cats, holes and fights

Not much to say on a Wednesday, nothing much has happened in 2 days.

I had to take the cats for their regular check up this morning. Once a year I gather them up and torture them! Younger Cat likes to take over my place under the duvet when I rise and often stays there until midday – not this morning I scooped up her impossibly hot little body and pushed her into a cat basket – I say push because, like a cartoon cat, she will splay her legs to each side of the entrance and refuse to go in.

Older Cat likes to go in the garden early, but, in this cold, wet weather, she is ready to come in at 9.00am to eat – no food today straight into cat basket. They swore at me all the way to the vets (approx 3 mins by car!

Vets are expensive, I have to budget before this trip each year. Today, though Older Cat presented problems. Biopsies needed to be done and sent off to the lab. If they are negative, it will just be cost of tests(quite enough) if  positive (probably the cost of operation – fast turning into a second mortgage visit:( Luckily Younger Cat presented no problems. There is in fact only a month between them in age, but I have a fancy Older Cat is aging more swiftly than her companion. Maybe because she’s more of an outdoor cat.

Ah well. If one has a pet, this is something that can happen. They are my sanity so ‘spose I can’t begrudge them some money – I’ll go back to being inventive with vegetables until the bills are paid:)

I was going to prune, well, mostly cut down, a tree yesterday, but it was so icy cold with a freezing fog I called it off. Cold air and my heart and lungs are fierce enemies. Can’t negotiate any peace deal with them – they fight and I come out the looser. Where’s the fairness in that? Right Life is not fair – I do get it:) The only lesson I try and teach young children is that Life is not fair, if they can get their heads around that they can settle back and enjoy it.

I have done some editing, not as much as I would have wished because, on reading the whole, I have discovered some serious holes and have been outlining what to do. One of holes involved more actual fight scenes, what do I know about fights? Zilch. But LIFE is actually playing nice with me at the moment and I saw Rayne Hall’s book on Writing Fight Scenes. I downloaded and read – great book. It’s not about about the skill of fighting, but about how to write fight scenes.

Full of useful information, such as different types of weapons, use of them, who would be likely to have them. Weapons the common folk might have, differences in male/female reactions to the fighting. From sling shot to modern weapons, reality to fantasy with animals in between and so on and so forth. Will be by my side for a long time methinks – any of you floundering on this matter I recommend the book.

I also borrowed a couple of books on weapons and early history of warfare from village library (said Life was playing nice) ‘tis a small library and doesn’t always have much choice and there they were just as I needed them, they will supplement the ones I already have.

What I have managed is blogging. On my website where I am charting my progress from beginner to now. On Sefuty about the trials and tribulations of this WIP and the book reading challenges I’m stupidly signed up for:) Three blogs! Wow!

Am reading Rough Music by Patrick Gale this week – haven’t quite got into it yet.

Have begun making notes for A-Z from various reference books.

Making slow but steady progress on the Sefuty bible.

So not a bad couple of days

Until Sunday – more of the same, All the best everyone:)

Did Helen elope or was she abducted?

ROW80Logocopy

This morning was a glorious mornings of firsts, well firsts for some time anyway. I went for a walk in the country park with a friend of mine. For years we have walked there on a Sunday; it is a beautiful park, semi wild , large with my favourite river running through it. Managed now and improved, a wonderful place to wander. My friend has a new ex greyhound who needed socializing and that was our role, myself and the new guide dog.

This was the first walk here for me for over 9 months, it was slow, necessitating many sit downs, to contemplate the views:) longish, but I managed it – yay hey:) it was also the first day for month and months that the sun shone so hot I had to strip continually through the walk ending up with bare, yes I say, bare arms:) another yay hey. Of course I  was exhausted when I returned and slept for 3 hours; but I walked the walk again and so am smiling, was warm and so am smiling.

Some of you know the troubles I have been having with that dreaded machine which connects me to the world in my head and the world up here in cyberspace -I have been, for quite a few months now, worrying that the machine will throw one last hissy fit and go on strike. Been collecting the pennies and stashing away the £2 coins in a race against time. The machine is hissing in ever-increasing fits this week.  My new machine after a great deal of indecision and much help from fellow ROWers (you all know who you were:) lovely people, has been  ordered. However, while I wait for it to come and for me to work out how the wretched thing works I struggle on with this sulky teenager!

Because of said problems this week has been a struggle to work around. I need to switch on at least 20-45 minutes before I need to have the machine making sense of cyberspace – I can get Scrivener in about 15. Some days I have been able to upload pictures to my A -Z others not so:( But I have managed,only just to get each blog up on time.

THIS WEEK:

The serialisation of Ellen’s Tale goes on apace and from this week is going out twice a week moving into the Saturday and Sunday spot over on Morgen Bailey’s blog Novel Nights In.

Saturday: Ellen having returned to the City is offered many options for her future in an attempt by the City to guide her away from Bix. Ellen decides on a dangerous course.

Today: Sunday, unaware of the danger his love has placed herself Bix is on his way back to the City to fulfil the last part of Gran’s request. Some indications of the City’s dark past come to light.

I have managed to do a little editing on The Ancestor’s Tale.

A lot of brainstorming while waiting for machine to connect (tis a wonderful thing and prevents me throwing said machine through the window!:) Brainstorms, mainly on short stories for the challenge next month. Especially The Companion Tales.

I have mentioned before, that after the fifth (next year I hope) of The Sefuty Chronicles, I want to bring out a collection of Companion Tales to accompany the Chronicles. Short stories which may explain, enlarge on, incidents throughout the chronicles. So the wait for my sulky pouting machine each day has produced ideas for 5 more Companion Tales – result!

A-Z challenge proceeds over on kissafrog

I am doing a workshop over at savvy authors on Journaling in a desperate attempt to bring some mental order into my ever increasing writing life.  The Ancestors Tale has thrown up a great deal of checking past events and characters, and now there are 3 other WIP and short stories to consider my beautiful colour co-ordinated notebooks are beginning to fail as a system.  Have picked up a few good ideas already so fingers crossed I can change my genetic makeup and become – ORDERLY  and TIDY of mind:)

This past week was a non-writing week so am satisfied with the blogging and the editing I have done.

I finished Homer’s Iliad for our book group. It was good but I have to confess I am still confused about Helen, did she elope, as I had always been led to believe as a child, or was she abducted, did she want to be rescued or stay with Paris? Have dragged out all my books on myths to go through it all again because one thing The Iliad didn’t do was clear it up.

I think the translation was sound enough but it had been written as a narrative text not as a narrative poem and this confused the story. All the thematic/verbal‘ formulas’, repetitions and standard phrasing of oral poetry were present. The combination of noun with epithet – the extravagant use of descriptive language. There are the repeated motifs, the parallel structures, throughout the books With the extravagant use of language that are present in these epic poems – epics straight from the Oral tradition.

This translation fails in my opinion because these narrative structures all belong to poetry not text, it has been presented as a straight forward story.

But, it was a cracking good yarn. I am now on a search for a translation that presents it as an epic oral poem. Fussy old woman, me.

I have also read another Jasper Fforde and another Pratchett. I have rifled through old science fiction books and curled up with some journals I was way behind on (well, curled is maybe an exaggeration with my arthritis but the thought was in my mind.

Am looking forward to my new machine and hopefully this time next week I shall be breathless from the speed I whizz around cyberspace.

I hope everyone had a good week and here’s wishing all is well next week.

K is for transplant

I know, I know ’tis the wrong place but needs must and all that and typepad has thrown a hissy fit and I am determined to post this on correct day (even if it is not on the right place:(

K is for transplant

It is time for more of those powerful magic makers, those who control life and death.  Every world build ought to have them. Different from natural magic, such as waterfalls, rainbows and the like, this magic is studied and many long years go into the making.

This magic did not appear very early in the world’s existence, indeed very late. Much application through the millennium was needed, because, this is as powerful as the use of genetics.  Scientists certainly aided these magicians but doctors, surgeons have to apply the spells.

We have to try to imagine the horror- horror? I am convinced it would have been horror – when this was first broached as a fit subject to pursue. If these particular scientists and doctors would use more melodious language their novels would outsell Stephen King in no time! I am a writer and would love to have their mind set to feed my imagination.

Picture the thought – the what if?

‘Let’s take a part of a body from this corpse and sew it into someone living!!!’

I was an adult when news of the first successful heart transplant whirled around the globe.  In 1967 Christian Barnard from South Africa was the man, was the name on everyone’s lips.  Amazing, stupendous achievement!!  His patient only survived 10 days yet, yet, the deed was done and over the next 2 years another 100 operations were performed.  Survival rate was still only 60 days, but Barnard’s second attempt had the patient surviving  19 months.  For someone who was going to die soon, an extra 2 or 19 months may seem like a bonus.  By 1984 survival rates had gone up to 5 yrs or more. Before I move on – think about it – this man transplanted a heart from one being into another being and it beat!! 

Where did that first idea come from?

          There are myths from ancient Rome, Greece and China of Gods and Goddess’s performing transplants.

              It is believed that by 800 BC    Indian doctors had begun to graft skin, using the patients own skin, to help burns.

         In the 16th century an Italian, Gasparo Tagliacozzi, had begun to reconstruct noses and ears from the patients own skin.

 The secret of these last two successes lies in the fact that nothing alien was being introduced.

 It is almost sure, many attempts had been made over the centuries.  Mankind would have found the challenge to great to resist.  However, this magic was long in the coming because, other magicians had to do their work first.  Science had to come up with the answer to some pretty stiff barriers to success. Not least of which was the body’s tremendous and formidable resistance to anything ‘not mine’.  The immune system is a magical thing in itself, think of all those bacteria and virus in the world, all the accidents and illness’s waiting to gain a toehold.  How many times did we die of them? Very few times, everything considered.  The body knows itself well, and doesn’t take kindly to having strange things being foisted on/in it.

       Until the immune system was understood, there was no chance.  Using the patients own skin was ok, the body would recognise it.

       Then, when it was understood, some means of persuading this argumentative system to accept an organ from someone else, maybe alive but usually dead.  Why would it?

       Even when that was done, there was the problem of the quality of the organ to be inserted into another; decay begins immediately death has visited. To keep an organ in a fit state to transplant, needed a great deal of thought, skill and the efforts of many.

      In 1909 a rabbit kidney was transplanted into a child, who died two weeks later

       1933 there was an attempt at a human-human kidney transplant, but they did not know about tissue/blood matching – the patient died

      The first successful kidney transplant was in 1954 – successful because it was between identical twins – so no reason for rejection.

As the 1950s wore on, drugs to suppress the immune system became more effective, the success rate slowly increased.

They never give up these ‘wise men’ of magic!

1st success

of Pancreas 1966

of  Liver 1967

Heart 1967

Heart and lung 1981

Hand 1998

Partial face 2005

Double Arm 2008

Full face 2010

Double leg 2011

At the moment, in the UK, 1000 people a year die while awaiting a transplant, of some kind or other. Kidney transplants are common-place, however the list of donors cannot keep up with the list of those wishing to have a transplant.

 Now there are more problems arising.  Because people expect this amazing life giver, because the list of those waiting transplants grows faster than donors can be found (tissue/blood have to be a match even with immunosuppressants) New ethical questions raise their heads.

Donations from the dead, you would think would not present problems; sign a donor card in life and ensure your nearest and dearest understand your wishes.  However, this business of the viability of the organ, means the fresher the organ is, the better.

What is ‘dead’? Should a person who is brain dead be kept ‘alive’ with machines, to preserve the organs, receive treatment which is of no use, except for someone else?

Should someone who has died from cardiac/ respiration failure, have the heart restarted, so that it can be transplanted in another?  These are two of the questions being asked now.

Another is that of the ‘exploitation’ of those in financial need from the richer patients, sometimes leading to a black market in organ trafficking with resultant kidnap and murder. There is money to be made – but is it moral or ethical to buy an organ?

There has been a suggestion that cloning for organs would be acceptable.  If just cloning organs. Maybe.  The fear of many is that whole people will be cloned (as you never know which organ would be needed) the stuff of nightmares – but, what if? Eventually kill your clone. Have you read ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro?

Is this another of those escapees from Pandora’s Box?