Wednesday, February 13, 2008

31 Happy Years!

Sorry to disappear on y'all—it's been One Busy Week, what with one thing and another. Among other things, today (Feb. 12) was 1) Lincoln's birthday, 2) Darwin's birthday, and 3) our wedding anniversary: 31 Happy Years!, as my husband is given to saying.

Said husband gave me a MacBook Pro for said anniversary (I gave him a great black-and-white photo by Bob Gomel, of Malcolm X and Cassius Clay at a lunch counter, in the early days of the civil-rights movement. Here's a link to the image of it: ), which I've been messing with in the interstices of the day.

Younger daughter's washing machine committed suicide, so she came by this morning to do her laundry, pausing to fill me in on the horrifying (but deeply entertaining) details of her friends' messy lives, including the Full Story of what happened on her best friend's 21st birthday—this involving a hotel room, two young men going shot for shot, and one of them passing out stark naked on the toilet ("What did he think he was? Elvis?" my daughter demanded rhetorically). He wasn't naked for any apparent reason, btw; everybody else was out celebrating the birthday girl's "power hour" (this evidently being the hour between midnight and 1 AM on the person's birthday, during which they go to a bar with their friends and order alcohol for the first time ever (or so we assume ), and returned to find the young gentleman in the aforementioned condition, whereupon they dragged him out and put him to bed on the pullout sofa, only to have him suffer various ghastly aftereffects of alcohol poisoning (you don't want to know, believe me, but it was pretty entertaining to hear about), and keep them up all night, alternately moaning incoherently and shrieking, "I'm gonna die!" Fortunately (or not), said young man was the manager of the hotel, which must have led to a lot of interesting conversations among the staff next day, but at least saved the party people from all being arrested or flung out into the street in the middle of the night.

At the other end of the entertainment scale, I had to read fourteen essays on the subject of "The Limits of Scientific Knowledge," which, while Most Interesting, sort of weren't as riveting as the picture of the young hotel manager, wrapped in a sheet stained with various terrible substances, moaning, with his panicked friends piling pillows on his head so the Room Service waiter wouldn't perceive that the corpse in the bed was in fact The Boss. These (the essays) are part of the entries for this year's Agassiz Prize for science writing, which I and a few other people sponsor at Northern Arizona University. The entries are on a different topic (set by the prize committee) each year, and range from rivetingly articulate to dismayingly incoherent (the point of this prize is to encourage clarity and insight in scientific writing), but require considerable attention, in either case.

And I'm theoretically writing a short story (yeah, that'll be the day. Last time I wrote a short story, my agents informed me that this was the size normal books are (that was LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER)) for an anthology titled PHOENIX NOIR, which needs to be done by the first of March.

And Hoang, the excellent artist who's doing the artwork for the (so far untitled) graphic novel, sent me the next batch of layout pages, which are great. (Layout pages are his preliminary quick pencil sketches of each script page—no particular attention to character beyond a rough suggestion of features, but showing the composition of each panel, so I can say whether he's caught the elements and mood I intended with my description.) These are always fascinating, and I have the editor's permission to post one of them on my website so you can see what it looks like—I'll send it to Rosana tomorrow, so it should be up within the next few days.

Meanwhile, the phone lines in the neighborhood are completely wack (as Younger Daughter eloquently puts it); we haven't had any phone service since last Friday, though we had a visitation from a young service technician who—between talking diesel engines with my husband and describing the four train horns he has on his truck ("A hundred and thirty-seven decibels each!")—cheerfully diagnosed the problem as "a wet splice," which doesn't sound like anything one wants to have. This is evidently a Bad Thing, but it's on the phone company's side of the property line, so we possess our souls in patience and keep our cell phones handy while they mull the problem (mulling seems to involve a number of phone company trucks driving slowly through the neighborhood with young men—I don't know why young women don't seem to want to do this; maybe it's a Y-chromosome thing having to do with the desire to honk train horns at unsuspecting people)—at the wheel, all talking animatedly on their cell phones, while gesturing excitedly out of the window (I saw three of them, while out for my daily brisk walk around the neighborhood today).

And I'm reading—in hasty pieces—Dana Stabenow's new thriller, PREPARED FOR RAGE, so I can interview her about it at The Poisoned Pen this Friday night (7 PM, for those of you living in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. We'll both be signing books).

And I have macerated my right arm while pruning the pomegranate tree (this being the most prolific thing in the garden. I foisted at least eight dozen pomegranates on unsuspecting friends and made two bottles of pomegranate liqueur, and still raked up roughly two hundred of the things this afternoon). No doubt inspired by this spectacle of fecundity, a bottle-gourd vine went mad and produced 51 bottle gourds. Which, I am told, make excellent bird-houses. I'm sure we have at least 51 pairs of birds in the hedge, because I can hear them every morning—them and the Very Aggressive woodpecker who keeps pecking holes in the oranges and tangerines (which is OK; there are a lot of them) and trying to drill a nesting hold in our big saguaro (which is Not OK), but whether I have the time to clean, drill and paint 51 bird-houses is somewhat problematical. I did clean one, just to see how much work it might be to make a drinking gourd/canteen—pretty easy, in fact.

And of course, the Hunt for Jamie's Butt continues. I was putting together a pile of photocopies (not all of buttocks, I hasten to add; castles, clothing, and other assorted bits of reference) for Hoang, when my husband spotted one of the Butt Candidates on top of the pile. Beyond being scandalized ("You shouldn't be able to get bottoms on the Internet!"), he was also rather critical ("I sure hope Jamie is more muscular than this poor little boy"), which led me to a fresh search. Luckily I thought of Robert Mapplethorpe.

Now I think perhaps we are getting somewhere.

Anyway, the day concluded with a delightful dinner (and bottle of wine) at our favorite restaurant, and while the wine was very good (a nice Rombauer chardonnay), we managed to conclude the evening's festivities without either one of us passing out in flagrante.

But it was kind of busy. With luck, I may be able to post something more coherent tomorrow. What was it I was going to talk about? Sex? Well, I think sex is generally a Good Thing. Details to follow.


  1. Happy Anniversary Diana and Doug! May you have many more Happy years together!

  2. Good morning!

    I've just emitted hot coffee through my nose. (ow) It was the scandalized husband/internet bottom bit...

    Happy anniversary!

  3. The Hunt for Jamie's Butt. Sounds like a movie all in it's own! Think of the auditions!

    Happy Anniversary!

  4. Congratulation.
    My parents had-do you call it silver wedding?-last year.
    I dont know if you have seen the movie P.S. I love you but in one scene there is a nice backsight of Jeffrey Dean Morgan.Haven't found a pic of it in the internet.
    Here is something I came across in the internet yesterday. :) If you want to know why shouldn't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear follow this link.

    Have a nice day Julia

  5. Finding a new blog from Diana is a highlight of my morning. Thanks so much for sharing snippets of your life. It almost makes up for having to wait another year for a book and the GN.

    Happy Anniversary and good luck on the butt searching!

  6. Happy Anniversary and happy hunting!!

  7. HAPPY 31 YEARS!
    The next 31 will get even better. You certainly don't let life pass you by.
    Ah! now on to Jamie's behind. I think my problem in viewing all the nude bottom websites is that they all look like a piece of art. Sculptured marble, no hair, flawless skin. I know the photo's are projecting the human form, but maybe if I could see them riding on a horse (nude of course) or running in a kilt I could get a better image in my head. Anyway this will be an interesting subject to research.

  8. Sounds like another eventful day at your house. I have had just this conversation with my daughter too, sometimes I feel happy that she confides in me and other times I cringe (don't tell me, don't tell me!).
    Mmmmm, Rombauer, sounds wonderful.
    Happy Anniversary!

  9. Happy Anniversary!

    I had to laugh at the last line of the this blog entry which read...

    Labels: Diana Gabaldon anniversary naked

    Sounds like a good one! *g*


  10. Happy Anniversary, Diana and hubby! Aren't they interesting, the types of gifts one gets as the years progress. They start out with jewelry and move through the gamut of items until they reach the practical or asked for.

    Your daughter's comments re: the 21st birthday party were hysterical! But! Did anyone get any pictures of said 'corpse' for later blackmail purposes? Or the ever wonderful "This was your father when we were younger" conversations?

    What a great way to start my day. Thanks! :D

  11. Happy Anniversary! And may you have many more to come.

    I certainly hope the Hunt for Jamie's butt goes well. If you need others to join in on the search committee, I would be happy to donate my expert services. [g]

  12. Diana:

    There are many points on which to comment --

    1) Happy Anniversary! being the most obvious..... although the idea of you two passing out in flagrante sounds entertaining (from this end of the computer), I know (sadly) what the reality is upon awakening. Glad you chose otherwise.

    2) Welcome to the world of Apple/Mac ownership! You will find yourself in an elite world, where all is synced, copacetic, 51 gourd birdhouses is a delightful prospect, woodpeckers pecking in your saguaro is a tuneful melody, suicidal appliances don't crease you brow, and thoughts of wet splicing make you weak-kneed. The Bob Gomel -- awesome, incredible, gorgeous. What a cool gift.

    3) Mapplethorpe is definitely the way to go for Jamie's butt (for all the obvious reasons that I won't go into here... maybe in your sex blog, though). I have to admit I was not impressed with the smooth, rounded, non-indented-at-the-side gluts you considered earlier. They were too pillowy, as though stuffed with down, and not the bottom of a Scot used to horse riding in a kilt.

    4) Like many others have, or will most likely do, I went immediately to your website upon reading that new GN images were available -- didn't even bother reading the rest of the sentence -- then came right back when I saw that the image(s) were not yet posted.

    5) Glad to know you've been busy and hadn't given up on the blogging. I admit to a bit of concern that you'd lost interest when you hadn't shown up for several days.

    6) I must be deprived if every fibre in my body is geared up for your sex blog. I'll have to speak to my DH about that!

  13. You have a sex blog??? :O How did I miss this??? Have you posted other in flagrante exploits there?

    **shakeshead** I am so behind....

  14. Happy Anniversary, Diana and Doug! I love to hear about happy marriages!

    I also loved the funny story about the birthday party, and I admit to snorting coffee through my nose as well! Poor boy! The story brings back some memories of my own misguided youth (shuddering in disgust at those memories).

    Now, I know you don't have research assistants, however keep in mind that if you ever get tired of looking for Jamie's butt, I'm available for hire! I may just hire myself for the job anyway...hmmm...I best get to "work."

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  16. Happy Anniversary, I've only been married 6 yrs. Glad to see there are lots more fun adventures in the future.

    Given to jamie's aversion to men of that particular persuasion, Lord John Grey aside, I wonder how he will feel if you get his bottom from Maplethorpe? Chuckle.

    February 13, 2008 8:48 AM

  17. Hey Nightmusic:

    There isn't a separate DG Sex Blog. (Holy smokes, that's how rumors get started *EG*!) Diana once commented about writing a blog topic on the art of writing about sex. And we've all been generously patient, waiting for that most (not moist) scintillating item to appear. We've even prompted her to do so, with little pushes and nudges along to way. So, FINALLY it seems, our efforts are to be rewarded.

  18. Well, good grief, its about time!! Though, perhaps titling it "The Art Of Writing Sex" might be better than a 'sex blog' LOL Though it did catch my attention! :P

  19. Happy Anniversary, D&D!

    I noticed the same thing, M&M! *g* Sure hope it was as good an annversary as it sounded!

  20. Congratulations on the 31 happy years! So how long have you been married? :)

    (I had a friend who used to say things like, "We've been married 20 years, 15 of them happily.")

    I do hope Jamie's butt is hairier than that...

  21. Blessings on your anniversary!

    I'm a relatively new listener. I joined last October when I had eye surgery and couldn't do much more than lie around on my left side for a month or so. Two friends recommended the series and since then I have listened to the first three books and read the last three...repeatedly and compulsively. It has been a relief to know I'm not alone in wanting to absorb each detail as I move through the story. (I took the leap and bought "Snow and Ashes" on CD and literally cried out when I saw the Amazon box on the stairs this morning.

    I have looked around the 'net and in the Companion but have not found an answer to my burning question: What happened to the French soldiers in the hold?

    As for the art, I'd also vote for less glamour and more curls , but the image provided is in the '40's when Claire has access to beauty products
    ; perhaps she will change as her transformation to an 1800's woman occurs?

    Glad to find you, and thank you for sharing your thoughts so freely. I look forward to joining in now and then.


  22. Happy Anniversary!!

    On another note: I have been reading Sarah Donati's book; INTO THE WILDERNESS, and I am enjoying it, (though not nearly as much as my favorite author's books) (grin)
    I recently read the part that we spoke about in an earlier post...regarding the "mention" of the White Witch helping a young boy with fever, and that this lady surgeon was Ian Murray's auntie.
    At the end of the "story" that was being told some 16 years after the said event, all the characters toasted Claire Fraser and her ability to heal the boy. I must say, it warmed my heart to read about it in Sara's book. It just goes to show you that Diana has created such real characters that even other authors can't get them out of their minds~!

    Happy Valentine's Day to you all!
    Sharon J

  23. HAPPY 31ST! So many don't put in the hard work it takes to get there.

    As for Jamie's butt, I must say that Gerard Butler in 300, that oh so fabulous butt shot, would still be my choice.

    Not so much because I think Jamie's butt looks like that, it's just that I doubt there's a more perfect Scottish posterior than Gerard's!

  24. What a wonderful gift for Doug. May you enjoy many more happy anniversaries.

    Now to the more serious subject of our Jamies bottom. A number of years ago a photographer took photos of nude Olympic athletes. My teflon brain does not remember the photographers name. What I do remember is that the muscles under the skin reflect the sport. Having said that, it would stand to reason that Jamie's glutes would have the musculature of an equestrian.

    It sounds like you have a lot of volunteers if you are feeling overwhelmed by the avalanche of nude bums. Enjoy the research

  25. Congratulations on your anniversary!

    I hate people who just carp about stuff and can't be positive - so let me start by saying, love your writing and love this website - thank you!

    One peeve - am I the only one who thinks that posted image of the artist's rendition of Claire is great... but too young? She looks like a teen model made up to look older than she is - which feels wierd against the maturity of her persona right from the start. I'm sure we all have a million too many opinions, but you did leave an opportunity to add a comment - for which, again, thank you.

  26. The gift you gave Doug was so cool. Does he collect that type of photography?

    I really missed you the last couple of days and was beginning to worry! I was so glad to hear from you!

    Looking forward to more adventures with Jamie's butt, and your blog on sex :)


  27. Liz, If you look at all the comments that were posted after that particular blog entry, you'll have a better idea of people's thoughts on the picture. Just click "comments" at the end of that entry.

  28. You know, my sister and I were wondering what would happen if your husband saw the naked bottoms you were perusing. Ha! Thanks for sharing. Does this sort of thing happen a lot?

  29. Diana,
    Congratulations on 31 years!

    Your words today were the perfect way to end the day. Like others, I was afraid you had retreated from the onslaught of bloggers -- so glad it's not true.

    The hardest part of parenting adult children is keeping your mouth shut and thoughts to yourself when they are willing to share "delicate" details of their lives.

    I can't wait to hear more about writing about sex, since you do it so very well!

    Happy anniversary,

  30. I happened to go to a few minutes ago to look up a word, and noticed that their word of the day for Feb. 13 is "perdurable", meaning "Very durable; lasting; continuing long". It may be a day late, but I thought it seemed appropriate. Congratulations on your "perdurable" marriage and wishing you many more happy and successful years!


  31. How heavenly it would be to have one's own pomegranate tree. I'm lucky to purchase two or three fruits from the grocery store during the short season for them. It must feel like Eden at your house, but with pomegranates instead of apples. Although I don't think Eve had to do any raking.


  32. Congratulations on 31 happy years! Is your spouse really so innocent when it comes to the internet? (g)
    Naturally, curiosity had me checking out Mapplethorpe's website looking for buttocks, and got an eyeful of hot dogs and beans!

    Good Lord!

    I am impressed that this much research is going into Jamie's backside. This speaks to the quality we can expect from the graphic novel.

    What about the rest of him? The last thing I heard was that the artist was working with different postures and positions and that Jamie looked like nothing more than an elf at the time. What's the latest on his image? Still elvish?

  33. Happiest 31, D&D!

    As for the butt hunt, it is said the joy is in the journey, not necessarily the destination...enjoy!

  34. Happy Anniversary! Just coming up to 20 years ourselves.
    I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and much missed it this last week. Glad you are back!
    I am just enjoying reading Outlander - living in NZ it was Cross-stitch the first 8 or 9 times round, and a friend found a copy of O so of course I have had to sit down and compare the two. DH said "You are reading two books at the same time! Oh, I see." (Usual roll of eyes to accompany me reading DG again...)
    Extremely interesting the details that have been changed from one to the other, never mind the Mmmmph scene that was cut from C.
    Thanks for hours of pleasure!
    Lallyquilter Tooki

  35. Diana,

    May I suggest you take a look at a copy of Sarah Simblet's ANATOMY FOR THE ARTIST (photos by John Davis)? The cover alone gives you an idea of the material contained therein, found here.

    I own the book and flipped through it when I read your blog; already I found a couple good, muscular "Jamie" candidates.



  36. Happy Anniversary Diana. I love your Claire and Jamie books. Forgive me if this is in the wrong place, but your website said to post here with comments about the pic of Claire.
    I am a nurse and I think that Claire, being the practical and smart woman she is, would probably not wear her hair down and curly etc. when she was on duty as the picture implies.
    She would tie it back in a ponytail or bun so that it would not, in effect, land in the various wounds and what-nots of her patients.
    (Trust me, once you've got someone else's pus in your hair, you learn to keep it back.)
    Good luck with all of the writing ventures and I eagerly await the next Claire and Jamie installment.
    PS looking for nice bottoms has definitely got to be a fun job perk! :)

  37. liz l --

    Um, your peeve comment isn't so positive in itself.

  38. I know! - that's why I started with an apology and saying what I do like and how much I do!

  39. Happy Anniversary! I have just recovered enough to type after reading about your but search... what an enjoyable way to spend research time!
    I am a new fan of your series having read 2 before Christmas and after getting my mother hooked on your books I received from her a copy of all 6 books-way better than the vacumn from my husband(although I did ask for that).
    I am an artist and have in my head many imgaes of Jamie, Claire and the others so I am excited to hear of the upcoming Graphic Novel!

    Thanks for sharing your wit and humor!

  40. Diana:

    I've been thinking.... since your hunt for the ideal Jamie bottom continues, refresh yourself, if you haven't already, on the exquisite posterior of David. While hardly flesh and blood, the statue's dimensional, vital, and gorgeously proportioned gluteus maximus are a prime example of that part of the male anatomy. I could be driven to bestow a love bite on a bottom that looks like that.


  41. Yeah, Midge, David's butt is gorgeous, but perhaps a wee too slender for our strapping Jamie? Diana, I have no doubt your 31 years of marriage is as wonderful as Jamie and Claire's 31- let's hear it for married love! And thanks for giving us opinionated fans another chance to criticize, suggest, and celebrate the GN sketches (let's hear it for thick skin!)

  42. Happy happy Anniversary and Congratulations, 31 years is a huge bragging right in our society where if you make it past a couple years its a miracle. ROFL about the search for Jamie's butt, here's hoping the research goes well.. Cannot WAIT to see the new posting from the graphic novel....

  43. I have a question that has absolutely nothing to do with naked men, wedding anniversaries, or washing machine suicide.

    Ok, well, sort of naked men. If you count decomposing corpses. But that's just a whole other sort of naked (it's my thesis, I could explain later if you really needed me to...).

    When you were back in the world of academia, how did you go about starting to get published and such? I'm currently revising the 3rd chapter of my MA thesis in the hopes that I can sometime in the next year or so get it published (that and I'm stuck in an airport as my flight is about an hour delayed... I needed something to do), and aside from the university's student journal, I'm not sure where to even begin thinking about getting published or who to ask without seeming like a self-involved ass (since I'm no longer in school).

    That is all. :)

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  45. Happy Anniversary Diana!

    I don't know if this is the appropriate place to post my question, but here it goes...

    I was reading over the list of questions and answers posted on your website about he upcoming Jamie and Claire novel (I miss them terribly so the sooner published the better) and there is a question I have been dying to receive the answer to for years!

    In the first novel - Outlander Claire's 20th Century husband, Frank, sees what he intially thought to be a man, but later describes as a ghost standing outside their hotel room watching Claire in the window with such an intensity that he began to question Claire's fidelity during their war-time seperation.

    I thought this was a powerful scene and over the years have waited to see if there is some later reference to this. My initial thoughts were that somehow it was an apparition of Jamie foreshadowing things to come.

    Please tell me, what did this mean? And will there be further expounding in the newest novel in the series?

  46. Congratulations on your anniversary!
    Just finished Lord John and the Hand of the Devils - waited to read about green eyes the witch had...but no such luck reading about Geilis Duncan! Looking forward to 2009!
    Good luck in search of Jamie's butt...a very difficult task to undertake, but I think very satisfying too! Artwork of Claire: Expressive eyes! Hair is quite accurate...

  47. Happy Anniversary Diana and Doug (albeit late). Not many make it to 10 years let alone 31!!

    Models for Jamie's ummm.. Must not forget Rodin statues!!

    Sharonj: Sara Donati's books are very good. Almost as long as yours Diana(g). However, different.

  48. There's a billboard I keep seeing about locally (Melbourne, Australia) with three guys in kilts mooning (someone? the camera?) from the roof of a house. I am not certain, but I think it's an ad for beer. I think the slogan is "stand your ground". Does anyone need me to photograph it?

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