25 May 2013


I seem to be taking the first tentative steps back to the printed page.
The last book i took on was a Salley Vickers back in April 2007 but my mother espied it and did her usual thing of whisking it away to her room to read itself - a trick to which I was yet to get used and assumed i had misplaced it - until she suddenly mentioned this marvelous book she was reading and proceeded to discuss ad murderous nauseam. 

Everything disappeared that way, including magazines and newspapers, all to be droned on about, read aloud from and generally ruined for me.

It was the month of the theft of my jewels so the folio filching joined the general theme of thievery that ran thru and defined my time under the yoke.

Theft of possesions, of time, of self-esteem and confidence.

Theft of basic courtesy and consideration.

I like to get stuck into a book and lose myself, not possible with a book when my most practical role was reduced to sitting around waiting to be summoned to chauffeur or slave au jardin or type some letter or article.

Also, with my disintegration, I found myself less and less able to concentrate for long - but, as i say, the greatest discouragement was having some riveting read disappear and then have it chewed over in a dilettante vocabulary to which i could not relate in any way.

I once espied a Leigh Fermor in the book case and could not understand the warm feeling that came over me - then i remembered that Anna had read it after me and we had had the most wonderful discussion in a drive down to Boukari.

It's a slow recovery and i give myself full permission to stop even in the first paragraph and return it to the shelf.

The usual infuriation was to 'lose' a latest read and then over dinner be told that maman had just discovered a most marvelous read (that i really must dip into) and then hear precious passages mangled in the repeat or miscomprehension. 

It was better not to take it on in the first place, be interrupted, and lose heart and interest.

Gardenry books were the worst: "You dont even have to be interested in gardening to enjoy the style."

I would grizzle that if the subject matter was of no interest, they were just words on the page and any 'style' was impossible to spot: spelling and grammar, perhaps, but past that, just ashes in the mouth.

Smallest world - another vital aspect of losing interest in reading was that my mind and appetite for intellectual exercise had to shrink to fit the world I now lived in. I remember the first year being agony, like a healthy eater suddenly starved, or at least a sensible eater reduced to the worst meagre diet.

Gary Gutting describes an attitude and freedom that I no longer had and the sooner I pared down my thinking and brainpower not to even think of those delights, the easier it would be for more.

I had no conversation anyway, so it was silly to think of adding to my intellect.
A vile and lonely time.  


No comments :