Tuesday 25 March 2008

Rejoining the dance

Arrived home the day before yesterday, late, worked all day yesterday, happy to be back in front of my computer, that left Colette on her own, but I think she coped.

We were on Stewart Island, in the nature reserve, Rakiura. On Mason's Bay beach watched the seagulls and oyster-catchers dancing a sort of minuet with the waves, a la Lewis Carroll,

will you, won't you,
will you, won't you,
will you come and join the dance?

The beach extended far into a haze, and you could see the black dots of the birds all along it within a narrow band, like a ribbon.

Not much reading during this time, except for finishing Jeanette Winterson's Art and Lies. It was an effort, her prose is so rich and poetic. Sometimes she goes off on a rant, which can be a relief.

When I got to the end, the last chapters which explain so much, I felt a bit sick and it took me several days to get over it. All the people in her book are warped in terrible ways, either doing evil or bearing the results of it on themselves, within themselves. Or both. Two babies are born in this book, neither wanted. The only good man is emasculated. Sex is mostly perverse.

Once we got out of the bush and had washed the mud off, I found two books in a Salvation Army shop, Zadie Smith On Beauty ($5,-, hardback, good condition) and Bob Jones' Letters ($3,-, hardback, with author's signature).

I laughed out loud all the way through Bob Jones' book, though I do not like him at all as a person. He'd probably say I was dumb to spend even $3,- on his book. Peter said that the letters were petty and put the book down after a few pages.

The Zadie Smith I could not read, that was the second time I tried. I skipped the first part and went straight to On beauty and being wrong, because being wrong interests me particularly. I stopped at a scene of a man having sex with one of his students. Not that again, I can't be bothered. (The Cricket: You're jealous. Suzannah: Yes, ZS looks gorgeous (and young) on the dust cover.)

I left both the books with the lady who ran the B & B where we stayed. I told her where I got them, she shouldn't feel grateful.

Bought the latest Henning Mankell in Twizel for under $10,- (why am I writing about the price of books suddenly?). No good either, though I finished it. He is crusading on behalf of Africa and Mozambique. It does not make for good writing. Cliche-ridden, not enough editing.

Have just put the timer on for the last ten minutes, have probably written too long anyway.

Spent yesterday reading greedily about Waslawa Szymborska again, researching her on the Net, it was fun discovering poems I had not read in other people's blogs. I shall write a review of her book for Thursday week (1000 words). Had thought it had to be finished for this Thursday until Hinemoana emailed me that we're on holiday. Relief. At night picked up Theroux and Vidia again.

Started writing a poem about the seagulls and the oyster-catchers on Mason's Bay. It has to rhyme.

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