Month: November 2015

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham | edge of evening

Etc.

It’s getting to that point of the year when it feels like time to start looking back. Naturally, I record everything I read. I have for as long as I can remember, so when I see eight-year-old T dutifully carrying her evening’s reading down to the table each morning and listing it in her school book-record, toast cooling beside her, it seems completely normal. She adds the books to the teetering stacks on the piano stool behind her & I periodically take them back upstairs or back to the library and change them for something else I think she might enjoy. My own book record is a hardback notebook which starts in 2002. Before that, I would write the list in the back of each year’s diary. But for the last two years, I’ve simply listed the books I’ve read here and here. I keep meaning to copy them into my notebook too, but it’s a habit that I’ve fallen out of. But when I looked back over the list, I had a nagging suspicion that I was forgetting something. Then I …

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud | edge of evening

Rereading: The Sentimentalists

When I was younger, and we had come to Henry’s house alone in those solitary summers of my father’s disappearance, I had imagined that the past really existed, semi-submerged, in Henry’s backyard. Wouldn’t that be enough for anyone? I’d thought. To explain that certain sadness, which I identified sometimes in him. A sadness that would make you, when you saw it, want to pull the edges of your own life up around you, and stay there, carefully, inside.  Now, though, I find it difficult to believe that anything is ever buried in the way that I had once supposed. I believe instead that everything remains. At the very limit; the exact surface of things. So that in the end it is not so much what has been subtracted form a life that really matters, but the distances, instead, between the things that remain.The Sentimentalists, Johanna Skibsrud I have a bookcase, the bookcase B bought me for my 30th birthday, in which I keep only the books that have struck me in some special world-changing way. Many of them …

Postcard from now

Last weekend we celebrated Bonfire Night with friends. Six children sat around our table eating pizza, while at the other end of the room a group of adults tried to chat over the laughter and fun. I moved between groups, happy as I always am when the children are mainly looking after themselves: all carefully counting the sausages to make sure that no-one took too many, helping Pops when someone took his glow stick, amusing themselves by trying to learn from the oldest among them how to make rabbit ears from their napkins. When we went out to the fireworks on the fields beside our house it was so mild that the children were taking their coats off. Two of them were even in shorts. It’s colder today, the sky blue between showers. I had a conversation earlier in the week with someone who felt just as I do. How, he asked, can it be nearly the end of the year? The last thing I remember it was just coming up to the summer holidays. I thought that …

Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker | edge of evening

Cassandra at the Wedding

I told them I could be free by the twenty-first, and that I’d come home the twenty-second. (June.) […] It’s only a five-hour drive from the University to the ranch, if you move along — if you don’t stop for orange juice every fifty miles the way we used to, Judith and I, our first two years in college, or at bars, the way we did later, after we’d studied how to pass for over twenty-one at under twenty. As I say, if you move, if you push a little, you can get from Berkeley to our ranch in five hours, and the reason why we never cared to in the old days was that we had to work up to home life by degrees, steel ourselves somewhat for the three-part welcome we were in for from our grandmother and our mother and our father, who loved us fiercely in three different ways. We loved them too, six different ways, but we mostly took our time about getting home.Opening of ‘Cassandra at the Wedding’ by Dorothy Baker It …