Sunday, October 22, 2006

Escape from church and more Booker pain

Actually went to church today to do Sacristan duties - hey, at least I'm showing willing - but couldn't face staying to the service. Too many people - ruddy baptisms, how I hate children and babies!! - which always puts me off, and I didn't think I'd last the course without screaming. Church is really beginning to get me down - but it feels as if there's no point in saying it to anyone there as (a) I don't have an in-depth relationship with anyone, and (b) sometimes they're part of the problem. Why do we do the same things week in, week out, but get no closer to God? I'm fed up with the apparent emptiness of the ritual. I think Lord H and I are going to try another church next week - not that I'm that confident that the solution for me is in church at all. Sometimes I find that services just keep God at bay. And sometimes it feels as if - when I'm brave enough to let myself - I can long for Him so much without any hope of fulfilment. Ye gods, there must be another, better way of trying to relate to the Almighty.

The rest of the morning, I did more work on "The Gifting" with my key naming scene. 71,000 words now, thank the Lord. Though I do always prefer the even numbers ... And I logged in for a while to the Rejesus ( site and did their daily prayer. It helped ease the longing for a while. Do you know, at times I envy people who don't have a faith - it must be a lot easier to live life. But does that emptiness still exist somewhere in everyone? Lord knows.

Have just given up on another Booker Prize shortlisted novel - "Mother's Milk" by Edward St Aubyn was as dry as a desert. I hated Patrick and had no interest in any of the other characters either. That said, there were some funny moments, but not enough to hold me. I think if the child, Robert, had had the viewpoint all the way through then I might have hung on till the end - as he was very surreal (though completely unrealistic) - but no, even then, I think I would have abandoned it. I wonder if literary novelists have forgotten the importance of gripping the reader in their quest for the best sentence - it all seems so bland, with no kick in it. When I read a book, I want to be ravished by it, no matter the flaws - is that too much to ask for? God, I hope not. If Murakami can be a literary novelist, and yet still make you long for the next scene, the next sentence, the next word, why can't others?

I'm planning a lazy day for the rest of today. I've popped downstairs to see Henry, my recuperating neighbour - he's had a minor stroke, but is looking surprisingly well. Later I'll ring mother (yikes!), and then tonight, it's "Wide Sargasso Sea" on TV. I hope it's as ravishing (see above!) as the book.

This week's haiku:

Softened by the day,
I let things rest where they fall.
A slow unlearning.

Today's nice things:

1. Not staying for church
2. Writing
3. Doing the Rejesus prayer.

Anne Brooke

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