Snippets and Scraps

Julie Morstad

Plans for the weekend:

~ coaching on saturday and sunday morning -- for most of my swimmers this is their last meet
~ crafting: I found
these lovely little trees yesterday and am now obsessed with creating them myself (obviously not out of homespun felted wool, but out of felt and adding a bit of embroidery)
~ finish my birdcage embroidery project
~ reading: I've found myself picking up poetry again and I want to read through some Mallarme, Eliot, and Dickinson this weekend. I also want to do some more work on Gilson and piece in Pessoa to confuse my mind: soothing it with beautiful phrases and agitating it with perplexing concepts.

I've been bothered lately by the fact that I cannot remember what I read very well unless I put a lot of effort into thinking and writing about it. And even then my memory fails me, I grow frustrated, and feel bleak imagining myself at a loftier age, having accumulated a mass of forgotten texts behind me.

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Some quotes from recent readings:

How many long days have I spent alone with my cat! By 'alone' I mean without a material creature: my cat is a mystic companion, a spirit. So I can say that I have spent long days alone with my cat, and alone with one of the last authors of the Latin decadence; because, singularly and strangely, ever since the fair creature passed away I have loved everything that can be summed up in the word 'fall.' Thus my favourite time of year is the final languid phase of summer that comes immediately before autumn; and that time of day when I go for a walk is the time when the sun is resting just before it vanishes, when copper-yellow shafts are on the greyish walls and copper-red shafts on the windowpanes [...]

So I was reading one of those beloved poems (their dabs of artificial colour are a greater delight to me than the rosy hue of youth) and I was delving a hand into the pure animal's fur, when a barbarous barrel-organ began to play mournfully and languidly below my window [...]

Truly an instrument for mourners: pianos glitter, and violins illuminate torn fibres.

- Mallarme - 'Autumn Lament'

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look within and life, it seems, is very far from being 'like this'. examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. the mind receives a myriad impressions - trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel. from all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms; and as they fall, as they shape themselves into the life of monday or tuesday, the accent falls differently from of old; the moment of importance came not here but there. . . . life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.

Virginia Woolf - 'Modern Fiction'