I’m still struggling with the petty bureaucrats. Honestly, I am close to despair and ‘I may not win, ever’, because bureaucracy tended officially as ‘helping’ with the pretext of ‘looking after your/public safety’ is a sacred ritual, no matter if the statistical probability of injury. In fact, it is more important to prevent disasters like you smelling kitchen odors because of insufficient size of your extractor fan… than to have a family forced to sleep in their car. No, I am not kidding. I desperately wish I were. Much of my time at the moment is spent waiting for replies from said bureaucrats – I have done all I can, I now need other people to do things, things I cannot force them to do, but must beg. I struggle on, but I am not coping well. Writing has ground to a halt – I need the money but I need the mental focus for the story. I have ended up listening to audio-books while checking my e-mails obsessively every 30 seconds. Nil desperandum. They knock us down, we try to get up again.

It is still, in a way, good research. I have been listening to Heyer – comfort reads, familiar, not something I have listened to much. Listening does provide a new dimension, and made me aware of something I really hadn’t quite picked up on. When a weaver is making an image with different threads on their shuttle… As the different threads in the weft of color go across the warp (the tensioned lines of the story) – if you stop just there, it’s a few flecks of color. As the weft gets added the picture becomes clearer. But as often as not it’s what seemed a meaningless fleck of color back there in the weft adds into a complex picture. As I know the story well, listing to it I am picking up those flecks – which seemed random, really, really are not. In listening to the Unknown Ajax, the arguments between the valets, the discursion (apparently) in Claud’s amorous adventures, the little flecks of background about the supposed secret tunnel, and so on… are almost all relevant. I’m kind of stunned by the fact that the author wasn’t Dave Freer, able to put those bits in, later – the joys of the computer age – but must have had them in mind right from the start. When you start looking at the sheer number of these threads – that blend together into a simple-seeming easy to read story – well, I feel pitifully inadequate.

Fortunately, it is now easier to go back and add those weft bits in. They’re not so much foreshadowing as setting the scene, but I find – with my style of writing anyway, that I do need to have a lot of the story worked out in my head -and still have to go back and add. But listening to a story you know is a great way of getting to understand that warp and weft.

10 thoughts on “THE WEAVE

  1. I don’t recall whether it’s in The Screwtape Letters or Screwtape Proposes a Toast, but C.S.Lewis gives him words celebrating the bureaucracy that would not even let a man cut down his own tree in his own yard.

    It’s too bad these Empowered Busybodies don’t have to wrestle nature for their own sustenance, especially when they interfere with the very people who do the wrestling for us. (I’m not near your landmass, but Thank You anyway!)

      1. “Devils are depicted with bats’ wings and good angels with birds’ wings, not because anyone holds that moral deterioration would be likely to turn feathers into membrane, but because most men like birds better than bats.

        “I like bats much better than bureaucrats. I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” … it is conceived and ordered … in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”

        – From the Introduction to The Screwtape Letters

  2. I like your comments on warp & weft – an interesting way to look at it. Sometimes I believe we didn’t really start thinking like humans until we hit upon metaphor.

  3. I guess it’s time to reread Unknown Ajax, because although I vaguely remember Claud being “in the petticoat line,” I don’t recall how it related to everything else.

    1. The Unknown Ajax is my favorite Heyer. My sister and I regularly quote it at each other.

  4. Lovely! I reread The Unknown Ajax earlier this year and it made me laugh again. You can’t help but take heart in how things are put right.

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