In the meantime, I'll be working on The Dogwatchers. It's pretty exciting to go from editing back to actual writing. I will have another piece of writing to do soon, though: My Creative Writing MFA application to North Carolina State University requires a piece of writing that critiques a work of literature. I don't really have anything like that, so I'll have to pick something out and write a paper on it. That should be interesting. Luckily, I have a handy-dandy English major here to help me edit.
We haven't dallied in any dramatically inspiring castles or anything lately, but we have tramped across the countryside, which is pretty inspiring, too. Old oaks, swans, ring-necked pheasants, and some kind of deer with huge antlers . . . and we discovered recently that the train track running through Starcross carries, in addition to its modern trains, steam engines. It’s another world over here.
I'll tell you one literary disappointment we've had in England, though: the libraries. We frequent two of them in Exeter, and have visited one in Newton Abbott, and are familiar with the collection of the entire Devon system via their computers. Not only are a number of policies less friendly than the ones at home - no bathrooms for patrons, charging money just to reserve a book that's currently checked out, and charging for the videos like a movie rental store - but the selection is pretty sad. A surprising number of nonfiction books are shelved in reference for no identifiable reason, so we can't check them out. Popular titles are likely to be checked out in perpetuity, and the library has multiple copies of almost none of them. And neither of the Exeter libraries - libraries that serve a city of one hundred thousand people - contains The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. I don't mean that it's checked out - I mean they don't have it. Same for The Little Prince. Knowing that the British buy a lot of books per capita, and being familiar with the bookish stereotypes, I admit to expecting that English libraries would measure up a little better to the ones back home.
Overall, though, things are going well on the literary front. Happy holidays to everyone!