Friday 10 October 2014

There's a volume to be written on the reading you do out of nervousness, displacement, anxiety or inability to sleep; minor and major attempts to secure an anchor at times when reading is for some reason impossible, as when the weather has turned autumnal and your principal reading place in the attic is shaken by hammer blows from the lads re-roofing the house, singing their way through heavy showers, bless them.

Reading is not the word. Devouring the medium in which you immerse yourself. Searching through old New Yorkers for stories you haven't read, or have read but forgotten, racing to the finish as if this completion would transfer to the day, or the night, or the storm, or the roof. Reading on the sofa downstairs with the cat, hoping for a nap; in the middle of the night in the distracted, tricksy search for sleep; in the bath, a steamy, enclosed story of, as it often is in the New Yorker, marital distress or juvenile delirium; on the train, forswearing the company of strangers and the view out of the window for a tale, written up in Hortus, of tulip hunters in the 'Stans, anticipating their species, eating their mutton stew, for their cries of delight when tulipa whateveriensis heaves and flutters into view on a chilly Spring hillside in Turkmenistan.

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