How Many of These Have You Read?

I was chatting with Worms the other day about Proust,

about his masterpiece, ‘Remembrance of Things Past’

and how neither of us had read it; Worms even found

the name ‘Proust’ intimidating; and I thought how many

of the world’s best known works I have never read,

like Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’, Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’,

even Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus’ and even though

everyone has heard of it, who’s read Dickens’ ‘Little Dorrit’?

There’s even a short story by David Gilbert devoted to

the George Elliot book that no one I know has ever read,

and few have heard of: ‘Adam Bede’. There must be others.





*can you think of any?

* have you read any of these books?

* what has put you off reading them?

pic of Proust courtesy of Wikipedia

She Needs Cheering Up

I need cheering up, she says. I work better when happy.

A shared laugh would help, she adds.

So it’s down to me. What am I? A stand-up?

I can’t think of anything funny to say.

It’s a lovely sunny morning in spite of the forecast

so that’s something to be happy about

but happy isn’t funny.

I riffle through my corny joke book but she’s heard them all

even the good ones, like what do you call an Igloo without a toilet?

An Ig !

I thought that was pretty good but all it elicited was a groan.

And anyway, how necessary is it to be happy when you’re working?

Take art. Some of the best paintings were birthed in rage and fear.

Think ‘The Scream’ by Munch, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ or Bacon’s ‘The Screaming Pope’.

You don’t read ‘In Memoriam’ for a good laugh or listen to ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ for a bit of a lift.

These did not come from a happy place.

Sure, being in a happy place helps, but you’re not going to get the dark matter, the weight if you’re buoyant as a balloon.  

pic by John Currin on Pinterest

Is it Character then?

Is it the characters, then?

No, it is not.

Scenery. dialogue,

intrigue,

the machinations of plot?

No, it is not.

Really? None of the above?

Then, pray tell, what?

Far more important

than any of those,

he says,

is vivacity,

the vivacity of the prose.





* what is it you most treasure in a short story?

pic courtesy of Pixabay

the Well-Read Salmon

I was idling by the brook fishing for tranquility

when the phrase leapt into my head.

What was I to do with it?

Toss it back?

Nah.

It had me hooked. It wriggled and flashed.

What texts would the well-read salmon have tackled?

Isaac Walton’s ‘The Compleat Angler’, of course.

that old chestnut, ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

and ‘Cloudstreet’ where poor old Fish Lamb almost drowned

& was revived but ‘not all of Fish had come back’,

‘Moby Dick, perhaps though as everyone knows a whale is a mammal

not a fish

though the well-read salmon would have known that.

He would have been well-versed in sea poems too,

knowing by heart ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ being one up

on me.

& a hearty singer of sea shanties going up and down

the scales

My Walter Mitty V- Neck

Do you like this hi-neck sweater? she says. I’d like to buy it for you for Xmas. But you’ve got to keep it a secret.

I don’t know, he says. I prefer V-necks. Will you buy me a V-neck instead?

What have you got against hi-necks anyway?

You can’t whip your iPhone out or wallet from your top pocket at a moment’s notice, he says.

You’re not Walter Mitty? are you she says. You’re not a gunslinger.

But, but ….

And your top pockets are not holsters, are they? And this is West Lakes Shopping Centre NOT the Wild West!!

Can’t a guy dream? I smile

  • do you know who Walter Mitty is?
  • do you sometimes fantasize about being someone else?
  • do the clothes you wear create fantasies or do you buy certain clothes because they ‘feed’ a fantasy?

Nanette

Nanette ‘winked’ me again last night.

I have not been on an internet dating site for years.

Nevertheless, Nanette has been constant.

A wink is as good as a nod ….

One day I’m going to weaken.

I will go down the rabbit hole of curiosity,

the labyrinth of love

and leave no note.

I may never return.

The Woman in the Glove Box

20190812_104843

It is time to bring out the woman in the glove box again.

There are no gloves in there.

But there is Olive,

Quirky , off-kilter as this blog which is perhaps why I like her.

I like her feistiness too,

How she tells her husband,

“Stop shouting! Do you think that makes you a man?”

“All men need to be told this,” my partner tells me

Who likes Olive too.

She is getting the new book, the sequel, when it comes out.

But she is not like Olive.

Olive has a big personality and is not backward in coming forward,

As my mother used to say.

She is curious but curiously vulnerable.

She is the engine of the novel, the fuel, the vehicle

That takes you there.

She waits in the glove box like a car in a garage.

 

* have you a favourite fictional character?

* what do you admire in them?

Perhaps I Shouldn’t Have Said It

220px-Laurence_Olivier_-_1939

Perhaps I shouldn’t have said it

But I was just a kid

Stuck inside a senior’s body

And so I did.

 

I thought it showed a little wit

But it was way off grid

A sort of Heathcliff on the moors

A fugitive from my Id.

 

I should have kept a lid on it

Would have been better if I did

But not everything condescends

To sit sedately in the Id.

 

  • do you think there are things we shouldn’t speak about?
  • what do we do with these primal feelings that keep threatening to ‘come out of the closet’?

 

 

Why My Poems are Nothing Like Emily Dickinson’s

Emily_Dickinson_daguerreotype_(Restored_and_cropped)

Emily Dickinson composed her poems while wearing a simple white dress with pockets for pencils and scraps of paper. She wrote in a large, airy bedroom, with two big windows facing south and two facing west at a small table 18 inches square with a drawer deep enough to take in her ink bottle, paper and pen. They overlooked her family’s large property containing a large Italianate mansion among tall pines.

I hover around in my hoodie and tracky dacks, biro on the go  in a cramped cell of a room at a desk sprawled with papers, magazines and bills, one narrow window overlooking a block of grimy units towered over by power lines which is why my poems are nothing like those of Emily Dickinson.

Out on the Moors Again

ilkley-moor-yorkshire-england-uk-1487442596omS

She’s reading the graphic novel Donna had accidentally left from her last visit. It’s Wuthering Heights. She’s unfamiliar with the format but rather relishes the art work that captures the violence and energy of the original.

Outside in the garden she is listening to the wind picking up, whining and whimpering like a dog that’s been shut out in the cold and she’s out on the moors again with Cathy and Heathcliff, her wild grey hair escaping from a loose bun.