The Importance of Keeping in Touch. LONG! and largely OT.

theania at theania at
Tue Jan 11 13:32:56 EST 2005

Hello everyone,

Would you believe that I am still subscribed to this list? I think the 
last time I contributed was over 2 years ago... I have about 4000 
unread messages in the dwj folder. What happens is that there is a 
flurry of activity on the list which coincides with a particularly busy 
time for me, so I put off reading the messages, and then they 
accumulate, so I put it off some more, because I don't want to miss 
anything, etc etc. 

Some time before Xmas I had a good stab at catching up and reduced the 
unread total to about 3500. Then, because I changed some internet 
settings, my email address I use for dwj stopped working over Xmas. 
When I finally got it going, I had, wait for it, 898 new messages 
waiting on that account- I'd say about 99% of them were dwj ones, 
because this email address has been more or less superseded, except for 
dwj purposes.

Anyway, after this lengthy preamble, I will explain what made me sit 
down and write this, today of all days. There is a Cautionary Tale in 
this; it is not a cheerful one. You have been warned.

I was idly messing around on the internet this morning- I am stuck in 
the house, because the car is off the road and I live 8 miles away from 
nearest civilization. Just before I disconnected, I hit the send/
receive all button on Outlook Express, and one last email popped in. It 
was from the daughter of my oldest childhood (and beyond) friend from 
Poland, telling me that my friend had died last October. It was a 
terrible shock for me; I don't yet know what happened, but surely this 
was not a natural death, because she was three days older than me, i. e.
41. I did send her Xmas cards and news, but our contact was at best 
sporadic these days, partly because I am a crap correspondent, and 
partly because I find it quite difficult to express myself in Polish, 
even though it is my native language, so I keep putting things off (I 
left Poland when I was 18 or so, so I have now lived longer abroad than 
in my mother country).

Needless to say, besides being shocked and deeply upset, I now also 
feel terribly guilty and regretful at not having kept in touch with her.
And there is nothing I or anyone can do to change that. I therefore 
resolved to Be A Better Correspondent, so that this does not happen 

More briefly now, in the last year or two I have qualified as an 
archivist and had a real job (cataloguing a collection of documents 
relating to the Hafod Estate in mid-Wales) for 6 weeks- it was a short 
term lottery-funded project. Now I am unemployed again, but seriously 
looking for more work. Unfortunately, all Aberystwyth-based archival 
posts are filled, and the archivists are in rude health. Blast! Still, 
someone is bound to go on maternity leave or retire sooner or later, or 
Somenthing will have to be Arranged ;)

My son Stephen is now 17, a goth, and planning to move to Hull (Why?!)

And vaguely on topic, I have been doing a lot of reading recently, and 
in the last year or so I have discovered Jasper fforde (excellent if 
weird), finally read some Tanya Huff, about whom I heard from this list 
(v. enjoyable), tried some Laurell K Hamilton (pointless fun- self 
indulgent and full of explicit fairy sex), finally got my hands on 
Abhorsen (stunning), read the first two parts of the Fool series by 
Robin Hobb (very good- the third one is waiting in the To Read pile by 
my bed), started Eragon (not nearly as good as the reviews would have 
one believe, but maybe his next one will be an improvement- he's only 
young- I do plan to finish it soon), read the sequel to the wonderful 
Mortal Engines, and at last sampled some Patricia Wrede in the form of 
Sorcery and Cecelia (great- will look for more. Only slightly annoyed 
by the repeated use of 'gotten' instead of 'got' in a novel supposedly 
set in England, however alternative). Did I miss anything? Yes. Lots. 

Something I observed and promptly came to terms with is that I no 
longer bother reading 'worthy' books, aka Proper Literature. I used to, 
but quite frankly I cannot be bothered. I am a proper 'kidult' these 
days. I do still read other books, mostly dictionaries, books about 
language/languages and history/archaeology/myth/comparative religion. 
So, on one hand hefty non-fiction, on the other, entirely frivolous 
stuff. Is this a common phenomenon on this list?

Entirely on topic now, I'm really looking forward to Conrad's Fate. 
Proof copies crop up quite often on Ebay, but I think I'll wait.

Phew. That's all so far. 


PS. I'll shortly be changing my dwj email address- I'm having trouble 
sending emails from this one.

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