good and bad running on parallel tracks

bring the happy

It’s been an oddly bipolar week. My friends and I got to do tons of very lovely fun stuff, and celebrate some joyous happenings, while at the same time quite a few difficult things were also going on with us. It’s been a weird one, oscillating wildly between feeling like all is beautiful and we can relax, and feeling thoroughly pummelled by life.

Discovering a bedbug infestation in my room alternated with a visit to this gorgeous home and grounds (they had deer!) with my friends in perfect sunshine on a National Trust Free Weekend. Which in turn was followed by being seriously, horribly slammed with work deadline major crises. But then my dear sister came to visit, and we spent the day out in Coventry. And then it was Earth Day, so we scattered candles across our living room surfaces, turned out the lights, and invited some dear friends over for dinner (made a delish adaptation of this based on what sauces and aromatics I had). Over the course of the week three friends had serious health issues crop up with their loved ones — but yesterday another friend, who has a cartilage injury, got off crutches four weeks early. Plus I got to go watch an arty film (pretty good) with a bunch of friends that I wouldn’t normally do that with, which opened up new topics of conversation and meant that we now know each other that little bit more.

“Good and bad run on parallel tracks, and they usually arrive at about the same time.” — Ron Dunn

I guess most of life is normally like that, lots of different happenings bumping up against each other. But it’s been awhile since my week has felt that extreme, the joy and the pain so sharply delineated.

I could focus either way, and have swung from one extreme to the other many times this week. But I think I’m going to choose to be thankful. That the various raging beasts of work projects have been momentarily tamed; that many of my family and friends are healthy; that I’m seeing some of those friends in Nottingham today; that I have great people to live through it all with — that regardless of how different our situations may be, we are committed to mourning and swearing and rejoicing and feasting together. The fundamentals of my life are good.

When my sister was in Cov, we got to go see this rad happiness mapping project and submit a couple of memories. Bring the Happy started out during the recession a couple of years ago, when city centre businesses were dropping like flies. A theatre company called Invisible Flock decided that they were going to move into a city centre storefront, armed with a couple of big maps of your city, and ask people to log their happy memories on the places where they had occurred, marking them with glass rods (of lengths corresponding to your happiness level in said memory). At the end of the logging period, they would take those memories and transform them into an all-singing all-dancing bells-and-whistles-replete foot-stomping show.

BTH shopfront

BTH overall view

map on screen

walsgrave hospital

The bit I loved was nosily reading everyone else’s memories of my city, from the seriously inane to the life-transforming. The glass rods are a striking visual representation of where people have chosen thankfulness and hope; I was surprised to see a huge cluster of them on Walsgrave Hospital. Participating felt oddly like joining in with some kind of mass prophetic act, speaking hope into the city, hope into our bones.

failure to launch

wrote a muddled piece on the vandalism of the cenotaph, and then left it for dead. for posterity’s sake, i retain the first two lines of the second paragraph: ‘the cenotaph was built by the (then-) present to honour their past and instruct the future. it’s doubly stupid that this future, spray can in hand, should first ignore the intentions of those that came before, and then assume that whatever he had to say was more important than what his forefathers considered worthy to carve in stone.’

some alcoholic days the words flow out like diarrhea, some days it’s more like squeezing an unripe zit. writing’s hard. it’s about the style, the words governed first by instinct and then convention… and then you have the argument. you don’t say anything at all, your logic doesn’t connect, you don’t make sense. you hear the critics and you agree, you give the practice a once-over and then involuntarily glance at the theory, thinking all the time bloody hell, the execution’s shit. but that’s the deal, and you know it well; like anything else that’s worthy of effort, you don’t go in there with the guarantee of success. so some heady days you trust yourself, and you trudge on – you do the whole bad cop/good cop routine with the words. you see the road behind the tumbleweed frontier, the shit finally becomes soluble, after a ton of chicanery you’ve the looks to go with the substance. but other days, dog days and days not necessarily in hell but definitely not in heaven, your crystallization is dessication. you know not even you are under your skin, and it’s sweet to give up and move on.

as a half-apology, in parting, ‘i keep a close watch on this heart of mine / i keep my eyes wide open all the time’… johnny cash, i walk the line, 1956. and bob dylan, starry eyed when caught: ‘when i first heard ‘i walk the line’ so many years earlier, it sounded like a voice calling out, ‘what are you doing there, boy?’ i was trying to keep my eyes wide opened, too.’

She’s really most sincerely dead

So, am not a fan of Margaret Thatcher, or David Cameron, or Tories, or greedy, gawping, grasping people.

This, this is just damn sad.

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral: 23 things you could pay for with £10m | News | guardian.co.uk.

This lady is pretty kick-ass. Even though she’s Labour. I’m more of a Green/ SNP/ independent kind of girl, myself.

Glenda Jackson on the death of Margaret Thatcher: “I had to speak out to stop history being re-written” – UK Politics – UK – The Independent.

This is pretty funny:

Anti-Thatcher song “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” misses top spot in Radio 1 charts – News – Music – The Independent.

“Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.”

a tuesday entry done on saturday after a conversation with a thursday

after having way too many drinks with the mysterious, magical, and almighty mr thursday and a coterie of absolutely random people, this poem came to my mind amidst my slightly hungover state this morning:

WHITE NIGHTS
Paul Auster

No one here,
and the body
says: whatever is said
is not to be said. But no one
is a body as well,
and what the body says
is heard by no one
but you.

Snowfall
and night. The repetition
of a murder
among the trees. The pen
moves
across the earth: it no longer knows
what will happen, and the hand that
holds it
has disappeared.

Nevertheless, it writes.
It writes:
in the beginning,
among the trees, a body came walking
from the night. It
writes:
the body’s whiteness
is the color of earth. It is earth,
and
the earth writes: everything
is the color of silence.

I am no
longer here. I have never said
what you say
I have said. And yet, the body
is a place
where nothing dies. And each night,
from the silence of the
trees, you know
that my voice
comes walking toward you.

I am reminded this languid saturday morning, metallic taste of last night’s excess still in my mouth, brain still addled,  of why we write, and how the act of writing can define who we are.

Reminds me of a postapocalyptic tarkovsky  film i  watched a few years ago where a nameless writer utters:

“A man writes because he is tormented, because he doubts. He needs to constantly prove to himself and the others that he’s worth something. And if I know for sure that I’m a genius? Why write then? What the hell for?”

 

 

 

recent interestingness

pan's labyrinth

Ofelia and the faun in Pan’s Labyrinth

May this roundup fascinate, tantalise and perturb you:

Pan’s Labyrinth. (Okay so I may just be the last person on the planet to have watched this…) Gore and horror elements are not really my thing, but still, what a great realistic fairytale.

Carrot batons steamed and flavoured with honey, thyme, salt and curry paste. From here (it’s rule number 69).

19 things to stop doing in your 20s. You got me there.

Summer is coming. I must make these.

This talk on the different human motivations for green behaviour and how to tap into them.

It’s not every day your church leader gets killed for attempting to assassinate Hitler. Whatta guy. (Also, this is a classic text on living in community.)

And finally, because as a fundraiser I get to keep tabs on interesting events, this! And this (oh please come to England. We will still run, for sure).

Have a good weekend, everyone.

(Photo from here, with thanks.)