something coldly intellectual

November 18, 2017

sun sinks in to the sea

It strikes me that being passionate about literature is something not often discussed. I read an article the other day which essentially offered only two ways of enjoying books: entertainment or something coldly intellectual.

But I’ve experienced another: a deeply emotional, transformative response. It cuts across any notions of genre, and is what made me love books. The first time I experienced this, I had no idea how to conceptualise it. The framework I’d learned at school didn’t really help here.

But when I read Andy Miller talk about “the dizzying force of books”, I think: that’s what I’ve felt. When I read Gabriel Josipovici talk about a work of art as a toy, I feel a step closer to understanding what it is that I’ve felt and feel.

To capture that in writing, though…It feels as though it needs something that doesn’t look like a book review.

David Hebblethwaite
Des Lewis Blog – 18th September 2017

Sunday morning idea

September 24, 2017

There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise-versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. Remember that for all the books we have in print, are as many that have never reached print, have never been written down — even now, in this age of compulsive reverence for the written word, history, even social ethic, are taught by means of stories, and the people who have been conditioned into thinking only in terms of what is written — and unfortunately nearly all the products of our educational system can do no more than this — are missing what is before their eyes. For instance, the real history of Africa is still in the custody of black storytellers and wise men, black historians, medicine men: it is a verbal history, still kept safe from the white man and his predations. Everywhere, if you keep your mind open, you will find the truth in words not written down. So never let the printed page be your master. Above all, you should know that the fact that you have to spend one year, or two years, on one book, or one author means that you are badly taught — you should have been taught to read your way from one sympathy to another, you should be learning to follow your own intuitive feeling about what you need: that is what you should have been developing, not the way to quote from other people.

But unfortunately it is nearly always too late.

Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook


May 25, 2017

Emotional trauma

December 15, 2016


A life in the day

December 10, 2016


Oh, yes

December 9, 2016


What a good idea…

August 8, 2016


August 3, 2016


birds and trees

Diary 21st May

‘You can’t have everything,’ I said.

‘Why not?’ she asked.

‘Darling, where would you put it all…?’


People tend to drain me. There are times I feel I’m in the midst of a huge masquerade ball where, come midnight, the guests unmask and I find myself surrounded by vampires of the most disreputable sort.

This bal masqué will, of course, be the death of me…


Rain yesterday and this morning. Rain on the slates shines sometimes in the smoky light. You know, I feel the future is to be found in the gull infested landfill sites near the coast. The gulls sense it and dig deep in the heaped detritus to find it. Simultaneously, starlings in great shoals abandon the present for the past. They are wiser, perhaps, than the gulls. We? We’ll fade gradually, ungracefully in a wreath of feathers and human hair…


This morning I’m too lazy to masturbate. So I inveigled my way into Gabriella’s good books, and she obliged with a sleepy, teasing handjob that resulted, fifty minutes later, in a nasty, nasty mess on my chest and belly.


In the sitting room the chairs are quite still. After all they have nothing else to do. The books on the shelves are silent, exhausted perhaps after a night of whispering to each other. They rest in such impressive dishevelment, gathering dust and providing shelter to the occasional small spider, embarrassed by its nakedness and wishing to hide its shame from others.

Ah, if only we could dream on beams of silk…?

And still it’s feckin’ raining.


So many wild flowers blooming in the hedgerows. They’re awash with rain, dripping wet, on either side of the puddled lane. Even the gorse is in flower…


Out tonight, restaurant and drinks, with friends. Italian food and good conversation…None of us, I suspect, will be particularly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tomorrow.