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Robin Hobb's Infrequent and Off Topic Blog

"I didn't get the Signed Book I Ordered!"

Yes.  We know.  And it doesn't matter if you ordered it from The University Book Store in Seattle or from The Signed Page website.  You didn't get it.


And it's not their fault.  It's mine.


On February 11, I began to feel very ill.  By the 12th, I tested positive for Covid.  


I usually go to University Book Store on the second Tuesday of every month to sign the special orders and some store stock.  Needless to say, I didn't go. 


On the 17th, I hoped to go by Shawn's house and sing the Dark Horse comics of Assassin's Apprentice.  Nope.  Still not feeling good.


I rescheduled University Book Stosre for the 22.  The day came and I just wasn't upt to it.  It's not that far from Roy to Seattle, but traffic means that I allow two hours for the trip up, and if I hit rush hour traffic on the way back, it can take up to three hours.  I didn't think I could stay awake behind the wheel.  So it was a definite No.


So now we are into March.  On March 9th, I went by Shawn's and dropped off a batch of signed comics and picked up six more boxes of them.  (About 240 comics in each full box.)  Upon opening the boxes, I found that one had been damaged in shipping and that all the comics in that box were not really suitable for sale.  Another setback.



But as of tonight at 7 PM, I have signed every undamaged comic and I'll be taking them back to The Signed Page to be carefully packed and shipped. And on Tuesday the 14th, I will go to University Book Store to sign every special order and any stock they want signed.  


Soooooo  that means if you act very quickly, you can go to the Hobb page at UBS and order a signed Hobb book, and I will sign it on Tuesday the 14th!





On February 11, I didn't feel well.  It wasn't surprising.  My husband had been sick a few days before.  I'd tested him for Covid, but no, that wasn't it.  


Then my older sister, whom I care for, was horribly sick over the 9th and 10.  But she had syptoms more of a stomach disorder than Covid. I kept cleaning her up and soldiering on.  So I wasn't surprised on the 11th that I was so tired and muscles were aching.


But by mid-morning of the 12th, I knew I was really sick, with something very bad.  I did a covid test and within minutes I had two very dark stripes in the little window.  Despite masking and hand washing and avoiding crowds, despite multiple boosters, I had Covid.  And it was fully as painful and debilitating as I had heard.  All I wanted to do was stay in bed, use box after box of Kleenex and pity myself.


But I couldn't.  No matter how sick you are, your animals need to be fed.  And in my case, that also means my sister needed food cooked and laundry done and garbage emptied and bed stripped and made up clean every day.  All the tasks that come with caring ffor someone who can no longer take care of herself. 


(Well, surely someone else could do all that. )


No.  Not unless I wanted to expose them to this awful stuff.  My husband, still sick, was doing what he could.  Between the two of us, somehow we got by.  Chickens were fed, laundry was  accomplished, and some very marginal  and uninspired meals were served.  My younger son came by and refused to leave.  He cleaned, he cooked, he tidied.  And somehow, he has avoided getting sick (so far.) Daughters called to check on us and wondered if we needed more groceries.   A niece dropped off adult diapers and waterproof bed pads for my sister (the truly crucial supplies!)  So while Fred and I were handling it mostly on our own, we did have people who would have called an ambulance for us if it really got bad.  I am aware that there are many other people who have faced Covid with fewer resources and no support.  I lay on my bed and tried to imagine what it would have been like if I were living in a tent in an empty lot somewhere.  Counting my blessings even when things are pretty dark. 


So.  Here we are on the 19th, a full week later.  Fred is still achey but functional.  I am coughing, sneezing, congested and miserable but also functional.  Don't underestimate the muscle pain from this disease.  There is no comfortable way to sit, stand or lie down.  Everything hurts.    And the brain fog is very real.  I was very irritated with my son as he had apparently taken my mop bucket and mop.  When I found it, I was puzzled as to how it got in the utility room.  A day later, I recalled that I had used it to mop the floor in an effort to disinfect the kitchen.  It's really unnerving to have my brain skip a beat like that.


So.  I feel better than I did at my worst.  But I am not over this.  At any time, I could fall on my face and sleep.  When I am not too hot, I am chilled.  


This message is to remind people that yes, the 'pandemic' is over because, like influenza or the common cold, Covid is now endemic.  That's forever, my friend. 


To everyone who is certain it's not a big deal, I just want to say, it is to me.  I'm in the demographic  of people who can die from this stuff.  


I hope you don't get it.

No Time At All

Time for Tea.

Okay, I see you!  There in the back, waving your hand frantically and stamping your feet in frustration. "I don't have the time.  No, really, I don't! No matter what I give up, something else grabs that time.  I can't hope for a quiet hour on any day, let alone one every day!"


I feel your pain.  Been there, done that.  But I still believe that you can write your book or short story.  Not easily.  Even if you have eight free hours a day, writing is never easy.  And when you have to do it in tiny increments, it's even harder.


But it's not impossible.  Just harder.


So here is how to start today.


1.  Make your writing gear accessible at all times.  It doesn't matter what you use.  A laptop, a phone, a tablet, a spiral notebook, a pocket notebook. Don't put it away.  Keep it out on a table or countertop, where you see it.  If you are using software, have that be on the screen.  If you are writing by hand, don't let the pen or pencil stray from whatever you are writing on.  Leave it where you can write that next sentence, and then let the dog out and pick the baby's toy up and put it back on the highchair tray.  Don't put your writing away.  You are now writing all day, even when your hands aren't touching it.  Your brain is.


2.  Make your writing portable.  Take it with you.  Shove that notebook, paper or electronic, into the pocket of the diaperbag.  Put it on the seat of the car next to you.  Have that pocket notebook, yes, in your pocket perhaps next to a pen in a nice nerdy pocket-protector. 


You are a writer.  You ALWAYS have a notebook and pen with you.  You are always writing.


When other people in the dentist office are reading the two-years-old People magazine, you write, notebook on knee.  On the bus or train.  On your break from waitressing.  While you are sitting on the sidelines watching your kid's soccer practice.  Sitting on the bathroom floor while the toddler is in the tub splashing.   (Yup, done all those.)


3.  And finally, defend those writing moments.  The ringing phone or the pinging text can wait while you finish that sentence, or even that paragraph.  Folding the laundry or raking the leaves can wait; I promise those chores won't go away.  (Sometimes, if you leave them long enough, someone else does them.)  Volunteer to take the care for the oil change.  And write in their lobby.  


Does it work?  Well, I got 1668 words yesterday,  Worked for me.  


One final tip.  It you are seizing some moments last thing at night and you know you are about at the end of your stamina, stop while you know what the next sentence will be.  Save it for tomorrow, to help you get started again.


And now I've used up my allotted blog time.  Maybe I'll be here tomorrow.  Who knows?

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