Sunday, 14 December 2008

I have found The Answer. Twice.

The First Answer

Disclaimer: The following should not be read looking for any agenda. There isn't one. Except that I found the following very important, and wanted to share it.

'One day, a lovely woman bought the emperor a revolving circus operated by midgets.
The midgets acted all of the tragedies and many of the comedies. They acted them all at once, and it was fortunate that Tetrahedron had so many faces, otherwise he might have died of fatigue.
They acted them all at once, and the emperor, walking round his theatre, could see them all at once, if he wished.
Round and round he walked, and so learned a very valuable thing:
that no emotion is the final one.'


'I miss God. I miss the company of someone utterly loyal. I still don't think of God as my betrayer. The servants of God, yes, but servants by their very nature betray. I miss God who was my friend. I don't even know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it. I have an idea that one day it might be possible, I thought once it had become possible, and that glimpse has set me wandering, trying to find the balance between earth and sky. If the servants hadn't rushed in and parted us, I might have been disappointed, might have snatched off the white samite to find a bowl of soup. As it is, I can't settle, I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and know that love is strong as death, and be on my side for ever and ever. I want someone who will destroy me and be destroyed by me. There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other's names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name. Romantic love has been diluted into paperback form and has sold thousands and millions of copies. Somewhere it is still in the original, written on tablets of stone. I would cross seas and suffer sunstroke and give away all I have, but not for a man, because they want to be the destroyer and never be destroyed. That is why they are unfit for romantic love. There are exceptions and I hope they are happy.

The unknownness of my needs frightens me. I do not know how huge they are, or how high they are, I only know that they are not being met. If you want to find out the circumference of an oil drop, you can use lycopodium powder. That's what I'll find. A tub of lycopodium powder, and I will sprinkle it on to my needs and find out how large they are. Then when I meet someone I can write up the experiment and show them what they have to take on. Except they might have a growth rate I can't measure, or they might mutate, or even disappear. One thing I am certain of, I do not want to be betrayed, but that's quite hard to say, casually, at the beginning of a relationship. It's not a word people use very often, which confuses me, because there are different kinds of infidelity, but betrayal is betrayal wherever you find it. By betrayal, I mean promising to be on your side, then being on somebody else's.'


'But history is a string full of knots, the best you can do is admire it, and maybe knot it up a bit more. History is a hammock for swinging and a game for playing. A cat's cradle. She said those sorts of feelings were dead, the feelings she had once had for me. There is a certain seductiveness about dead things. You can ill treat, alter and recolour what's dead. It won't complain.'

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson (Vintage, 2001, first published in Great Britain by Pandora, 1995)

The above is a book that has been on my 'to read' list for ages, though I'm glad I hadn't read it until now. She wrote it when she was 24 - my age. I wonder if I can make that an excuse for part of the way it resonates for me - there are a great many more reasons, but that is perhaps the most prosaic and the only one I'm prepared to get out in public at the moment. The lesbian elements, as well as many of the religious ones, are by the by for the most part. I think the explicit statement above about men being 'unfit for romantic love' is partisan and generalising, but it is interesting nonetheless, particularly if you substitute 'some people' for 'men', as it were. But this is almost more a philosophy than a novel, written with enormous power and huge skill. Virginia Woolf, 50 years on. I need to read more. There aren't many books that when I reach the last page, I turn back to the beginning and start again - this one I did, and I've nearly read it twice in two days (there have to be some useful things you can do sitting at the back of a cold church in a long concert, between numbers with which you are involved). I will probably need to add more extracts as I find them, reading this time.

I need to find time to write properly again, for myself. I CAN write, I know I can. I've just not found the time to pursue it properly. I want more sonnets, and maybe I'll try and write some pieces of Actual Prose. Short ones, and nothing explicitly narrative - I have no ability with plot - but something between poetry and prose. I have no time. That's the kind of thing you need to do every day to keep any sort of progression, and I'd usually write my diary, given the choice. I don't know. It's late, and I need to show you the other Answer.

The Second Answer

This is so much less serious than the above, but a record needs to be made of it nonetheless. I was in London yesterday, for an ex-Binson Christmas, with turkey, too much food and boozed up carols. (And my homemade mincemeat, with which I was very pleased.) My Secret Santa present (courtesy of Kate) was a rather lovely bag, and a bar of chocolate. Not just ANY bar of chocolate. A bar of 100% cacao from this guy. It was featured on TV earlier this year, and Kate and I had trailed around Selfridges looking for it with no luck. She found me some for Christmas! I was SO excited. I got back at 1am this morning and have since spent 6 hours in Great St Mary's, so had little time to play with it until I got back post-concert this evening. I unwrapped it and just smelled it. Even to my slightly blocked nose, it's amazing. It has an incredible perfume - rich and dark and chocolatey. Of course, it's very bitter as it is, since there's nothing in it but cacao, so if you taste it it's hard to get past that to the flavour beyond. Grate about a half a centimetre off the length of the bar into a mug's worth of milk with a dessertspoon full of runny honey, a (large, if you're me) pinch of cayenne, a small pinch of cinnamon and a grating or two of fresh nutmeg, and you have the most sublime hot chocolate you've ever tasted (the spices are pretty close to Traci's standard additions, but you could do all sorts of things - I intend to go with cardamon next time, perhaps with something blossom water, if I had it, or maybe a grating or two of orange zest...or a REALLY good vanilla extract...). Really. I've made hot chocolate many many ways, but this is really something else. And it's now a good half hour after I intended to be in bed, but I have been excited.

ETA: I neglected to factor in the high caffeine content of 100% cacao. Not had much sleep. :-(. I will have to remember this in future...

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