Muriel Spark Week – Day 2
I have just finished reading my first ever Muriel Spark, “The Only Problem”. I am still digesting it but felt sure that I must have at least one other Spark title lurking somewhere in the house. I was just about to give up but just as I was half-glancing at the foreign language and translated shelf near the door, my eye dropped down to a slim orange Penguin, originally sold for 3/6.
So I hope to at least get another Muriel under my belt this week.
The wonderful Penguin cover of my copy is by an illustrator called Terence Greer. You can see more of his covers, many for Muriel Spark books here. Enjoy.
I have Muriel Spark’s “The Only Problem” (first published 1984) on my TBR mountain so this seems a good time to ascend this slim volume.
On the second page, a character with my name appears so I will take that as a good omen.
Character No.1, Harvey Gotham has a theory that I find somewhat disconcerting:
… people have an effect on the natural greenery around them regardless of whether they lay their hands
on it or not; some people, he would remark, induce fertility in their environment and some the desert,
simply by psychic force.
Others joining in with Muriel Spark Week are:
Simon (the instigator)
My grandmother gave me a book called “Annuzza, a girl of Romania” by Hertha Seuberlich
(later published as “Candle in the Wind”)
She lives on a farm and is supposed to take care of the precious chickens but instead she prefers to read. She wins a scholarship to a (boarding) school in the city and has a tough time because everyone is so rich so she invents a rich family for herself.The book had line drawings to accompany the text that helped to set the scene. I think the fascination with the book was my inability to imagine what it would be like if I wasn’t encouraged to read.
and if you think it’s great – vote for it at http://vimeo.com/awards/vote/captured
Tuesday 03 April 2012
the train pulls around a curve
parked cars on one side
“the island” on the other
set apart from the real world
evening primrose and ragged robin
take hold of the apex
and on the eastern side
where the sun rises
“the trains go to bed”
we never deviate
from our prescribed route
we only glimpse the track
that leads to Strawberry Hill
with promises of fruit-filled days
in pastoral peace
our way is more mundane
with gabions enforcing boundaries
impelling all to stay on track
Monday 02 April 2012
glancing through the gap
between the seats
I see the highlighted words in the book
“what is your experience of clinical governance?”
across the aisle
another girl tests her feet
where someone else will sit
she splits her time
between applying copious layers of lipbalm
and communication with unseen friends
by strange repetitive movements
of her thumbs
the tight-lipped female announcer
alerts us to approaching danger
“please mind the gap
between the train and the platform edge”
one schoolgirl holds a mirror
for another to review her Monday coiffure
while the guard, like a gaoler
jangles his keys
as he walks the length of the train
one child slung below another
vies for space with two expensive cycles
and business men with retro-fitted rucksacks
hide behind financial news
what do they see
when they glance at my face, my clothes
and watch me scribble indecipherable words
in a small black notebook?