Monday 3 June 2024


Yesterday in the New Yorker I read Anthony Lane on Blinkist, the app for people who don't want to read the whole book. Most of the books on Blinkist are on how to survive/make billions. So many books on self-improvement, how to deal with this or that. Maybe Blinkist is giving these books what they deserve. They also reduce Jane Austen, Wittgenstein, John Milton. What do they deserve?

Today I read Virginia Woolf up at the pond.  To the Lighthouse. This was where I wanted to be. Reading sentences and paragraphs as they were written at a particular time by a particular person, V. Woolf in the afternoon, with her roll-ups and her writing board, finding her Moments. By late afternoon, not quite sunny but warm, more than halfway through the book, I can read the way a horse can break into a run, the way a cat can while away the time on warm liscannor stones, what I'm reading is an equivalence of where I am. To the lighthouse and the surface of the pond, the plants around it, the changing sky, the dreams I had last night and the night before, Mrs Ramsay coming to herself after the children have gone to bed, Lily Briscoe in and out of her painting, Mr Ramsay tying the laces on his beautiful boots — he had a way of tying laces so they never came undone — his wife's astonishing beauty, beautiful phrases, beautiful pictures, shadows in the fruit bowl, as long as no one wanted a pear, the astonishing beauty of the pond.

But what she wished to get hold of was that very jar on the nerves, the thing itself before it had been made anything.

I asterisked that passage many years ago. What is the difference between a Blink and a Moment? Do you play your days like a piano or trust the algorithm? The blackbird has a bath in the pond. A couple of planes go over. North wind. They come this way when there's a wind from the north. 

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