post academic rant…

(skip to last paragraph if you just want to read the few lines of fiction/thought)

Something I wrote ( last paragraph) at the start of my last philosophy class for a course I have failed if I can not claim mitigation for another entire semester of neighbour induced stress, sleep deprivation, daily paralysis and despondency. We discussed institutions and I sit between two women – one rationally opposing the others cocaine-like ranting on the future of civilisation. The latter can only attack her points and I wish the lecturer had electronic buzzers attached to our seats. I sit like a glum child trapped at the dinner table while their parents argue. Come on Sas, press a button and zap her arse of ‘everyone must be localised (to my order) and exist autonomously (to my dictatorship). Actually no, in the imaginary world of buzzers under our arses zap mine: at the point of her spurting that there are too many people in the world, those in desert communities will die or the rest will get cancer and aids (like she really hopes we all do then the worlds all hers to reorder)…zap my butt, open the trapdoor under my desk let the crowd boo and me drop out the room when I so miss actually being applauded and told by audiences that I inspired them to dance. I’m not an Academic Get Me Out of Here! I try to catch his eye to communicate in a nano second that I actually do live in an institution for the disabled that screws our rights that will be sold to profit the ‘charity’s’ directors, that life should be full of wonder not politics… ranter activist bangs on that if another tribe disliked hers thay could just go emigrate somewhere else. I can’t even emigrate to Oxford and write stories, no philosophy just simpleton storytelling…

I can not catch his eye. It is all quite amusing in its horror on my tired brain that feels like that moment you drop bread dough onto a work top of flour from lack or sleep. Shit metaphor I know but I have a bread dough brain.

…this debate is brilliant but can you just do it in whispers and maybe smiling? My eye balls ache….

One more class to go on teansgender narratives than I have finished the University of Westminster. Mitigation would mean submitting in July next year. No fresh new year but uncertainty of disability benefits having to be reapplied for, uncertainty of home, urologists, cyptotoxic drugs and burning drops in my eyes wires to my brains activity (toast or bagel results?).

Another six months the reincarnation of Vivien Eliot (Tom’s preferred spelling). The more I read of her remaining words the more I find another affliction we share: eyes, brain, skin, no sleep, poor writing, failed dancing, I got flu sniffing over her leather notebooks with my leather notebooks and our faint pencils. Could Vivien read her own writing back as difficult as I do in pencil? Students are doing dissertations on linguistics and colonialism in philosophy- I am trying to resurrect some importance in a woman who just wrote for a while and felt sick a lot and the literati disregard. I am trying to point out that writers like Vivien are buried under too many intellects.

I want to walk into a book shop and buy the slim volume of the writing of Vivienne Eliot (with my own foreword and no typos would be my version of wearing Cartier). Vivien would have snapped at the class debate as beastly (she probably would have written her own headache with it too).

‘A clamour of inanities…’ (F.M/V Eliot  The Criterion)

Anyway here’s what I wrote in class while everyone chatted about what bar to go to…

I’m distracted by a window lit outside across the block. It is like that moment in Nadja when she says the window will turn red. Do you ever stare into windows at night in the hope you will see something no one else is noticing because you are the only one who hasn’t the mind to be here in class. And those inside the window will never know: something obscure or a melodramatic, Hitchcock style moment- anything other than discussing Derrida and Kant everyone pronounces as cunt….I’ve already written all I dislike on Kant for a frail pass grade on whether life should be found through action not thinking about thinking

Gardens in Literature

Sometimes the settings and locations in books can be as captivating as the characters. Here are my favourite books featuring spellbinding gardens. The gardens of these books are places of secrecy, escape and encounters. 

Rebecca

The gardens of Manderley in Daphne Du Maurier’s sumptous novel surrounds the English country estate with its own woods and bay by the sea. The descriptions are rich and intricate so that your imagination can almost smell the roses. Kept in ornate splendour, the garden, with its winding drive of high wisteria, is also what gives Manderley an atmosphere of seperation from society and builds what becomes an isolating and entrapped life as the new wife of Mr De Wnter. 
Atonement

Evocative of long summer days the gardens in Ian McEwan’s  novel recaptures the golden summer before outbreak of war. For the children and teens the gardens are a place to escape and relax, sunbath and swim in the lake or play in the meadows beyond. The film adaptation also depicts an atmosphere of humid ennui before family disaster. 
The Thirteenth Tale

This has been my read of the year, read in bed until dawn. Again the garden is a place of escape where childhood and its games can run free in twins with no discipline, left to there own terrible pleasures. There is a contrast between the topiary gardens and overgrown woods that fester their own family secrets and demise. It is in the gardens, both of the past and present,  where mysterious characters are seen playing or singing in the night. This book is fascinating. 

Villette

Compared to the other novels featured here, the gardens in Vilette are enclosed in narrow alleys and overlooking windows. From those windows the comings and goings of Charlotte Bronte’s semi autobiographical girls school in Brussels can be spied. This is a city garden under lock and key of half seen people at dusk, buried things and where love intrepidly grows. 

What I’m reading: To Kill a Mockingbird

The best books are those the make your reality vanish. In some ways even the words on the page vanish as you are emmersed in the world ofthe story 
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of those books. The first time I read it I never got to finish it because, well, the beginning was so good. Being narrated by the daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch, Scout recaptured my childhood. It is a book so well known, so prided and I seemed to be the last person to have read it. My own childhood in a small village, playing outdoors with my brother as Scout does with Jem, came flooding back to me. I can’t analyse, like the literature I’m meant to be, how the magic is created with this book. But the long dusty evenings of Scout, Jem and their sweet friend Dill’s were so familiar that while reading I feel the essence of being a child again. Like the Alabama setting of Maycomb, our village had its eccentrics and ‘folk’ stuck in their ways. 

I have only read to the end of the court case and the verdict so far so please don’t give any spoilers. It has just struck me that for a book centered around racial tolerence it is the theme of the home and childhood that makes this book so real to me. It conveys those summer hours after school felt like days to be filled. I want to know what happens these people, these dear and believable characters. Most of my reading time this week has been for uni and I just want to put it all aside and know how it ends so that I can start the long awaited Go Set a Watchman that I promised I would read over the summer and haven’t had enough time to before uni has swung around again.  And of course I am hoping my mental itch is scratched; does Boo Radley make an appearance?

Like me, do you love this book too? Let me know- without giving away the plot- what you think of this book in the comments below. 

Return to the Rookery Patch

London Blog-Rookery

Return to the Rookery

There is delight in empty city routes on crowded Saturdays. The key to discovering hidden London in your own perspective is to simply pick one of the busiest landmarks. Take Oxford Street of Trafalgar Square and then just turn around, turn your back on it and walk down the nearest and narrowest street.

I hadn’t gone out to be lost for so long.

Parallel to Great Portland Street old mansion apartments and iron railings fulfilled my old-worldly fascinations. And there were no people, no people, only my footsteps not needing my old white stick searching for cracks in the pavement and people out of eye shot. The dear old BT Tower and New Cavendish Street reminded me another semester is soon to start. My brain must commit itself to intricacies of the Eliot’s and more god damn philosophy. But until then there was no need to squint from thinking, only walk, walk and observe and be lost.

Goodge Street blinded me in late sun and the ever growing crowd required the unfolding of a cane. It is a cane that kept my failing sight safe for a decade and has since been lost, left behind in extreme tiredness and I feel I have lost a friend in that stick that let me walk where I could not fully see. I hate the thought of it somewhere in this city without the rest of me. I have a new one but it just feel like a stick and nothing more, nothing valuable.

The Phoenix Garden was a secret now found by many others. People filled its winding brick paths and nooks of benches. I sat down, back where the Rookeries once stank and thrived, and spoke to my mum on the phone, ate shop made sandwiches. It is an area with only the church remaining of it’s past yet never fails to make me wonder what it used to be. I long to brink and open my eyes to old London squalor, wooden lean to’s, crime and prostitution dressed in bustles. The ghosts of Rookeries past.

Thomas Beames wrote his own account of this demolished, vanished world of the London poor and I think his descriptions will always walk me back to St Giles even if nothing of it can be traced.

For a historical account of London’s Rookery Slums from investigative visits I highly recommend The Rookeries of London (Dodo Press)
‘by Thomas Beames. I found a coverless, hardback edition in the uni library and it is fascinating, describing London’s Victorian slums from his own discoveries.

Mega Stretching She-Ra update

(Sorry this has got really long…..) Amazingly I’ve kept
up my daily stretching with only one day missed to finish epic
essays on Beatniks. So heres what I’ve found with my body…..it
really isn’t that amazing but it is bendable. After years of physio
for a spondy (slipped backbone) and not being able to get to a low
shelf in the grocery store without clinging the shelf above and
creaking like a granny, I now have no back pain or stiffness. You’d
think arching to my limit would hurt but only the day off made me
stiff again. I can get my left foot to my head behind me! Well
kinda. It only works lying on my front, leg in a loop of webbing
and pulling it. Again there is no more pain or strain than bendin a
finger. Why does it not work without strap? My back is hardly
arched when I do this. The right leg won’t do the same. Trying to
touch head and feet by keeping thighs on floor. Arching back in
cobra, gets me nowhere. I am an inch from proper splits. I am
always and forever an inch from the splits. Seated forward bends,
one leg bent and getting face to knee on straight leg is the
greatest change in flexibility and the cosiest most lovely comfort
‘hello kneeee’ Bridges are like lifting up a wrestler with my
breasts and are mostly avoided. GOALS Get foot to head doing aerial
dance inverted. Do splits inside aerial net. Do hula hoop on foot
into an elbow stand (yeah right I wish). Keep stretching lovelies
no matter how big you are. Because kissing your own knees and
scratching your head with your toes is way better than jogging and
you get to lay down and still work out! Ta ta

Literary London

One of my Christmas presents is a great little book my mum gave me: 221B Baker Street to the Old Curiosity Shop; A Guide to London’s Literary Landmarks

It is full of all the literary connections to parts of London, pubs Dickens characters drank in and poetry back to medieval times.

I love how London still has it’s places from the past to reveal. I could live there a lifetime and still not know it all.

Village life seems trapping compared to my view of London as infinite and ever changing.

I think of the opening to ‘The Crimson Petal and the White; “Keep Your wits about you. This city is vast and intricate.”

This book is a little comfort in sinking back in to the places I miss being at my feet.

The Cello Swing

The Cello Swing is my debut novella that I have just revised and uploaded to http://www.lulu.com. The original was lost in the denizens of other books on Amazon but something happened recently that made me want to share it again.

More then two years was spent writing on location and scavenging out the tightest streets of London. When I walked the city alone I imagined walking along side the cellist, the dear old clown.

Last week I found myself in an attic a stones throw from the hidden streets that feature in the tale. The Dome of St Paul’s cathedral filled the view of the little window and I thought of the cellist.

My own circus teachers and trapeze have soured away, most definitely and sullenly over.

You can purchase the book here
http://www.lulu.com/shop/l-m-weaver/the-cello-swing/ebook/product-21349891.html

If anyone would like a copy to blog or review please get in touch.

The Cello Swing

The Cello Swing is my debut novella that I have just revised and uploaded to http://www.lulu.com. The original was lost in the denizens of other books on Amazon but something happened recently that made me want to share it again.

More then two years was spent writing on location and scavenging out the tightest streets of London. When I walked the city alone I imagined walking along side the cellist, the dear old clown.

Last week I found myself in an attic a stones throw from the hidden streets that feature in the tale. The Dome of St Paul’s cathedral filled the view of the little window and I thought of the cellist.

My own circus teachers and trapeze have soured away, most definitely and sullenly over.

You can purchase the book here
http://www.lulu.com/shop/l-m-weaver/the-cello-swing/ebook/product-21349891.html

If anyone would like a copy to blog or review please get in touch.