Things I Am Learning In Shetland
1) Makeup is unnecessary. Mascara will end up dripping down your cheeks, as the rain falls sideways here and directly into your face. Lip gloss is a nightmare as the wind blows your hair onto your lips and your hair is gooey for the rest of the day. Sunscreen is unnecessary because there is no sun.
2) It's cold and it's wet. The rain just hits out of the blue – no sprinkles, no threatening clouds, just rain rain rain that attacks from all angles and stops as quickly as it began. All-weather packing is a necessity each time you leave the house. There was a time when I would complain about this weather, but that's silly in a place like this, where the weather is as much a part of the people as their music or the land or the sea. I'm toughening up.
3) Umbrellas are futile. I brought my strongest (read: most expensive) umbrella to the supermarket on Sunday and I hadn't taken 3 steps out the door and the damn thing was upside down and broken. I have used my waterproof jacket more in three weeks in Shetland than in two years of owning it. Hoods are the new black.
4) For some reason, I brought skirts. I am not sure why – possibly because I thought I'd dress up at some point, but Shetlanders are logical folk. Dressed up is trousers and a nice sweater. I like this. And now that it's September I don't mind wearing my boots and coats. Somehow it just didn't feel right in August.
On to other things. The New Novel (working title: Sangria) is rocking right along at 40,000 words. I am not kidding myself though, as 30,000 of the aforementioned words are crap. It's going, though, and I am finding myself in the zone when five or six hours go by without my knowledge. I am having difficulty weaving the backstory into the text, as flashbacks usually don't work, and readers hate them. However, they are integral to this story, so I'm doing it anyway and hoping it doesn't explode.
Sangria takes place in Lisbon. I'm engrossed in reliving my time there. My memories of Lisbon have become a mix of people and light and noise and smells and intensity. The city is a central character in the book, and I hope I am doing it justice by allowing it to transform the other characters.
I'm getting kicked off the library computer now. It's taken longer to get internet installed in Shetland than in any other country I've lived in. Grr.