Newsletter no.177, July 1st, 2021

Yes, the copy editing finally arrived.

And yes, of course, it has to be tackled straight away. I had to put on one side a most interesting development in the next Ellie which I’ve been drafting, in order to concentrate on ‘delete this’ and ‘you spell jeopardise with a “z” and not with an “s”, and you should know that by now!’ Also, ‘you haven’t made it clear who is related to who in this next bit.’ All of which is quite true, and I ought to know better. Checking the copy editor’s comments and marking them up on my own file is work that has to be carefully done. I can usually only manage to clear one chapter at a time before I have to have a break . . . and come back later for another crack at it.

Meanwhile, the next Ellie awaits. I had envisaged a minor character as being an eternal student, a Ra-ra character, if you know what I mean. It turns out he’s much more interesting than that, suffering from conflicting loyalties. It would have been so much easier to write if he’d been two-dimensional, but I must admit I like him better now. I hope to get back to him pretty soon.

Introducing ‘Parsley’

Parsley is a white pottery lamb, who is excellent company in my small garden. In my teens we had a Pekinese who also liked to see what I was doing in the garden, but nowadays I have Parsley instead. He has an innocent look about him which makes it all the odder that he seems able to move from one part of the garden to another at will. I’ve had some requests for more of my garden photos. Please excuse if he intrudes. You can access the latest one here. The white rose that he’s posting in front of, is called ‘Jack’ according to someone I know who has an app of her phone which tells you what you’re looking at. And yes, I have to replenish the bird feeder above Parsley nearly every day. And yes, the sparrows tear up everything on the ground below . . .

The short story which comes with this . . .

. . . is not exactly timely, being about gifts at Christmas. I hasten to add that it’s set some Christmases ago before the pandemic, but it does highlight the problem for people living alone of how to spend that great Festival. It’s a little shorter than usual but does make the point of ‘What is a gift?’ at Christmas time. You can access it here.

The Methodist Recorder have asked for another story about Covid for summer reading, and I am thinking of doing it about how the world seems to be down-grading the ten commandments. Nothing bad you do is a sin if you can find a way to excuse it. Some matters may be subject to the law and if you’re caught, you might well have to toe the line, but many other things are no longer considered a sin. This is a difficult subject. How to make a story which is readable and yet also true to today’s thinking . . .?

A blessing on those who bake and give away a cake, a crumble or a flan to brighten up someone else’s day.

Veronica Heley