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More 30s fun, a rewriting session, and a strange new kind of bonding
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Continuing my recent obsession with 1920s/1930s women writers, I've been reading a biography of Dorothy Sayers: Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul, by Barbara Reynolds. It's an old-fashioned kind of title, and although the book was written in 1993, it has an old-fashioned feel - the author was actually a friend of Sayers, which certainly influences the tone. The writing isn't as sparky and compelling as Valerie Groves's Dear Dodie, and the author's own social biases definitely show through, sometimes in uncomfortable ways, but it's a really interesting read anyway. I've always loved Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey novels, and now I know where her fabulously erudite, witty, multilingual detective (given to Latin puns as well as high society dinners) came from in the first place. I loved this bit in Sayers's own words:
...I was rising seven when [my father] appeared one morning in the nursery, holding in his hand a shabby black book, which had already seen some service, and addressed to me the following memorable words: "I think, my dear, that you are now old enough to learn Latin."

And as Reynolds continues, "The shabby black book was Dr. William Smith's Principia. Dorothy's father sat down in the big chair, put his arm firmly around his daughter to prevent her from wriggling, opened the book and confronted her with the declension of Mensa....Thereafter she had Latin lessons with her father every day."

By the time she was a teenager, she'd added French and German lessons, violin, singing, composing, playacting...not only is it no surprise that she turned out to be one of Oxford University's first women graduates, but I now totally understand where all that fabulously allusive, Latin-influenced, intellectual sparring between Lord Peter and Harriet Vane came from. That undoubtedly felt like entirely normal conversation to her!

I, by contrast, am massively under-educated and under-lingual, but I had such a good re-writing session this morning that I can't bring myself to feel too ashamed. (And no, I don't even know any Latin - I did try one class when I was a teenager, but it really didn't catch. German and Spanish are the only languages I've ever learned, and at this point my Spanish is pretty much a lost cause!) Still, I wrote over 1,000 words, finished the new version of Chapter One, and felt really happy about my progress.

After the writing session, I sat down in the big, comfy rocking chair, and the baby inside me began to kick. He/she is so close to the surface of my skin nowadays that I can actually feel and see when a head or foot is jutting out of my belly - one of the weirdest sensations of my entire life! When I saw a foot sticking out, I put my hand on my belly, started stroking gently around the foot - and the baby rolled around so that his/her back was pushed up just under my hand. So I spent about 15 minutes actually rubbing my baby's back through my own skin!

Pregnancy is the strangest and most miraculous process I've ever gone through. Every day I'm newly amazed by it.

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