Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Read this in the NYT and thought it was funny (I have a strange sense of humour maybe...)
"Correction: October 29, 2011
The Books of The Times review on Tuesday recounted an anecdote in Ms. Tomalin’s book in which Dostoyevsky told of meeting Dickens. While others have also written of such a meeting and of a letter in which Dostoyevsky was said to have described it, some scholars have questioned the authenticity of the letter and whether the meeting ever occurred."
Thursday, 15 September 2011
Monday, 12 September 2011
Now, isn't it a shame?
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain?
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore?
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?
Some things take so long
But how do I explain?
When not too many people
Can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn't it a pity?
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
She waits. She looks around for more visitors.
Once in awhile we might get the missing link of an alligator chain down there: children who’d gone missing, strays wandering around, all holding hands, or linked arm in arm, and I would have to pretend. To look after them, I mean. Like I was their tour guide and these were my, you know, my charges...
(This is from an 'experimental' play I just finished... with apologies to Mrs Basil E. Frankenweiler)
Monday, 5 September 2011
Sunday, 4 September 2011
He recognised that Susanna's presence was still trailing through him electrically. What he really wanted, now, was to prolong the sense that he was still with her, caught up with her story, that their lives hadn't now gone their separate directions. Her dextrously long-fingered hand had, at one point, slid to him from the opposite side of the kitchen table, helping to emphasise something she was saying, and though she hadn't reached him where he was sitting, she had come close. He could still see her hand there, lying slender and flat before him. It hadn't touched him, but something inside him certainly had been, and was still resonating. He almost felt he had just learned, in remedial fashion, some new style of being-with-a-woman. (from Transatlantic)
Sunday, 3 July 2011
Thursday, 30 June 2011
I've been busy and, also, taking a breather at the same time (this involved, incidentally, quitting cigarettes and coffee). But I will try and start writing here again, sometime soon. As of right now, all the time I used to reserve for the odd blog post has been given to jumping in rivers, primarily at night.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Often, lately, I'll awake on the verge of settling down under the sheets, on the cusp of some dream, and I feel myself shaking slightly, My heart racing, my entire body full of little tremors. Like an inability to let myself go entirely, to sink, hanging onto wakefulness with one last digit and flailing above the abyss.
Interesting that people typically reach for the same metaphor--falling--to describe both the act of sleep and those initial, reckless pangs of love. Both can have the significance of a leap of faith, a hope that you will come out the other side complete, intact.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
The Albion Beatnik, Walton Street, Oxford, from 31st May-2nd June. Tickets are £5.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Monday, 25 April 2011
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
This first picture, of the vase, was taken in late November, inside a Greek restaurant. The last photo was taken strolling down beside the Botanic Gardens last month, before the blossoms had come out, the wisteria bloomed.
I currently have a cold, and I'm having to soak up the first real spell of summery Oxford weather through a scarf. Yet, somehow, the idea of a sudden walk in the middle of night sounds very very appealing. All this late sunlight has been making for lilac evenings. Lonely twilight pooling with possibility.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Friday, 8 April 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
So less heartbreak...Sunday calm, missing trains up north, moving house, writing plays, and surviving long nights behind the bar. This is my life at the moment.
Packing and unpacking again, for the second time in six months, I realised with some relief that this new room, this new bed, are my own. Since 2009, I've been an interloper in other people's homes, lodging existentially, and now I finally have my own space again. My own space. A space I can look forward to returning to at the end of a night.
(Even as my books lay around me in disarray and my picture frames remain stacked on the dresser.)
Monday, 28 March 2011
Saturday, 26 March 2011
But I was just floored tonight by this interview with Ingmar Bergman, late in his life. It was from Swedish television, so these are just the subtitles. But still...Literature, I think, strives for this kind of truth, this kind of open-hearted disclosure. He has just been asked how he feels about death, and this is how he answers...
We had an agreement, we even used to joke about it...
I would die first.
Ingrid would sit with me and hold my hand. Ingrid would be the last person I saw. She was going to take over everything on Fåro and everything was to go on as before.
And then this happened...Probably the cruelest thing to befall me in my life and which has crippled me. Ingrid suddenly died.
Not suddenly, it took a year.
To go on living now is for me so utterly irrelevant. I try...I try to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I try to keep my life in order. I keep set hours. I get up at six in the morning. I work methodically until noon. Then there's the theatre. I try to maintain a strict order.
To me...To me life itself is a heavy burden. That I'm never going to see Ingrid again...is to me deeply distressing. It's a dreadful thought.
You see, I really felt that Ingrid was still there. I had an uninterrupted conversation going on with her. She wasn't altogether gone, she was still near.
But then my notions of life and death as existence and non-existence clashed violently. That means I'll never again see Ingrid.
Then Erland [Josephson] and I had a good conversation about it, which meant an awful lot to me.
Erland asked: "What are your thoughts on the matter?" I said: "I'm very doubtful at the moment...But I think I'll see Ingrid again." Because I do believe in other realities, I always have. I think I'll meet Ingrid again. And Erland wisely replied: "So affirm that belief."
And that's what I've been doing. I'm not actually afraid of dying.
Erland Josephson and Liv Ullman in Saraband, Bergman's last film
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Today I gave a two hour lecture on literature and Oxford to the loveliest group of Japanese mature-students. Their kindness overwhelmed me, especially considering all that their country has recently been through. Then, later today at work, postcards for the relief effort, with the phrase 'I Heart Japan' in Japanese characters (all except the heart, that is, which had a little map of the islands instead).
This is a detail from Freud's Girl with a Cat taken by me on my last visit to the Tate. The girl who was standing beside me as I took it, afterwards lifted her hand, as in the picture, and smiled at me. I didn't know her.
Monday, 21 March 2011
'There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page...
'There you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. "The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity." Anne Truitt, the sculptor, said this. Thoreau said it another way: know your own bone. "Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life...Know your own bone: gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still..."
'The body of literature, with its limits and edges, exists outside some people and inside others. Only after the writer lets literature shape her can she perhaps shape literature. In working-class France, when an apprentice got hurt, or when he got tired, the experienced workers said, "It is the trade entering his body." The art must enter the body, too.
'A painter cannot use paint like glue or screws to fasten down the world...You adapt yourself, Paul Klee said, to the contents of the paintbox. Adapting yourself to the contents of the paintbox, he said, is more important than nature and its study. The painter, in other words, does not fit paints to the world. He most certainly does not fit the world to himself. He fits himself to the paint. The self is the servant who bears the paintbox and its inherited contents...
'Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly. Probe and search each object in a piece of art. Do not leave it, do not course over it, as if it were understood, but instead follow it down until you see in it the mystery of its own specificity and strength....
'Admire the world for never ending on you--as you would admire and opponent, without taking your eyes from him, or walking away...
Then this last thing, this last revolutionary thought, which left me breathless, sitting there with my mug of coffee and the daylight churning over the street, clouds racing like eyes over a page:
'One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now...[Otherwise] anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.'
All quotes from Chapter Five of The Writing Life by Annie Dillard.
[Untitled Drawings by Louise Bourgeois. Book, entitled Wound, by Anish Kapoor]
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Today, the first day of a new season, and the light suddenly changes and the clocks prepare to jump. (Dreams last night of running a marathon, down old streets, miraculously faster than I ever dreamed my legs could carry me.)
Pictures by Huldero and Geraud