Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Grey Days ... No Thoughts

Today I am starting with a tabula rasa ... a blank screen and an equally blank mind.

I need to do a Costco run today some time.  Kenya must be walked. I have some last minute lesson planning left to do because I will be out all day tomorrow .I should get more paint on the chair pieces.

I am finding it a pain in the butt to work on the pieces rather than a whole chair that can be moved as one item and on which I can see the effect of colours side by side..  It will be easier to do the design work ... maybe ... but the basic painting is much slower and trickier.  You can place a chair on a drop cloth or a newspaper, but pieces have to be laid out carefully on my table, and, even with care they end up blotchier than they would be if I were painting the whole thing.  I try to speed up the process by painting more than one surface and then have nowhere to to dry the piece without damage that will need to be scraped or sanded back.

Next time I will know better.

I wonder if my lassitude is the result of boredom, frustration or just plain laziness and a desire to get back to my current book.  I am reading a lot more lately.  I bought a raft of good books for the winter, and here it is, not even December, and I have gobbled up a few and am eating my way ravenously through Room. 

Room is a  strange book.  The writer has limited herself to a particularly focused point of view and setting which could have resulted in an absolutely claustrophobic read, but her skill has lifted it beyond the narrow confines she set for herself.  It was up for (and may have won) the Man Booker prize this year. 

Annabel and Light Lifting were both finalists for the Giller. 

Annabel has made me reflect on things I seldom consider.  It is a sensitively written story of a hermaphroditic child born in a time and place where the condition was misunderstood and  hidden so that the results were more tragic than they should have been.  Love, however, makes this ultimately a redemptive novel.

I am giving Light Lifting to a friend for Christmas.  It is a very male book.  Well written ... but masculine in a way books that appeal mainly to women are not.  It is about physicality rather than feelings; action rather than contemplation. Strong detail throughout and all the other positives associated with excellent writing ... but I am more interested in the softer more amorphous things that go on within a person than I am in how accurately the writer is able to convey physical sensations. 

I think any athlete with a penchant for reading would love this book which captures a runner's pain, exhaustion and exultation; the physical details of a father dealing with recurrent infestations of lice; and, most often, the pain inflicted on men by other men or by themselves.  Because he handles sensory detail so well, the writing is powerful.    It is not that other good writers (women more often than men) get at feelings by emoting about them; it's that Alexander MacLeod's focus is on the physical ... and on men and their perspective.

I haven't finished reading all the stories yet, partly because it is so very male, but also partly because I prefer novels to short fiction. I will write a proper review of this one when I have finished it, because I know I have not done it justice.  I may have given the incorrect impression that the stories are just about physical pain endured by men ... and the ones I have read are more than that ... they illuminate truth just as all fine fiction does.

So ... on with my day ... hope you have a good one ...

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