The Baudelarian Flâneur

I’ve just found a new love affair with writing. Maybe it’s because I just read Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. It’s a gem of a book. And I’ve been struggling a bit lately with sitting down and writing; the critic in me has grown fat and boisterous and I’ve been whipping myself about not writing regularly enough — writing shouldn’t become a chore like everything else, dammit! I shouldn’t just do it out of duty, but out of love —  and just being anxious.

But fuck it, when I’m writing I realize is when I’m most alive. So I’ve gone back to some basic animal instinct when writing, not worrying about all the other shit. And hopefully what I’ve learnt about this writing thing can also translate into my life, too, since that’s the point. If I can live more at the keyboard, I should be able to live more in life, too.

There’s a fantastic read in the Guardian Books about the lost art of editing. A good read if only to keep remembering that as a writer one should learn to be a good editor, I think. It’s our work, we should make it ours right up to the end!

And here are 2 fab quotes from Jeanette Winterson:

“Books remain a pocket of air in an upturned boat.”

“I would like to see zest for difficulty making a comeback. Must we always be transparent? Remember when TS Eliot was asked what he meant by “Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree”, he said: “I meant, ‘Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree’.” I have no idea what that means, but I am glad it didn’t get edited into “Mrs, there’s three wild animals under that shrub”. We should edit with good sense, of course, but with a sense that sense is not everything”

Mystical Harmony

Schopenhauer remarked: “Any book that is at all important ought to be at once read through twice … on a second reading the connection of the different portions of the book will be better understood, and the beginning comprehended only when the end is known; and partly because we are not in the same temper and disposition on both readings.”

“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is — it must be something you cannot possibly do.” Henry Moore

When Pan Fried In Virgin Oils

Valentine’s Day is a load of old sacred bull!

I mean, come on, what passionate man or woman with their bottled-up libido is going to get sexy over a damn Hallmark card and a box of heart-shaped chocs? We’d all be a lot more sexually aroused if we beat each other on the backsides with strips of goat flesh. The whole commercial Valentine’s Day is like goat droppings compared to the pagan passion (which comes from the Latin pati, which means to “suffer.”)

Now Lupercalia is a festival! None of that Hallmark crap:

The festival was called Lupercalia, and it was partially to honor Lupa, the legendary wolf who suckled the orphaned twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who went on to found the city of Rome. Lupercalia itself was building on an even older festival, called Februa, associated with cleansing and fertility — it is from Februa that we get the name February. For Lupercalia, goats and a dog were sacrificed, and then two high-ranking young men representing Romulus and Remus went up to the altar and had their faces smeared with the sacrificial blood. After the blood was wiped off with wool dipped in milk, the men stripped naked, cut strips of skin from the sacrificed goats, and ran around the city, joined by other enthusiastic young men. Women who wanted to get pregnant would position themselves so that they could be flogged on the backside with these strips, which was supposed to cleanse them and make them fertile.

And why do we celebrate some namby-pamby Christian martyr who disobeyed the Roman Emperor Claudius II and married young men? Boring. What we need is to bring back a Priapus or a Pan, a lascivious deity who lets the animal out of his pants and goes from door to door full of fertility.

“We should treat all the trivial things of life very seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality.” Oscar Wilde

Listening To

The new Underworld, Barking. Fantastic!

Wild Beasts Two Dancers. This is an amazing album. It’s like pop meets aria.

Sack Play

Here’s some clean, good, solid advice on how to endure a cold Maine winter:

“Place the bristles of certain insects which are born from trees on the penis and massage it with oil. Done for 10 nights and then repeated, this will make the penis swell. Then lie face down on a string cot and let the penis hang down through it. This process should be concluded gradually, relieving any pain with cold salves.”