Did you ever see a book and know you should be reading it but for some inexplicable reason have steered clear? For at least two years I have been avoiding the works of Haruki Murakami with a vengeance. Part of me didn't want to be disappointed because of the surrounding hype. Part of me wondered if whoever translated from the Japanese could pull it off properly. There are likely other reasons too but this week, the pull was too strong - I bought a copy of Norwegian Wood and buried myself in a corner just for half an hour to see what it might be like...
The effect was much the same as when I picked up del Toro's book just after Christmas. At first, it made me wonder why I even bother owning a pen, never mind the paper to make childish ink marks on - and yet the more I read, the more I wanted to raise my game. Over the years, there have been plenty of writers I have looked up to - and even more that I didn't - but this was a new experience entirely. This was like hearing a band so original, so utterly in control of what they were doing, you can't help but be in awe of the music that's entering your ears.
I put the book down and scowled at its cover. Sometimes a star can shine so intensely, all you want to do is be close to it to share the warmth it gives off but at no point did I wish to throw in the towel because I will 'never be that good'. I picked it up again, read a little more and picked up my pen...
Meanwhile, not ten minutes ago, this little puppy arrived at the door from Michelle Harvey:
Which will be heading out to the picture framers at the weekend. Mightily pleased in the extreme. She also threw in a copy of her book The Fall Of Redd:
I predict big things for Michelle - but do not expect a Judoon Captain oversize mug if you order a print from her. That's mine...
I took H out for a long walk at lunchtime. Here is the offending article:
On the way home, I had the radio on and caught Bill Oddie talking about 'being bi-polar' - or as he put it, 'manic depressive dressed up to sound nicer'. He was telling a story of how somebody told him that people were sometimes frightened by him, that he could be in the office and do something as simple as ask where a report was and if it wasn't done, announce he might as well do it himself, then go and do it himself.
And I thought to myself... that's me. I don't think I scare people. I am not scary - though I can see why I might be to small children. Yet, that's exactly what I would do. All you want is the damn report, so why hasn't somebody done it like they were supposed to? It's not unreasonable to expect that people do what they are supposed to, properly... is it?
I know lots of people who are bi-polar - or at least tell me they are - but I have never thought of wearing that t-shirt for myself. I get a little frenetic every now and then, but who doesn't? I can also go so far down, I get the bends when I start to come back up. All of the things he was talking about seemed pretty normal to me but after listening, I'm not so sure.
Is it only a problem when it's unmanageable? I certainly wouldn't want to kill off any creativity caused by it and luckily, so far as I know, nobody has ever pointed out that I should see somebody. Not in the last eight years anyway, but we all go through bad times.
It's actually something I don't even want to think about - mostly because I don't perceive it as a problem and I hope it never will be but if you're one of the people whose life it destroys day in/day out, it's worth hunting down on iplayer for a listen - you are not alone.
All of that aside, the impression I make on small children (not that I bump into them that often) will not be assisted by the 'V for Vendetta' facial hair I have been planning to sculpt onto my face later today. I can see it going awfully wrong and having to take it all off - because that's what always happens on my face.
(While I was looking for that, I found this great minimalist poster design for the film...)
That's enough for now. More later. After days and days of not saying anything at all - I find that I suddenly have a lot of garbage in my head that would like to come out, but for now, this:
...which is beautiful.