I’m back to getting up at 4 AM and writing, writing, writing. The History of the Medieval World is CRAWLING towards completion. I am slightly relieved, on going back and rereading some of the earlier chapters, that they are not quite as dead awful as I originally thought. It gives me hope that my current dead-awful prose will sound better, a few weeks down the road.

I’m sitting down in my office listening to the wind howl outside. Branches are lashing against the roof, water is pouring down the windows. I’ve got my heater on to keep my feet warm. This happens every spring: we get a cold, wet week or two that feels more like February than May. My grandmother called it blackberry winter, and sure enough, it comes when the blackberries are in full bloom.

We get a blackberry winter pretty much every year, but it always surprises me when it happens. It’s been cold and dark and grey for ten days now,

and it has rained, and rained, and rained, and rained. And rained. The horses are standing in ankle-deep water in the paddock,

so I turned them out into the pasture, where they stood out in the rain all day instead of coming in and spending the afternoon in a nice, dry stall.

(Our draft horse Max now has a friend–this is our very sweet-natured new horse, a thoroughbred with such a naturally calm disposition that he’s practically comatose. The kids haven’t named him yet, so I call him Minimus. He looks a little muddy and cold here, but if the sun ever comes out again I’ll post a nice picture.)

To close, a few late History of the Ancient World bits: a nice review from About.com, a review-essay from Books and Culture, and I’m a nominee for the Library of Virginia awards. Also, you can now pre-order The Art of the Public Grovel in Canada, should you be so inclined.

Showing 4 comments
  • Christine

    Just to let you know, as you sit tip-tapping away and most-likely a bit frustrated. . .

    I sure do appreciate the time you are taking, away from so much that is so dear (sleep / family — not necessarily in that order), to write these books. You are a marvel.

    I hope the sun sees fit to shine for you today.

  • Wendy

    Ohhh, how beautiful! Love horses… but then, who doesn’t! : )

  • Amanda Read

    Oh, so that’s what it’s called – Blackberry Winter. We have that same sort of crazy weather in Alabama right now.

  • Mike

    I just wanted to thank you for continuing to march forward through the incredibly daunting task you have taken for yourself. I am currently reading the first volume in your history for the second time. Do not worry about your prose–you have a fantastic “voice.” I read quite a bit of history, and you are one of the few writers I have been fortunate enough to encounter who gives it a pulse. I am certain many, many others feel the same way. If only more kids (as well as adults!) could be exposed to history written with such care, depth, and talent!

    Thank you, again, for your books, those already on the shelves as well as those in the works. All the best from Alabama!

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