Because I've spent the last two months surrounding myself with them. Most important was the revisions deadline for Willow Knot, that being a real-world commitment. I got the second lot of agent-requested-revisions done and emailed only one day over deadline, and snail-mailed a printout that week. Whoof!
Then it was the last push for my entries for the An Tir Arts & Sciences Championship. I was entering hand-puppets and booth based on the bas-de-page miniatures from Bodleian ms.264 Romance of Alexander, a play with said puppets, a folding almanac on parchment, and a recitation & translation of a Hans Sachs poem (one of the short ones).
On Feb 20 I took some time away from the race to attend Dragon's Laire's Candlemas, where I visited with my wonderful apprentice Eileen, caught up with Deirdre about stained glass, and picked up more info and inspiration for the puppets and the almanac, as well as an insight on hunting that pointed the way into Alard's character for revisions of his pursuit in the marsh. So yayness! I came home full of excitement and energy.
And fell over with the cold Mark brought me back from Estrella. Cue two weeks of hacking up yuck and of a head full of mucus. Which slough I am only now crawling out of.
As a result, although I got the revised ms out the door, my A&S entries went to heck. I clung to the illusion that I could pull it all together in the last few days, and indeed, I had the puppets and booth ready to go, the play handwritten and the poem translated and rehearsed. The almanac was mostly blank pieces of parchment cut to shape, and my documentation was pretty rough, but still! I ignored Mark swanking around with his two entries all finished and ready to go, and struggled on.
Friday we packed up the van as I frantically edited documentation. Off we go! Customs searched the van, but in a less accusatory way than previously. Then, disaster of sorts: the puppet booth was made partially of raw branches - willow and alder that I scrounged from recent prunings around the neighbourhood. And untreated/unheated hardwood is not to cross the border. So the supports for the booth have to stay behind.
Which I don't at all argue with - it never occurred to me to check into that, although I've lived most of my life in areas where forestry was a major industry. Dumb me. And my most complete entry is now not very complete. The part made from milled lumber is okay, and the puppets are okay, but it will be something of a challenge to present the play--and my voice having mostly disappeared is not helpful.
Well, it wasn't as if I were trying to win (what I was trying to do is a long and ranty story, to be saved for some other time). So here are my puppets on the improvised supports, and beside is the model from the manuscript. My bent-willow arch with the scrim to hide my face is missing, (due to Customs) so the resemblance isn't all it could be, even above the missing supports.
Anyway, the Championship was a good event. I got to share my most recent enthusiasms with other enthusiastic people, got pretty stoked for trying the same stuff (only finished) next year, and best of all, my former apprentice Alicia took the Championship, with her student Constance being one of the finalists.