from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Friday, 20 January 2012

ps to Kureishi's 'Intimacy' (yesterday's blog)

Well, Kureishi's book has proved gripping and engaging. However, I can see why it might have been billed as 'controversial': I see the narrator as both narcissistic (we probably all are), and misogynistic (that's less acceptable to me). Neither he nor his partner are likeable characters, and the book, I'd say, is sexual (genital-focused) rather than erotic (which is a much broader category addressing the sheer juicy vitality of being alive, in all its aspects, in all its lushness, its creativity, its fecundity, in all its celebratory passion, in my view).

In some ways it's a brave book, and the above doesn't stop me being engaged.

And the dilemma is not about solitude vs intimacy – that was my spin on it. It's more about the intimacy of monogamy with one specific person vs the so-called freedom to have intimate sexual relationship with another or others.

It's also a thoughtful meditation on what makes one person rather than another person special to us.

And it seems to me that the narrator is not capable of intimacy with anyone other than himself – but at least he has the latter. And Kureishi's writing is intelligent, sensitive, insightful and at times moving and profound. And quotable:

'I know love is dark work; you have to get your hands dirty. If you hold back, nothing interesting happens. At the same time, you have to find the right distance between people. Too close, and they overwhelm you; too far and they abandon you. How to hold them in right relation?'

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