Archive of October 2010

Tue 26 Oct

A shock and a sadness

I am still slightly reeling emotionally after sending an email copied to all the members of the reading group I can remember (or have addresses for) talking about Christmas and next year's reading list possibilities (hoping for J.P.Donleavy).

Then I heard from a fellow member that one of the most lovely members of the library staff died in August.  She had been ill for a little while apparently beforehand and although this must have overlapped with, maybe, some of the time she was there I had no inkling.  Nor had I heard anything of it from anyone else at the library or at the reading group...

But none of that matters really, it feels like nervous chatter.  What matters is that she was a lovely librarian, a sensitive and kind lady, someone who added a lot to my life with the library and I am certain for many others.  She will be missed and I do not know her personally enough to have much insight, but I sincerely hope it was peaceful at the end.  When I find out the condition or hospital/hospice which may have been involved then in absence of any instruction she may have left I shall make donation in her memory.

Normally, as you may be aware, I keep a limit on the personal nature of what features on this blog.  But since the theme is highly literary it does not seem I can ignore this and since the death has passed I am not sure what more I can do than recognise her absence and celebrate what she gave to mine and others lives - to the world.  At least she will not have to witness the cuts to the library service that seem imminent, cuts of some considerable severity no doubt .

Over the previous weekend I attended my first ever Quaker Meeting for marriage too - it was very special and I baked cake (along with five others!), breakfasted with everyone, worshipped, and witnessed along with perhaps sixty or seventy others (the certificate was HUGE!)... I say all of this because it makes the death a very stark contrast and at the same time brings into focus the Quaker advice to celebrate the life as you mourn the absence of a person.

And to top it off I have stopped smoking.  It is not so bad, I am confident of not relapsing to smoke again, but at the same time I am very conscious of how fragile life is, how easily we take our good health and lives for granted.

If I knew it would be appreciated at all I would dedicate this entry to the memory of the said Librarian.  But I think she would not like that.  Condolences to the comments would be most welcomed by myself though - that is just the sort of thing blogs are good for.  I shall even lay one in tribute myself, when I find a suitable poem (she liked poetry... I feel really sad about this.... but also hopeful that, so long as it was anonymous, she may have felt it was a good thing).

She will be missed and remembered by me and by others, she touched our lives and left them better for that.

Fri 22 Oct

Donleavy rediscovered

There was time in my youth when I enjoyed nothing better than working my way through the works of J.P. Donleavy.  I read all he had written and then would savour his new writings as I came across them.  For some reason they all seemed better in paperback, ideally second hand.  The library was possible, but in those days this likely meant hardback.

But never mind the format or cover; how I enjoyed those books!  I even managed to like "The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners"  (not the easiest of titles to remember!).  This was found in a second hand bookshop and eagerly picked up, but turned out not to be a novel at all. I clearly remember some jokey sort of unusual guidance with line drawn and maybe whacky illustratuions here and there, not his usual writing at all.  I suspect rereading may make it appear puerile from my vague memories.

Not so "A Fairy Tale of New York", which I have recently begun rereading, though reading out loud to my beloved.  I have only managed one chapter so far so shall not say too much more until further into the book.  But I am so relishing it all over again it is a real thrill!  And I do believe the reading out loud is so suited to the style of writing he has (even if I cannot manage a Bronx accent to save my life!).  If it is in audio book format I think this will be a real treat, soon enough we shall discover!

To be continued....