"...so I definitely recommend it highly to anyone with similar symptoms. And if you are ordering one from Bechdel's Bedding in Empyreal — whether in person or by mail order — you can mention the promotional code 'Super Pure Super Soft' to receive twenty coppers off your order. Is that not a great blessing? Only the best for my listeners! Now, the update on my blessing-in-progress is complete, so it's time for... the Pure Post! Yes, it is time to open the big bag of mail and answer your questions."
Finally, Divvo had reached the last main section of the episode. There had been quite a few off-topic rambles to cut out and some background noise he'd had to edit around by splicing in part of a ruined take. He was quite proud of his work matching the pieces up, though it remained to be heard how well it worked once he cut the master resin recording. That was the final step after queuing up all the edits. He hoped the mail answering would be more straightforward. Usually, Missus Riggs was good about keeping to short answers, but there were occasional disasters which he had to use his judgement whether to include a part of or cut out entirely.
Reaching for the dwindling stack of resin platters, Divvo carefully placed the next recording in the editing machine and began listening to the next collection of segments.
"Now we shall see what our first question is!"
Good, she'd remembered to split up the introduction from the letter reading. That made it much easier in case he chose to put a different letter first.
"Jaina T from nearby Burdale writes: 'Dear Kim, thank you so much for making Woman Purified, it has been a great help to me.' Aww, you are so welcome, Jaina from Burdale. 'My question is: sometimes I feel like my parents let my younger sister do things they do not allow me to do. This makes me angry at her and at them sometimes. I know I should not feel angry, but it is so hard to stop. How can I get rid of my anger about this?'"
An alternate take with slightly different cadence and use of expression followed, but Divvo prefered the first one. He read the exact start and end times of the chosen portion off the respective dials, and added this information to a long list of segments. He would not be able to decide which question to run first until he had listened through them all, though it was fairly likely he would start with the first one recorded. He did not reorder them without a very good reason.
"Great question, Jaina from Burdale. I think this is a matter of perspective and respect. Would you agree, Xue Mei?" There was a slight pause between recorded sections before the next part began. "You must keep in mind that your parents have much greater experience and wisdom than you have. They are also aware of more relevant details than you are. This means that they are better equipped to make decisions than you are, and your understanding of the situation may be incorrect. You may think it is unfair, but you should trust that your parents are making the correct decision, using their Maker-given authority. Not respecting their authority, wisdom, and experience will cause you much worse problems than any perceived 'unfairness'."
There was a second take of that part, which Divvo decided sounded more heartfelt than the first.
"As for your sister, you must not resent the blessings that are bestowed upon her. It is your responsibility to encourage her and to guide her in best using every opportunity, not to hold her back or keep her down. She might feel that you have unfair advantages over her. But each of you is a unique, greatly-made person. What is good for one of you may not be good for the other. So you should make the most of every opportunity you have, and not worry about those that you missed out on. Remember: contentment is a virtue!" There was a pause for Xue Mei to interject. "Be pleased with what you have, and do not be concerned with what you do not. Practicing contentment will keep you from anger. But if your anger persists, you should confess this to your parents, so they may help you turn away from such a destructive path."
That was a solid take, and Missus Riggs evidently agreed, as there was not a second take. Personally, Divvo felt that 'greatly-made person' was an odd turn of phrase, but it was not his place to judge that.
"It is time to move on to the next question," was the next recorded segment. It was followed by several more variations of question introductions, which Divvo would need to splice between the question readings as appropriate. He spent a few minutes noting the exact segment times and making a few notes to make his choices easier.
"Iska Wickham from up in Hillbrake writes: 'Dear Kim, your recordings mean so much to me! I pray that I might do more to help my community, but it is a struggle to find the time. What advice do you have for women who want to fit more into their days?' Well, Iksa, you have a very—"
"It was Iska," a distant male voice interrupted. Most likely the recording technician.
"Iska, Iksa, whatev—" The recording resumed the customary brief pause. "Well, Iska, it is great to know that you want to better serve others. That is a very admirable goal. You may remember from recording number 389 that in order to make time, you have to give up time. There may be a task you can do quicker, or less often." There was a pause here to cut Xue Mei in. "Perhaps there are some activities in your schedule which are not as necessary as you thought. But looking for that extra time will itself take time. You might think you can simply cut out some rest time, but that may hurt rather than helping. If you are not properly rested, your work may suffer." Another pause. "Also, hurrying may seem like a time-saver, but you will soon find that it puts you behind when you have to do a chore a second time, or recover from a disaster. Hurrying causes askid—" Divvo struggled not to laugh at that error.
"Hurrying causes accidents. But one of the best time savers is delegation. Again, it will take time to invest skills in your daughters, but it will soon save you more time than you spent training them. Besides, preparing your daughters to manage their own homes is your Maker-given duty! I hope this helps. You may want to consult previous recordings on this topic, such as 398, and—"
"389," the recording technician corrected.
"You may want to consult previous recordings on this topic, such as 389, and if you have any more specific questions, feel free to—"
"Ease up on the sarcasm, Miss Riggs."
"You may want to consult previous recordings on this topic, such as 389, and you can always write in with further questions as your situation progresses. Your letters are always welcome! Is this not one of the best parts of the making Woman Purified, Xue Mei?"
Blessedly, there was enough of a gap after 'I hope this helps' to make splicing that fairly easy. That completed the current resin, but it was only the second question, and Divvo expected at least five. He turned some knobs on the editing machine and pulled a lever to move the resin to the next free space in the numbered internal storage rack, and cued up the next one.
"From Penny Plait who lives in distant Awaba Lake — in the city, not in the lake, haha — we have the following letter: 'Dear Kim and Xue Mei, greetings from my houseboat!' Oh you've got to be rusting kidding me!" Obviously, a bad take. Divvo realised he ought to have skipped that one, but his concentration had been slipping and he'd forgotten to check the provided notes. "From Penny Plait who lives on distant Awaba Lake we have the following letter: 'Dear Kim and Xue Mei, greetings from my houseboat! I have a young daughter, about Xue Mei's age.' How nice, right?"
The question continued after the customary pause. "Penny says: 'My daughter is very clever — smarter than me — and she says she would much rather do something like design buildings or plan city construction than raise children. How do I help her?' What a big question that is." There was the customary pause for Xue Mei to chime in. "This is a very difficult position to be in, but remember it is the Great Maker who brings us challenges and gives us the ability to overcome them. Helping your daughter see the error of her ways will be difficult, and you will need the help of your husband. You need to make it clear to your daughter that even if she is smarter than you, you know what is best for her because you have the Great Maker's words. The Great Maker knows that a girl being 'clever' does not make it good for her to do men's work. She must think about what is good for the Pure as a whole, not just what she thinks she wants. Only in that context can she reclaim the Great Maker's grand design for femininity." That was actually the third take of the answer, but Divvo had been instructed in the notes to skip over the first two bad takes.
"We have had some long answers, so we only have time for one more." Divvo profusely thanked the Maker for that blessing. "This is from Portia T. Martín, who lives way over in Lenston. She writes: "Dear Kim, I am writing because a friend of mine is in trouble. She says her husband has become increasingly violent since... Hey, what's this doing in here? These were supposed to be screened before—" Oh, that was another bad take Divvo was meant to have skipped over.
Divvo made a note on a separate sheet, to send a message over to Lenston. There might be trouble brewing.
The next take was also a bad take, but from the numbers it was a very long take. Divvo could not restrain his curiosity.
"This is from Belinda Creeny from nearby Exaltation. She writes: 'Dear Kim, congratulations on your marriage and your prospective motherhood.' Thank you, Belinda. Her question is: 'Do you have any new cooking tips that you learned cooking for your husband? And what do you think is the best way to cut lettuce?' Oh come on, will people never let that go? Well Belinda Creeny from Exaltation, if that is your real name, you can put your lettuce in a steam boiler and make it into soup for all I care!"
"Er, you are still recording, Missus Riggs. You know resin is not that cheap."
"I'll record what I want! The mail screener clearly did not do his job! He can get in the boiler too!"
"Missus Riggs, please."
"You work for me! Don't interrupt my process, or you'll be eating nothing but lettuce soup for the rest of your miserable life!"
"I work for your husband, and he pays for your resin allowance."
"Do you know how much money I make? Double his salary as a cleric! I'll use all the demon-cursed resin I want!"
"It is still his money, Missus Riggs. I believe you said it yourself in episode 372—"
In the privacy of the cramped editing room, Divvo grinned. This was going to be a very long night, but it was worth it for the entertainment value of meltdowns like this one.