“I think Miriam was aware of her daughter’s deficiencies. I think her choice of reading – her insisting on Balzac and other French novelists – was done with an object. The French are great realists. I think she wanted Celia to realise life and human nature for what it is, something common, sensual, splendid, sordid, tragic, and intensely comic. She did not succeed, because Celia’s nature matched her appearance – she was Scandinavian in feeling. For her the long Sagas, the heroic tales of voyages and heroes. As she clung to fairy tales in childhood, so she preferred Materlinck and Fiona MacLeod and Yeats when she grew up. She read the other books, but they seemed as unreal to her as fairy stories and fantasies seem annoying to a practical realist.”
An Unfinished Portrait, Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
The most useful line of French I have learnt so far: Non, je ne grandirai jamais.
I love being introduced to drinks that shouldn’t work but do. Dancing in someone’s bedroom-disco, to dirty Italian pop. Watching strangers fall asleep on each other on the night bus, and wake-up, Britishly. The satisfaction of navigating myself home through unknown suburbs in the early morning. Wearing knee-socks and sneakers and a tattered tutu and spiky rings for Sunday morning brunch. Sitting in silk pajamas, surrounded by pillows, in a big white bed.
I’m so so alone, and sometimes that just makes me feel lucky.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Nights like this
I just want to get slammed
by a truck.
Someone else’s family. Pheasant cooked in red wine. A fawn running through the snow in Lord Mountbatten’s estate. Sedately drinking through a whole bottle of nice tequila out of tiny teacups. A jukebox loaded up with ‘Killing In The Name Of’ and ‘Last Resort’ for Christmas Eve. Waiting for a son to come home across the Atlantic three days late. Mulled wine at a pub built in 1420, frequented by Wilde’s Bosie, still with the same low doorways and open fire. Family photos where everyone else is real and I am just a head in a box.
Some things don’t change: the Doctor Who Christmas special made me cry.
I hope you had a lovely Christmas. xx
Image: Andy Goldsworthy
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet Act 1, scene 5
Images from the Hubble Telescope, via The New Yorker
I do believe in fairies (clap!).
The ash in the air over there isn’t affecting me at all, although it’s causing a few bumps at the office. It seems unimaginable to think it might last more than a few days, but if it does, I’m interested to see if it has any effect on our collective psyche. It’s a reminder we’re not in control of everything, that nature doesn’t bow to business. Sometimes, we just have to wait.
I don’t know why Ray Bradbury already has his grave all set up like this (he’s still alive). I came across it at Westwood Memorial Park, after wandering in to see Marilyn Monroe’s final resting place. Wonder if he likes to drop in when needing a shot of motivation to seize the day? Finding this photo reminded me of a favourite quote from him…
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.
You must write every single day of your life.
You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.
You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.
May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories – science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”