Friday 30 September 2011
Today's forecast was for ninety degrees, which never happens here in October. Darkness at 7 pm and still hot means you're not in England, but much further South. I was right then: these past few weeks have been in a strange country.
I know some people don't mind working all the time and would not understand my distress and exhaustion. We all have our own limits and, wherever they lie, to be repeatedly pushed through them is perhaps a good definition of stress.
Wednesday 28 September 2011
Look, too much work is not as bad as many things - chronic physical pain, or catastrophic illness, or chemotherapy... of course it's not! But it's not good. You know that feeling that, if someone pokes you, you'll start making strange, uncontrollable noises? So you hold yourself carefully away from everyone, hold yourself very carefully together.
Monday 26 September 2011
Saturday 24 September 2011
So I start to wonder: once you've been pushed to your limits and beyond, as I was long ago in that job I eventually left, do you wear it on your face, ensuring that sooner or later it's going to happen again?
So look up, look out once in a while and notice something, at least; keep trying to see something, touch something, however fleetingly.
Just don't let the inner sense of panic be the only thing.
Tuesday 20 September 2011
So, very busy, thence mostly absent from here. The Autumn sunshine, between rainstorms, is glorious and I feel shut away from it, imprisoned in my office and in my own damaged and armoured heart. Coming here almost makes this feel worse, as I contemplate the creativity and community glimpsed in recent years, but which continue to be only glimpsed. I often want to run from the painful knowledge of their existence, and yet don't: even a glimpse is a lot, if it's a glimpse of hope, if the beauty and the good people are out there somewhere in a mostly terrifying world, and if the not-quite-dead bits of my heart still yearn for them.
Yesterday I met blogger friend Peter Clothier of The Buddha Diaries (he also blogs for the Huffington Post) and his wife, Ellie Blankfort, on holiday in London: writer and artist, and both of them Buddhist practitioners, from Los Angeles. To have encountered such people on line and now met them in person is such a lovely thing, for which I am amazed and grateful.
I think of Peter's most recent book, a collection of essays on sustaining creativity in our crazy, over-busy times, which is beautifully written, full of hard-won experience and gentle Buddhist wisdom. I think of its title, Persist, and tell myself one more time that I will, that we all must, persist as best and as long as we can with the things that matter to us.
Sunday 11 September 2011
Today was not a day for consuming anything meaningless, only something timelessly emotional and resonant.
I don't recall how old I was when I first read Jane Eyre - 12 or 13 perhaps - only how much I loved it, how it was then the perfect fusion of literature and fantasy, of passionate, intricate intelligence and extravagant wish-fulfilment - was and remained and still is, all these long years later, after personal acquaintance with love and pain and Yorkshire and a man going blind and a lot of shit and a little hard-won wisdom and many, many books.
Around the time I first read the book, there was a black-and-white TV series, which must have quite impressed me for there are scenes I still remember. And down the years a number of films, all disappointing. I'd never have thought of subjecting myself to the new one, had it not starred Mia Wasikowska, who surprised and moved me so much by her performance, aged only sixteen, as the clever, troubled teenage patient, Sophie, in In Treatment. I didn't see her as Alice in Wonderland, but if she was so convincing with jeans and hoodies and iPod and an American accent not her own, why not with corsets and Yorkshire vowels and an 'earphone' hairstyle?
She didn't disappoint and nor, this time, did the film. Of course, for a million reasons, it isn't the great work the book is, but I found it rather wonderfully judged and executed, combining the gothic and the much more subtle in its way as finely as the novel. I imagine buying the DVD to watch and cry cathartic tears when times are hard.
Wasikowska is still only twenty-one. I wonder if she'll have a long career as one of our great actors or take the millions and run, do something else.
Friday 9 September 2011
these, just as it stopped raining) - more alive than the streets around it or the sky above.
Thursday 8 September 2011
St Pancras International Railway Station. Their current and (to me at least) attractive use by a variety of interesting art- and craft-oriented small businesses looks to be short-term. No doubt either demolition or upmarket refurbishment awaits - I don't know which. This put me in mind of a new book that I'd very much like to read:
Hal Foster in his new book The Art-Architecture Complex turns his attention to how art and architecture have informed each other over the past 50 years. He argues that their fusion has become a defining feature of contemporary culture and provides a scathing critique of the post-industrial cultural economy in which art prompts the transformation of disused warehouses and factories into galleries, and depressed, run-down working-class areas are reborn as stylish art-tourist destinations.
Tuesday 6 September 2011
my book!, and the waitress looked not at the wine or at the book, but, askance, at me.
And speaking of matching, or not matching, these photos became a contribution to the latest >Language >Place blog carnival on the theme of Individuation / Assimilation - another issue full of synchronicity and allusion, recognition and surprise. I do love this project! Submissions are open for the next edition until 20 September.