Wet Sunday

A perfect opportunity for a duvet day but I’ve extracted myself from its folds to do a few verbal press-ups.  Somewhere in a box is a piece of verse I wrote once.  In it I ask why we feel moved to describe what we see around us like a beautiful sky or a spring day.  When so many have successfully achieved this, why add another and probably lesser contribution?  In spite of these moments of self deprecating puzzlement, I do have two answers to that.  

The first I learned a long time ago, can’t recall from whom.  The theory referred to the first Elizabethan age when there was a great flowering of writing, music, exploration and so on.  Shakespeare was not an isolated phenomenon but was at the top of a pyramid made up of all the other writers, artists and thinkers of his time.   They provided the structure which supported the flowering of his genius or to change the metaphor, a micro-climate in which he could flourish.  Was it the same for Mozart?  Prodigious natural  gifts of course but emerging in a particular cultural context.   Music historians please comment.

 The other answer is one I learned more recently from Elaine Scarry ‘On Beauty’  (not Zadie Smith’s – also worth reading).  Feinstein claims that it is an instinctive response to ‘copy’ beauty however we do that, by drawing, writing or even reproducing the species!   

So I’m encouraged to continue wrestling with words, to be a part of the pyramid, recording and expressing what I experience.  I even attempt some drawing occasionally.  The discipline of close observation, analysis and trusting the brain/hand connection is absorbing for its own sake.   I think it may be good training for me as a writer.   How do you draw a wet Sunday?  

5 Responses to “Wet Sunday”

  1. 1 chris August 5, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    Days like today often fill me with gloom – especially when I don’t go out in them! So I tend to lapse into a kind of grim prayer instead – as in:

    God of the grey sea
    God of the mourning wind
    God of the bleak northern sky
    Give me your fire to warm my cold thoughts
    Your light to bear in the face of fear
    Your warmth to hold close to my trembling
    Your companionship on the lonely path
    And at the end the brightness of the open door
    And the joy of a long-awaited greeting.

  2. 2 Alison Clark August 5, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    I like it. Are you the author?

  3. 3 chris August 5, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Erm …. yes. Feel free!

  4. 4 abf August 5, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    On this wet Sunday – when the Yellow Pages were scoured in vain for vendors of gopher wood – I started and finished the ironing. You have no idea what an achievement that is! I continued re-reading a book about the evolution of languages (“dialects is all there is”); I watched three episodes on DVD of a history of the Broadway musical; I cleaned the bathroom; and I walked barefoot the whole day (“Socks as an Emblem of Slavery to Convention”: discuss). Somehow this seems like excess, compared to the days when Sundays – wet or dry – amounted to indoors inactivity and the baleful sound of Semprini on the Light Programme. Can this be progress?

  5. 5 Alison Clark August 6, 2007 at 8:27 am

    Now I know why I started a blog! I will expect the essay on ‘Socks…’ on my desk forthwith.

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