Thursday, May 18, 2006

reap just what you sow

Prompted by a particularly bountiful harvest I thought I would share my quote taking habits with you.

When I read I amble along the lines, step by step, word after word. Sometimes I run and sometimes I jump over gaps, large and small, paragraph to paragraph. Always ready for the tricky manoeuvre of climbing from one page to the next - I keep moving onwards in my travels.

But sometimes I stop. I stand still and gaze at the lines I have just traversed. There is something about them that makes me linger. Makes me take out my pencil and paper camera and capture them for my album.

Maybe its just a handful of words that together spell beauty and wonder - that hold my breath. These I will save to return to at those times when I need to steady my exhalations.

Or maybe it’s a creature with little hooks, that has gripped me, and sticks to me - begging to be carried onwards, demanding my attention to return to him, to talk to him, to answer and ask more of him. These I will save as questions to return to, to think more of - to perhaps guide me inward, backward, onward.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

even the rain bows down

The word meniscus doesn’t sound like its meaning.

It sounds like an oath - a dedication to cruelty or revenge. It sounds like the late night whisper of a young girl with evil eyes and sharp fingers. A girl who will tear a gap in the night sky - an everpresent white reminder that will burn until you are old.

A promise served up with ground glass, cloaked in innocence and strawberry scent. But a promise that the dark fairies cheer to hear. A pledge to have her revenge against the tooth fairy.

Never forgiven for collecting her first teeth. Her pure diamond edged incisors. No milk white meekness for her - hers were the teeth of the past. The bite of the primitive inside everyone.

She will wait. And one day, as sure as the moon hangs high, that hand will slide beneath her pillow - and she will reclaim what is hers, and yours, and more besides. And she will dance away, dressed in enamel and clattering and chattering and forever ready to bite.

Friday, May 05, 2006

gravity always wins

I am sitting with Hanif Kureishi. Its Wednesday. I am facing the sea, backlit by the first true sun of the year. Together we consider what it is to write - the whys as much as the hows. We currently ponder the difference between literature and philosophy - and Mr Kureishi points out -

‘Reading a novel was like being with a fascinating person who was showing you their world. For me, philosophy was another kind of concentration. Theories seemed ways of creating apprehension. I found that it is not always answers you find here, but better questions.’

Suddenly this delicious thought is interrupted by a hand forcing a small leaflet into my smaller hand. A leaflet printed on poor quality paper and emblazoned with a Hollywood technicolour vision of hell.

A handout from everyones favourite door-to-door seller of redemption. As I study the people who look like they have been lobotomized by an overeager dentist, or drugged by radioactive fruit - I even begin to distrust the moose - is there not something overly knowing in that velvet smile?

And then I realize I recognise this paradise. Its Oz. Resplendent fakery. Somewhere there is a little man behind a curtain manically pressing buttons to manufacture this grand illusion of peace and harmony. And like Dorothy I feel a little sick, I want to go home, back to the black and white of Kansas. Back to my free-thinking meander through these monochrome pages.

If thinking of better questions is suffering then damn me to an eternity of philosophy.