PRINCESS OF WALES CONSERVATORY



India Hobson, via The Garden Edit
It all comes back. Even the dampness underfoot; even that brings it back. I was in Kew Gardens when I first realised how much everything yearns to grow.  I was just twelve, quietly sure-footed in the world. Afterwards we went back to the apartment, and it was raining lightly, and I stood in the bathtub with the white curtain pulled around, ran a shower, and shaved my armpits for the first time.

MARGARET DRABBLE


Sometimes, in the evenings, I find it hard not to get lost in The Paris Review - and even harder to find my way back out of the Interviews. There's something about the rich reality of these characters, many of whom have spent years envisaging other characters, which is just so affirming
Margaret Drabble
(with impeccable cashmere and bentwood)
 1976 

This evening, I have been lounging about with Margaret Drabble. I can't say that I've ever read one of her novels - although I have quickly added some of her classics to my reading list. Towards the end of the interview, she refers to Freud a few times. She's grappling with events, with how the passing of time relates to who you are, and to where you are. 

On surprises and familiarities (and a beautiful understanding of mortality):

There's an essay by Freud in which he discusses the uncanny feeling of being both familiar with and utterly surprised by something. I think this is one of the most distressing, but important feelings in life. The feeling that I knew this all along, but I never knew it before. Freud would argue we feel this about sex. The first time we find out what it actually is, we think “how absolutely astonishing and impossible,” but at the same time we know we knew.
I'm sure death feels a bit like that. In fact I've often had a dream in which I am just about to die and my last words are, “Oh, that was what it was like. I did know really, but now I know for real.” And then I wake up.

And on coincidence:
Freud takes a harsher view. His view is that they are coincidences and the idea that our need to see them as not being so, like our need to avoid that death really is death, contorts the whole of human life: that the whole of human culture is distorted by our desperate need to avoid the truth.
I'm perpetually tossed between these two interpretations of life. It is a fact that if you have faith of a certain sort, then certain things will happen for you or for those that you love. But this is only in a way like watering a plant. One of the images I like best is the plant in The Waterfall that Jane keeps on watering long after she thinks that it's dead. And then it begins to grow again.

TREADMILL

Gerhard Richter, Ruhrtalbrucke (Ruhrtal Bridge)
1969, Oil on Canvas  

 who are you going to be when all this clay flowing through you has
finally become
form, and you catch a glimpse of yourself at daybreak,
...what was it you were told to
accomplish?
- Jorie Graham, Treadmill.


READING LISTS


Aran goyoaga's space via sfgirlbybay

One of my favourite internet past-times is collating lists of books to read. Like all good internet past-times, this one is dangerously time consuming, and I am fairly sure I would get an equal amount of enjoyment out of actually reading some of the books occupying the vast lists. That said, I have just finished marching my way through Salman Rushdie's 'Joseph Anton', so am on the lookout for a new (perhaps slightly shorter) read.

So I have many reasons to be thankful to the New York Times for publishing a comprehensive annotated reading list, of their  100 Notable Books of 2013. Because what's the new year for if not to catch up on last year's books.


13 WAYS




Thinking about Catton's extraordinary achievement had me reflecting on my brief but honestly exquisite summer time spent flitting in and out of the International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) here in Wellington.
Earlier this year documentary film-maker Richard Riddiford released his examination of the community that is the IIML and Victoria University Press (VUP, the publishers of The Luminaries). The strength of the community - and its outputs - are evident in various ways throughout the film. Particularly poignant is Eleanor Catton’s discussion of her own progression as a writer - analysing herself and the changes which occur to the creative individual during the process of creation. Catton muses on the distance  that can exist between who you are when you compose one work, versus who you become during the next.
For a more in-depth review, see here.


MORNING RITUAL


Hans Ulrich Obrist: Morning Ritual on Nowness.com

Thinking about the new year, and how you want your life to play out. Obrist's rituals is a beautiful way of reconsidering how your everyday routines, which could become mundane, can be sculpted to provide a meaningful, and highly personal, backdrop to your life.

FRUIT & FLOWERS HUNG THICK FALLING



When Fruit and Flowers Hung Thick Falling

KATIE PETERSON

Never a gardener, she
became interested
are known to
decisions
of information.
where the report
license proved difficult
and potato vines crawled
in the same barrel,
equally the decorative
fringing and clinging to
under a visor
cloth of enough
the number, to wear
into half-glyphs insinuating
the location of past
hinged
thrust
feeling for roots
they no longer
tending, even
hung thick falling.


in gardening. The dying
make estranging
about the disclosure
Everyone knew
cards were, but the marriage
to locate. Tomato
up different stakes
and she tended
plants, the lobelia and alyssum
the edges, in the sun
fuzzy with the terry
vacations to forget
the lettering
but not stating
happiness. She knelt,
at the waist,
her hands in dirt
even when
needed

when fruit and flowers

INVADED

Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)

Thinking, once again, about how our bodies and the sense of our bodies relates to the spaces we occupy.
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