Monday, 16 May 2011

Wherein I turn out to be a terrible ingrate traveller

Oh blog, I've missed you. I've been in fearsome book-writing mode for months; fearsome, because I had plans to have finished a whole draft of a whole book, this book, by now. Of course, it turns out I have more to do. Lots more to do. Every day, new little mushrooms of you-still-have-this-to-do sprout out of yesterday's smooth soil. There are - a fact that shoots a hard sliver of ice through my veins - whole chapters still to write. I am going to bed most nights and wrestling myself to sleep amidst the tangles of what I haven't done. By day, it's a pleasure. I'm loving pottering through my stuff and sticking it together, realising the joys of the contradictions, moving away from the generalisations I'd been planning to draw.

I'm in Canadia this week, at a pretty darn thrilling conference, if you're thrilled by what I'm thrilled by. The papers have been a mix of right-up-my-alley and centred on eighteenth-century German natural philosophers I haven't read. Who knew north America had so many Schelling experts on its books? Schelling and I have studiously avoided each other for 32 years. Apparently this has to change. You think you're all safely on top of a history of ideas, and it turns out you forgot the protagonist. Gah.

Though I'm surrounded by clever interesting people, and green sprouting Canadiack spring, squirrels of many stripes, woodchucks and swans and frogs and swollen rivers, and though I've only been away a week, and though I am a grown-up independent person with an internet connection who's traveled before and for longer, I've been finding myself pining for home. I had an unexpected moment of joy at the Australian accent of the international reverse charges telephone operator, and felt my heart snap when I heard Beatrice Cat meow somewhere on the other side of my phone call.

Am missing her and Harriet extremely. I can be in touch with my humans, know that they're well, know that they know that I'm well, know that they know that I know that they know that I'm well, but I wasn't able to explain to Harriet and Beatrice I'd only be gone two weeks. Maybe they're not worried about me (I hope so), but I can imagine them trying to work it all out, trying to decide how many days they give it before they figure I'm not coming back. It'll be glorious to see them again. I expect they'll ignore me furiously for a day or two. Can't wait.

And at the same time, I'm plotting my return voyage to Vancouver, which is trees as thick as houses and jagged mountains and laburnum and raspberries growing like weeds. I like me a good mountain range.

12 comments:

The Elephant's Child said...

You were missed. Hope the conference continues to be fascinating. And that the Northern hemisphere spring is a balm and a joy.

Was interested to hear that other people's cats punish them for absences. Studious ignore. Much turning their furry little backs.

And all digits crossed for the book on your return.

Mitzi G Burger said...

I still wonder how much wood a woodchuck would chuck. Enjoy the mountainous altitude. Ignoring upon return? Lucky - I get four furry paws walking to and fro across my head all night.

TimT said...

Hang on, are you sure they weren't attempting to pay you in foreign currency rather than talking philosophy? 'That'll be three Schellings, thank you...'.

Then next thing they'll be all, 'enough Hegel-ing, five Marx, my good sir.'

Bet the cats won't ignore you. Soon as you get back they'll turn their backs on me and be all up on your lap purring like lawnmowers.

Katrina Z said...

Please go and see the UBC Museum of Anthropology with the water in the lake as it is supposed to be! (There were a lot of 'ee' sounds in that sentence - that is my excitement that you are in Vancouver coming through.) It was a dry, pebbly expanse until a few months ago, but I gather they finally solved the engineering problems. I love the UBC campus. And Stanley Park! And the Granville Island market! Eee!

Ampersand Duck said...

There's a wonderful Penelope Swales song about missing her dog when she was away on tour and knowing that there was no way to communicate that longing or remedy for it apart from actually being back.

Enjoy the wonderful Canadian wildlife and such. Very jelos.

TimT said...

Happy birthday my dearest Baron!

Girl Booker said...

Damn it - I just discovered your blog and now I am late for work!

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Kate said...

Pssst! Alexis, you won the giveaway for The Small-Scale Poultry Flock over on my blog. Congrats! Hie thee over there and leave me a comment with your name and mailing address so I can get the book into the mail for you.

Kate said...

Alexis, just to let you know, the book went out in the mail late last week. No idea how long it'll take to get to you, but it's on its way!

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Thanks, Kate. That's really lovely of you. Hope you're well.