It pleases me immensely to report that this year, for the first time in possibly forever but certainly in years, I had the pleasure of seeing the first signs of autumn in August. Yes, I noticed the “pleases” and “pleasure” and I couldn’t care less. It’s coming!
Long-sleeve, boot season
Hundreds of thousands of people must have written about the magic of autumn and yet it keeps failing to discourage hundreds of thousands more to sing about the many wonderful things about this most beautiful of seasons. We might not always sing in tune but sing we do and won’t stop until there are autumns.
There must be a grain of rationality in all this and this grain is called “The need for variety.” I suppose it’s not that popular among people living in tropical climates but up here, where most of us are used to the four-season pattern, we want it kept. Most of us. Some start complaining about winter and the cold in July.
Me, I put on a cardigan for the first time this half-year this week and it instantly melted away most of my anxieties leaving only the oldest, most stubborn ones. There’s something about long sleeves and boots that makes me feel safer and it is the fact that mosquitoes may have a bit of trouble sticking their mouths through a close-knit cardigan and that thorns, insects and the occasional snake would have more trouble accessing my feet through boots. As for an urban environment, they’re just so much cooler than summer dresses and sandals.
I wanted to keep this short but I’m so obviously failing I’ll add one more paragraph bursting with joy. Autumn means fewer light hours. I am at my best in the dark of the morning (not so much the dark of the night which is when I sleep). In the summer, the sun rises so early I end up feeling I’ve wasted my most productive couple of hours because I tend to rise with it for lack of school-related obligations. Can I not force myself to get up at 4? Apparently not this year, no. With this, I’d like to welcome autumn back in my life with fanfare. I missed you like hell.
Farewell to grammar
The more I read new books, as in, written in the past five years or less, the more a suspicion in me grows: the story has become of paramount importance, so paramount, proofreaders no longer care about things like past participles, meanings of verbs or apostrophes.
I’m all for a good story, the sort of story that hooks you from page 1 and keeps you hooked until page 453. However, being old and cynical, I’ve developed some pet peeves that include inaccurate use of a word, sloppiness with prepositions (only a foreign-language speaker can truly appreciate prepositions in, well, a foreign language and commit to memory the effort it took to learn how to use them correctly), and what I call “throwing verbs around, hoping one would be the right one).
I would argue that if a story is good enough, my pet peeves wouldn’t ruin the experience but, alas, I’m only getting older and the sensitivity to pet peeves only worsens with age. “He had rode out storms” smack in the middle of a beautiful scene hurts my brain as does the consistent use of “lift” instead of “raise”. It’s really simple: you can raise your head and someone else’s leg, but if you’re lifting something it’s either someone else’s leg or you are using your hands to lift your head. I’m sure I explained it badly but that’s as good as an explanation I can offer because I’m rubbish at explaining things.
The saddest part is that authors are allowed to be human. We are allowed, too busy with plotting, to forget the past participle of “ride”. This is why editors and proofreaders are so important. They are the superhuman creatures who save us from embarrassment and make our books shine. Or not, as it tends to happen increasingly often these days. Sad days. Sad days. But on the flip side, autumn is coming!
As always, welcome to my book-peddling corner (because books won’t sell/download themselves much as I’d like them to). And I’ve got news!
The Dreamer is now available to pre-order. It’s about a guy who can change reality while sleeping and he’s suffering consequences that include a very busy woman. I know, that’s a crap pitch but I’ll work on it.
For random scary stories, here’s a complete list of my published shorter fiction.