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It's that time again....

copyright Paul Lampard


Christmas 2013

Wow…that went quick. Time flies by so fast these days; I must be getting old.

Wait…I am getting old! This year was the big six-five. I’m on Medicare now. Honestly, I hadn’t looked forward to a birthday so much since I first hit double digits. After decades doing battle with health insurance for the self-employed, I’m finally swimming in a big risk pool. I’m grateful—-very grateful—for good health, but it’s a huge relief to know that I’m no longer one crisis away from crushing medical debt.

Back in the Dark Ages when I was on a high-school debate team, the 1964 annual topic was “Resolved: That Social Security benefits should be extended to include complete medical care.” I wouldn’t know in advance if my team would be arguing pro or con at a particular meet, but I got my highest scores when I was on the negative team. I had the kind of passion that you get when you’ve got many facts at your fingertips, but not a whole lot of wisdom to temper them.

An old-self/new-self conversation would be worth the price of admission.

When I wasn’t counting the days until my birthday, I was, once again, immersed in preparations for the Embroiderers’ Guild of America’s national seminar which was held in October, in Louisville, KY. As much as I love embroidery and embroidery classes, it increasingly appears that I enjoy seminar committee work more. That—or I really don’t know how to say No when asked to do something that falls inside my skill set.

Writing-wise, 2013 has been the year to ask myself What tale, if any, would I tell, were I my only audience? It’s not been an easy question to answer and there were more false starts than I’d cared to count throughout the year. A few months ago and, truly, when I’d just about given up on the whole enterprise, I began gathering characters and story threads that didn’t dissolve. It’s too early to say, but I’m excited about what I could be writing in 2014.

Since July, when I wasn’t reading through a barrage of Medicare options, working for the EGA, or burning through story ideas, I’ve been exploring a new hobby: genealogy. I never thought I’d succumb to the ancestry bug; there have always been tales of irregularities in my family tree that I wasn’t comfortable untangling. But my good friend, CJ Cherryh, and a first cousin (once removed), Walt Blenderman are both devoted genealogists, so I suppose it really was only a matter of time.

I joined Ancestry.com and got to work on the tangles. Much to my relief, digitized data from the UK censuses have reassured me that I am, indeed, an Abbey. But my great-grandmother Julia was woman who got around quite a bit there in London’s East End at the end of the 19th century; and my great-grandfather, for reasons the census cannot explain, wound up living around the corner with Julia’s mother. Right now, I’m trying craft a definitive connection between us and an Arthur Abbey who, in the mid-18th century, was the huntsman for the Cottesmore Hunt, the oldest hunting club in the United Kingdom!

Things have been easier on my mother’s side of my tree—in no small part because that’s where my first cousin (once removed) has been hard at work for decades. I could have simply imported Walt’s data, but I decided to see what Ancestry.com and I could put together on our own.

Much to my surprise, when I got back to the Hamlin/Hamblin/Hamblens of early 18th century Massachusetts my tree and Walt’s began to diverge (due to an abundance of Eleazers). Being clearly out of my depth, I turned my sources over to Walt who examined them with a practiced eye before concluding that I’d stumbled onto a better path through the Eleazers, a path which has led not quite to the Mayflower, but to the Fortune, the next ship to arrive in Massachusetts.

It turns out that through Eleazer Hamblin, my mother (and I) are related to a good many of the families that gave their names to a good many of the landmarks that I’ve visited countless times while vacationing on Cape Cod with my family.

It’s so nice when the path becomes a circle.

6 comments to It’s that time again….

  • Dan Delgado

    Happy New Year. My wife Lynne (McCann-Delgado) has had a great time using Ancestry.com and visiting Glasgow in order to trace back into early 1800s so far. However, the reason I am writing is that I could not find a place to email to ask if there are any plans to reissue the old TW anthologies in ebook form. I really want to make bookshelf space available for other things (/glare at wife 😉 ) but so far the combined vol 1-2 is all I could find. Shall I hope for future releases?

  • Lynn

    Thieves’ World will be coming back. Unfortunately, we’re still in the “due diligence” phase of the resurrection, so I can’t be more specific…except to say that ebook editions are very much part of the GRAND PLAN. (I wish I could talk more about what’s under discussion. It’s hard to stay silent.)

  • Hey, darlin’! A post! A post! And such good news. I do hope that story makes its way out of your hindbrain.

  • Mitha

    Oooh! Oooh! (hops up and down) I had noticed the distinct silence here regarding Thieves’ World, and am very glad to know that Things Are In The Works.

    Fingers crossed for the new story-threads successfully becoming a tapestry.

    Happy New Year!

  • Yay! A post! And even a possibility that another story (or… even better – a book!!) will come from the fertile (if currently balky) imagination of one of the authors I look forward to reading to the point of buying hard cover. May 2014 treat you well and your fingers find the connection to the deep wellspring of stories that are lurking within your subconscious yearning to reach the light of day.

  • Lynn

    The announcement of what’s in store for TW has been mostly written for quite a while, but getting all the loose ends woven-in has been a bigger challenge than any of us expected. It is getting tidier, but it’s also been three decades since TW came into being, and both publishing and the legal world have changed tremendously in the meantime. We won’t give up, but we also won’t make any premature announcements.