Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Poems, physio and coping with the gloom

I don’t think I remembered anything about yesterday’s Bible readings – it was as if any sense had been sucked from my head by a mental hoover. A common occurrence really. Which caused me to write this:

Meditation 2

Black marks on snow
signify nothing; the electrical
link from the word
to the brain

is missing today. Tell me:
when does meaning start?

And they say Bible reading does you good. Well, maybe – and only if you can remember it for more than 30 seconds afterwards. Ah well. Negative spiritual points again, Carruthers. Heck, I’ll add them to my total.

Meanwhile at work I am still struggling away with those pesky minutes. Twice over, dammit. I suspect I am typing the same things over and over again with no real resolution being in sight. Hmm, much like writing a novel then, but without the necessary tension.

Due to this afternoon’s physio appointment, I worked through lunch (drowning in minutes) and attempted to maintain a cheery demeanour. Ho ho. I think I needed my appointment as my neck is certainly stiffer today. I’m hoping it doesn’t do my shoulder in again. My, that would be fun.

Afterwards, I whizzed back to the office to add a little more to those dang minutes, but mainly (I’m not that noble, obviously …) as the English Department is hosting a reading by the poet Fiona Sampson at 6pm. It should be good – but I must admit I read the reviews of her latest work, Common Prayer, just now and didn’t understand a word of them. I hope it’s not too intellectually terrifying. I don’t respond well to intellectual poetry – I dinna really understand it, cap’n … I also hope I can contain my usual literary jealousy and avoid tearing the poor innocent woman limb from limb for being a successful and established writer. Best plaster on that plastic smile and think holy thoughts then. Not something that comes naturally, I can tell you. Hey ho, soon home, I hope … UPDATE: Fiona was lovely and it was a very successful event, so well done to the English Department for arranging it, hurrah! I particularly liked the (pretentiousness alert!) sense of light and space in her work, so ended up buying two of her books, which she kindly signed for me. Mind you, I had to rush home and look up what the heck "liminal spaces" were, as there was a lot of discussion about those in the question-time afterwards and I was completely and utterly bamboozled, my dears (though I did keep nodding wisely so I didn't look like a complete buffoon, as you do). My vocabulary is rapidly diminishing as age sets in, you know. Anyway they're spaces at boundaries or thresholds, apparently, so that kind of makes sense. To those of us, like me, who left our degree years behind a long, long time ago, that's "edgy". I can see I'll have to read up on current literary theory the next time I go, in case someone asks me to explain something (God forbid!) ...

In the meantime, I did at least remember something from today’s Bible reading:

Meditation 3

Trap the waiting air
in acacia wood.
Seal it up
with bronze

and carry it with you
a portable shining altar
for your heart.

I’ve finished Early Graves, the latest of Joseph Hansen’s Brandstetter novels. Can’t remember reading this one before – and it’s as utterly gripping as the rest of the series. And, hey, it looks as if Dave and Cecil might just get back together again. Well, that’s a relief. I, for one, was worried … I also think it’s the least clichéd literary handling of the AIDS crisis that I’ve ever read. Hansen focuses mainly on the effects of the illness on others and is very subtle about it too. And he doesn’t do it to the detriment of plot or character – it’s simply a part of the whole. So very refreshing indeed – not like most other gay novelists I’ve read, who tend to shove AIDS descriptions and politics down one’s throat for no apparent novelistic purpose except to beat their own drum. Sorry, I know it’s a terrible disease and society desperately needs a cure, but it’s true. Sermonising, however worthy or well-intended, doesn’t have a place in fiction.

Today’s nice things:

1. Poetry
2. Physio
3. The anticipation of home
4. Books.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - guaranteed no complicated words!

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