Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Fatal Instrument

An early nineteenth century epitaph from Claremont, NH:

In Memory of
Chester and Elisha Putnam sons of
The late Capt. Solomon Putnam, who
On the morning os January 20th 1814
In the same bed were found suffocated.
A kettle of common coals having been
Placed in their room for comfort
Proved the fatal instrument of their
Deaths the former in the 27th the
Latter in the 19th year of his age.

How many roses perish in their bloom,
How many suns alas go down at noon.

This sort of accident continues into modern times: people will bring a charcoal barbeque cooker into the house when their furnace quits on a cold winter night and they are found dead in the morning.

Just in the last two days Snaps is looking a lot better.  He hasn’t vomited for over a week, though his nether end is still sometimes very soft.  His coat is looking better and he’s put on a little weight.  Oddly, he’s become a very insistent beggar for human food, which he never was before.  We’re careful not to let him have any.  We’ve put Panzi’s food in the closet in Ellen’s office, where we can close the door to keep Snaps away from it.  Panzi, not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, has to be watched carefully so we can pick up her subtle clues that she’d like a mid-morning snack.

I was killing myself – and Ellen – this past weekend, getting the ms of Darned If You Do ready to send yesterday, and had sent an email to my agent and editor saying it would come.  I got an email from my agent, one of those automatic replies, saying she was in Europe for an international book fair.  And I got an email from my editor saying not to bother sending it as she was going on vacation until the 23rd.  Remember those old-fashioned comic strips in which a character is drawn leaping back into a fall, one hand clapped to the forehead?  I missed a really excellent performance of Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion Sunday afternoon to work on the book!

Though, really, it’s my own fault; I should have taken to heart a big sign on the wall of my office: Warning: Due Dates Are Closer Than They Appear and not let the writing fall behind like I did.

A blessed Good Friday and happy Easter to those who celebrate this season!


Betty Hechtman said...

I am sure you are glad to have finished your manuscript even if it turns out your agent and editor aren't there to get it. Now you can relax and enjoy Easter. I hope you have nice weather!

Linda O. Johnston said...

Yes, Due Dates are always closer than they appear. But I'm with Betty. I'll bet you feel good that you finished your manuscript!

Anonymous said...

I hope you are able to recycle the title NEEDLE CASE for a future book. Oh, and is the needlework project for this book still the same (dumb question, I know, but curious about whether or not the project for this book will still work despite title change)?

Monica Ferris said...

The project for this book is going to be crochet lace edging to be put on a handkerchief.

And I will keep THE NEEDLE CASE in mind for a future book. The working title for the book I'd like to write next is TIT FOR TAT, and I'm going to learn to tat for it - though the story is set at Christmas and a performance of "A Christmas Carol" at a theater out in Excelsior called The Old Log Theater - a real place.