Feb. 24th, 2010 08:48 am
purejuice: (Default)
One of the things the jornada has made difficult is the reading of fiction. I have been able to read really good stuff with ease, like The Known World, highly recommended. But as you may perhaps have noticed, other well-reviewed books have fallen under the axe of MEGO Ledes.

Non-fiction rules, and I have finally had a second to gather my wits and some books I really want to read around me like friends. Got into bed the other night with Pagels' Beyond Belief, about the gnostic gospel in which Jesus laughs at the crucifixion, another in my froggy love series on the amazing Frenchies that I think started with the magnificent Graham Robb Discovery of France, which led to Montaillou, an historical work of art to make you cry, and now to The Yellow Cross, in which an Anglo-French scholar, like Robb, actually walks the transhumance walk, the songlines, through the mountains of Languedoc/Catalonia that the Cathars walked -- with the old maps, the unchanged people with the unexterminated Cathar surnames (the Clergues! they live!), giving him a truly out-of-body and out-of-time experience. Did you know that Catalan is the langue d'Oc? I think these Nouvelle Vague histories are satisfying my craving for psychogeography that Iain Sinclair and other much less pompous practitioners have sadly disappointed. I still cry when I think about Sinclair's retracing the footsteps of John Clare home from the loony bin, but I'm afraid to try to read the book. Here's the TLS review:

The style in which Sinclair recounts his subversive expeditions is unmistakable to experience, and elusive of definition. An approximate description of the form might be: high-rent contrarian rant delivered by post-structuralist vagabond with hermetic tendencies and a fetish for full stops.


It is suggested to me, by scholars of the Maya, that the idea that one lives in the center of time -- apropos the Anglo-French scholar walking the Cathar songlines -- is native American as well as extant in the entire world outside of the United States, where we live at the cutting edge of time.

We also have surrounding me in the bed, Gilead, which I am re-reading, Vogue,Elle, and the little old girly dog, tilted, tufted, slightly the worse for wear.

From Gilead:

I have been thinking about existence lately. In fact, I have been so full of admiration for existence that I have hardly been able to enjoy it properly. As I was walking up to church this morning, I passed that row of big oaks by the war memorial -- if you remember them -- and I thought of another morning, fall a year or two ago, when they were dropping their acorns thick as hail almost. There was all sorts of thrashing in the leaves and there were acorns hitting the pavement so hard they'd fly past my head. All this in the dark, of course. I remember a slice of moon, no more than that. It was a very clear night, or morning, very still, and then there was such energy in the things transpiring among those trees, like a storm, like travail. I stood there a little out of range, and I thought, It is all still new to me. I have lived my life on the prairie and a line of oak trees can still astonish me.

I feel sometimes as if I were a child who opens its eyes on the world once and sees amazing things it will never know any names for and then has to close its eyes again. I know this is all mere apparition compared to what awaits us, but it is only lovelier for that. There is a human beauty in it. And I can't believe that, when we have all been changed and put on incorruptibility, we will forget our fantastic condition of mortality and impermanence, the great bright dream of proceating and perishing that meant the whole world to us. In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. Because I don't imagine any reality putting this one in the shade entirely, and I think piety forbids me to try.

This reminds me of when I was quitting smoking. I walked about three miles a day, I was so crazy. I was stamping down 28th Street, saying, What I need is some mercy, when a load of crab apple blossom petals fell from the trees onto me. Cool and brushing my cheeks so very lightly. I had stamped halfway down the block before I got it.

Today, make soup, bread, meat loaf, wash clothes, make tea lights out of local bees' wax, chop wood, carry water. I think I'm going to use a certain person's very welcome check to buy Carry Akroyd's book on John Clare. Fuck Iain Sinclair. MEGO!


purejuice: (Default)

January 2012



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 05:09 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios