Wednesday, 31 March 2010


A key lesson: trust and reliance in things even when they're not immediately present. I must learn this. I am learning this almost despite myself.

The Red Balloon is a movie without words, yet it is not a silent film.

On a related note, I want to also begin feeling the gravity and weight and sensuality of silence--to give it a near monastic value--as in Bach's era. Not to hear in it an absence, the absence of noise, but an underlying potency, an inaudible but soulful resonance always there.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Hand Me Down

I've been devoting all my creative time to the new book, so I haven't been writing here.

I could write a story, maybe a whole novel about this sweater though.

Seven outfits, one for each day of the week. I will do it, soon.

I also hope, by the time I am in my 80s, I will look as good as Pete Seeger. Or at least inherit his wardrobe.


'We need an erotics of art.'--Susan Sontag, 1964

In Blackwells last year, August 1st, in the heart of summer, flipping through the Reborn Diaries on the shelf:

'1957, Oxford...Being self-conscious. Treating one's self as an other. Supervising oneself.'

I think she was saying this negatively, annoyed with herself, perhaps also with the intellectual pretensions of academia. And justifiably so. But I think there's also a positive self consciousness too. Not some inner mean spirit, but an intimate self-accompaniment.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Oh My

Something about the light in the 1970s. It's as if everyday were July in late afternoon. A lighter touch, a golden caress. Cool ivy shade and midsummer warmth, hand in hand.

Still westcoasting. Still dreaming of a place to be, and someone's soft footsteps in the hall. Windchiming light of a perfect love affair.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Love is a Lioness

Her cat was named Pablo after Neruda and sometimes Paul, her boyfriend, used to talk in Spanish to it. What bothered her was that Pablo seemed to understand, would respond with that sleepy look of familiarity he saved for her boyfriend alone. Whenever Paul was over, the two of them--Paul and the cat--would prowl the house together as one, lazing in the slabs of sunlight, waiting for her to come and occupy them with treats or with games.

Sometimes she secretly wanted to learn or invent a language that would make her feel more loved. She wanted to be a lioness of love...

If only I could do this lovely picture better justice. It's off a June Tabor album cover from the eighties. The other day I found myself writing a song called Love is a Lioness, but I only finished one verse. It was a bit masochistic, maybe. It went like this: Roar out/ Your name/ As you sink your teeth/ Into my heart/ Hunt your prey/ With hungry eyes/ And take him down/ Take him down/ Take him down/ You lioness of love.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Calypso Gold

A bank robbery, a girl on a bike. I'm sold. A song of the moment.

The sun was gathering the stars / She likes to see them all / She likes to fly...

This spare room is too small to dance in though, unfortunately.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Let the Ghosts Sleep Tonight

Jonathan came into to talk with me early yesterday morning, a newspaper tucked up underneath his arm and a coffee in either hand. I was upset with him at first for not calling, but then I remembered how much I enjoyed his company, also how much I enjoyed the crackling sound a newspaper made in the morning. Both were things I hadn't thought about in an awfully long time. As we sat down, I noticed he was wearing two different colour socks, both blue but of very different shades and patterns. (I even thought one might have been turned inside-out). I asked him what was wrong and he placed the newpaper down on the table between us, his eyes welling up slightly. I sipped my coffee, hoping he might do the same, wishing I had been the one who had brought the newspaper, who had also brought the two steaming cups. I wanted him to take his time, now that he was hear. I tried to show him I was listening. I tried to take a deep breath for him.

Then he told me what he had realised, and it floored me. You see, it had dawned on Jonathan that he had actually hurt Emily's feelings, all those years ago, not because of who he was, or even of his own volition. It wasn't because he meant to, or because he didn't love her--no, it was because of who she had believed him to be. There was the culprit. All that anger and sadness, he told me, hadn't really been directed at him, but at a ghost, a phantom. He had forgiven her, he told me, and he had forgiven himself. Oh Emily, he cried. Again, he showed me the scar on his forehead, that little dent above his eyebrow, and said, amazingly, that it hadn't been meant for him, but for this ghost. That scar wasn't his anymore. This isn't mine, he told me, brushing aside his forelock.

Then I wondered about the ring Emily gave me. This wedding band I have continued to wear even after she left me for Jonathan, after she ran off with Magnus, then with Edward: I felt it tap gently against the hot paper of the coffee cup as I leaned forward to inspect the scar that Jonathan said was his no longer.

Then we began laughing hysterically, our voices carrying more loudly in the early misty hours. It was an earnest, sincere laughter that seemed to voice for us how much we missed everything in our lives. How much we wanted to forgive and forget. How much we wanted Emily there, laughing with us. How much we missed her. How much we wanted this morning to redeem everything and put these ghosts of the past to sleep.