A Day in the Life of Historical Fiction Author G.F. Skipworth
A Day in the Life is Literarily Speaking’s newest feature. Here we get a glimpse into our favorite author’s day. Today’s guest is G.F. Skipworth, author of the historical fiction novel, The Simpering, North Dakota Literary Society (Rosslare Press).
A Day in the Life of…G.F. Skipworth
Ever since the day I met the Zingarella women from The Simpering, North Dakota Literary Society, daily life has changed.
Morning used to be a cup of tea , a search for articles on Oregon Duck football and a check-in with the Tumbleweeds comic strips from yesteryear… but no more. This morning, for example, Edielou Zingarella and I hurled ourselves off Willamette Falls, and have scheduled a runaway train rescue this evening if the day works out.
This morning, as I attempted to save Nellie Bly from execution in the prequel (The Sharpshooters of Simpering, North Dakota), the electricity went out in the computer section of the house (not to mention the fridge, washer and dryer.) After a spider web of improvised extension chords, Nellie was saved, but it looks mighty primitive, and no electrician until Wednesday. I wondered what a computer built in 1898 would look like, and imagined poor Barbara shoveling coal into the tower while I fended off the Spanish at San Juan Hill. Nevertheless, as I stepped to the podium to address an expectant nation (at Theodore Roosevelt’s request,) the Dean of Arts & Sciences called to make sure I’d filed my report on photocopy expenses for the spring term. By the time I got back, the country had turned off their televisions and gone to bed.
Standing on the deck of a ship in La Spezia, staring down a horde of fascists, is not a convenient time to answer the phone, but when it’s your daughter announcing that she’s going to Paraguay with a harmonica player to become a vintner’s apprentice (all right, I made up the harmonica player) – well, family’s family. Even Edielou understands that.
I was hoping to score tickets to Buffalo Bill Cody’s stop-off in Paris. There were important questions I needed to ask Miss Oakley before sending her to China, but that concert for Thursday was looming, and I had to go practice the accompaniments for an hour. Realizing that I have to sing in the one next week, a half hour or so on Schubert’s Winterreise was the least I could do. Beethoven’s Eroica’s coming up, but I’ve conducted that several times, so a brief look-through will take care of that.
All right, I’m back, and just in time. Edielou’s going to throw the Italian ambassador overboard and cause an international incident. Negotiations have reached a delicate stage when I hear a strange sound in the driveway. Apparently, the car, which as a rule goes “Haroommm” is now going “Bawhaaaa.” It’s a test of man versus metal to see if it can reach the shop without calling the tow truck. We make it, and I’m back in time to witness Day I of the Simpering World Summit. While I was out, however, Cousin What’s-Her-Name called and asked if she could bring the four Springer Spaniels over while she was on her blind date with the guy the agency sent over. No one answered the phone, but she brought them anyway, and our cat, Connor, is moon-walking on the ceiling…amazing animals.
Edielou is miffed at the very suggestion, but I have to get out of the house, maybe to the driving range or to the dog park. We don’t have a dog, but are looking at Malamutes and Afghans…one of each. If you think that’s crazy, we’re also looking at building our own log cabin in the snow country once I retire. Can’t do anything about that now, so I decide to review my Carpailtin Fables, a four-volume fantasy series, for revision. Ah, but I can’t do that because the computer crashed two weeks ago, and the data rescuers have lost it, somewhere in Florida. That means seven books, three symphonic compositions, every password since the invention of computers and three thousand photographs are running around somewhere in the Everglades.
The physics professor came over for dinner out on the deck. That was nice, but I missed the runaway train, and can only hope Edielou was able to handle it alone. She’ll be furious tomorrow, but I have to postpone our next leap to audition new faculty members on instruments I’ve never played. My previous life of touring before getting into college teaching suddenly seems serene by comparison. The strangest part of it all is that this was a lazy summer day. Just wait until school starts. For tonight, we can’t wait to fall asleep and dream, just to get a little reality around here.
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