mjj (flemmings) wrote,
mjj
flemmings

Death, doom, despair

Maybe it's flu, maybe it's wanhope, maybe it's a weekend spent at a cottage on the Niagara peninsula-- a flat unbeautiful stretch of land always covered in heat haze, where people watch television because there's nothing else to do but drink. Yes, yes, they grow wine there. But you'd have to be either drunk all the time or a Buddhist recluse not to go mad at the excess of nothing on all sides, which (even worse) requires a car to get you to it. Auden's estate is ferociously copy-righted so there's no online version, and the poem itself is too long for me to type, but his Plains contains the line, "I cannot see a plain without a shudder,/ 'Oh God, please, please don't ever make me live there." Yes. Yes. *This*, as the wacky mono say.
And think of growing where all elsewheres are equal!
     So long as there's a hill-ridge somewhere the dreamer
Can place his land of marvels; in poor valleys
     Orphans can head downstream to seek a million;
Here nothing points; to choose between Art and Science
     An embryo genius would have to spin a stick.
Knowing what the cottage can do to me in its worst moods (ie hot sweltering mug, shimmery grey hazed sky, stink of polluted lake, and no, that's it, sorry all but I'm never going to LRD ever) I brought a backpack of books to read, including that simple-minded White Hart novel. But wanhope/ flu/ ferocious muscle spasms ruled out anything Japanese, as they did the undistinguished Martha Wells I'd also brought. (Why do so many fantasies read like tapwater? and tapwater written on a computer, to boot.) If I must suffer, let me suffer to some purpose, so I gnawed doggedly away at The Fall of the Kings. And finished it today, finally, dragging feet and ripping nails out all the way.

No, it does *not* make me sleep. It screws up my time sense. I read and read and read and find that I've read a grand total of five pages and there are two hundred and fifty left to go and it's so looong and it will never eeeend and I have no choice but to see it through to the finish. (What a good thing I never had kids. That's my notion of labour as well, plus 'extreme physical pain.')

Somewhere I mentioned the term 'good bad novel.' Now I realize there's a converse, the bad good novel. It should be interesting; it should be fascinating; it's more than decently written and it's not empty or full of bumf and an editor has (possibly) taken a look at it. But it's a swamp, a sink, a sticky flaily morass that fights you at every turn. It just doesn't work and you want to cry because it *should* work. Robin Hobb is the other writer who's inspired me with the same weepy enraged 'I don't know what's wrong with this and I don't know why I don't like this and I want it to be *over* but I can't just put it down.'

But now it *is* over, thank god, and I can go read my copies of Ze that arrived today, two weeks and some after I ordered them. SAL has been very efficient in the past but I forgot that only an idiot, or someone prepared to wait, orders anything from Japan at the beginning of August or the end of December, when half of Tokyo is somewhere else, with or without public holidays to help the exodus.
Tags: japan, place, reading, reading_09, rhobb, rl_09, verse, ze
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