The Atlantic this month says that there are few books about women that are not about their love lives. I know this is a big topic to start on, but I have just jotted down a few thoughts on it. Probably, I will never revisit it.
Scanning my book piles (and piles, and piles some more; book piles is a literary affliction that is caused by sitting on one’s ass reading to excess), from what I can presently see most of the books are about men. For fiction and non-fiction alike – that’s just the way the genitals crumble. I ought to count up those whose subjects are people, however I will estimate as I have just been running and I’m actually mid-post-run-eating, feeling pretty lazy. So my sample, as follows, is a teetering sixteen books.
The Soft Machine (William Burroughs), Trimalchio (F Scott Fitzgerald) and My Name is Red (Orhan Pamuk) hold my hands to make sure I don’t fall into the bowl, just like in the old days when my bottom was too little for the bog standard. In the old days, we devoured the new lands with gusto like voracious ants, and we never strolled or sighed.
Perhaps the first and last titles serve the aesthetic best out of the three. To understand this notion (conconcted where else but in the smallest room of the house), it is necessary to appreciate Burroughs’ unerring gravitation of thought towards effluvient enterprises in this book, and that pamuk is Turkish for cotton. I am missing the element of running water so I apologise about that – effusively.
I am listening to a lot of Kate Bush. She’s what one might call The Man. Except she’s The Woman. For a woman with a squeaky voice, she has balls. Or, to continue the feminist theme, she has ovaries… big ones, full of eggs.
I only heard Kashka from Baghdad for the first time last week. It is said (but who knows, the things that people are known to say!) that it is about a gay couple. Whether this is true or not, generally Bush writes about alienation very well – here, she sings as an outsider herself, observing Kashka and his/her feller, seemingly concluding that the pair have realised true happiness with each other even though they live their lives outside of society. (Incidentally, Kashka can be a girl’s name too, which is why I’m not sure if it really is about a gay couple. But then, Kashka also means a kind of mushy food in Polish, which provides another obvious statement about the song.*)
I was wondering today what the effects are of detachment from one’s homeland. I am, perhaps, a useless subject on the matter because I have been adrift upon the European continent since I was but a twinkle in my father’s eye, who himself lived the life of a wandering agricultural salesman, of the plough and the planter alike. A life of a cock, and of a bull. While I feel the constant pressure of losing out on friendships that, frankly, have not been so easy to acquire, I also fear the loss of myself that will render me unrecognisable. I can honestly say that minds work differently in different parts of Europe. And this is not only evident in language. The social rules are different, and the unwritten rules are different too.