30 October 2014

October Vignettes, Day 30

2014-10-30 12.05.25
On March 11, 2011, I was in this same Starbucks, as the pictures of the tsunami came onto my computer. Today, there is no tragedy: I am on my way to Norwich to give a talk about second-person address on YouTube. This week, I have felt the pangs of being overwhelmed for the first time this year, like there is so much to get done. I haven't looked at the book proposal in weeks. I'm writing three different things to get money for different projects I want to do. There's going to be marking to do here quickly. And visitors: my parents, some scholars from the Czech Republic. Need to go and go and go, but I'd like to stop here, in London and remember how good this all is. There's a train to catch.

29 October 2014

October Vignettes, Day 29

2014-10-29 06.57.56

Got up for the second to last time to go to the gym in Harborne. It's been more than three months now, but the membership is up and there's no reason to stay on. This week, the girls have had their half term so I have been going straight on from the gym to work, not stopping at home. I stuff everything in the locker and workout without any of the purpose and drive I had in August: it doesn't really matter now if I lose any more weight or not, although I feel silly if I don't work hard. I got up, didn't I? What's the point of coming if you don't go hard. Today, I left satisfied with how much I had sweat — a silly indication that I had done enough, whatever enough is any way. I pack up, put everything into my bag and head off into the morning, which is brighter now that summer time has ended. One more day and then I move on to Newman's gym.

28 October 2014

October Vignettes, Day 28

2014-10-28 20.03.39

Obsession and counting is not always a bad thing. Obsession is like anger: you have to be careful with it. Obsession leads to success if you handle it right and you hide it. You need to hide your obsessions because they make people uncomfortable. People want to think that everything comes naturally, that you don't have to count. You do. You do have to count. You have to count kilocalories and miles and reps and minutes and words and expenditures. If you're a good counter, you can do whatever you want. If you don't count, if you relax and do what comes naturally, the rut pulls you in naturally. So you go back to counting. Start counting until the wrong numbers go down and the right ones go up. Until you your goal is not a goal any more, but the next thing you're trying to leave behind.

27 October 2014

October Vignettes, Day 27

2014-10-11 16.12.34

St Peters church sits at the top of Vicarage Rd, with the cemetery surrounding it and Mei's little school tucked behind it. If you go towards the city, you walk past the cricket grounds, and then the Catholic church, if you cross Harborne Park Road. On Sunday morning, Yoko and I and the kids finally went to the service there, squeezed into the very narrow back pew, the Pihlaja family stacked on top of each other and warm. We fumbled with the hymnals and order of service, the Bible and these books in the middle that I had never seen. The Prayer of Manasses, like something from the Book of Mormon. The organ was deep and powerful in the last stanza of the hymns (in books, numbers on the wall, not powerpoint slides), the bells above us, and halfway through Yoko and Mia and Mei went to the nursery room. I sat, the way you can in a church that doesn't demand anything of you. I sat and listened and silently disagreed and agreed, without any of it mattering, or a peppy young person bothering you during the greeting in the middle of the service. Just a line of old men in grey suits asking if I was American and then if I was Episcopalian. Perhaps I should have been, I wanted to say, you have the right aesthetics: the man in the robes, the women and men in the robes, the candles, and the organ again.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...