Friday, 16 March 2007

Photo post

I actually had some insights into the writing process today, but they're going to have to wait till I can do a more thoughtful post. So instead, you get photos!

Here's what my desk looked like today. Notice how it is gradually silting up. The tower 'o' books to the left of the computer is Lucan on Livy on Vergil: it's like a sculpture of the canon! But that's how I like to work. Sara Ryan once talked about how it's hard to do the labour of writing when you have too many other things going on in your life, and how she'd heard a great metaphor for it: like an Internet browser with 'too many tabs open'. Having a clutter of open books on the desk, for me, is like having lots of tabs open in a good way - it's a spatial analogue for the connections I'm making in my mind. It feels like I can entrust some of the work to that clutter, and not have to be conscious of everything all the time. It's a writing-prosthesis!

On the little plinthy-thing on the desk is a tray J brought me, containing lunch (avocado/cottage-cheese sandwich) and a cupcake from Dench's. J (and cupcakes) is also part of the highly-oiled machinery that keeps this production line going, as you can see.

I was also amused today to notice that, although we're only here for four months and are trying not to buy food items that will outlast our stay, we have both red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. So I took a photo of our shelves, to show you the full bourgeoisity of our priorities:

Top shelf (olive oil, sesame oil, 12-year-old whiskey... What?)

Middle shelf (ketchup, sugar, Maldon-brand flaky sea salt... What?)

Bottom shelf (now this one is more normal: Vegemite, honey, peanut butter.)

Today I refused to write any words - in a sort of weird, mute, visceral way, like a horse refusing a jump - and ended up sitting on the sofa sewing and reading Cicero's letters to Atticus (Book III. He's in Thessalonica. He hates Thessalonica! No-one understands him! He's totally leaving! He's going to go to Asia! Oh, wait, he's still in Thessalonica). This is my current project. I've been working on it for about three or four days now (can you tell what it is yet?* (This is a finished one: I started it on the plane out, so I guess it took three or four weeks.)

Sometimes I do leave the house, honestly. I go to Federation Square (though not very often, really), home of art galleries and, um, stuff. There's an old-fashioned tram going past in that picture, but usually I get the more modern-looking ones. [Thanks for Tom Cho for the tramtactic link.] More often I go to Brunetti (and here's a close-up of that gorgeous architecture: see the tiny cupids!).

Sometimes I see cool stuff (as J pointed out, I can see where waxing and teeth-whitening might be frowned upon, but really many of us have hair and nails, so the judgement seems a bit harsh...)

*Ans: It is a mediaeval lady at a loom. That is the left-hand foot of the loom, and the frill on her dress.


Gemma Tiley said...

This is all various levels of win. I am rather impressed by your acquisition of multiple vinegar types. ;) Still, you now have an excuse to use vinegar liberally in your cooking.

Ika said...

And I love vinegar!

(We now also have two different kinds of olive oil, even more embarrassingly/impressively...)