Today I read some Wendy Cope poems, a wad of illegal photocopies from an anthology at the library. I got to thinking about poets. Cope seems to be the writer for other writers, from her ironic defence of poets in 'engineer's corner' to more specific tributes like 'emily dickenson'. I remembered this one poem, 'making cocoa for kingsley amis'
It was a dream I had last week
And some kind of record seemed vital.
I knew it wouldn't be much of a poem
But I love the title.
And I read today a poem of hers I hadn't read before, called triolet.
I used to think all poets were Byronic -
Mad, bad and dangerous to know.
And then I met a few. Yes, it's ironic -
I used to think all poets were Byronic.
They're mostly wicked as a ginless tonic
And wild as pension plans. Not long ago
I used to think all poets were Byronic -
Mad, bad and dangerous to know.
I wonder what sort of person it takes to be a poet. Does one have to be someone blessed, or can you or I sit down and become one? Do you have to write poetry, the way Byron did, or can you speak it, smell it, make it from wood? If nothing else, it's a jolly good word for the week, Byronic!
Well, I did no reading today either. I read the front page on the newspaper beforerunning in fear, as usual. <laughs>. I read the specials and orders and mixing instructions for seafood baguette fillings, two part seafood to one part sauce (yuk). I read the menu to a visually impaired customer and tried to make everything sound yummy and added my own comments and observations about the food and stuff. I read some goverment propaganda that came with my loan forms. "this should help you understand" exclaimed the leaflet cover. And it was about as clear as mud, like all labout initiatives (thank goodness for freedom of speech, eh?). It had these patronising cartoon characters to 'help' guide you through. Silly when you think that the youngest person likely to read it is 18. One character called Julie says 'your financial notice means such and such UNLESS you are in the ERASMUS scheme, or in a post-grad IT scheme, or attend a semi-private institution, or....' and so on....
I read some bits from a book a friend at work had called 'colemanballs', a spin off from this thing in Private Eye magazine, a really funny politcal satirical monthly...hmm, i'll send you a back issue i think, it's fun. Anyway, colemanballs are basically verbal clangers or 'bloopers' from the not-so-rich-and-famous, and they are quite funny...
"Abattoirs don't make a killing" - Abattoir directer Mr Duggins.
"Four sheep for every welshman" - Times headline.
"We've had to beg, steal and borrow computers" - Chief Constable, Notts County Police.
Over and out.
Today I read in my lunchbreak. I am coming dangerously close to finishing the Prince, but I got distracted when I read the first few pages of one of the books I got on the three for two offer i told you about, and those few pages have turned into the first 100 pages, and... well i don't want to talk about either of these books right now, other than to say I am as taken with the fiery young Aglaya as ever <smiles>.
The big thing that I read today, the real lieterature which mine eyes beheld, was a letter. Brought to me at work at about 2pm by my mother who knew there was nothing in the world I would rather do than sit in my tea break with it with a nice cup of earl gr(a)y and maybe one of those cakes that I spend all dat making and then parting with in exchange for hard cash <laughs>. I liked the mad scribbles on the envelope, the lovely characters, and the kind voucher for free popcorn whenever I visit a chain of american cinemas on a Wednesday... as good a reason as any for me to pay you a visit one of these days. And I will, you know. You can have the honour of driving me around the West while I sit and watch you, lucky old you! Handwriting pleasingly angular as always. It was nice to hear about work and your brother and the two of you...'pseudo-bonding', was it? <smiles>. And I got a free chocolate stain as well, no doubt all part of your plan to 'feed me up', a suspicion confirmed by the excessive parisian food refernces in your post on this here website today <smiles>. I DO love getting letters from you, and it's been lovely to antisipate them with some degree of regularity lately, you're very good to me. Oh, by the way, I didn't get you the nice egrip pen, you got sent it free in the post, remember? I sent you a mad pen with a snow-globe-like stem, that writes very poorly but is pretty <smiles>.
Well, if you're allowed to use this space to wonder about Paris, then so am I, and I bet my back is worse than your's, so I have even more right! <laughs>. I want to walk in Paris with no direction, just wander around, happy to go in circles all day if that is where the pavements lead, maybe stopping off now and again to closer inspect something that catches my/your/our interest. Other than that, a movie sounds good, but bear in mind my non-existant french when you make your selection, and choose something visually entertaining. I want to visit a gallery, as a visit to Paris is not complete without this, I'm sure you agree. I want to eat wonderful food. I want to get up very early, as usual, and go and buy wonderful pastries, and fresh orange juice, and then come by your hotel with them very early and annoy you and wake you up and make you eat with me and read. I want to spent indecent amounts of time listening to you read, it will be such a wonderful opportunity to hear your voice properly, and you do read so well.... And, providing that I can pull it off, I want to do our 'surprise', which you are trying so hard not to try and guess and ask me about <smiles>. And I want to close my eyes to Parisian sunlight.
I was going to write now about a package that arrived for me today, a random unauthorised sending from amazon.com that I had not ordered but which looked good anyway. But after I had written the above paragraphs, you came online and you told be that you had sent the package, and I realised that yes, your name was even on the invoice slip, silly me, and you called urslef a moron and all other sorts of silly names, and yet I love you all the more for making the 'mistake' (although it's not one in my opinion) of not asking that the invoice be withheld or of not enclosing a note, as it seems so spontanious and lovely a thing to do, and so kind a thought directed at me. 'Interpreter of Maladies' by Jhumpa Iairi. <smiles>. Winner of insane amounts of worthy prizes. I will make a start on it tommorow, so maybe my posting here will be more literary...
You just told me to stop saying thank you, but it merits one more repeat, thank you. Well, maybe two repeats. thank you thank you <smiles>. Maybe if I ask you very very nicely you will read a little bit of it to me one day soon.
I sent an email in reply to your posting today, partly through a rather prudish and british inclination not to 'air laundry', as we say, in public <laughs> and partly because I wanted to talk today about what I ought to be using this space for, as oer out agreement. But first let me repeat, let me assure you that I was far from non-chalant last night, and that I was unspeakably happy to speak to you and hear your voice.
Ok, down to business.
Today I read from the book you so kindly and thoughtfully bought and sent me. I spent a long time just looking at it, taking in the cover and it's vast array of golds and browns. I ran my fingers over the cool, smooth, unsullied cover of my new book, I ran my fingers through the as yet unread pages, before breaking open the first page for the first time. And before I knew where I was, the first story was over, and I knew that this was 'one of those books', that I could happily sit and devour in a single sitting. And yet I had promised you faithfully that I would not, so I refrained, and instead read the first one through again, reading bits of it aloud to myself. I love the way the simplicity of the narrative lends itself as well to the ears as to the eyes, I felt a strong desire to listen to it in a cool quiet place, read by a clear and smooth and soft-spoken voice, with my eyes closed, and so I will bring it to Paris <smiles>.
I loved the digressions, the way that a whole lifetime of shred experiences were evoked and represented in only a few days of actual incident. I love how this was achieved without irritating 'trips down memory lane' which so often detract from the winding pace and tone of such tales. There was no over-explanation of past emotions and scenes that might detract from the here and low, the sroty being told. Every bygone image created fitted naturally and harmoniously into the present, so that it was almost inpercpetable, indistinguishable from what was actually happening in that moment, in the reality of the piece. It had it's priorities perfectly alligned, and it was a joy to read, truly. And to think that you, Mr Austin, are as much responsible for this joy in reading as (the indeed, as you said, very very lovely) Ms Lahiri, as I have no doubt that without you diligence this book would never have found it's way into my hands. I can't wait to read the next one.
This daily posting business is beginning to feel worryingly akin to a diary. Every year at Christmas, as a child, I would be presented faithfully with a new diary by my grandmother, and it was always one of my favourite gifts. I would write in it diligently for a week or so, and then I'd go back to school, and the offerings gradually petered out... I remember one occasion, when I was about six, waking up in the middle of a sticky August night and remembering suddenly my lovely diary, that year a pretty one with a little lock and a big frog on the cover and scented, powderey coloured pages, which had now been completely neglected for at lest two months, and weeping heartily at my own ineptitude and my failure to keep effective record, so distressed was I that my father had to come and sit with me until I eventually fell asleep again <smiles>. I hope this tradition doesn't diminish that quickly, but in a few weeks these paragraphs will probably be mere comments and eventually, by the and of august, they might have fizzled out. Perhaps momentary recovery in the parisian build up... maybe when and if i start becoming neglectful, you should just start posting up my emails to you, that'll teach me! i am tempted to create an addressee for these posts, a sort of Anne Frank-like Dear Kitty... thinking about it, I will start with Dear Emp. Not Jones <smiles>. In memory of the good old days. <smiles>.
Today I helped my father out a bit with his fundraising stuff. Then I went to the market and bought fruit, vast, disgraceful amlunts of fruit. I am sitting before a large bowl piled high with raspberries which are glazed with a delicate pinky sap from a couple of berries that got crushed in the carton, and some thin slivers of red pear, both of which have this wonderful flavour quality of frezing in the back of you throat and making you catch your breath. What is the name for that sort of flavour, there MUST be one... you are so much more knowledgable about such things, i'm sure you know what it's called. If you don't then invent a word for it and bluff <laughs>. Actually, while I am picking your brains, do you know what it is called when somebody says exactly the same thing at the same time as you during a conversation? I was thinking about this today, and I couldn't think of a word for it? (ah there it is, my infamous question mark following a statement <smiles>). Anyway, I am eating this fruit with a generous serving of ice cream, vanilla, and it's heavenly, another for my list of what ambrosia tastes like...
I read the next story from my (hmm, i just looked out of the window, and it's no later now than it was the other night when I was sat outside talking to you, and yet the sky is different, darker....) book, the second story which I Oh, SOOOOOO nobly refrained from attacking last night, it was called 'when mr pirzada came to dine'. I liked it, but something in the narrative struck me as misplaced... it was written in past tense, and yet I got the feeling that this was retold not too many years into the future, certainly not when young Lilia is a grown woman, but the narrative voice tries just a little TOO hard to sound like a ten year old's, it doesn't quite work.... the language is too pre-meditated and thought to be representative of such a youthful teller. This said, I liked it a lot. I especially liked the description of the pumpkin carving, the expression on the pumpkins faced after it has had it's teeth mutilated in the manifestation of poor Mr Pirzada's shock... 'placid astonishment... floating in frozen surprise above a vacant, geometic gaze... very nice. I liked how Lilia mother and father came to befriend Mr Pirzada, just going through the list of the university directory looking for a good name <smiles>. I liked the descriptions of Lilia's bedtime rituals, the eating of candy treasures and the brushing of teeth, ridiculous rituals that we all did as children and which we still carry out as adults, maybe with slight variations, and yet they were not told as if they were ridiculous, and I liked that a lot, it was comforting, the acceptance and the normality of habit. I was also interested to hear the accounts of a history lesson in America, the repition of American history, to the point where it resembled indoctorisation (a process, of course, that all nations carry out upon their youth)... i wondered if this was a fair account of your own education though, and so next time we speak I want to ask lots and lots about your schooling.
I also read a bit of the New Yorker, which I finally picked up today, and which costs me in pounds what it costs you in dollars, a shocking 3.35, but never mind... I read a few bits from 'the talk of the town', including a rather sweet account of a guy who has put himself and a madonna concert ticket up as a competition prize on the net <laughs>. I read the coffee article you mentioned, and the poems. I liked the Merwin and i want you to read it to me as I am curious to see what you will do with the lack of puncuation, where you will linger and insert your pauses. I was VERY taken with the Grennan, a poet I have not encountered before, I loved it, and read it to myself several times. And right now, you are probably working. I posted you a letter today <smiles>. The post office lady grinned when she saw it, you'll see what I mean when it arrives <laughs>. <laughs harder at the memory of 'laughter'>. <laughs out loud>.
Hmm, that address still sounds to clinical, it's the 'dear' bit... will think on it...
So last night I watched TV with my father, in my mother's absence (staying with a friend overnight...) and we just sat. Watched a documentary on Aretha Franklin and three quarters of 'Blues Brothers' <laughs>. Watched a couple of animations as part of some cable festival. There was this one that I remember laughing at with my sister years ago that they showed, it was called 'the california raisins', and it's like this VH1 spoof documentary thing with clay models, very funny... I think they made a spinoff series of regular cartoons which were awful <smiles>. I also saw this short animation, maybe 10 minutes long, another that I remember from... well, not as a kid, maybe a couple of years back, directed and animated by Cordell Barker, the short was called 'the cat came back', and it's basically this guy who has this cat follow him around and his mad attempts to get rid of it... in fact, i might have mentioned this cartoon to you before, maybe. I like it a lot. Anyway, there is this little song that runs through it, this old old folk song on which the animation was based, i think... "but the cat came back the very next day, the cat came back, he thought he was a goner, but the cat came back, he just wouldn't stay away....", and it's going around and around in my head <smiles>. Anyway, it's a neat cartoon, look out for it. Arrived at my aunt Joyces nice and early, she lives near Portsmouth, acroos the harbour, in a place called Gosport... my uncle had already gone out to his bowls club, although it was only 9am when we got there <laughs>. The joys of retirement <smiles>. We ate, and then walked to the waterfront and caught the ferry across the harbour to portsmouth. Saw the big ships, HMS Victory and HMS Warrier and what is left of The Mary Rose... all lot's of fun. Oh, in the car my dad and I took it in turns to play tapes <smiles>. Everything from Dvorak to the Beach Boys. Anyway... we had lunch, and then went for dessert at this place called Dagostinos. They have been around since my grandmother was a kid, some ninety plus years now, they are still family run, and they make their own ice cream, only one flavour, vanilla, but it's the most amazing thing... my dad says he only needs to taste it to feel like he is ten years old again <smiles>. He told me this story about how, as a child, he did this thing called 'mud larking'. Underneath the jetties on the harbour front there is a lot of mud and silt washed up, and my dad and his friends would go and clown about down there, turn cartwheels in the foot deep mud and such, and people would throw down pennies, which the boys would then dive for in the mud, adding to the larking and therefore to the entertainment and therefore to the number of pennies thrown... and that's called 'mud larking'. <laughs>. On the way home, we stopped off at an old national heritage site, called bishops castle, it's the ruin of a 12th century bishop's palace next to his cathedral, which was long since lost... it was nice. We stopped on top of Porchester Hill, a favourite spot of mine as a child, and still now, and it gives the most spectacular view down to the harbour on one side and over the rolling hills on the other... we passed through all these beautiful little Hampshire villages, proper english country villages, like the ones you must have in your head, being american, whenever I say the word <smiles>. Including one called Twyford, which is where I am going to live one day, incidently, did you know that? Probably not because I only decided about four hours ago <laughs>. But now you do... it's weird, I've never seriously considered living anywhere but England, or at least the UK, but it's such a tiny place, really... it would be like an american saying they would never contemplate living out of state, which seems ridiculous... strange, I guess... Today was the third day of the heatwave here that is set to break all previous summer heat records... glorious, but I dread tommorow, at work among the ovens. Tonight, the phones lines went down again. I was just reading when suddenly the sky turned that perfect red and blue mix I described once, and told you we wouldn't see again until mid summer time. I dashed in to get a camera, and could only find my mum's old thing at hand, and by the time I got back out, the best was gone already, but I tried to take a picture for you, hope it comes out <smiles>. I read from my book, the title story, the interpreter of maladies, and I liked it, as I have liked all the stories, and I will write more about it tommorow, but right now my brain is fried with the heat and the tiredness of the day, and I make a poor critic, even one who only has praise to compose <smiles>. I imagaine now you are enjoying your single day off, maybe hanging out with your brother and stuff, playing chess or reading the papers, maybe <smiles>. No, actually, I looked at the time (about 2pm your time), so maybe you just ate lunch, and you are still sat at the table, talking, or eating dessert or something... hmmm. Well, whatever you are doing, do it with style, enjoyment and good humour, my friend. I'm a little worried about you, as I always am, about maybe you being overworked or depressed or unhappy, none I which I can really do anything to affect I guess, but I'm female so it'll take more than mere logic to stop me from fretting and fussing over you <smiles>.
I haven't anything so original to write about as fabulous radio stations I'm afraid. But I read. I read from my book, a story that I really loved, maybe my favourite so far, Mrs Sen's. I liked the description of the beach as something dull and boring, which is a foreign notion to us city girls. I liked the outing to the seaside, the temporarily renciliation of marriages and lives and conditions, the way one moment can exist regardless of all others, it's a truism of life and was well presented. I loved all of it. I found no fault <smiles>.
I also read a newspaper. Well, I TRIED to read a newspaper <laughs>. The Guardian, unusually for me, but I was late to buy a paper and it was all they had left (labour leftovers, hmm...). Anyway, some cool stuff in there today. Met Police are to borrow a habit from your own LAPD and employ stun guns called tasers, to 'bridge the gap' between tear gas and a lethal weapon. Elecro-muscular stunning. It had a little dart which shoot 30 feet and can penetrate any clothing. The LA advertisers of the gun bill it as follows: 'debilitate a target regardless of pain tolerance or mental focus... specifically designed to stop even the most elite, aggressive, focused combatants'. Sounds like a soap powder. Proven to remove all known stains. Slightly worrying, this attitude towards weaponry I find. well not worrying, but... hmmm. a sign of the times.
The High Court here had repealed a fifteen year old ban of nation of islam leader louis farrakhan. There was a really good article about him in the paper, I must say, and if you have any interest in such matters I will send you it. One thing that stuck me is that Mr Justice Turner, the guy that overturned the ban, will not give his reasons for doing so until october, because the high court is no longer in sitting - long summer holidays! It's a littlw bit too strong and touchy a subject for me to really explore here, I think, but if you are at all interested, it's something i'd like to chat about one day <smiles>. I was now going to write about a piece regarding the queen mum, but you just came online and made it defunct, so... <laughs>. Enbourne (tiny village) residants are up in arms because a farmer invited the pentacostal gypsy church to camp on his land, and they are being all noisy and un-villagey. Oh, Murdch is trying to get the contract to provide news for ITV, a national terrestrial TV station, BBC like in fame, and it would replace your beloved ITN here. More foot and mouth crisis news. It's dreadful, but when this all started everyone was very shocked and interested, but now it's lost some of it's effect, and although it's all very sadand econicially significant, I found myself reading with more than a touch of tedium... terrible of me.
So that's it. England today <smiles>.
This page is becoming neglected. I guess since I finished the very wonderful (thank you thank you) 'Interpreter of Maladies', I have been getting down to the business of University prep, reading my critisism and set texts (all as stuffy as you might expect) and mostly working on my portfolio for the creative writng class, digging through archives from the days I used to write, and reusing odd ideas, maybe, or just writing from scratch... it's hard, i'm rusty, but it feels good to just write for writings sake again <smiles>. My recent hand-scalding session at the bakery is something of a setback, but I am pretty much back up to writing speed, if my typing speed is still slightly slow <smiles>. I bought some books last night when my friend James and I visited leicester square, and picked at them today. One of them is this book called '50 stories stranger than fiction', and despite it's hardbacked ancient mightiness, it was in the kid's section... i read a story from it today, but it really wasn't noteworthy I also bought a wonderful childrens book, the illustrations were really lovely, and it HAD to be bought... it was in beautiful condition, it's called 'solo', and it'a all about a little penguin called Fin who get's lost and has an adventure while his befeathered family frets at home... it's rather good, and most definately to be included in the 'sharing or wealth' programme. I read a couple of poems today too, by John Pudney, from a slim volume called 'beyond this disregard'. I read them aloud, in order to start practicing for paris <smiles>. I am determined to be able to read whatever (english) book you may hand me without discomfort or tiredness, and I need to limber up. Anyway, I had never read anything by Pudney before, but some of the stuff in this tiny unassuming little book are really beautiful, so I added a couple to 'posts', and maybe you'll read me one, to tell me how it OUGHT be read <smiles>. I thought about the medium of conversation as ammunician for this page, and remembered this old chap with an alsation who sits by his garden wall, which is by the bus stop, all day and talks to the people waiting for their buses to bigger more exciting towns, and yesterday I spoke to him and he was asking about university and how my mum was and stuff, and he asked me if I had read the local newspaper, which of course I hadn't, and apparently a child of 13 hung himself last week in the village because he was being bullied. This young man attended a local school which caters specifically for those with diagnosed learning difficulties, it's an excellent school, and it's pretty much shaken up the whole village, it's shocking and so terribly terribly sad and wrong, and what an atrocious waste of life this is, it's just heartbreaking, his poor family... i also thought about how his teachers must feel as well, how a teacher would cope knowing a student had been reduced to such a fate.. gosh, it's so sad. Wow, this is not chirpy reading, I guess, sorry! I added a new page to the website, you might have seen, it's dedicated to a friend of mine, who I was out with last night, and one quirky feature that he has that I noticed, and that is that he has the most perfectly formed hands, and he took some photos (and a photocopy, which I'll add soon), and they were just too pretty to sit on my laptop, so I installed it as wallpaper on my PC and added the photos to this here website, for all to see <laughs>. Oh, I didn't write 'Dear Emp' today... <tuts>. Hey, look, I didn't mention the 'P' word once, aren't I good <grins>.
It's been a while, I know. Much neglected since paris has this site been but I thought with my visit to LA and to you impending as it is I might restart for a bit.
So last night I went to Lord of The Rings, and jolly good it was too. Parts too long, and a little repetitive in fight scenes, maybe on too many over-played touchy-feely 'moments', but then what more can we expect from Americans ;o). There was this funny thing, this part I remember where he looks into the mirror of 'things that have been, things that are and things that have not yet come to pass' and... in this mirror are all these really exciting scenes that havent been in the movie yet, and its kind of like a trailer for the next two movies snuck in... 'and remember kids, coming soon to a cinema near you next year...' <laughs>. But I liked the movie, interest was held throughout and the adaptation was very good, many parts working better on film than they did on page even, but I think the nature of the book was always going to lend itself well to a sensible film adaptation....
I'm looking forward to my visit. I'm looking forward to the flight, the in flight magazine and bad family aimed movies and lukewarm airline meals, I love it all <smiles>. Unfortunately I've not been feeling at all well since Tuesday really, a head cold that seems to be getting progressively worse and has left me all but bedridden save for last nights movie outing, and I really hope I feel fine by Thursday or the flight will be far from comfortable for me. I also have to attempt to find out which terminal I'm flying from, should be fun.... <smiles>.