Wednesday, April 07, 2004

It's rabbit time on the common which means my dog is in bliss. I always know how to find her though because I see a rabbit rushing in one direction, and Tally will be tearing away in the complete opposite. I took her to the vet to see if she had trouble with her eyesight, my daughter thought she was blind, but she sees perfectly. Her sense of smell seems to be OK too, so we've been forced to come to the conclusion she's just completely stupid.
Someone has taken a sofa up to the common, one of those plush floral ones, and left it there like a bench. It looks wonderful and I love to think of people sitting on it at night, watching walkers go by like in front of a television. Well, I know they'll be doing other stuff as well but ...
When I lived in Soho in London, I came back from work once and a couple had set up a dining table on the pavement, complete with cloth, candles, china etc and were having a full-blown candlelit meal a deux oblivious to everyone walking by. It was a beautiful image and stays in my mind as the ultimate in romance.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

My gran used to have this verse in her bathroom that we all thought was the cleverest thing in the world. Much as we loved her, there wasn't always much to do at Gran's so we independently learnt the rhyme by heart. Or so we thought - when we tried to remember it recently we all had different ideas, but luckily my sister found a real copy. So for history's sake ....

Please remember - don't forget! -
never leave the bathroom wet.
Nor leave the soap still in the water -
that's a thing you never ought'er! -
and as you've been so often told,
never let the 'hot' run 'cold':
nor leave the towels upon the floor.
Nor keep the bath an hour or more -
when other folks are wanting one;
just don't forget - it isn't done! -
an' if you'd really do the the thing -
there's not the slightest need to sing!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Counting the days until I go to New York. It's not so much going to the city itself I want, although I get bubbles in my veins just thinking about it - but the fact that no-one will be able to raise their eyebrows at me in that way again and say 'what, you mean to say you've NEVER been before.'
Meanwhile, to keep me out of mischief, I've been persuaded to go on a striptease course with a friend. Actually, although I'd like to cash in on some of Belle de Jour's publicity, all we get to do is to remove a glove which is a relief, especially as the course is being held in Unit 3 of an industrial estate which doesn't really provide the right atmosphere.
Re Belle de Jour - 'she' has to be Michel Faber, doesn't she?

Monday, March 29, 2004

Spring must have taken hold of me - woke up this morning deciding both to go on a diet and not to buy anything for at least a week. And now the lists of all the things I really, really need to buy are knocking at my door, and I can't even eat chocolate to take my mind off them. AND have just spent an hour at the dentist so am dribbling and lopsided around the mouth. THe not buying thing comes from a big clear out I had of my books yesterday - I'm still going through them but I'm horrified to find how many I haven't read. So why am I buying new ones? A friend told me something that stuck with me once - that when we buy a book we're actually buying the time to read it. So, am going to give myself the time this year, preferably lying in the grass by my allotment underneath the cherry tree I planted last year and with the sun shining down. THe cherry tree's just a dry stalk at the moment, but I have faith.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Why is that people always frame unpleasant comments with a statement that demands your inclusion? I had a woman the other day saying 'I know you won't mind me saying this but ...' And I did mind her saying it but she'd already told me I didn't, so I was disarmed before I started. It's like 'with the greatest respect' and 'honestly'. Language is so slippery. Take responsibility - it actually means the opposite of how we use it most of the time. It must be rooted in 'having a response', but most 'responsible' people just take control and don't respond at all.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Was at my daughter's Shakespeare Festival last night - five classes had fifteen minutes each to perform a different play so the stories were reduced with a vengeance. The funniest one was Romeo and Juliet where the girls had carefully planned everything to miss out even the slightest hint of romance because that would have been 'sad'. I'd never realised it was such a violent play. Also to give everyone a chance at starring, they had four Romeo's and two Juliet's taking it in turns so you had even less idea what was going on than you might have.

Reading Amy Tan's essays and came across a nice quote from her introduction to the Best American Short Stories - 'I had become a successful but unhappy person, with work that was lucrative but meaningless. This was one of those moments that cause people to either join a religious cult, spend a lot of money on psychotherapy, or take up the less drastic and more economical practice of writing fiction.' Am doing a reading on 'agony' tomorrow at the University of Kent so it seems appropriate.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

And two sites I wanted to record. First, a plug for the US edition - and secondly a great site for book reviews, interviews etc -
Am cack-handed today - losing stuff and sending without finishing. Re Highsmith's comment, have been wondering about the boundaries of writers, maybe all artists, i don't know. If you spend your life trying to imagine yourself into someone else's mind, then it's hard to be normal in company, surely. You have to put up barriers if you're going to stay 'on' for your writing.
Just typed out a whole chunk but it's gone missing. Will probably appear again and I'll repeat myself endlessly. Reading Patricia Highsmith's biography 'Beautiful Shadow'. The contents page alone is poetic - Chapter 6 - A trail of unmade beds, Chapter 12 - Instantly I love her, Chapter 18 - A Lurking liking for those that flout the law, Chapter 35 - Art is not always healthy and why should it be?
Highsmith likens the artist to a spider spinning a web from within itself, and less prettily said it was necessary to strip away the protective patch of normality to reveal the festering wound underneath.