Pliny the Elder, yes, that’s the one, the author of Natural History, which got a very poor review on Goodreads at the time, one reader castigating the author as ‘that voluminous, industrious, unphilosophical, gullible, unsystematic old gossip’, who nevertheless died as philosophical a death as you please when studying the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, yes, the same that barbecued Pompeii and turned Herculaneum into a mixed grill, who once said words to the effect of post coitum omne animalia triste sunt, or it might have been Galen, but whoever it was definitely had a point, except that I’d like to modify it to something about authors who’ve just delivered their final manuscript to their publisher, which is what I’ve done, so maybe an apposite quote [summons Google Translate] might be something like Dimisso manuscriptumtitum ad ultimum edidisse omnes auctores tristes. I feel as weak as a kitten though my mind is freewheeling so fast it’s a wonder the wheels don’t all fly off in different directions and the whole contraption ends up in a ditch. My head aches. My dream life is rich, textured and thoroughly confused.
I got the edited manuscript of A (Very) Short History of Sex and Chocolate [this appears to be a working title] from my editor on Monday morning. After receiving it I worked at it morning night and afternoon so by Thursday night I could send it back again, t’s crossed, i’s dotted and all shipshape and with all the words in the correct order. It helped that the editor was very sensitive and minimally invasive, so almost no reconstructive surgery was required — all the editor did was curb my more polyfloristic literary excesses, but no matter, you’ll get them all here on this blog, yes, both of you, look at me when I’m talking to you and sit up straight. Unlike a rather erudite novel I’m reading it doesn’t contain any words that you won’t be familiar with, such as hetaera, incunabulum or ambry, all new ones on me, unless of course you’ve never met words such as scansioripterygid or procolophonid. But hey, that’s science for you, never use one syllable when you can have three, preferably in Latin. Unless it’s Yi, which happens to be a scansioripterygid. Funny old world, isn’t it? Pliny would have understood. I miss him.