Returned on Monday (1st Aug) night, but hit the ground running -- my trip to the US is less than three weeks away and there are towering stacks of work to be finished before take-off. Some part of the work involves getting ready for the trip -- such as doing a poster for the production of HARVEST that will be staged in Philadelphia in mid-September. I'll post an image of it here once it's complete ... I consider it a mixed blessing to be asked to do graphics for my own written work -- on the one hand, it means I can't blame anyone else if the results are terrible, but on the other hand, it means there's only my own vision framing my stuff. I am always looking out for that cover/poster/whatever by someone ELSE which might give me an insight into how my work is viewed by other people (-- not merely critics and reviewers, but PEOPLE, if you get my point) and/or might augment my work by presenting a different perspective. But it's usually much easier to just leap up and do it myself anyway.
I haven't been posting impressions of my trip in Madras because ... it was SO PLEASANT. There are two reasons it was pleasant. One was that my niece's new baby has caused the family to experience a general cease-fire in all hostilities -- everyone seems to have mellowed in the presence of extreme youth! What a relief. The other factor was that my mother's domestic help team has changed finally and for the better this time. The result is a profound reduction in psychic stress in the house -- that atmosphere of distrust and crisis-pre-emption that has scarred the past four years had entirely dissipated. I believe I could write a thesis on the effects of demonic domestic help upon a household, but alas it would take more time than I have. It was just a very peaceful, comfortable 8 days in the company of my Mum and other family members.
Of the several interesting/silly things seen and discussed, I'd like to refer only to one -- Dan Brown's ANGELS AND DEMONS -- under the category of "things too ridiculous to be mentioned in polite company". I never did get around to reading The Da Wiggly Code but entered A & D on account of a recommendation from Someone (who shall remained unidentified) who said, "The writing's terrible, of course, but there are some fascinating ideas in there --" Well, I guess my fascination-threshold is too low for the book to do anything for me. I am now reading it to give myself horror-disgust thrills -- yes, I know that best-sellers are almost guaranteed to be trash, but this is ridiculous! I can only suppose that the author has recognized that his average reader is barely out of Moron Kindergarten, as a result of which he/she will never have heard of, eg., CERN or perhaps even the whole of Switzerland ... My guess is that this approach allows his readers to think they are really smart, UNLIKE the protagonists, who appear to be so ignorant and under-intuitive that every event is for them a megaton shock and/or an impossibly rare, unexpected fragment of knowledge. Guh. I am so glad not to be human.