“I don’t remember
lighting this cigarette
and I don’t remember
if I’m here alone
or waiting for someone.”
— Leonard Cohen (Book of Longing)
Quite a Roland Barthes type quote. In a different sort of way. Cohen still continues to speak to me after so many years.
I finished Lynn Barber’s An Education. Its like the Tracey Emin of biographies. It was pretty cool though, only it sounds like three different people wrote the book. Perhaps that was true of the times she wrote it. And I’m intrigued by David, the Eton boy who cooks, the Gemini who loves opera and not theatre.
Huxley’s writing is like waves:
Our rooms were in a tower. From the windows one looked across the brown tiled roofs to where, on its hill, stood the cathedral. A hundred feet below was the street, a narrow canyon between high walls, perennially sunless; the voices of the passers-by came up, reverberating, as out of a chasm. Down there they walked always in shadow; but in our tower we were the last to lose the sunlight. On the hot days it was cooler, no doubt, down in the street; but we at least had the winds. The waves of the air broke against our tower and flowed past it on either side. And at evening, when only the belfries and the domes and the highest roofs were still flushed by the declining sun, our windows were level with the flight of the swifts and swallows. Sunset after sunset all through the long summer, they wheeled and darted round our tower. There was always a swarm of them intricately maneuvering just outside the window. They swerved this way and that, they dipped and rose, they checked their headlong flight with a flutter of their long pointed wings and turned about within their own length. Compact, smooth and tapering, they seemed the incarnation of airy speed. And their thin, sharp, arrowy cry was speed made audible. I have sat at my window watching them tracing their intricate arabesques until I grew dizzy; till their shrill crying sounded as though from within my ears and their flying seemed a motion, incessant, swift and bewilderingly multitudinous, behind my eyes.
I think my first complete collection will be Huxley’s essays. I don’t think I’ve quite had a desire for anything else as complete.