Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Substance of Kindness

I don’t know. It’s almost too grey to be up and about today and the fact that I am, dear reader, is simply another manifestation of my quiet heroism which is second in virtue only to my incandescent modesty. Look, don’t expect much today. I won’t, and that way we’ll all manage to get through this post ok and we do, let’s face it, in any case have the choice to simply go and look at youtube or something. But you are still here and so am I, so we may as well get on with it. This post, I mean. Life.

On account of not being able swallow for knives and pebbles in the throat I went to my good doctor today. I like my doctor. He misses the mark sometimes (as when he failed to diagnose abscesses on my son’s tonsils) but he is attentive and kind and apologises for putting the ice lolly stick in your throat in order to have a look at what’s happening there; and his hands feeling the lymph nodes in your neck are – what is the word? – courteous. Obviously there isn’t much to be done about a viral throat situation other than wait for it to go of its own accord. But kindness is a powerful thing; unkindness also. The one sustains and the other diminishes. I was reminded of the latter when reading a recent post by Greenwords. I think it may be that people with chronic illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the manner in which they are treated by health professionals. Particularly appreciative also. We notice. The medievalists understood a thing or two about courtesy, that it was more than just good manners but a whole way of being that conferred substance on both the giver and the receiver. So I feel better, even if not physically, for having been to see the doctor.

I feel better also for the good words that sometimes come through this magic box, those with the unmistakeable essence of good will; and the text from a certain person about chocolate cake; and the voice of my daughter on the phone; and for having seen Springwatch on TV last night and learning that my cat (I knew it) has a bit of wild cat in her. This afternoon I sat by the window next to her and tried to look out with her eyes, see what she sees and everything was, for some moments, illuminated.


Anna MR said...

Did the Cat of Signs take the photo? My compliments to her, it's an evocative cloudscape.

I confess, I still haven't googled Miranda July. I was meant to and then somehow got distracted, and now I've been out for two hours with the dog (she deserved it, as did I. The only trouble is we normally go out about now, to enjoy the night, and we've only just got in and I want coffee and am very low on milk. This is a problem, and even if you are in a bit of a viral state, I feel strangely compelled to air it with you) and I only remembered about her when I came to write to you here.

Anyway, I'm just waffling. It's your own fault, I'm enjoying having you back in Blogoslavia. So mwah.

Reading the Signs said...

And so you should, Anna - air the details of your domestic situation here, I mean. Forsooth, how are we to consider ourselves a proper Blogoslaviancommunity else? And does not the substance of life, poetry and the universe reside in the details?

The book is called "no-one belongs here more than you." Some people absolutely loathe it, which should alert you to how good it is. Or not. Now I want to see the film she made.

Waffles, my dear, one of my favourite things. So mwah.

(And yes, the cat did take the photo - with my mobile phone as we sat by the window.)

Anna MR said...

The fact that I have neither googled that sodding writer, still, nor had coffee, milk or no milk, is your own fault, because you lead me to Greenwords, whom I don't remember to visit as often as I should. I got lost in her writing (and, admittedly, speaking to you elsewhere as well).

Now, with Community Spirit intact, I will make myself a drink of something or another, you'll be thrilled to know, and have a look for that writer. I'm going through a read-ey phase (hurrah - last one was in Hawai'i, really) and am worried as am about four-fifths of the way through the current one without another book lined up. It makes me feel insecure. It'll never do.

I remain, yours most interestingly,


Reading the Signs said...

And I am most interested to know whether you ever got that sodding cup of coffee and have held back remarkably well, I think, from pointing out the obvious drawbacks of having it, milk or no milk, so late in the day. But whatever, hope you slept well, Sees. pniksn somehow speaking to me.

this website pleased Anna said...

Schwestah Signs, I am here to (finally!) satisfy your surely-by-now nearly-overwhelming curiosity, nay, your almost-bodily need to be informed that I went for tea, in the end, a nice cup of Earl Grey, brewed with a tea egg rather than in a pot, for reasons I wish not to air here (a bit public), but not for reasons of lateness or anything, no, for such things do not effect my coffee-drinking or sleeping (or waking) patterns - I can drink coffee in bed and be equally overcome with sleep or not - but the accursed shortage of milk made me have to choose between a decent au lait in the morning or in the evening - both were not a possibility. Given that breakfast is the nutritionally most important meal of the day, I sensibly (although sufferingly, too) had to decide to leave it till then. Not that I have anything against Earl Grey, either, of course (I have it with a dash of milk, but it still left plenty for the morning mug of caffeine-rich heaven) - it's just in the past couple of years I have somehow felt myself growing keener and keener on coffee, to the point of almost forgetting about the other stuff.

Okay. That pressing bit of news passed to you (and I had another cup of heaven upon returning home, an hour and a half ago or so, and do feel the need to repeat the experience soonest) I will need to tell you I also googled Ms July, and frankly, I am not going to care if her book's a total piece of shite because I was very taken by the website she'd created for it. VERY taken. It reminded me of something, someone, some people...and I instantly took a liking to the author, so she will not be able to put a finger wrong on her keyboard, in my books. The only trouble is I am a little concerned if people will now think I'm imitating her with my silly photos. I'm not, because I've only just learned of her, okay? And I've been doing silly photos before just now.

Just on the offchance that you haven't seen the website for the book you mention, I am enclosing it in safe keeping here, in the usual place, but am not trying to imply I am her or that book or that fridge or that cooker. Just making the matter clear here.

And I am enjoying fatppndz. It's not my fault if it is speaking to me, bringing on infantile giggly associations in my mind. (And oh - "pniksn", you say? The Blue-Hatted One's Finnish name did come to me during my hours of sleep, because when I asked myself in the morning, boarding the lift with the dog for our morning trundle, whether I'd woken up at 5:05AM for any particular reason - and lo, I had remembered that his Finnish name is Niksu. Come on, Signs, sing along with me: Niksu, tuo pikkumies pikkuautossaan...)

Reading the Signs said...

Aaaaaarrrrghhh!!! I have spent years typing out the most fabulously witty and erudite comment in response to yours, Schwes and sodding Blogger has gone and swallowed it up. 'Twas all about Earl Grey versus coffee, Miranda July, Niksu and gawd knows what else - well everything else. So now you will just have to imagine what it is I said.

And get the book, sees, and let me know what you think because it's a long time since I had such an Oh Yesss! response to a collection of short stories.

Mwahs etc.

Anna MR said...

Bloody ruddy blogger schlemozzle (told you), that's hardly fair and so bloody annoying it makes one want to scream and kick. However, I shall try to cook up something of a replacement for your erudite in extremis witticisms. Failingly, flailingly, of course, but hey.

I need to get that book, of course. I will go to Akateeminen kirjakauppa tomorrow. If they don't stock it, there's nothing for it - I'll have to pop my Amazon cherry and order it. That way, it is clear, lies death, despair, destruction, dismay, doom, and the loss of all my pennies, because once one can't stop. One rather suspects. Which is why one has so far kept one's online purchasing under very firm control.

Ksliptpa - Kiss-lip tpa? Who's tpa? And Niksu is of course a pikku miekkonen, not a mies, otherwise there wouldn't be enough syllables. It bothered me for awhile, before the right lyrics returned to my brain. Hurrah.

cusp said...

'quiet herosim....' : sums you up perfectly dear. Achhhh you'll always be a hero to me even as I lie her on myown bed of pain and fortitude ;0)


Reading the Signs said...

Anna, once the schlemozzle has got into your system you will find it belongs absolutely everywhere.

Am assuming the Niksu song means I'm just a little Noddy man, I always nod my head....

Reading the Signs said...

Well you see, Cuspilein, it takes one to know one, and I can well believe that you also have the kind of heroism that in my opinion is deserving of medals, accolades and lavish praise, not to mention hefty awards which carry a bit of financial clout. But, being modest, we do not make a big thing about it, do we? Though we sodding well might! The world is warned ....

Gael said...

Hey you. Synchronicity. What more can I say?
You'd be proud. I actually wrote on The Waste Land. Me! And something on Jane Austen. And the Brontes. Anyone would think I was a bona fide lit student, or sumfink!
Like I said, cautiously optimistic. And, at this precise moment, a bit pissed.
Fingers crossed.
I've a provisional Masters place, results and funding permitting. I'll keeep you posted.
And seriously, thanks.

And a shout out for the psychic Periodic Englishman, if he's in this neck of the woods.
I've never been more relaxed at exam time - and I'm convinced that a large part of that was down to my mental sound track of Song For Signs


Reading the Signs said...

Gael, you didn't did you - really? I mean The Waste Land is like hacking through a dense forest of literary references. Tell you a secret: when I was preg with my second child and trying to earn a bit of money I hired myself out to do a bit of home-tutoring. Had to teach said Waste Land and mug up on it sharpish over a weekend (never having done it at uni), which I did by using York Notes. Gawd.
Doing a Masters now, is it? Well then you'll have more letters after your name than me! Though actually, come to think of it, I am a MOCDOC

(birdie tells me TPE is having "connection problems" - obviously refers to matters psychic, so we ought to help by sending helpful thought-waves)

Kahless said...

Ah Signs,
I hope your throat is feeling better.

And thank-you for the view through your cats eyes. Maybe I will pause for thought and do the same with my dogs this weekend.

Oh, and I have started The Artist's Way following your recommendation. Morning pages is a hassle though!!! I will persevere and hope for the benefits. And an artist's date... tomorrow I am going to look round the monastry down the road. Dont know why; just fancy it!

Collin said...

Sorry you haven't been feeling well. I used to regular throat infections -- at least twice a year -- and I finally started doubling up on my Vitamin C intake. I haven't had one since. That was about three or four years ago.

Reading the Signs said...

hey Kahless, the morning pages can take a bit of practice - remember you can use a small(A5) notebook, which can feel less daunting. Allow yourself to be generous with artist's dates, they are a good thing.

Right, Collin, I am going to double my vit C intake too and see if that helps. I actually got both throat infections following aeroplane travel.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Signs

I miss Springwatch.



Reading the Signs said...

And, Pants, you are missing spring, perhaps. It being autumn where you are.

Kahless said...

Signs, I bought a A5 book and already reduced to two pages! I have realised that my mind is full of such trivial rubbish!

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless, the point of doing the pages isn't necessarily to produce brilliant words. Getting that "trivial rubbish" out can be seen in the same way as throwing out stuff for composting: makes the soil rich over time. Or, looking at it another way, it is that stuff that stands between you and your creative activity, whatever that may be. It doesn't necessarily feel good doing it to begin with - no new discipline does, as anyone who has ever played an instrument knows. If you find yourself focussing exclusively on the things that get you down it can be useful to simply write in the moment, focussing on what you are registering with your various senses. Sometimes I have to consciously avoid just talking about, say M.E. symptoms, otherwise I can feel that I am falling into a black hole. But on the other hand, allowing myself to do that can on occasions be a good thing.

A word about the third page: it is often on that page that you begin to feel the flow. So try and make yourself go beyond page two if you can.

Kahless said...

Actually Signs, yesterday I did describe everything I could sense with my senses. Actually I think my hearing is the most varied sense of mine.

I will endeavour to go three pages tomorrow. What amazed me in terms of trivia was me writing stuff that I didnt realise was on my mind; like "I feel fat" and "I feel like a dead weight." What inane crap. Better out than in eh. I am still thinking this year has an important air of vanilla.

I really appreciate your support and encouragement. I am determined to give this a go for at least 6 weeks. Mind you, I havent done any of the additional excercises yet. Damn I forgot. Tomorrow!

Do you do the morning pages every day?

Reading the Signs said...

Not doing them right now, Kahless, but did while I was doing TAW. I don't necessarily go with everything J.C. puts out, but think the process is valuable. It did help me that I was doing it with others, meeting every fortnight.

Every so often I have a concentrated period of doing pages again. It's good for me.

Reading the Signs said...

Oh yeah, do the exercises too. They will support the whole process and you can incorporate them into the pages if you want.

Gael said...

I got the Miranda July book, I have the weirdest selection of books on the go at the moment. She reminds me a bit of Dave Eggers, who also seems to generate rather strong reactions. Jury's still out, I'm quite slow when it comes to short story collections, i try and ration myself to one a day, and then cogitate a bit. I also picked up Learning to Love You More, i think I like the idea of it more than the reality

Reading the Signs said...

I would like to get that too, Gael, thanks for the link. And the film she made. I think her stories are riddled with imperfections but I kind of like those just as much as the flashes of brilliance. Dunno. I just felt I came up against something new and vital. Haven't yet read David Eggers and clearly should.

Gael said...

I was specifically thinking of his flash fiction, in particular this.
As a side note: sigh of palpable relief that Daughter of Signs is not on BB.
PS The Other Place has had a revamp. Remember the kerfufulle last time?

Reading the Signs said...

Gael, re BB, I am indeed thankful that this is not the case. Actually it's the Son, and (ssshhh), it's a choir thing - you'll know when it comes up on the beeb.

I would like to get that David Eggers collection. Will order it - ta.

Just popped over to the other place. Funny, but it seems to have gone back more to how it was in the grey and orange days or yore.

Anna MR said...

Signs, Gael, hello. I got the Miranda July as well and have just finished it a couple of days ago. I think I am pretty much in accordance with you on it, Signs (now what were the chances) - there are some aspects to her writing that are, well, flaws, really - something unfinished or not ready or incomplete or something in those lines. Immature? - but it all adds up to a writer to be kept in mind, I thought. I also found her highly inspiring for one's own writing (shh) - in a sort of "what are you waiting for, just pull your finger out and write" way. I particularly liked the story "Making Love in 2003" and the shorty "This Person".

I'm wondering if either one of you has read any Tatyana Tolstaya? I read two collections of her short stories in English, "On the Golden Porch" and "Sleepwalker in a Fog" (apparently both are now available as one volume, information under my name - including one story. Not a bad one, but not, in my view, as good as some), and found them both heart-breaking and mind-blowing (as well as funny in that peculiarly Russian way, for which I am highly partial). Funny enough I also tried her novel "Slynx" and hated it - didn't get past page five, if I recall rightly. It may have been a translation thing, mind, and my Russian is (khrm) not quite good enough yet to read it in the original.

Gael, I'd never even heard of David Eggers, but had a look inside the one book that Amazon would let me do so with (name forgotten already - oh dear. It was the one about characters called Will and Hand who have to travel round the world and get rid of a bunch of money, within a week) and it does look like something I'd want to read if I come across it. So thank you for the pointer.

So, um, I sort of butted in here, but I am under strict orders not to apologise, so, you know, as you were... and mwahs all round. (And zczrahim - Yiddish for a person with a penchant for the act of butting in on literary conversations of a private nature)

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, you were getting dangerously near to the old apology thing, but you clearly made great effort to hold back so gold star for that. And this conversation is not private, forsooth, especially not in respect of your good self, who is welcome everywhere in this house.

Yes, I found that too (are we going to agree about everything, conjoined sees?) - the permission that the writing gives for one's own stuff. But not because of the imperfections, more because of the resonances it has in respect of my own style, and how I'd kind of forgotten to allow myself to do things that reflect the mind's strange meanderings.

The flaws, I think, are part of the intention, not just there because the writer is as yet immature in her craft. I think they are like the rough edges you might find on a piece of sculpture or the way some music peters out and leaves you (slightly) gasping.

ok, now I'm going to have to look at Tatyana Tolstoya and what the poor brain will say to this I don't know. But it does seem to be the case that I can read several short stories at one sitting and yet struggle after the first few pages of most novels.

Doctor Who tonight. Now that is something that really does show it's flaws these days, and not in a good way. But don't breathe a word of this, because it would spoil my rant about him never ever putting a foot wrong.

Anna MR said...

My lips are sealed and your out-of-love-with-the-Doctor secret is safe with me, unfaithful Signs. Yes, I found the meanderings of thought (in July's writing) very inspiring, too, and as I said somewhere at your house (can't remember if it was this thread or where), the website she created for the book was brilliant and superbly silly and certainly reminded me of some of the stuff I've been guilty of, both with you and a certain other blogger, too - just playful silliness and fun. PLAYING. Maybe that's what appeals in her writing, the playfulness - although I'm not implying she only plays, there's a range of emotions and quite an understanding for human folly. I have started to explore some of her other websites, wondering if I could get hold of her film(s?). So yes, thank you for pointing me in her direction. I hope you'll enjoy Tolstaya - it's quite different, very Russian in a way (Gogolian tradition, reminiscent of Tsvetayeva's prose), but the mind-meanderings are there.

I might put the footy on. Shhhhh. Male team sports, dear Signs, male team sports.

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, I take it all back. The Doctor was fabulous tonight and I love him again. Or I love David Moffat who always writes the best episodes.

"Playful" and "silliness" are good words, but I would take issue with the word "just", for in my book those things are essential and I cannot be breathing in and out if they are absent for very long. There are not many people who are guilty of serious playfulness, but yes, you are one. And that other blogger too. Let us stand convicted, my dear.

Anna MR said...

Signs, you are right - just sounds derogatory there and issue should be taken with it. I will happily hand over my "just" to you to punish and mistreat it as you see fit. I would suggest taking a leaf out of the WV leprechauns' book - they are yelling bzariaaa which sounds like the combination of a banzai-type exclamation with an item of clothing to cover up improper body parts.

However, maybe we could agree that the "just" could be understood to mean "simply", here? That way I wouldn't have to admit to a bad choice of words, which would be nice. Trouble is of course one's mind can be infiltrated with cultural value impositions, making a play-addict feel she needs to apologise and call things "not only play" to suggest they hold meaning, too. As if play was ever meaningless, even on the occasions when it is being meaningless in itself - which it sometimes is and sometimes isn't, I find.

I'm hopping up and down here, incidentally, hoping you've found me in the "E-Street Wench Sleeps" thread. So if I sound distracted, well, I am.

Gael said...

Hey, Anna, will look up Tolstaya, i do like Gogol, so the signs are good. One of my faves in the July collection was the one about the birthmark, which struck me as very Gogolesque.
I do have a penchant for short shorts, and fragments, as then every word must count. I think a few of hers ran out of steam a bit, or as though she was trying a bit too hard to be as whacky as possible.
And 'playful' is always a good word when it comes to literature, and is one of the things I lovewhat i love about JW, AS, etc.
Talking of which,Signs, Ali has a new short story collection out this autumn : )

Reading the Signs said...

Short stories by Ali will get my attention, Gael, though it has to be said that I really didn't go for her last novel - can't even remember the title, see. But Hotel World is fabulous.

Re. whackyness: if there is a whiff of self-consciousness about it then the whole thing is spoiled, I agree. And I have to say that I found that, and more than once, in JW's work. But her brilliance outweighs, I think.

Anna MR said...

Signs, Gael, hello. It was The Accidental - it bugged me so terribly I had to go and look. I will stick my neck out here and confess I don't like AS. I read Hotel World, too, and both books had similar flaws which did my head in, particularly as this is a writer who is almost brilliant - and this "almost" is what does me in more than if she was downright crap. (All of these pronouncements, incidentally, have to be taken with a large helping of "in my opinion". Although obviously, I'm right.) You see, she has this tendency to create stereotypical characters (remember that university professor father in The Accidental, with a tendency towards lechery? Hardly original) who are somehow clearly the unsympathetic stupid ones of the tale, ones she has no understanding or sympathy for as their creator (how cruel of a God-author to create characters with no redeeming features, just to writhe in their own unlikability throughout their universe and tale, over and over again, every time someone reads the book, somewhere) - there was also the pampered estate agent woman in Hotel World whose level of general knowledge (in spite of her material success) was so low (contra the homeless woman) she didn't even know the force of gravity is different on the Moon. I don't know. Yes the storylines are lovely-dreamy and her use of language is good but I just get annoyed with the bloody obviousness of her characters.

I have spoken.

(Jeanette Winterson is good but somehow I started to feel she was churning out her trademark stuff, by Lighthousekeeping - which would be okay otherwise but it felt like it was becoming self-indulgent and simultaneously wearing a bit thin, if you know what I mean. And I didn't like Weight at all - there was the going-for-whackiness-for-the-sake-of-it thing there, yes. I think I've spoken again. Oops.)

You've only yourselves to blame for these proclamations, anyway, for being so interesting down here. I only came here to blush away the high praise you heaped on me over at the top post. And sweet sees Signs - you went awfully quiet after the purple cow poem. Being a socially-inept neurotic-anxiety patient I worry I've upset you with it being so stupid. You see, this is just the way my mind works - inane things clutter it, and they just compulsively push to the surface by way of a process of association so peculiar it is beyond explanation. It's just when you mentioned liking mashed potato but not wanting to be one that the purple cow and not wanting to be one forced their way to the surface and into a comment (no - oh woe - into two comments). Anyway, apologies for stupidity and hope to hear from you soon.

(The emergence of the e poem still hampered by male team sports. Apologies for that too. Did 1500 words on the imagined conversations, though.)

Mwah and mweh and affectionate tale-wags (sic) all round ...

Gael said...

Oh dear. We were getting on so well. Something you should know, anna mr. Ali Smith is my God(dess). I was flicking back through some of her short stories today, as one does, and I actually cried. Twice. OK, I'm even more tired and emotional than usual at the moment but she's just bloody fantastic. I'm afraid if you continue in this vein I shall have to put my fingers in my ears and shout "na,na,na, I'm not listening." And I better leave it there, before I start lecturing.
JW, on the other hand, has gone off the boil, IMNSHO. Which is tragic, 'cos she's written some of my favourite lines ever. And I'm not going to write her off. Yet. She was a massive influence on me a few years ago, and I only heard about AS via her, for which I shall be eternally grateful.
Go read Like, Anna, and her shorts (if you haven't already), and then we'll talk again...

Reading the Signs said...

Well now, I sit between two posts and blame you both for me having a sore bum as a consequence. For Hotel World is one of my fave books and as good an example of (contemporary) extended piece of poetic prose as one might find (says she, who can't unscramble brain long enough to hardly read anything). Short stories are wonderful, but only if you dig that kind of thing, and unless you do then one volume is plenty enough.

I have squawked.

But The Accidental was just annoying. And the beginning was just like JW's beginning to Lighthousekeeping, or near enough. Trouble is, if you don't like the narrator's voice, if it gets on your nerves there's no escaping it, is there? But I'm not so bothered about characterisation - it's not realism after all, innit, and a few sketchy brushstrokes can do it for me - in the right context. Nor do characters have to be in any way likeable, no, as long as they don't bore me and there is a point to them. For characters, though they are very much like people, are not people. Having said this, we have to feel that they are 'true' - in some unfathomeable way. Oh shut up, me, please.

Anna, In view of your various apologies, I've just thought of another task for you: to write an extended apology that goes beyond anything else you have ever apologised for. Basically, if you take as read that you are guilty for absolutely everything that ever happened or will happen, that should give you the right ground from which to begin.

Gael, It's ok for you then. I could do with a god/ess or two.

Anna loses (it) on penalties said...

Who knew? Atlas is actually a woman – me. The weight of the world pushes down on me, giving me the unattractive posture of old women who have worked hard. I have worked hard, yet it is as they say – “A woman’s work is never done.” Allow me to explain.

I wasn’t always this haggard being with a hunched back. There was a time when I was young and the world, already my ever-companion, was easy to bear. Have you seen the circus artists who work a ball, gravity-defyingly, up and down an alternately raised arm, rolling it impossibly from shoulder to shoulder, from front to back, from the tip of the longest finger on one hand all the way to its opposite on the other hand, and back, again and again? That was me – or more like, that was me and the world, the way we used to be, the world still painless to carry, light without death and suffering, the seas cooling my skin as they rolled over it, the peaks massaging my muscles, and on the planet, innocent life-forms going about their lives, sometimes under the sun, sometimes under cloud-cover, with the self-awareness of enlightened beings and newborns, and we danced to the music of the spheres.

Until I did it. I dropped the ball.

Who knows how or why. It slipped. It fell. It was damaged, irreparably. The impact destroyed much of what lived, immediately, yet the long-term damages were worse. Something went wrong in the psychic ecosystem, too much awareness was introduced, and along with it, hunger and want and power and powerlessness and all the deadly sins they created rushed in, unstoppable. I had picked up my precious ball immediately but it was already barely recognisable, the weight of it crushing, immense, harsh. No more playing and dancing for us. The suffering my failure brought increases exponentially, with time, and along with it, the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I tell you this not to ask for your pity, or even to apologise, for my guilt is beyond the scope of any forgiveness. I am simply and selfishly and unforgivably tired of the loneliness of my huge guilt, of being the only thing in creation who knows it is, in fact, I who am to blame for – everything, and wish to share this knowledge with you, dear Reader.

(But maybe I am also apologising. Yes, yes I am. I am sorry, sorry, sorry. I am so terribly sorry and it is all my fault.)

S*rry, Signs, but you asked for it...

Anna MR said...

And Gael? I daren't apologise (God knows what Signs would make me do next by way of penalty) but I had no idea I had stuck my keyboard into a religiously sensitive issue. Therefore I shall just let lie whatever it is I think/feel about AS and allow (magnanimously, in my view) you to think/feel whatever it is you do. (But I shall check out the book(s) you mention, if I can come by them. English-language fiction isn't always available in the libraries here, and one cannot always buy everything. But let's try to get on even after this major disaster.)

And Signs - yes, true, characters do not have to be likable, nor do they have to be realistic, but when we combine stupidity with two-dimensionality in "baddie" characters the result smacks of bad Disney adaptations of the Greek myths. Just, you know, saying. As one who has just done her first atrocious adaptation of the same.

Mwahs all round, as always, in spite of the Holy War and fatwah I have inadvertently started (I aim to come out of this mess looking like Gandhi) (and I don't mean Indira - she came to a sticky end. Mind you, so did the other one. Ah well).

Gael said...

Anna we'll agree to differ then. For now. Until I write the Vintage Living Texts guide to AS, that is.

As for adaptations, I infinitely prefer your effort to JW's

And forgive me, but i must recommend Ali's Girl Meets Boy, also in the Cannongate myths series

Reading the Signs said...

Fabulous Finn, your accomplishments continue to astound me. For so caught am I by your monologue that I (admittedly the naivest of naive readers) really do believe that everything you say in it is absolutely true. Do you realise what a burden this takes from my sagging shoulders, to know that it is you and not me who bears the burden of all the blame? And here I am paying shitloads of money to a therapist. I think I'll just go and tell him that it's all ok now, I'm set free.

Marianne - doncha love her? I never heard this one. Is this the girl who sang As Tears Go By? Yes, inevitably. Marianne, c'est moi!

Come to think of it, Anna Atlas, c'est moi aussi. You've named it, Anna. Nailed it.

Reading the Signs said...

Gael, you don't have to agree to anything on my account for, between you and me, I was rather looking forward to you and Anna slugging it out for a few more rounds, even if she does come out of it looking like Ghandi. Well, more like JC actually, what with taking the whole burden of all our sins and everything on her shoulders.

But yes, I'll read Ali.

Mwahs y'all!

Anna MR said...

Gael - yes, I'd have to agree (hello, incidentally). I prefer my effort to JW's because not only is mine written by me (hurrah), it also is considerably shorter than Weight - always a positive attribute in sub-standard writing, lack of length, don't you find (and much as I like JW's work I didn't care for Weight as I think I said upthread). Your taste is clearly impeccable and the AS issue has to be brushed aside. Yes.

Signs - consummatum e est. My reputation in Blogoslavia has suffered yet another dreadful setback. I'm very worried. Although super happy to have relieved your shoulders of their unnecessary burden (and your therapist of his unnecessary income. Double hurrah).

I saw Marianne live a few years ago and although the venue wasn't really clubby enough to support the atmosphere, she really carried the thing. Huge charisma and presence (and a voice that I happen to like) - totally self-indulgent of course but hey.

Okay - I'm off to smoke. I've been here all evening, meaning to write this comment. Off I go. Mwahs all round.

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, yeah, well it's ok for some, those who still smoke cigs I mean. A bit jealous of this and -

what? 'e' est consummatum? Be right there.

Anna MR said...

It is alright for some, No-Smoke Sign(al)s. Although just lately my smoking's gone a bit out of hand and I'm enjoying that less.

I really need to add to what I said to Gael earlier re my effort contra JW's - mine has also a vastly better soundtrack than hers, oh yes it does. The fact that hers is a book, an object to which soundtracks are notoriously difficult to attach, and mine is a blog post comment, to which soundtracks can be attached with one's eyes shut, is neither here nor there. Hurrah me, once again (tentative practice at self-praise, Signs, okay?).

Off to announce your penalty over at e, Signs. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Reading the Signs said...

There's no arguing about the soundtrack, Anna, and I bet that JW (who is surely looking in here) will be kicking herself that she didn't think of this and begin a blog. She is very keen on the old hold-in-the-hand boook, though.

I am afraid already.

Anna MR said...

Good. I'm just about to hit send...