May 272007
You’ll know I use those moleskin black notebooks, Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
well ‘somewhat smugly’ not so long ago I was buying three at a branch of Waterstones bookshop (ie expensive @ £8.99 each. Even on a ’3 for 2′ deal, the sales attendant replied to my ‘somewhat smugly’ remark about it therefore being worth it – "Well, I don’t call that cheap mate").
… And stripping off the cellophane and yellow wrapper around one of my new moleskin notebook, and having put the words ‘CLAN WARFARE’ in capitals and red ink on the front page – there was the relief of getting back to writing after almost a week being blown away visiting Scotland last week -
… When out dropped a small postcard, ‘somewhat smugly’ announcing – "Moleskin introduces the new City Notebooks, the first guidebook you write yourself". – "Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin… etc (out now)" came next, then – "Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles.. etc (from Spring 2007), and so on. It was obvious where this was going, and sure enough down at the bottom was
… And exploring the weblog within the site, I clicked all ‘somewhat smugly’ on the words&writers heading before I sent an email to info@moleskin./com to ask them to bring out a City Notebook for ISTANBUL.
Of course ak prefers the Paperchase notebook du bon prix.

Do you know this woman?

 Posted by at 2:45 pm  ON the STREET  Comments Off
May 102007

Her heart was open, though you could have fooled me, falled me, I want to write. Did she fool anybody, everybody? Did she only knock me over or are there lots of you out there?
She told the world that her heart was open and I hesitated to sit in judgement on such an issue, stated with such naive alacrity. But was it merely a novelistic device?
Should she rather be hauled before the court on a charge of blasphemy? A misuse of the divine?
‘I live in the divine.’ She said it like somebody might say they’d like a cup of tea and oh yes could I have a biscuit – make that two biscuits.
Hesitation, as they say, is fatal.
What I didn’t say was:
‘Stop talking about yourself.’
I could never quite frame that injunction.
It was like being a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driving too fast, too wild but convinced he (she) is the world’s greatest driver.
Eventually I jumped out and found myself bruised and muddied in the gutter.

Promises, promises . . .

 Posted by at 9:24 am  Atelier  Comments Off
May 092007

‘You promised.’
‘I what?’
‘You promised me that you were different . . . ‘

My mind stretched and stretched, contorted, and looked round corners.

I’m reminded of a recent yoga class: ‘it’s like elastic,’ Gretchen, the teacher, said, helping my leg to swivel dangerously at the hip.
‘And it might break,’ I retorted.
‘No, no,’ she said laughing, ‘I can tell – then it’s like concrete.’

What had I promised? I don’t really make promises. I don’t talk in that way.
Later I paid attention as she talked to her daughter and noticed how they used/shared the language of promises.
‘You promised,’ her daughter informed her.

A use of language I found frighteningly absolute.

And she might tell me, ‘I promised her . . . ‘

An exchange of promises in which the word promise (I think of and compare the command on a bank note, I promise to pay the bearer . . . ) was only spoken in retrospect, when failure had intervened.

‘You promised.’
The tone used in these two words managing to convey the hurt of disappointment and the accusation of betrayal.

But me, not part of this exchange of promises, would respond:
‘No I didn’t – what are you talking about.’

In all this the parental and the divine are close by. The parental obligation to give the child everything she desires; a God who is obliged to shower good things upon us.

What are the words I use?
I’ll try. I’ll do the best I can. I’ll have a go. And of course, I can’t promise, but . . .