In the High Peaks

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Early September Update and My Apologies

I'm so grateful and felt so happy reading the good wishes from everyone who responded to my post about our new addition to our household,  our very special Golden girl Sandy.
It's hard to explain, but I have been so exhausted,  so unbelievably worn out since we've had her, that I've not had the energy until today to respond to everyone who responded to my last post with best wishes. Sorry! I really am so sorry.
As wonderful a dog as she is, Sandy has never lived in a house before now. She lived in a show kennel with lots of other dogs, exercised with them in paddocks and had gay times, so I'm amazed in a way at how quickly she's adapted to our household, to being a "house dog." But the adjustment has required a great deal of dedicated dog time.

Reading stats:
When I hit my bed at night, I literally crash into oblivion. So my reading has been SPOTTY.
And, I did not mention that from July 22 until August 25 I was wholeheartedly  involved in an online fiction writing course via The Adirondack Center for Writing.  Yes, I am working on a novel, for the umpteenth time in my life. My desk is full of novels and half-completed novels.
Anyway, I focused my whole heart and soul into this writing course and it was a wonderful experience with a great mentor and teacher, who writes YA fantasy novels. Her name is A.C. Gaughen.  Her prompts and special "pushiness" forced me into all the right places to get something accomplished, which amounted to a promising start on a novel. Not my first, by any means! 

Still, despite everything, I have managed to finish reading a superb Gothic YA novel, Dreaming Darkly by Caitlyn Kittredge (2018). Set on an isolated, scarcely inhabited Maine island, this novel is the best Gothic I have read for this age group. No wonder, as Kittredge spent the summers of her childhood on a small, isolated, barely habited Maine island. I thought it was excellent. But, remember, I am a devotee of all books Gothic. Full of unexpected twists and turns and unbearable suspense.

I have been listening to Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, an excellent narrative by a therapist about what it is like to be in therapy and what it is like for her, the therapist, to be in therapy and to treat her clients in therapy. Acutely fascinating and well worthwhile. First class!


  1. No apologies needed! Life happens. :D

    Glad Sandy and you are adjusting well. It is a big transition even in the best of circumstances. You are all getting used to new routines and habits.

    I've heard lot of good things about Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I'll put it on the list. I am currently reading a book about the T.V. show Friends. My sister gave it to me and I am really enjoying it. I loved the show and I am loving reading about how it all came to be. Silly but fun. It brings me back to the 1990s. Reading is like a time machine in that way.

    I wish you lots of success with the novel. Can you tell us about it at all? Or is it too soon?

    1. Hi Ruthiella,
      Thank you!
      It is a big transition, and it's one that I've been reminded of over the years whenever we welcome a new dog into our home. Forming that bond takes time, energy, and above all, patience.
      I hadn't heard about the book about the show Friends--how interesting to revisit a favorite. I'm so looking forward to the Downton Abbey movie. Two hours long--it'll be just a taste, but it will be fun and nostalgic just the same.

  2. A dog can certainly keep one busy.

    Dreaming Darkly sounds like a fun read. I love stories set in isolated places.

    Good luck witch your novel!

    1. Hi Brian,
      You're right about dogs and being busy. But you know, the busiest time of all are the weeks and months during the formation of a bond. If a solid bond is to form, the work for both the owner and the dog is labor-intensive.
      I think you would really, really like Dreaming Darkly. I think its appeal goes beyond a specific YA age range. It held to specific tenets of the YA genre, but from there it was very creative, suspenseful, fascinating. I'm going to keep my eye on Caitlin Kittredge, the author.
      Thanks for the good wishes for the novel. My nonfiction writing has always been very straightforward, few qualms, churn them out. But fiction is different. I do need luck to crack that fiction nut! Thanks.

  3. You've no need to apologise, Judith, life gets busy sometimes and we have to prioritise otherwise we'd go insane. I hope Sandy is now settling in, I can't help but think what a lucky dog he is to have landed a place with you in your home.

    I Love your wonderfully moody new header pic! Gorgeous.

    Yes, the minute September arrived I wanted Gothic too. So I'm reading Melmoth by Sarah Perry. Not really sure what I think of it. The writing is sublime but it's much, much darker than The Essex Serpent, which I loved. I will continue to the end though as it covers The Czech Republic for the European Reading challenge. I like the sound of Dreaming Darkly. An isolated Island off the coast of Maine sounds like heaven to me.

  4. Thank you, Cath. Sandy is starting to settle in beautifully, yet the process is not an easy one for the dog or the owner. Patience paramount! The bonding unfolds over many weeks, and even months. It's all well worth it, creating a solid, loving bond with a dog.
    I'm so glad you like the header photo. I wondered if maybe it was too dark, but it's truly representative of what our autumn is like. Yes, we have a few bright sunny days, but also all sorts of clouded, misty, foggy times, too.
    Cath, congrats to you for doing so well with the European Challenge this year. I'm imagining that you must be setting some sort of record for yourself with this one.
    And because I am such a fan of gothic, I will look this one up.
    Ken is returning today from his week at the family cottage with his cousin on an island off the coast of Portland, in Casco Bay. It's a busy, populated island, not like the one in the novel!

  5. How interesting that Sandy was not used to living in a house, I never thought about dogs that live in kennels (and whether or not they would like it or miss it). I am eager to hear your progress with her.

    I am not such a ran of gothic but you were the one who influenced me to try The Woman in White after decades of resisting it, and I loved it, so maybe I would enjoy more books like that. Who knows.

    I have such admiration for you working on writing a novel. I cannot even imagine the work and the focus that requires. It sounds like you are happy and fulfilled.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      I'm looking forward to writing you an email! Hope to do so in the next few days.
      Again, I'm so glad you loved The Woman in White. I think I'll reread it at some point, it was that good.
      I think I'll take the liberty of suggesting another 5-star book (in my opinion) that is a mystery par excellence, but which is also Gothicky. Published in the U.S. this year, is the British writer Elly Griffiths's superlative The Stranger Diaries. Definitely one of my top 3 reads this year. And I have a huge hunch that you might thrive on it.
      Every mystery lover I know has loved it.
      Sandy is doing very, very well, I am happy to say. She is adjusting admirably, two steps at a time. I'm so glad that Ken is back from his 8 days in Maine. Life is so much better with "two dog parents!"