Working on the sixth Chance script, which isn’t going very fast at all, in part because typing is still difficult and in part because I’ve been…just not working, really. My fingers are vastly improved, but not better by any stretch of the imagination. This morning Zilli got under Ted’s feet and went YOWL and it scared me and my hands clenched and my fingers went YOWL too, because they’re nowhere near that bendy yet. They’re yellow and black now, mostly; I think the suface damage has largely healed but the deeper stuff is still black and stiff. This is a real you-know-what in the ass, as a teenage friend said to her mother (“Holly,” said her mother, “it’s all right to say ‘pain’.”), and I absolutely *can’t* type at Nook, because it requires way too much twisting of my wrists to be able to reach the keys that would usually be hit with the pinky and ring fingers. I will be very glad when this is healed. :p
Anyway, this morning while I was working on the Chance script, I had this moment, which I’m sure there’s a good non-English word for, of a combined “Holy shit, how did I get into this and how could anybody possibly think I know what I’m doing?” and “Y’know, actually, I think I might not be bad at this.”
I suspect, actually, that that more or less summarizes the mental space many writers find themselves in a lot of the time.
The remainder of this entry has nothing at all to do with writing, but a lot to do with living and fitting in in Ireland. It may fall under the heading of Obligatory Livejournal Wangst, although I don’t mean to snivel nor am I especially looking to elicit sympathy. Still, you’ve been warned.
The pub down the street that they’ve been working on for months has opened. We must drop in; it would be really nice to have a local. We’re…not real-well integrated here. I mean, I’m doing terribly well for me: I know three or four people in Cork! I even see them sometimes! But Ted’s job has prevented him from getting out and meeting people and fitting in at all. He has, in fact, decided/realised that in order to have a life and to fit in here, he needs a day job, ideally one that doesn’t involve cooking, so he’s now job-hunting for something of that ilk. He’s got a lot of technical training background and plenty of desktop support, too, and is looking for something along those lines.
That, actually, is the one thing living in the Dublin area really has in its favor. Not jobs (though probably that too), but the fitting in thing. Because of the SF cons we’ve gone to, we actually know quite a few people around Dublin–we knew everybody who was at the NISFA thing, for example, by sight, at least, if not by name. Having any kind of community like that would be really nice, and if there’s a such thing as an organized SF group here in Cork we don’t know where it is/how to find it. Ted getting a day job will help in general with Doing Things, at least for him (I’m not very good at getting out of the house), but if landing a full-time permanent position down here proves difficult, we may look at moving to the Dublin area around mid-year. After all these books are done, because I’m just not doing that to myself right now.
Job-hunting here isn’t easy, really. It’s mostly cultural: we’re trained to expect that if somebody’s advertising for a job they want to hire you last week and expect you to start yesterday. Usually if you’re not what they’re looking for, in the States, they’ll notify you. Here, not so much. It frequently takes weeks for them to contact you if they *do* want you, and if they don’t you mostly just never hear from them at all. We’re just not prepared for that attitude, and it’s hard to wrap our minds around. That, and one is left with the impression that here, even more than in the States, it’s who you know, and, well, we don’t know many people.
Along the “trying to have a life” lines, I mentioned that we’re taking a kendo class. The fellow who’s apparently the usual teacher, although he’s not Cork’s highest ranking kendo guy, and who is a Big Guy, said to Ted (who has aikido and ju jitsu and fencing training) on Saturday, “I can’t *wait* to get you into armor. We’ll have a real man-fight!” Made me laugh right out loud, that did. :) (Ted, OTOH, says he doesn’t want to get anywhere near me when I put on the armor. He seems to think I have violent tendencies. Can’t imagine why.)
I was *very sensible* and only went to watch, rather than in any way tempting myself to actually participate. A bunch of the guys were down from the Dublin group, to do a team practice, and getting to watch people who were good was a lot of fun. One of the guys from Dublin was a quintessential Irishman, who’d never met either a stranger or a topic of conversation he didn’t like. He plunked down next to me and, without introduction said, “I tell you, I feel–I got the keys to the house last night, and they said to me, well, you’ve the keys to the house, let us buy you a drink! And I couldn’t be rude, could I, and so today I feel, how is it said, oh yes, shit, I feel absolute shit. But Kelly was driving so all I had to do this morning was keep up my end of the conversation, which was staring out the window and droolin’ on meself.”
So said I to him, “Now, if you’d known you’d have to drive in the morning–” and he said, “Aaaah, and I’d have done *exactly* the same thing.”
Anyway, so maybe the kendo class is a place to start. We’ve been here a long time without doing more than sitting on the surface, which isn’t so unnatural for me, but which is totally against everything Ted’s ever done. He’s a military brat and used to finding a place for himself, but working swing shift has utterly screwed any chance of that, and we’re still fish out of water.
We’re both fairly determined right now to not give up on Ireland, because in so many ways we haven’t had the opportunity to really give it a chance. We’ve been here almost 2.5 years and haven’t gotten to the *continent*, for God’s sake, and the idea of slinking back to America–where, unless Ted /does/ get back out of cooking and into a day job again, nothing would actually change except the accents–without having taken any advantage of *being* in Ireland, really pisses us both off.
And part of *that* is that the last couple years have been stupid busy in a lot of ways, and part of it’s unquestionably cultural. We’ve got no mental space for “take a 3 day holiday and go to France/Spain/England/NI” the way the Irish have, because–well, I grew up in Alaska. Getting in and out of Alaska can take three days by itself. There’s nowhere to go in that kind if time frame; holidays are something that happen every few years when you’ve saved up a lot of both time and money. It’s very different here, and that’s as hard to wrap our minds around as anything else. And 4-6 weeks of holiday is *standard* here, and we’re used to hoarding our two weeks of vacation time like it’s gold or diamonds, so the idea of actually being able to take the Friday or the Monday (or both!) off and go jaunting off for a long weekend is alien, because if you *do* that you’re not going to have anything left to actually take a whole week in the summer with. We’re trained to work too hard, basically; I mean, with my job, in theory I could take time off whenever I wanted (except, of course, I signed on for writing 7 books in 3 years, or actually 10, but 3 fell out of the schedule, thank god), and the idea of having leisure time and doing something with it is not one we’ve really grasped. I’d *like* to grasp it.
Unless some kind of truly astonishing financial stuff comes through I can’t imagine that we’ll be doing any of the conventions this summer in the states that we hoped to go to. We could *easily* go to two European cities for 3 or 4 day holidays for what it’d cost to go to ComicCon, much less ComicCon, RWA and WorldCon. The part that’s apparently very difficult is going ahead and /going/ to Paris (or wherever).
Mrgl. Because I’m typing very slowly I’ve now been working on this entry for hours, and have of course come to no conclusions, if that was even the point. I don’t know. Life is hard, let’s go shopping.