Saturday, July 12, 2008

Of bunnies and Noah's Ark

___?????????????????????????????????????????______))))))))))))))))))) : that was Max Martini, who climbed inquisitively onto the keyboard to investigate just what I was up to on this clicky-clacky thing! Now he is sitting next to me as I indulge in a little bit of writing in bed, wondering just WHAT I want to write about. I began a story ( a ‘proper’ novel) but it just felt too much like I was forcing it – instead of it flowing easily and with great enjoyment from me. (I’m telling Max he should relax and take a nap instead of trying to burrow a hole with his very furry little paws into my white cotton duvet – but he’s instead deliberately ignoring me and attacking, with surprising ferocity for such a sweet little bunny, my cardboard box of glue, scissors and magazine cuttings – and now he’s moved onto the wicker basket I use to prop my laptop against when I write in bed! He absolutely HATES to be reprimanded and when I do end up having to admonish him, he punishes me with The Cold Shoulder by turning his back on me and giving me harsh, unforgiving looks. And oh, how it hurts!)
Here in Northamptonshire, the weather continues to be cold and violently wet so that we are in grave doubt as to whether (weather?!) summer will arrive at all this year! The locals say they have a few wet ones in a row, followed by a few hot ones. (‘Hot’ denoting ‘heavenly’ in the English weather dictionary.) You see, now this is what I just adore writing about: daily life! Daily life as an adventure and a journey filled with the most incredible minutiae of beauty if one will just slow down long enough to look for them. And so, instead of writing a book in order to be published, I shall write for my own pleasure and self-publish for non-profit. I think though, that if I were to write a book, it would be based upon a collection of short stories: a collage or patchwork quilt of stories, stitched and glued together to create a whole… I suppose, in fact, that this is my creative style which can be seen in my obsession with collage and my never-ending collecting of found objects – and in the placement of these in particular groupings which set up a kind of meaningful dialogue in the way in which they relate to each other. (I bought a 1934 edition of THE NEW STANDARD ENCYCLOPEDIA in a charity shop last week for 50p – but which is so desperately precious to me that I wouldn’t trade it for a brand new version from! I have already begun its slow dismemberment by cutting out the words and definitions of Rabbit, Max and Martini – and which I have added to the growing collage decorating Max’s hutch.)
Last night was the ‘Summer Concert’ which we’ve been practicing for these last 6 weeks. ‘We’ are ‘The Village Voices’ – a choir of about 20 people who come from Walgrave and the surrounding villages once a week on a Thursday to sing their hearts out and to bow to the every whim of Ian Clarke, our quite famous choirmaster! Ian had chosen ‘water’ as the theme for this year’s summer concert – and rather ominously, it rained with frightening severity all of yesterday and last night, making the modern cantata based on Noah and his ark, rather too appropriate. We sang a song called ‘Pirate’s Lullaby’, an ancient song written in Latin called Babylonis Somethingus which gave me nightmares it was so antiquatedly complicated, and a few other songs about love and rivers. The true highlight of the evening for me was the group of little girls from our village’s primary school who joined us in some of the parts in Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo. Their obvious delight in being a part of the evening was catchy, and every single face lit up when their sweet little songbird voices filled the room. The very gay pianist took a fascinated liking to Craig, cornering him with a glass of Pimms and regaling him with tales of his gym exploits and his impending trip to Dublin! We will be taking a break between now and September, when we will begin rehearsing for the December concert which will no doubt be about carols etc etc. In the meantime, I exchanged numbers with a few of the special friends I had made and we will, I hope, meet up now and again before September for tea or a pint at out local!
We are still sans-automobile: what a mission!! The public transport system is pretty dysfunctional out here in the sticks, so getting anywhere without a car requires an enormous amount of planning and effort, as well as money -- it is quite pricey to travel by bus (unless one buys a monthly ticket – but even that is not always a reliable way to save money as not all the bus routes are run by the same company… So: aaaaarrrrgh!!!!!!!!!) Hopefully though, by September we WILL have a car, as that is when my supply teaching job starts and not having a car would mean instant career-suicide! In the meantime, we will continue investigating ways to finance a car, and otherwise keep our travels pedestrian.

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