Thursday, 9 March 2017 22:16
songofcopper: (pensées mauves)
True and no word of a lie: this evening I enjoyed the novel experience of cleaning quince jelly out of a suitcase.

It’s satisfying when life hands you unsolicited surrealism.


A Sketch in Mauve*

Whom will you let me be?

What shape shall thine eye impose upon my form?

Shall I be mocked unless I lie?

The questions insisted on by cowardice! How loud they are. How rudely they trample the delicate truths that mass up softly in private.

Who are you, really? Is ‘the real you’ the one that zombies on calmly, making no fuss? The mild, the boring, present-absent you who is paid by the hour? Or is ‘the real you’ the inward voice, furtively enjoyed and treasured - silk-underwear-of-the-soul?

Delicate truths mass up softly indeed, and they hide thorns. Reach deep into snow, retreat bleeding, bewildered.

Snow falls regardless. The heart’s gauche, and lights up when it ‘shouldn’t’.

How can I not offend you today? I have asked and asked that question, and it remains unanswerable. This is the tax on shyness, the crick of sensitivity.

Could I but ask, How may I astound you? How might I trespass? Oh, could I but ask, and not mind the answer!

Let me then ask, How shall you surprise me?

Expecting the unexpected: this is the beginning of thankfulness.

The lesson of my life has been: Fate made me strange that I might be kind withal.

{*not news, and not without self-mockery }


I redid the shop board today:

chalkboard illustration of a planet, stars and alien spaceship - explore a galaxy of stories

chalkboard illustration of a clockface with extra hands, spirals and arrows - time travel is possible with books

Yes folks, no TARDIS required! :-)
songofcopper: (pendigestatory interludicule ^_^)
I devoutly desire to defy description, and yet occasionally I pick up a word (in a bookshop corner or in that disreputable dive, the Thesaurus) that knows me at a glance. Such a one batted its lashes in my direction just the other afternoon.

And here it is:

That Word )


This morning, I unexpectedly got another interesting word (two, in fact) free gratis with my cup of coffee.

The non-boring way to talk about the weather )


One last semantic bagatelle. File this one under ‘Clearly I am an awful person’ episode no. 987.

She Rhymes With Dilemma )

Vulgar in Velvet

Thursday, 3 March 2016 15:29
songofcopper: (montesquiou by doucet)
It’s World Book Day! We did a roaring trade in the bookshop this morning - there never seems to be any rhyme or reason behind foot traffic/sales in there, but maybe people were aware of the occasion and had book-buying in mind.

Vampires, Velvet and Vulgarity )
songofcopper: (pensées mauves)
I am very glad to be able to tell you that I have recently discovered TWO writers who make me excited about reading. I’m such a picky little thing, it’s not easy to please me when it comes to cultural artefacts. I won’t say my standards are high, but they are exacting. Things have to feel right, hit the right spot. In no area of my life do I like to bother with things that don’t feel right or hit the right spot… if you don’t quite want to make love to it, you may as well abstain entirely, innit. (Self-sufficiency, too, is a canny move. You never appreciate how good someone else is - or how bad they are - if you are not truly conversant with your own capacity! True of writing, music, cooking and… all manner of other very necessary indulgences.)

Anyway (yes, please do change the subject, horrid creature), today at the bookshop I bought a book that I had been mulling over ever since I saw it on the shelf. I was alone on the shop floor today, so I started reading it, and once I did that, I knew it would have to come home with me. It is called ‘The Hawkline Monster - A Gothic Western’ and its author is Richard Brautigan. It’s a short book (I read the whole thing in the shop, between customers), odd, funny, technically brilliant and really a thing of joy. If I had to describe it (and convention suggests that I should), I’d ask you to imagine a fusion of David Lynch and Edward Gorey. It has that same exact glorious combination of the matter-of-fact and literal with the surreal and fantastic. When I saw the tagline ‘A Gothic Western’ I thought of [ profile] in_thy_bounty (even more so when I saw the picture of Brautigan posing nonchalantly in a black hat!). And yes, the book’s ease in mingling down-to-earth, turn-of-the-20th-century Americana with hallucinatory weirdness (and that all achieved with a beautifully observational turn of phrase), would appear to be something you might enjoy. I’m also going to recommend it to [ profile] breakon87 (this fellow Brautigan is tagged as a ‘post beat writer’, and the story has fantastical elements), [ profile] aerodrome1 (it’s whimsical but elegant, sensual and nonchalant) and [ profile] decemberthirty (it’s unusual, clever, sparse and feels deeply rooted in American culture).

My other discovery is David Stacton. (I would hazard a guess he too might be of interest to [ profile] decemberthirty.) I’m reading his ‘Remember Me’ at the moment - one or two glorious chapters at a time, savoured in bed with breakfast. This novel is about Ludwig II of Bavaria, someone who definitely fascinates me. I usually keep well away from historical novels, even literary ones, but this is a quite remarkable entering-into-the-spirit of that legendary moonstruck tragic prince. I like very much that it’s written in the third person, in a slightly detached, certainly analytical, but very sympathetic way. In his introduction Stacton reveals his own devout fellow-feeling with Ludwig, and this emerges tangibly in the writing. I must admit to a certain fellow-feeling with Ludwig myself, and somehow this book (and its writer) seems to be one of those that ‘understands you back’ as you read it. Stacton is renowned for being an ‘epigrammatic’ writer, and his prose certainly is chock full of phrasey phrases. I really like that (I’m all about the phrasey phrase in my own writing, fer damn sure); it occasionally threatens to get a bit much, but in this book it works, almost as if Mr Stacton is having to defend himself from the rawness of his own emotion by imparting distance stylistically. The narrative voice becomes a character in itself then - or rather, the writer is very present in the writing. I like to feel that when I’m reading; I don’t read for the plot, you see, and perhaps not even for the characters. What I most desire from a writer is to feel not-alone, from the writing’s revealing of a kindred mind out there in the world somewhere.

Both Richard Brautigan and David Stacton died young. Brautigan struggled all his life with alcoholism and depression (living out the tendency for adults to perpetuate the trauma they suffered as children - his own youth was blighted by alcoholic, abusive men, failing at (step-)fatherhood); he eventually committed suicide. Stacton, weakened by cancer and its drastic non-cure (as well as a formidable tobacco habit) dropped dead of what looks to have been sheer bodily exhaustion. Each was idiosyncratic, stubborn, inimitable; each is now an immortal, complete with respective cult.

Idols tend to be oblivious to their worshippers, but the worshippers get something important out of it - something priceless. Very Important Lesson: live as much as you can, while you can, and make what you and you alone were born to make. It may not bring you any advantage during your short life (except the granting of your will), and people may say you wasted your time, or that you were eccentric and not much else. But if you can operate at this level of sincerity, somebody somewhere - today, tomorrow, next century - will be fortified and succoured by what you have made. Being you, at risk to your reputation, and pouring that intensely into what you (only you) can make: this will help someone along the line. Being not-you, nourishing convention, and suppressing your creativity: this will make you dead-while-alive, and will not lessen your sadness… nor will it help your spiritual descendants.

In short: reading is great, especially when it cheers up your thought-injured little brain!! ;-)


Thursday, 26 March 2015 18:47
songofcopper: (Poste Dalferinin)
Something about today required a dash of vivid red. (I think it’s because I’m very tired: wan, weary and wilting. I really must force myself to go to bed at the proper time, though this is inconvenient to the natural flow of interesting conversation.) Anyway, red certainly does fill in the blank of one’s personality when it is AWOL owing to mental and spiritual fatigue.

“Would you buy a secondhand book from this person?”

Within: Crimson Silk, Cosy Coffins, Pens In Profusion, Notebooks For Idiots )

Queen of Clubs

Thursday, 21 November 2013 18:38
songofcopper: (fred)
Sometimes, Cosmé hides, trying on Normal Person Clothes just to blend in. (Let's face it, charm is keenest felt when it is a rarity! Let us not give of our benison too freely, lest it be misprised for something cheap or commonplace!) However, today is not one of those times. Today is a Princelie Daye.

Fate undoubtedly agreed with me on the point. This morning, on the train, a cluster of boys from the College were… not playing cards, as such - playing with cards. How they giggled, as they flung them at each other! (It is reassuring to find that seventeen-year-old boys can still giggle and lark about like this. What a shame if they were all po-faced little cynics!) A playing card, I conjectured, might make a useful weapon if aimed with devastating accuracy and coated in something corrosive. If it got you on the neck, or the eye…

"Can one die of a paper cut at high velocity?" I wondered aloud. (If only there had been an indiscreet Ninja present to answer my question!)

A minute or two later, one of the boys happened to throw his fistful of chances with more flamboyance than precision. A card landed in my lap, from several yards away. I picked it up with a flourish and scrutinised this unexpected messenger. It was a court card - the Queen of Clubs.

"How very appropriate," said David.

"Indeed," said I; "I shall keep it, as a souvenir."

The boys didn't seem to notice or care that they had lost a card to my acquisitive fingers. I suppose this means that I have already influenced the outcome of their next game of Gin Rummy - if they ever bother to play it.

(Just now I am looking at the Wikipedia page on cartomancy. Apparently, the Queen of Clubs signifies "A woman over 18, with medium or dark brown hair, with brown, blue or hazel eyes. Usually a business woman or social butterfly." As with all fortune-telling, this is both wildly vague and mildly specific; it does and does not refer to me, in several aspects. In fact, there appears to be no card that points very definitely at Cosmé - how cramped the imaginations of seers must be!)

When I reached the bookshop, I saw that the window was filled with books on Medieval History. Appropriate again! For there I was, attired in a splendid pair of black velvet knee breeches (I finally found just the kind I wanted, from a seller of vintage clothes on Etsy), my dear time-travelling shirt and a bargainsome scarlet velvet shirt found in a charity shop. The buckled shoes completed the picture.


Rouge, Noir, Argent )
songofcopper: (Sparks - Big Beat)
[*Really, Dirtbert, not a coyly-implied Human Triskele. Soap well thy mind, pray!] …Amanuensis, dearest! I Am One…! That is to say, I have lately fulfilled a long-held ambition - been paid to type up a manuscript for an author. My author is an eccentric, voluble Welsh fellow who comes into the shop fairly often. He is a mine of stories, and quite the namedropper. Now he is composing his Memoirs of a Welsh Childhood, and on learning that I am an accomplished typist (and liking me as being the Right Sort of Fellow), engaged me on the spot to take care of the tippy-typing. We agreed a price for my labours, he wrote me out a cheque and off I went with the manuscript in its purple folder. Today I returned the purple folder, along with a blue one containing a crisp and lovely typescript, and a memory stick containing All the Wordses.

Commas, Cash and the Suburban Dilettante )


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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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