let me take your hand like a landmine
and lead you
to the edge of the void.
let me drag you to the brink
show you the black you think so distant.
I will show you the dust--
we will wait for the stone to sound--
wait in the oubliette
you know i can't create,
In one light, this sounds like gluttony. I am rejoicing in the presence of excessive amounts of food. But it is not the mere taste, not the full stomachs that we are grateful for. It is the consistency of tradition, the commaraderie of shared experiences, the fact that at this time yesterday none of us had concrete plans for the holiday--and yet, everything was there in full.
Now to call my mother and inquire after the homeless...
Oh my. It's been over a week since I've written anything, and that was not very interesting. So perhaps my life has been drab. Perhaps I have done little but read read read for the past two weeks. Who can blame me? That's what I'm here for, after all.
I have done one lovely thing, though. Yesterday. I went to the Tea Room on the east end of the Royal Mile and had cream tea.
(photo above, provided by www.edinburgh-royalmile.com) Heaven, your name is clotted cream. Next to ceilidh dancing, one of the favoriter things I've done in Scotland. Although I must admit a certain sense of self-consciousness, being there with an actual British person who apparently hails from the cream tea capital of England. And I should have been self-conscious. I earned such tension the moment I licked a spot of cream off my finger. Proper people don't do that! ah... but who can let such beauty go to waste?
Another thing I have done: wandered for an hour or so in the National Museum of Scotland, which is free, which has amazing architecture, and which contains a variety of stuffed beetles. It also hold some representative figurines of extinct birds, a guillotine named "the Maiden", and a treasure chest (empty) from long ago (obviously) with a hidden lock system comprised of 15 spring bolts. Oh yes, and I cannot fail to mention the creepy mask that a dissenting Protestant preacher wore on his Gospel tours back in the days of zeal. It looked like that scarecrow mask from Batman Begins.
Mask photo (view only if you possess a strong constitution): http://imdb.com/gallery/ss/0372784/BBFC27.jpg.html
Website exerpt: 'Have you ever asked, “What is a Bird?”. This is the ideal place to find out! Learn about their flight. Explore their feeding and nesting. Look into courtship and mating. Many of the specimens in our collection are displayed in characteristic poses - look out for the vulture!'
I have also tasted haggis, though I can take little credit for the experience. Flatmate Jess gains all the glory, as she scarfed an entire meal of the stuff, minus the slight tastes that Flatmate Liesl and myself took from that portion. I didn't mind it! I don't think I could eat a whole meal of it, because sometimes the mind takes over the gag reflex... but I could manage more than one taste now and again. It tasted like a sausage, only more... grainy. To try this at home: http://www.smart.net/~tak/haggis.html
So I suppose I have been doing more than reading. Though I have a lot more of that still to do. You will find me in the same spot for the next four days, plowing through Thomas Pynchon (http://www.pynchon.pomona.edu/v/index.html) and Henry Mackenzie (http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2858). And maybe, just maybe, a bit of Alastair Gray (only unrelated websites available. Google it yourself).
Saturday afternoon--the sky is clear, but the wind is blustering. A siren passes; a Harley over at the dealership revs its engine. My head feels thick, and small wonder. I have been hit with a cold right across the face. This week has not been the most eventful. Just reading, reading, more reading. My reading list for this next week is as follows:
Humphrey Clinker (by Tobias Smollett)
V (by Thomas Pynchon)
Lanark (by... whoever wrote Lanark)
and another book which I don't know 'cause I haven't checked the syllabus in a while. And where's the syllabus? What have I done with it?
As well as reading the above books (V, Lanark, and the last don't really have to be read till the week after, but they're long, so I need a head start), I need to compile my dissertation bibliography by which my advisor will be chosen. This will take some time.
And I want to feel better so I can make cookies (I will not make them when I cannot taste them), and perhaps I will also make some soup.
I am also going to the grocery store and to Boots for (obviously) groceries, and items like face soap and such.
This is a typical Saturday.
...For the last ten or fifteen years, the immense and proliferating criticizability of things, institutions, practices, and discourses; a sort of general feeling that the ground was crumbling beneath our feet, especially in places where it seemed most familiar, most solid, and closest to us, to our bodies, to our everyday gestures. But alongside this crumbling and the astonishing efficacy of discontinuous, particular, and local critiques, the facts were also revealing something... beneath this whole thematic, through it and even within it, we have seen what might be called the insurrection of subjugated knowledges.
—Foucault, Society Must be Defended, 7th January 1976, tr. David Macey
As with my sister's wedding, I hesitate to summarize the wedding of Stuart and Nicole of which I was most recently a part. The important things, I cannot do justice to. And a recollection of the unimportant things might make the whole thing seem trivial. I also do not have any photos yet, as I foolishly kept my camera in my bag the entire time. I am eager to display the photos of the groomsmen, all of whom looked beyond snazzy, and so will try my best to acquire them from somewhere.
Until then, I will make this the first record of the traveling furs. We bridesmaids all wore white fur wraps and have agreed to wear them henceforward in as many interested places as we can conjur. Mine was worn on the plane on the way over here, and I have a photo, taken by my mother, of myself wearing it at the Palm Springs airport. I suppose you will simply have to trust my word when I say that I wore it constantly the entire trip, save one or two hours between the warmth of the Palm Springs puddle-jumper and the chill of LAX.
Speaking of which, what does a person do when they accidentally spot the bride and groom on the day after their wedding? Yes, Stuart and Nicole left for their Honeymoon out of Gate 77, and my flight left two minutes later out of Gate 74. They did not see me (I quickly removed the easily spotted fur wrap about this time), and I decided against addressing them at all. Let them have their peace, even in the midst of all these stranger-crowds.
I will post the first fur photo later.