Somewhere, somewhen, a philosopher or other authoritative person said that if you’ve learned something (was it something new? Anything?) you’re obliged to pass on that knowledge to someone else. The process is of course unequal and therefore stressful to the recipient of the knowledge/skill being passed on, so the good news is that reciprocal exchange (much more comfortable for both) is not only possible but common. Balance of power can be achieved by the dog whisperer who teaches the dog owner to train their dog, and the dog owner who teaches the dog whisperer how to make non-lumpy custard. There are tricks to every trade. (And what on earth is she TALKING about? you want to ask. Just skip a line and find out.)
My good friend Karen S., my webmaster for several years (and friend for longer) has come on board to help me with problems in the current book. We have exchanged expertise before (she’s a better cook than I am, by several country miles) and has proofread and been a discussion-helper when I’m stuck, but now she’s got hold of the whole banana and is doing serious editing and revision work for me. Her background is librarian, much of it working within schools, but she’s also been running a writing camp for students (to which I’ve contributed my mite from time to time) and her grasp of structure is excellent. My even longer-term friend Ellen M. (invaluable first-reader for the first Paks books and many since) has developed a serious vision problem and hasn’t been able to read for several years, so I’m out her help, and Karen is between jobs, like many people in the pandemic era. So I hired her. She has already plowed through the first 400 pages, and I’m now going in and making a mess of both what I wrote and her revisions (in places where I don’t go “Why didn’t *I* think of that???”) and finding that even things of hers I want to change are giving me a new perspective on what’s there.
For example she asked me for a “hook” scene to introduce [mmph] much earlier in the book and increase the tension right [here], and when I wrote it, after a couple of false starts, it was clearly better than other parts of the book and she said “exactly what’s needed” and shoved it into exactly the right place. I’m supposed to write two more such, but in the meantime another plot bomb hit and I’m writing that one instead. Can’t wait to see what she does with that one when it’s done. You’ll learn more about Karen in time. Right now she’s working on the book while caring for a relative’s children in a state far from her own during that family’s emergency.
And on the personal front, I’m now down fifteen pounds, rings, shirts, and jeans are looser, and the strength exercises I was doing first as I started trying to increase exercise have had some effect…I can walk from the house up to the north side of the place and back without having to stop and sit down at Fox Pavilion, on a hot humid day even. This is all good. Not by any means enough, though, so that work goes on….and on…and on….because I’m not going to get the 5.4 pound drop in one week that happened the first week again, to make the subsequent weeks look better than they were. Visibly, it’s not that noticeable yet, despite the size change, because I’m wearing the same clothes even as the jeans slide downward (that’s what belts are for.) Blood pressure’s way down, also invisible, and it will bob up again at the first sign of a health professional other than R-. I should hit the next fifteen pound marker in 10-11 weeks, not the 7 the first fifteen took with that first-week boost. But that will be at 30 pounds down, halfway to goal, and certainly another change in jean size and a more noticeable change overall. If the BP drops again (it was 110/64 day before yesterday, close to my old consistent normal) I’ll be able to discard the BP med, at least until it comes back up . The higher protein’s working on energy levels, and so it seems things are going well. time for the morning walk after starting work around 7.