I woke up at six thirty and couldn’t get back to sleep. My brain was just ON.

This doesn’t happen to me very often, so I took advantage of it. I noted down about twenty things I want to make art works of of some kind or another and thought about how I might make some of them. That felt quite fruitful. I’ve started keeping notes on my phone, because my brain works far faster than my hands and forgetting things is an occupational hazard for me.

I’ve been keeping this list for some weeks now. The more I write, therapeutically, the more ideas I have for artworks. You would think the two things would be linked by subject matter, but they’re not at all. The writing is painful and slow and personal. The artwork ideas are not. Well, they are slow, but they’re not deeply personal and full of pain. It’s a bit like I’m clearing out the cupboards of all the crap and I find treasure, scrunched up at the back.

Once I’d emptied my head a bit I went down to take advantage of the cool weather.

First, the inspection of the litter trays.

Derek is no longer evacuating her bowels on the carpet in any way. She did however, start with a hugely upset tummy yesterday and I spent a lot of my day emptying litter trays. She has IBS which flares up from time to time if she’s stressed or if she eats crap. I think it’s fair to assume that this bout was brought on by being incarcerated by the V E T for a day. She finds ever more elaborate ways in which to trap us in her torturous web of punishments.

I emptied three trays today. I am grateful that I was not scrubbing liquid pooh out of the carpets at ten to seven in the morning. There is always something to be grateful for.

After the horrors of the stool inspection were over, I took my breakfast into the library and spent a very pleasurable hour reading and drinking coffee and listening to the magpies shouting at each other in the trees. They are so unspeakably noisy.

I’m reading the Talk Art book by Russell Tovey and Robert Diament. I started listening to their podcast a few weeks ago on a long journey and I keep dipping in and out of it. They interview all kinds of artists and sometimes art collectors and writers about their work and passions. Each episode is about an hour long so you get a good, deep dive and it’s an extremely diverse bag, which I like. The book is a kind of distillation of that. They introduce broad themes and then gallop through artists and their work in relation to that theme. The book is focussed on emerging artists or artists who are under-represented in the more mainstream art circles. There are lots of good quality pictures too. I hate art books with more text than artworks.

I think I’ve told you about the podcast before, but I just can’t be bothered to delete that paragraph now, so in it stays.

I’m reading the Talk Art book slowly because I keep being side tracked and having to go and look people up or think about what they’re making. In between that I’m reading the new Anthony Horowitz, Hawthorne murder, A Line To Kill, which is ridiculous and escapist and frothy, if you can say that of a thriller. I’ve got an advance reader copy but there are two others in the series if you’re interested in daft but well written thrillers. I’m still forging on with Gertrude Stein and being mildly mystified and I’ve nearly finished the latest Alan Warner, Kitchenly 434, which like all of his books, is an odd thing indeed.

My last day of isolation today. I started to feel quite poorly again yesterday evening so I took another test, which came back negative. I wonder if I’ve got some kind of deep lassitude from all the cat litter I’ve been forced to excavate in recent weeks. It could be a thing. Cat litter lung, maybe?

Oscar and I had a takeaway last night. Jason is doing keto at the moment so he isn’t joining us on our culinary adventures and I’m in charge of the app, so we have been pushing the boundaries in terms of our food choices. Last week we ordered Japanese food. This week we had chicken burgers from a place called Absurd Bird. I had a Korean burger with kimchi and the spiciest mayonnaise in the Western Hemisphere. It was very good. I’d eat it again, although sadly their fries were extremely meh. We spent the evening eating junk food and watching Brooklyn 99. It’s highbrow stuff here.

I’m not complaining. I Thank God almost daily that I’m not forced to play the piano and sew a fine seam. What a prison that would be.

4 responses to “

  1. Our local magpies have taken to arguing with each other recently – possibly trying to persuade the fully fledged youngsters to not only fly the nest but move somewhere else entirely?
    The local gull are also clearly over the ‘feed ’em every five seconds’ part of their parental duties and are now flying around, or sitting on rooftops, screaming at each other. Some days you can’t hear the noise of the motorway! (It’s only bad if the wind’s coming from that direction really.)
    And as for the flock of juvenile starlings that squabble over the mealworm feeder twice a day . . . They’re beginning to get adult feathers and be recognisable as starlings by more than their riotous behaviour!

    That art book sounds really good, I might have a look for it.

    Enjoy your final day of incarceration. And the rain (forecast) over the weekend.

  2. I really admire your ability to read books that you aren’t finding easy or especially enjoyable, although I do share a reluctance to give up on a book once I’ve started. I just don’t take so many risks when deciding what to start these days. Unfortunately you can miss out on some wonderful books if you don’t.

    I finished the Virgin in the Garden, not before I ordered her Booker Prize winning novel Possession though, otherwise I might not have bothered. I realise I am late to the party, the book was written in the seventies and maybe it was de rigeur at the time for ‘clever’ novels to trail off at the end as though the author had got bored of the whole business. Whilst I didn’t care for any of the characters much, and I certainly didn’t find them relatable (tbf I don’t think we were supposed to) after 566 pages I was invested and I did want a resolution of some description.
    I suspect a more cerebral person than I might have understood more, but it seems quite limiting to only write for people who think like you do.

    The synopsis of Possession says it is ‘a MASSIVE complex story’, at which point I thought ‘Dear God, not again’ but it goes on to say ‘Byatt has contrived a masterly ending’ so there is hope, depends on your interpretation of masterly I suppose…
    It’s going on the waiting list for now, there is only so much highbrow I can handle these days. xxx

    • Ah. I started my Byatt reading with Possession and absolutely loved it. It is very different to The Virgin in the Garden and I hope you will enjoy it. I also loved The Virgin in the Garden but it might help (or not) to know that it is the first of four books. They’re all quite weird, but I was invested and I enjoyed them. They’re also all quite long, so don’t feel obliged at all! x

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