The revision of a novel can take years, as it did for my first one, or fewer years, as it has for the one under review now. Somehow, I’ve managed to have one published, one being revised, and one sitting in my computer, percolating.
Revision is mainly rewriting, in my hands anyway. The worst is deleting a big chunk of prose, as I did this morning, because I felt it was telling, not showing. I replaced it with a much shorter piece of dialogue. If I keep cutting, i’m going to end up with a novella!

This proroguing of Parliament has irritated me more than almost anything Harper has done, and he has done a lot that I objected to. I think he has shown a contempt for the people that is astounding. And I’m not the only one. True blue conservatives, of the non-Reform Party variety, are also taken aback by this abuse of power. There was no real need, after all, except that he didn’t want to answer the questions in the House. Or maybe he and his minions just wanted a long winter vacation. The rest of us are at work, and want to see the M.P.s at it as well. Besides that, we want him to answer the questions, about Afghanistan and the budget, and whatever else comes up, and answer them in the House, where the people we elected to ask him questions, can do so.
Oh, and don’t tell me he needs the time to consult about the budget. I don’t believe for one minute that anything the people say affects him one whit. Again, that’s what we pay the opposition M.P.s for.


Se’nnight, a word from Middle English that means a week, seven nights. It was derived from Old English, seafon nihta, and has relatives in many languages including Italian(settimana), French(semaine) and Catalan(setimana).
I first met it in a Rex Stout short story, used, not by the erudite Nero Wolfe, Stout’s polymath main character, but by a low level hood. “Where did you pick that up?” he is asked.
“Oh some wag started it around last summer.”
The Oxford English revised says it is archaic, Middle English(1150-1500), but there are references to its use later than that period.
Dr. Donald Straughan, in directing the transcribers of the Bath Chronicle(1760-1800) for the Georgian Newspaper Project, instructs them that the word is se’nnight, sometimes fe’nnight, and means a week, not a fortnight.
Se’nnight is included in the Emily Dickinson Lexicon for her 19th Century poems, and Virginia Woolf used it in 1928’s Orlando. The Rex Stout short story I mentioned is called Easter Parade and was published in 1957.
Perhaps the old words aren’t dead, just waiting to be rediscovered.
I’ll write again, Sunday se’nnight.