Since I finished the Proust bit I cannot imagine ever having anything to write about again. I suppose that’s what I love about the mystery of writing, I feel like I am a jackdaw on the look out for something that sparkles. A thief. I talked quite a bit, (it’s all bits and pieces this morning), with Hilary Mantel at the Dartington Festival of Words about whether writers were ‘thieves’, and whether shrinks could see inside people, which of course they cannot. The shrinks. If I can work out the technology I shall upload our conversation about Mind, Mood and Memory, one day soon.
I hope all this current media medley doesn’t get inside of the Man Booker judges and subtly influence, or even irritate their autonomy of judgement away from Hilary. Perhaps, next year they will have to be shut away in a hotel like a hung jury. Or, maybe the spaggetti junctions of the Internet will soon render professional judges unnecessary… The thought of The Observer collapsing, although in many ways it has already collapsed…and, how awful for the announcement to come on the eve as so many of its journalists depart for their summer holidays.
One thing I know is that I am going to return to Keats’ letters for my next quote of the week. Yes, he was a Romantic and I can only imagine he would have hated our world of the Quick Fix but he was also so practical about how to live one’s life, both aesthetically and physically: his mind crossed a spectrum as varied as any of those terrains he set off to explore. And, he knew all about the arts of quarreling. Perhaps, I should write on ‘Quarrels’ soon.
Amazing, how different we all are: Keats and Proust both suffered with their health and their breath, and they both died far too young, but one took to his bed – almost from childhood – while the other kept on travelling; even when he was spitting up blood.