The Landlady (a revised Teachout story)

So in 2014, I posted the original vignette “The Landlady”.  And then this year I ended up revising it substantially, and I thought it turned out pretty well, so I’m going to post it here to end my 2-week blog streak.  I will probably take the first version down at some point, just to streamline the bibliography page, but for now they’re both here.

(I enjoyed the microblogging, but every day seemed a bit too much.  I think I may switch to once a week, maybe twice a week.  It bears thinking about.)

And so …

This is a story (please note the “read more” button!) about the Teachout sisters, links to whose other adventures can be found in my full bibliography.  I think this can stand alone, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go and read the others, as well.  For reasons.  (It’s cool.  I’ll wait.)


The Landlady

by:   Laura E. Price

 

“You seen Mrs. Warram lately?” Gwen asked Corwyn.

Corwyn had not, though her lack of memory might have had something to do with her envelopment within a sulfurous cloud of stench from the poultice the witch of Cobbler’s Hill had sold them to help heal up her ankle. She had said ankle elevated on the back of their sofa in a most unladylike fashion. “Oughtn’t we be happy the old harpy ain’t after us for rent four days early?” she asked.

“That’s why I think something ain’t right,” Gwen said grimly.

“Tell me you ain’t going down there to pound on her door because she’s not making you mad enough to spit, Gwen.”

“Dear god no,” Gwen said, startled. “It’s just odd, is all.”

***

The one thing Corwyn knew–clear as a bell in the storm of bruises and outrage and, though she refused to admit it, furious sadness that raged in her those first few weeks after she and her sister left the patronage of Mrs. Simcote–was that she did not want to live on the goddamned street again.

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2 week blog run: Day 13

I finished Thud!

It reminds me a lot of the funny bits of a Falco novel,[1] except in third person and with much less avoiding the law since, you know, Vimes is the law.  Sort of.

One thing I have to admire in Terry Pratchett’s work is that he’s extremely good at this series thing.  I’ve never read anything of his besides a short story collection the kid wanted to try and a lot of quotes on Tumblr, so I came into this book expecting major info dumps or total confusion, and I got neither.  It was a nice, seamless entry into a world that was clearly established without having to wade through paragraphs of who people were and what they had to do with each other.

Oh, wait–I’d also read Where Is My Cow? quite a few years ago!  And I liked it much better with context, I must say.

Next up is probably The Last Days of New Paris because due dates.


 

1 [back] The Marcus Didius Falco novels are historical mysteries by Lindsey Davis, and they’re really good.

2 week blog run: day 11

Today has been a lot of running around–early primary voting, trying to find a new wallet as mine has a giant hole in it, grocery shopping–and looking sadly at the state of my house.  I need elves or house brownies or something.

THE IDEAL IS UNATTAINABLE, PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION, BUY GOLD BYYYYE!

This is in no way an exciting blog post because I am bored, restless, discontented, and in a generally not-good headspace.  Ah well, they can’t all be winners.

2 week blog run: day 10

I hate it when I’m avoidant without realizing it.  It’s one thing to procrastinate when I’m aware I’m doing it, but when it takes me three days to figure it out, it’s really, really annoying.

Yesterday I took some time and stuck post-its on all the chunks of manuscript that have [PUT SOMETHING GOOD HERE WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING] in them.  This is something that needs to be done, but it’s also work that isn’t work.  And as I was doing this, I found some other notes that I had made and completely forgotten about what in hell?  At which point I started having a minor breakdown over whether or not I could remember enough of anything, ever, to revise the book because it’s a lot of words and my brain is a small and broken vessel and woe be unto me because I suck and am shaming my ancestors (only one of whom ever wrote anything past a grocery list, and that one wrote poems that I understand were not epic in scale, but none of that occurred to me until this morning) and why did I ever think I could do this and what if I forget something important and can’t fix my mess and and and and …

And hell.  None of this is new, I realized, it had just suddenly got louder.

So this morning on my way to work I was contemplating this, and I was also thinking about personality types (because we’ve been doing this at work, and I’m a sucker for a good Meyers-Briggs knockoff) and how every single one I ever take, plus my horoscope, always tells me I’m a perfectionist.

Which led, in my brain, to Bill Cipher shouting “THE IDEAL IS UNATTAINABLE, PERFECTION IS AN ILLUSION, BUY GOLD, BYYYYYE!”

Which I may write on the cover of my manuscript binder in BIG BOLD SHARPIE.


(Bill Cipher is a character on Gravity Falls, which everyone should watch because it’s like Lost but animated, and Jack is waay cooler.)

 

 

 

 

2 week blog run: day 9

Okay, books in my to-read-next pile are …

Ragnarok by AS Byatt

The Wake, by Paul Kingsnorth

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

(Do not spoil me for Cursed Child; I already know half the fans hate it, shhh!)

Lots of short books on the list.

Wondering now if the kid’s going to change his mind and request an iPad when he finds out about the Pottermore Presents ebooks.  My son is a Harry Potter nerd, which tickles me.

 

 

2 week blog run: day 8

Well, look at that, we’re on week 2.

Every day, I have sat here and thought What the hell do I write?

Well, so, what to write today … I did get my note from the library that my book was waiting, and when I told the boys that I was going to go get it, the kid looked at me and said, “Have you not noticed the enormous pile of library books we have in this house?”

I pointed out to him that of said pile, a grand total of three were checked out to me.

We’re definitely a library family.  I’ve been a library girl since I was a kid.  The husband and I have been to libraries everywhere we’ve lived (we took a special trip to a haunted library in Indiana, but saw no ghosts).  I had a library card at the public library in Louisiana because, as Scott said, “The university library just isn’t good enough?”  Well, no, honey, it wasn’t.  (It was fine as academic libraries go, and I spent a lot of one semester in there doing my assignments for my research methods class, all of which became practically obsolete within three years as everything I’d been learning about got put online.)

I started taking the kid to the library when he was barely walking.  We’d go to story time and get books and he’d explore the children’s section.  Now he’s old enough that we all split off to our separate areas as soon as we walk in.  Last summer he went to the summer programs at the local library; this past summer he and his grandfather explored the libraries down where my parents lived, and the kid took photos to show me.

He’s not exactly the voracious reader I was at his age, but he reads enough books at enough speed that I’m glad we have the library because otherwise I’d be even more broke than I am now.