeform
Summary: Julia slammed the door right as his latest number showboated to its conclusion -- like all magicians, Martin lived for theatrics -- and he looked at Marina with his usual bright keen interest, as if the whole world were under a microscope for him to dissect. "Back even before I expected!" he said brightly. "You must be absolutely helpless."
This is a missing scene from Syfy's The Magicians, between the end of "Hotel Spa Potions" (2x02) and the beginning of "Divine Elimination" (2x03). Sadly I don't think it will make much sense if you haven't seen the show. There's a brief flashback during a nightmare to a scene of rape and mass murder.
AND THERE'S A PLAYLIST
....altho nobody I know watches the show other than me and T, and Sabs and Orchid and likeadeuce....am I forgetting anyone?
During the week, a Psomi loaf.
Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple, 50:50 strong white/einkorn flour + maple sugar.
Today's lunch: moong dahl from Madhur Jaffrey's Invitation to Indian Cooking, made with Waitrose 10-Bean Mix, rice with whole spices from the same, buttered spinach, sauteed mushrooms from Dharamjit Singh's Indian Cookery (the one in which one slices white mushrooms thinly, marinates them for 15 minutes or so in celery salt - I didn't have onion salt - ground black pepper, basil and lemon juice, rather than lime - as I already had a lemon half cut - and then sautees them for a minute or so in butter), and padron peppers.
I would not have expected that I would have been able to say, wow, he doesn't know that? when Clive James says something about a movie:
It took one of my elder daughter’s entourage of clever women to tell me that Netflix is now running a series about Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz, the great poet of colonial Mexico. Years ago, I wrote about Sor Juana, and said there ought to be a big movie about her. But the whole thing had to be made and screened before I found out it was in the works.But there was a movie, admittedly a 1990 art-housey sort of affair by an Argentinian woman director: but I saw it, and I would have expected it to be the sort of thing Clive James would have known of.
In vaguely similar territory, this piece by the guy cataloguing Doris Lessing's books 'Lessing’s library seemed untouched by what Walter Benjamin called “the mild boredom of order”': blessikins), who a)
wanted to know what sort of reader Lessing had been, whether she folded page corners, highlighted passages, wrote in the margins or on blank pages. I thought that learning what she read, and how, would shed light on her work.but b) is astonished to find
books about Atlantis, UFOs, ESP, the hidden powers latent in our bodies. This interest in the paranormal and pseudoscience suggests that Lessing was searching for alternative ways to explain human behaviour.Has he actually read any of Lessing's novels from, approximately, The Four-Gated City (1969) onwards through the 70s and early 80s?
Here's a partial list of changes that will go live with this push, apart from the usual minor tweaks and bugfixes:
- HTTPS Everywhere beta! Users can opt-in to have all Dreamwidth content automatically served over HTTPS. We'll post the instructions for this after the feature goes live.
- New and improved design for the file management pages, which we were hiding from you because we were so embarrassed about them before. Thanks to momijizukamori for making them prettier and more functional!
- Backend fixes to resolve problems using the aforementioned file management pages. (Did I already mention the embarrassment?)
- At long last, international character support for journal search! Our systems guru alierak finally cracked this long-standing bug.
- Support index page converted to Foundation styling, for your mobile viewing pleasure.
- For users of the Practicality style: color properties now sort properly in the customization wizard.
- For users of the Drifting style: the QuickReply box will now appear in the appropriate location, instead of wandering off somewhere unexpected.
- Improved handling of word break (<wbr>) elements in user entries.
- Allow embeds from: Facebook, CNN, 4shared.com, playmoss.com, onedrive.com, jsfiddle.net, scratch.mit.edu
We'll update again to let you know when the code push is in progress!
It was only recently that partner was remarking that I didn't seem to have much in the way of academic appearances forthcoming.
So, of course, this week I get an invite to go to A Northern City where they are doing An Event to commemorate A 50th Anniversary - which one is left as an exercise for my readers -
Plus, coming back to life a thing I said yes in principle to some time last year, and had heard no more from, it would seem because at least one email didn't reach me - which is An Event for A Centenary. And fortunately, it is not scheduled for any date that I could not do without powers of bilocation.
I also managed to get to a small exhibition of research relevance that closes next week.
However, I have somehow still not managed to book appointments in re teeth and hair.