It has been nearly two weeks since I have been inactive on the Magical Realm. I am of course sorry about this; but alas this was an inevitably consequence of having been away to the countryside, without Internet, for more than a week.
Nonetheless, there is a silver lining behind every cloud (as they say) and this is true of my stay. On a first point of order, I have taken about two hundred photos; these I have curated into a collection of a few dozen. You can see it here (Alas most of them were taken with my phone, since I have not yet endured to buy a proper camera, but I think the results are quite acceptable. I would however appreciate any sage photographic advice.)
On the second, and rather more important point of order, I have used the time to work on the Ark extensively. I have more or less completed editing work on the first part; this is a significant milestone. I have now sent off the revised work to two of my beta-readers, who will (hopefully) endeavour to give me prompt and useful feedback.
I do have one or two other changes I am thinking of making—related mainly to Alistair’s character, as well as the possibility of adding a scene or two—but the majority of the planned work has been completed. This includes re-writing and editing Casey’s voice (he now sounds more like a teenager!), re-writing some of the discussion around politics (it is now focused on the 22nd century), and numerous other changes. Chapter two has been edited quite a bit, and I have changed a few names as well—some of my readers were struggling to distinguish between all the C names.
From here on in, work will focus on part two. I have several planned changes—more even than for part one. Among these are changes to the chapters after chapter seventeen (the conflict between the protagonists will be change substantially), at least two additional scenes, and numerous other changes too numerous to list here.
This is in a way fortuitous; for I am once more going back to the countryside. Apologies—you can blame it on my grandmother’s wretched insistence on growing vegetables. This is of course a noble pursuit, but the constant watering, measures against pests, and other farming-related activities inevitably force her to be there.
But I can, of course, use these next couple of days to further my editing progress. Wish me luck!
I have also used the days I have been back in Vaslui for various other important purposes. I needed to get more acne medicines. I was rather unkempt and covered with bug-bites, so of course a thorough shower, shave and the procurement of bug spray was in order. And I have been busy with more bureaucracy as part of going to study in Amsterdam.
One such example has been getting the school to write an official letter which confirms that, yes, my A level results are my final grades. I am also still trying to figure out how to pay the tuition fee—I can pay it via bank transfer, but rather than incur a €55 fee, I would prefer to pay via debit card. Only... the university says you can, but doesn’t seem to have told me how.
Anyway; let us leave aside such irritating and time-consuming matters. Onto the final points of order.
I have been quite active in my political blogging over the past couple of weeks. There has, after all, been a plethora of issues to address—the referendum, the Brexit (of which much remains to be said), the terrorist attack in Nice and now (it would seem) in Munich.
However, I will not be able to write as much about these issues as I would like: as you can see, my summer holiday is anything but! That said, I will endeavour to address one of those issues in the coming days.
I have also been reading extensively throughout my stay here. I have read Wicked Gentleman, by Ginn Hale—a respected author of fantasy fiction featuring LGBT characters. I hope to review it when I have the time; it is a rather good book. EDIT: I have reviewed it! You can read the review either on the reviews page or by following this link.
I have also been reading more of Capital in the 21st Century, by Thomas Picketty. In truth I believe Picketty would have been better off calling it Inequality Throughout Time, but, anyway. The theses that Picketty presents in the first half of the book (which I have now read) are very thought-provoking and intriguing.
Picketty has used a vast amount of historical economic data to address the impact of capital, inheritance and growth for inequality. He has dealt with 20th century politics, the effects of various political acts on tackling inequality (such as capital gains tax), and the rise of the supermanager.
I largely agree with his findings—particularly in the thesis that renumeration in large companies is a matter of the social and cultural institutions that exist within that company and within that country.
I do not agree with all of his claims. I dispute, for example, that university education is critical for reducing inequality. I dispute his claim that access to education is unequal. These issues I shall address in further detail—when I have the time.
As you can see, these are busy times for me. Wish me luck—in my editing, my writing, and the various matters that occupy me. Until then, keep following. I may have a few tasty political morsels to share...