Nothing Important Comes With Illustrations

What a scorching couple of days in Maine. The last time I remember it being this hot, I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar….

My family and I have been living a life aquatic by swimming. I haven’t been getting many words down. I can’t write in the heat. I can’t think in the heat. I can only think the air-conditioned nightmare, and we have fans. I actually hate it when it gets hot since I’m only good at lounging and swimming for so long before I get bored.

Due to my highly paid skills of deduction, I’ve noticed that I am not much liked on Facebook.

This whole job seeking pursuit of sweet homilies puts me in mind of Mr. Tumnus, who said, “The capacity for ordinary work is not for me.”

I know I’m spoilt rotten by this gift of so much free time to write because I hold no honest entertainment, but always at the back of the cart I can hear the moans of a Mr. Malcontent, who sings, “I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I’m miserable now.”

It seems true that you can never get as much done as you planned to. But, then, even God rested on the seventh day. And if a deity can feast on lotus flowers, I suppose I can as the world wags on and on.

“Why are we weighed upon with heaviness,
And utterly consumed with sharp distress,
While all things else have rest from weariness?
All things have rest: why should we toil alone,
We only toil, who are the first of things,
And make perpetual moan,
Still from one sorrow to another thrown;
Nor ever fold our wings,
And cease from wanderings,
Nor steep our brows in slumber’s holy balm;
Nor harken what the inner spirit sings,
“There is no joy but calm!” —
Why should we only toil, the roof and crown of things?” Tennyson

All I can say is, I’m glad that “omissions are not accidents.” (Marianne Moore)

I’m also glad I get to write my books, have my family, my friends, my Moleskine notebooks, my records, my penchants, my cup of PG Tips. These things bring me joy — and panic on the mean streets of writing. Cause right now, the novel I’m working on has a proper unlikeable protagonist and I keep wondering how low he can go be before a reader will refuse to turn the page and curse my name. But I also don’t want to change a thing about him.

I suppose it all hangs off the idea that what interests me will also interest others. But can I be sure? Do people read books for the things I do? I know I’m not that much engaged with writers who assuage or comfort but prefer writers who provoke and unsettle. And I’m not that bouncy about characters who are either villains or heroes, I prefer characters whose lives and even their morality change over the length of the novel. I don’t go to book and I don’t get books that set out to confirm my own behaviour, ideas, or feelings. And I also don’t like to read the kind of realist fiction, the low mimetic, as Angela Carter called it, that deals in simulacrums of the world I live in. Why do I want to hear and feel and think more about that? It saturates me every day. I want to discover a world that hasn’t been covered up by the philistines, or else a world that everybody has overlooked for some grand cause with money at its root, or a world nobody has imagined beyond their pedestrian constraints of the imagination.

Here’s some Smiths, lots of them, on bikes.


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