Tomorrow I go for thyroid surgery. The surgeon will glide her knife across my throat, press the edge into the troubling flesh, open me up, and remove the right lobe of my thyroid, that worrisome shit-disturber.
So yes, I’m making a beautiful bookthing. It’s that wondermental thing known as: a labour of love.
What I’m doing right now is I’m writing a thing, a beautiful thing, a bookstory thing. It’s hard going — oh god, it is — and for all the wild-ride moments of outpour, there are many many — many! — ice ages of brainfreeze. When you write a thing as a pen-for-hire, you push through the brainfreeze, because money and somebody else’s deadline are great motivators. But when you make something with joy in your heart and when it’s a collaborative effort to boot — I’m making this thing with James Cook, whose delicious photographs will join up with the words I write — you let the going be slow because you’re waiting for a strange kind of knowledge — epiphany, I guess you’d call it — waiting to see in a way you’ve never seen before, waiting to understand, waiting to make connections.
… you just have to love it back.
I don’t know how it works, how to do the math, but it’s like every emotion I’ve ever felt somehow gets wrapped up in trees. Trees become some kind of conduit for thought and feeling, for understanding, for epiphany, for optimism, for love.
This year, watching the Tour de France on TV, I heard one of the announcers say, “There’s the beautiful sunflower field” and it made me happy that, given all the manful muscling in the pelotonic tumult, he thought to mention that quiet golden place. Since then the words”There is the beautiful sunflower” have lodged themselves in my imagination in the inexplicable way certain words and phrases do from time to time, becoming something like a prayer or an offering or a streamer of solace unfurled the way a strand of birch bark can be freed from the tree.
Butcher’s charts take it all apart.
Sewing patterns put it all together.
The sundering and the reconciling … they interest me, both. I maybe love taxidermy because it requires both; I should maybe love the jigsaw puzzle more than I do, for the same reason.
Sometimes I feel like Reepicheep finally arrived at the edge of the world and sometimes I feel like I’m standing way up high on a tall place where I have to make a choice about whether I’ll step off and float away, or not.
The world spins on its axis, on and on and on, no matter who comes here or leaves here, no matter how happy or sad you are, no matter, no matter.
Ice is nice. Okay, if you’re me, it’s more than nice.
I run. I like to run, a lot.
I love to run. Love it, with big crazy heartsing heartpound loveness.
Today is the day for the beautiful bones.
I am very, very afraid of fire. Very, very afraid of it and very, very — o so very — compelled by it.
I listen to a lot of music. A lot. And while I think my taste is fairly wide-ranging, ultimately I have to recognise that I am particularly drawn to and moved by music that is odd or broken or primal or otherworldly. I want from music what I want from poetry and fiction — I want to be moved. I want to be taken to a place of sentipensante, feeling-thinking, to borrow Eduardo Galeano’s most beautiful word, because sentipensante is “language that speaks the truth”. And my god, that is a powerful notion.
The Tollund Man
by Seamus Heaney
Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.
It’s a funny day where I am — coolish but muggy, which makes my straight hair curl up at the tips in a kind of wrecked and unruly way that I like — and the sky is mostly occluded by cloud but the odd bit of blue slivers through.
Awhile back I did a meme on Facebook that involved making a list of sixteen albums (CDs, for you whippersnappers) that had been really influential in my life. Only one musician got two spots on my list.
Oh my god, they are my unmaking, those photographs. I have watched the BBC DVDS and thought and thought and watched the DVDs and my sleep has been interrupted by the storm of it all.
I recently watched a five-part BBC documentary on the French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn and his Archives de la planète project, at the turn of the nineteenth century, to document the planet photographically, and I was utterly unglued by the intense beauty and sadness of those hundred-year-old autochromes. Altho’ it has been some months, I am still deeply roiled up inside about those photographs and am still having trouble sleeping properly because of them.
The backbone of the backbone.