16 November 2009
13 November 2009
Helen and I go a mosaicing workshop with Dora http://madcowstudio.com/ tomorrow.
In the charcoal sketch (on cardboard, sitting on the table) of Jervis Bay (see colour photo of actuality) God (female, naked, dark-skinned, recumbent in clouds over Governor Head) is reaching down (over Bowen Island) after the manner of the 'Creation of Adam' Sistine Chapel item.God is saying to the dolphins "Hey beauties, they may give this place a funny name and argue over how to pronounce it but it really has no name: no labels, no control, just enjoy. As for that species on two legs, I give up on getting them to love each other, but I bet they'll fall in love with you if they can stop admiring their own shadows and look around."And the dog says "Woof woof" and God says "Oh, someone throw the dog a bone. Yes, Dog, you are loved too."
10 November 2009
Yesterday while three hours at the hospital in the Accident and Emergency waiting area, a forest of signs.
- At the admissions clerk's window, almost entirely out of sight, the sign saying "please tell someone if you decide not to wait". Hidden behind many pamphlets. While I was there four people were called and were not present, which did not help me get through much more quickly as the practitioner went away for a long time to ruminate over who to pick next.
- high on a notice board, almost out of sight, a sign asking that children be supervised if using the play table and chairs.
- Above the play table and chairs, the sign about the television (above, you can enlarge and give to your mother, she may thank you). The television itself was way out of reach, suspended from the roof on a mounting, tipped towards potential viewers, sun on its screen. It thus breached at least two points in the safety instructions. Surely the safety instructions should have been placed on the device itself. Helen said: "It should say 'In case of earthquake danger, do not stand under the television'."
09 November 2009
There was nothing like it, the utter fresh after rain, the continued drift of sea air and surf spray; the organic edge from churned sea life. He found his way to the top of the dune in the threads of light from the half obscured three-quarter moon behind his back. It surprised him that the sea seemed now so far away, down the dune and across this beach, when it had seemed to fill his ears and mind when inside the canvas. He set off down the beach towards the water, over sand hammered hard by overnight rain. His step uneven over pockmarks of old footprints rendered unyielding by rain pelt.
The storm continued in the body of the sea. As he approached there was little else but white churn visible in the scant light, way way out in wave after wave, close waves fought up together in the turbulence of the storm. Eddies of froth and wreckage of sea life blew on the beach, lodged in heaps, surged on the front of scarcely visible waves.
He stood still. How far he now was from times past, from masses of people, pedantries of protocol, nuances of speech and inflection, slights and power plays, postures and pretensions, egos on the run, timetables and conferences.
He rolled his track pants up, stepped into the shallow rush of water. Icing his toes, chilling his calves for several minutes before his circulation adjusted and he sensed the warmth of the whole ocean reaching for him. A higher wave caught the edge of his jacket in the gloom, wet the folded bottom of his track suit. He grinned, hoisting his camera high, looked around at this wild nameless company. A worn shell-edge pressed the sole of his foot; he stood still and absorbed all the sensations around him.
Far out there now, an edge of light, of approaching dawn, showed below clouds. He stood still, allowing maximum absorption of this new sense. He had spent the night with the sound of the sea and the slight rocking of his sturdy mini-truck by the storm; the pent of rain now torn inland, to the highlands. At the beginning of the storm, round by the rock pool, sheltering under a ledge, he had seen a woman arrive, tear off her dress then be followed to the pool by a man. He had not stayed, had not sought to invade their privacy, had slipped away, he hoped unnoticed. Nobody could notice anything in such sudden wild storm. Now he watched light increase from near nil.
Now there was light sufficient for him to begin to use the camera. A handful of gulls squalled past, demanding answers of each other, none from him. Even the gulls had company. He had come to this place seeking company but company was eluding him, while life chased others with vigour, or a vigour that gripped them but to him seemed flimsy, slight.
08 November 2009
“Under the circumstances, I, too, am forced to cancel my participation – for if the government of the United States does not want an Iranian, it will hardly have any use for a Finn. We do not even have the oil. But I would like to invite the American secretary of defense [Donald Rumsfeld] to see me in Finland. We could take a walk in the woods and pick mushrooms*. That might calm him down.”
[quoted from first link above]
* There is a mushroom-picking walk in the woods in The Man without a Past
Waterborne he comes, at dead of night, sliding sleek on the river's gleaming back, snout lifted, sniffing, under the drawbridge, the portcullis, past the drowsing sentry. Brief scrabble of claws on the slimed steps below the wall, brief glint of a bared tooth. In the darkness for an instant an intimation of agony and anguish, and the night flinches. Now he scales the wall, creeps under the window, grinning. In the shadow of the tower he squats, wrapped in a black cloak, waiting for dawn. Comes the knocking, the pinched voice, the sly step on the stair, and how is it that I alone can hear the water dripping at his heels?One that would speak with you, Canon.No, no keep him hence...John Banville, Doctor Copernicus, in The Revolutions Trilogy, Picador Edition 2001, page 107
- if you don't love language, read someone else
- if you need to understand everything or think you do or should, or expect a story unravelling in chronological order, then what kind of reality do you live in? Give me mystery or give me death :-)
- key things in Doctor Copernicus for me were:
- the portrayal of the pain and conflict of genius and the possession of new ideas
- the presentation of a reality in which the genius with the new ideas has to do a whole lot of other things, like, in this case, governing and doctoring and churching and being mortal and physical variously
- the beauty of story driving itself along in its own smoking rhythm
- oh yeah, ok, ok, also its complexity, I do love the complexity, though it makes it hard to finish when you are reading half a dozen books at a time, or part-time.
07 November 2009
01 November 2009
- JM spoke of the demands on the performing artist, versus the painter. Nobody, she said, ever called out to van Gogh, "hey Vincent, do x again for us!" True. But then the painter in general suffers a different angst (I have begun to understand in recent times), that of creating children who then are sold to strangers, or at the least to people who do not really understand their birth. With one painting away to the slave market... I only just know this directly. When does one pass to factory mode of thinking? Perhaps the writer has it easiest, of not needing to let go...
- JM spoke of how she resisted demands of the industry to stay within genre, stay with her fans, not develop what she wanted to say. So important, if you want to be other than a factory;
- JM spoke of her concept of 'crop rotation' - of her need to move between painting and poetry and back again, for her brain's sake. This I understand very well, and I alsoinclude the permaculture garden in the backyard in the rotation in my head, a garden in which profuse nature is allowed a fairly free rein, providing many lessons and opportunities for observation, discovery; gasping with delight and amusement.