Sunday, November 11, 2007

Eating Light

I was looking at the word “virus” the other day and realised that I didn’t really know what it is. I use the word virulent a lot to describe something that is aggressive, unpleasant and destructive. I think of it as something alien and unfriendly to the place it comes into. My body behaves as thought everything is a virus and must be fought with all the resources it can muster. I am a poor country always at war. The army has taken over and has held the country in its grip for many years. It cares nothing for the land or its people. It cares only for war. At this very moment it is calling on its demented soldiers to fight against this activity of tapping words onto a screen.

My mother called me the other day. It was a bad day, I was struggling to remain upright, the army has perhaps got wind of plans afoot to take back the land and is fighting with all the weapons at its disposal.
“I have been hearing all about M.E. on the radio,” she said, “isn’t it awful! There are all sorts of people who have it much worse than you. I’ve been hearing all about David Puttnam.”
“David Puttnam,” I said, “is still able to work. He gets a bad spell every so often.”
“Well I’m just saying, I’ve been hearing all about it on the radio. You sound well.”
I’ve asked her if she and partner would like to come for Christmas lunch. She says,
“Oh no, we don’t eat.” She does, of course – big meals, roasted meats, organic vegetables, cake and wine and cheese and fruit. And just as well, really.

I have been reading about people who give up all food and drink and claim to live on air and light alone. They might take a bite of something like celery or chocolate, just to experience taste or texture, but they don’t eat as such, or drink. I am engaged by the idea of living on light. Can’t help wondering, though, how this would work if one lived in, say, Finland, where it is pretty dark all through the winter. A woman was quoted as saying that she had the sense that food was somehow poisonous to the system and that breatharianism could and should be achievable.

Consider: there would be no shopping to do because no meal times. No breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, snacks. Nothing to offer people when they come to visit but the light from your windows and, presumably, yourself (for you would be existing at a much higher vibration). You would be, I suppose, like the angels. No need for toilet paper because with nothing going in there would be nothing to come out. And appetite all gone. What about the companionship that comes with sharing food? The word companion has the word bread in it. It is a person with whom you break bread. We don’t just hunger for something to fill us up but for everything that earth can give here and now, while we breathe in it, which includes turkey with trimmings, flaming pudding with spiky holly on a white plate, crunch of toast just burnt at the edges. I picture sitting around a table with people I love or wish to know better: I have no food to offer you, just my breath and my words. And to my mother I would say: “well, here is a table full of light, then. Have that.” I don’t think so. No, it wouldn’t suit me at all.

Virginia Woolf, in her last diary entry, said:
“And now with some pleasure I find that it's seven; and must cook dinner. Haddock and sausage meat. I think it's true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down.”

I have just eaten a baked potato with grated farmhouse cheddar, leek and chive sausages and broccoli. I think that one gains a certain hold on life by relishing and eating them.


Kahless said...

That is just what my mother would say!!!

Your post appealed to my sense of humour Signs. I really enjoyed reading it. And now I fancy a baked potato - I havent had one in ages!

And if you want I can fly some napalm your way if you need back-up to fight the demented soldiers.

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

Forget it. Writers set their clocks by mealtimes. It's something to look forward to.

Btw - I've left a little something for you at House of Pants, supposing your sidebar can find room for it.



Reading the Signs said...

sister Kahless, for some reason this does not surprise me!

Yes, baked potatoes rule - but not microwaved ones, the skins just don't come out right. Have one, Kahless - go on, stick it in the oven. Enjoy.

Thanks for the back-up x

Pants, my sidebar will be pleased and honoured to have it. Thanks. x

Nicola said...

I am very tired so not making much sense but meeting wholly with your companionship.
Last night made sausagemeat stuffing to fill a roast chicken for my elder son and his girlfriend who live in one room inside the city. Crispy roast potatoes, the last of the courgettes from the garden, and gravy - they were content as was I though I could live on baked potatoes forever and a day.
Very glad to see you back and all good wishes for the process you are planning.

Reading the Signs said...

Yum, Nicola - this has got me thinking about turkeys and chestnut stuffing. Nice to see you.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I've been intrigued by this breatharian/lightarian concept for some time now, given I seem to have the digestive equivalent of ME - at least that's how I think of it since the medical profession remains baffled - as usual. How much easier (and more boring, I concede), if I could live on light and air alone. I suspect, however, I'd find myself becoming an angel far sooner than I'd anticipated!

Erm, your mother sounds a bit like mine. You don't think there's something in that, do you...

Reading the Signs said...

Don't become an angel yet, Vanilla - if you haven't already, try food combining instead (you can still have baked potatoes).

Sounds as though you, me and Kahless should start a club.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, delicious thought. ME or not. What a wonderful image - "Nothing to offer people when they come to visit but the light from your windows and, presumably, yourself."

What a mind you have, Signs, what an incredible talent. Simple and sublime.

Reading the Signs said...

ok - I am blushing now, David - there is a story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez called "Light is Like Water". I have just remembered it. I think you would love it.

Anonymous said...

And presumably a light meal would consist of several courses:

Rustic Candlelight with a Wick Julienne

Deftly Lit Fairy Lights set on a bed of inedible rice paper

Olde Worlde Tea lights, just like your granny used to have, served on a Lurid Formica Tray in the Garden

Organic Rolled Energy Saving Bulbs freshly dug from a window box somewhere in Chelsea

And for the erotic and exotic some Suave, Shadowy light to finish the evening.

My mum always used to say, "there's an apple in the drawer." We soon learned that it wasn't the done thing to ask for pudding lol.

Reading the Signs said...

hullo Hullaballoo - you make it sound almost sumptuous. Going out for a picnic would be good. All provided for.

Anonymous said...

Signs _ I know it. I reread it this morning. What a beautiful visual, glorious images -- so wonderfully typical of him.

Thank you, dear Signs.

Kahless said...

Sister Signs, I NEVER touch microwave spuds. Not only do the skins not crisp, but also I find they go hard on the bottom!

I see Pants has awarded you something?? How does that bode for our award tally competition? Are we even stevens now?
mmmm. I am off for a count.

Reading the Signs said...

You're welcome, David - I think I'd like to read the story again as well.

Oh gawd, Kahless, I don't think you can count it until I've actually put it up there - which I'll do with my next post. So between now and then anything can happen. It's probably still neck and neck though.

Glad to hear you have good baked potato standards. Keep it up, sister!

wordstar said...

It took me ages to make a good baked potato.
Now I got the secret. pierce all over, rub with olive oil and crushed sea salt on the skin, high oven, and never ever ever in a microwave. Luckily my kitchen has not space for one of those.

Was so intrigued by your mention of breathing light and living off light... having just written my blog about breathing. There is definitely something in the air. Literally.

NMJ said...

hey signs, the greatest benefit of living on air and light would of course be no bloody dishes to do!

have never been a baked potato fan, but i think i should try harder.

you have given us lovely writing again.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Wordstar,

Never done that to a potato - but will try it.

I like the notion of living on light, though the actuality would never appeal.

Thank you, NMJ,

Yes, try harder with the baked potato - it is a wonderful thing.

trousers said...

Lovely to read about the link between companion and bread - that kind of stuff always fascinates me.

Another enjoyable post all round.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks very much, Trousers.

I love seeing the words in words.