Sunday, 24 October 2004

see you in harbin

one of my favourite things of the moment is tea with milk and honey. i'm no tea fanatic obviously (disguise the taste! disguise the taste!), and maybe it'll turn into diabetes. but at the moment it's delicious, and somehow comforting. and dad's given me some honey from his bees and their hives - and i can confirm that this year's a good year in honey harvesting.

the desire for sweet tea always returns when i re-read a book i love: the Regeneration trilogy by Pat Barker. (ok: books) [the first book is Regeneration ; and look: it's not on loan]. This series follows men throughout WW1 - and one of the things they drink endlessly is sweet tea. The book is almost too well-written; you become addicted to the characters quickly and read as if running. It's about the initial discovery and treatment of shell-shock (by a ex-anthropologist/psychiatrist, Rivers), but it focuses on the experience of it more than the diagnosis. It's based on real people and events of the past, and is completely compelling (Rivers for instance; and men like Sigfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen). Some people I know don't love it, but I think they're being contrary! You start it, you become addicted, you love it, you drink sweet tea...
another thing i'm rereading is Barthes' A Lover's Discourse: Fragments. It remains innovative and relevant and exciting, even though it was first published in the 70s. It always makes me smile with recognition. Like reading this:

(on waiting) "Am I in love? - Yes, since I'm waiting." The other never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn't wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game: whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time.

and this:

(on wearing sunglasses) Let us suppose that I have wept, on account of some incident of which the other has not even become aware...and that, so this cannot be seen, I put on dark glasses to mask my swollen eyes (a fine example of denial: to darken the sight in order not to be seen). The intention of this gesture is a calculated one: I want to keep the moral advantage of
stoicism, of "dignity"...and at the same time...I want to provoke the tender question ("But what's the matter with you?"); I want to be both pathetic and admirable, I want to be at the same time a child and an adult. Thereby I gamble, I take a risk: for it is always possible that the other will simply ask no question whatever...

and this:

(on trying to write) To know that one does not write for the other, to know that these things I am going to write will never cause me to be loved by the one I love (the other), to know that writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing, that it is precisely there where you are not - this is the beginning of writing.

the submission date for the australian youth ambassador program has been extended to this friday. i've been thinking about applying, and this has convinced me.

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