Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Here & There


The glorious sunshine that I seem to remember that we were promised for the Easter holidays does not seem to be much in evidence at the moment.  OK, I was able to do a tad of light sunbathing yesterday, but the weather today is as near to rain as it can get without actual precipitation.
            And with a true sense of irony, just as I finished typing the word ‘precipitation’ the sun came out.  I swear that the irony of real life leaves the contrived irony of literature standing!  And with that the sun has disappeared again!
            As long as it is dry for my trip to the pool (to get wet, yes, irony again) I will be happy.


Yesterday saw the Family descend and our routine was jolted out of place by two young children.  Being a retired teacher (ah, savour those words in the mouth like a fine wine!) children have become something of a novelty for me and I find myself observing them like some exotic species of insect.
            This time I particularly noticed their attitudes.  Not, I hasten to add, their ethical standpoints and moral positions, but rather the physical ones that they adopt naturally.
            Milton wrote of Samson that he was ‘carelessly diffused’ (if I remember rightly) encapsulating a sort of casual sprawl in a wonderful phrase.  I watched the younger brother, Marc, as he sat at the table and I fail to see how his half crouch lunged squat could have been in any way comfortable – but he seemed ridiculously at ease in what would have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for me.
            Still, I remember years ago when in secondary school, in an idle moment of speculation, I wondered if I was still able to do the ‘crab’ and move around with my arms on the floor behind my head and my body arched.  The answer was a resounding ‘No!’ and I am glad that I tried to assume the position slowly and not snap into it, as the only snapping would have been my spine if I had managed to do it!  A certain pliability is lost with age!
            I can now feel joints in a way that is entirely different from my youth when joints did not intrude upon my concern.  Those happy days when the body is just one lithe totality rather than, extremely obviously nowadays for me, composed of jointed parts.

Poems in Holy Week

This writing is obviously displacement activity as a form of writing exercise to get me into the mood to try and find a topic for the next poem in the sequence.  I am trying a mixture of casual thought and oblique contemplation to bring the subject matter to the fore.
            I have to admit that there is no easy way to write and I find the harder I work the more ‘inspiration’ I find.  At least my faithful notebook is always near to catch a fleeting perception.  Though I also have to admit that my notebook is fuller of the blindingly obvious rather than the intriguingly provocative.  But, as I pointedly observed in a previous blog about ‘Family Wisdom’, ‘anything is better than nothing’ – and I am constantly surprised by what I am able to mine from extremely unprepossessing obviousness!
            I trust that the next poem in the sequence will find its way onto before the end of the day.  With any luck the material produced in my Poetry Group this evening may even be useful for this project.  I live, as always, in hope!

United Nations Day 2015

The travel arrangements and preparations for this event are assuming a complexity which makes the actual UNO meetings in New York look simple in comparison.  I have decided to take a loft and distant approach to these things and concentrate on the ‘looking forward’ aspect of it all.
            My most pressing concern is to ensure that Flesh Can Be Bright is ready for its publication day.  At least I know that my Catalan translator has started on the task of producing a version of Autumn Trees, which is more than I can say for my Spanish translator.
            It is now April and I set a deadline for completion of the writing by the end of May.  I have written the poems and, although I still have to do the editing and the indexes, the introduction and design, I know that the really hard bits that I have to do are done.  How far my grandiose plan for the realisation of this project survives to publication will be interesting to see.  I am fairly determined, but I do have fallback plans.  Lots of them.

Body Art

I have been methodical in my note making for the next essay (and last) in the OU course.  As soon as this is completed I can concentrate on the End of Module Assessment which is a mini thesis.
            The art I am studying at the moment is what I think most people would call ‘challenging’ – and the theoretical justifications even more so!
            As befits a module on modern art, we are now at the ‘cutting edge’ of what can be considered art and while sometimes I think that it has not progressed much beyond Duchamp, there are other aspects which demand an intellectual commitment that I am sometimes not prepared to make.
            Still, it is something which is beyond my comfort zone and therefore it makes me question my perceptions and who can ask for more than that from a learning experience.
            I will soon have to start putting finger to key and actually write something about what I understand rather than wondering what the hell to make of it all.
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