A very short sentence, containing a lot of information.

This has made me VERY happy.


New Discoveries

In the last three days I have discovered three new things. Firstly, the spare and strange beauty of Haruki Murakami‘s writing; on Thursday I started reading his short novel After Dark. What can I say? I’m mesmerised, seduced, enthralled. Which should I read next? Norwegian Wood, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, or Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman?

Secondly, I woke up this morning – after a night of a fairly reasonable amount of sleep, hurrah! – knowing that I need to cut a particular passage from La Nouvelle Cendrillon, how to imply the seeds of information it contains, and what to put in its place. This had been puzzling me for a while, so it feels good to know; more than that, it feels right.  Still have to rewrite the damn thing though. This beautiful weather is just too distracting – not that I’m complaining, per se. It’s just that sitting at my desk, under the stairs, and looking out into my tiny sun-filled back garden, obstructs the word flow. And if laundry has been done, it’s worse. Laugh if you like, but I find a line of washing, billowing in the breeze – especially bedlinen, or towels – strangely, deeply, satisfying. And slightly hypnotic. Now if I had a laptop, it might be a different story… As I’m holding out for a MacBookPro however, that won’t be happening any time soon.  The apple blossom is out now, smelling too delicious for words. The aquilegias will shortly be doing their thing, and then lilacs will be li-lacing the air with their blissful scent. Sadly, our garden is too small for a lilac tree, since they are dreadful ones for sending out colonising suckers.

The third thing; the work of the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. I read an article about her today – I forget where, and I’ve already recycled the papers – and was fascinated. Her paintings (three examples here, here, and here) will I think prove a rich source of inspiration for me at some point. I think I will have to find a good book about her. There’s a rare exhibition of her work coming up this summer too. Alas I will be unable to get to either Chichester or Norwich. Never mind.

And that’s enough for now. Wonder what I’ll find, or learn, in the next three days?

And we’re still foozling

The dilemma is beginning to resolve itself – the threads of the story that must be woven into the existing fabric are slowly unravelling into something ribbon like. They have yet to be written, but they are becoming clearer. Motives and reasons that were hidden – invisible, even – a year ago, now are coming to the fore, making the internal logic of the piece stronger. At least, I hope they will prove to do so. It would seem that for me, the process of ‘story’ never really ends. If this is the case, then I foresee the next few years will be rather fraught as new ideas demand to mesh with old words. Perhaps I may have to become strict, limiting the number of additions clamouring for inclusion – in the manner of Humpty Dumpty on a Saturday night, when the portmanteau words come crowding for to be paid…

I love that so much that feels as if it should be nonsensical, but isn’t (all a matter of personal taste/definition of personal sanity, etc, of course) can be brought back to the measured wonderment of Lewis Carroll. He’s a sort of touchstone of my creativity. In part because I read him as a child, because I still reread him when ill – such a comfort! – and because of the pleasure in sharing him with my own daughter. His Wonderland has become part of our shared language, at home, as well as underpinning a large corner of the wider culture of the English language. I recently went to see Tim Burton’s film, and enjoyed his realisation of Wonderland in despair, immensely. To be honest I didn’t see the point of the 3D effects – pretty enough, but I didn’t feel they particularly enhanced the telling of the tale. But the characterisations were vastly entertaining – especially, to my mind, the Cheshire Cat, a personal favourite of long standing. Yes, on the whole, it is safe to say that I liked it. I did like the Mad Hatter too; combining strangeness and pathos in an equation that balanced nicely in the details. And that strangely chilling frisson as the White Queen told her prisoner that she did not owe him a kindness – such implacability in mercy, tempered with justice; an interesting effect I should like to use in La Nouvelle Cendrillon – another of those threads to be rewoven.

But the main obstacle to the matter of writing, and the primary contributory factor to what I like to call foozling – sort of like pootling, but less focused – is my current inability to sleep well. Some nights indeed I have barely slept at all. There is a crash coming, I can feel it. Perhaps I need it, in order to reboot my system. And the ridiculous thing is, that I love sleep, I crave it. Yet I crawl into bed, and it evades me. Still, there’s always tonight…