Sunday, August 12, 2007

Smugness probably goeth before . . .

Well, maybe smugness doesn't always go before a fall. I hope not, because I'm feeling sort of smug today. The assignment to do a children's book on women's rights has really been sitting like a huge weight on my shoulders--I find the topic fascinating, but the deadline--September 7 for 3500 words--is unrealistic, especially given all that I have going on in the next two weeks--houseguests and trips. And as I've said I've had to do some delicate language juggling. But yesterday and today I wrote 3100 words. Granted, they're really rough words and need much editing and polishing, but I have a start on it. And I have dinner cooked for my houseguests who arrive tonight, except for boiling the corn. So I'm sort of on holiday. I've put the manuscript aside and will spend part of this afternoon going over some press business with a member of our advisory council--and maybe doing a little reading.
My neighbor Sue is always trying to improve my reading--I've said that before. I read mysteries, and she reads Joyce Carol Oates and the like and frequently recommends books to me. Well now I'm reading How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and I feel that qualifies as "significant reading." But I'm loving it. No, I haven't found a mention of MacBain yet, but I've sorted out theBattle of Stirling Bridge, Glencoe, and Culloden in my mind, been astonished at the way the Scottish Kirk set some precedents such as universal education, read about the union with England (never did understand the government relationship or why Ulster in Ireland is different, and now I have a vague idea). Nor did I know about the Scottish Enlightenment. Last night I read with fascination about the Highlands and their culture just before Bonnie Prince Charlie's uprising of the clans--that's the next chapter.
I'm learning a lot and making notes. Now I know the importance of the Firth of Forth (separates the lowlands from the highlands). Do I want to visit Edinburg? Spend time in a farm b&B (yes to that one!). Go to the Hebrides?
I've gotten so involved in things Scottish that I wrote a check today for membership in Clan MacBean. I think years ago I joined Clan Chattan (an amalgamation of smaller clans to protect themselves from the huge Macdonalds and Campbells--I learned that from our Scottish provost; of course the Campbells slaughtered the Macdonalds in a dastardly deed and you should never trust a Campbell, except that my aunt married one and I adored him).
Off for a quick and early nap, feeling at not quite 1 p.m. that I've accomplished a world of good. Yeah, smug, that's what I am.
I wish for each of you a lovely day every day.

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