Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sunday Scribbles, IV

And here we are, another Sunday.

First, the news. I spotted a squib in the 'paper yesterday: a very short story, no more than a paragraph. It told of a political uprising in Yemen.5000 demonstrators, waving placards, etc, wanting a bit of political reform. Security forces opened fire, killing 12 people,and injuring scores more. This is a hugely important story. It shows us that there's a real undercurrent in the Middle East of regular citizens wanting change. It shows us that the so-called “Muslim world” (which doesn't really exist) is crumbling. The power of the Mullahs is propped up by fear of the gun and fear of god. I don't care what Mao Zhedong said: power does not come from the barrel of a gun. It comes from the people on the street. The best and most lasting power is that which is given, not taken.
This story, so vital to our understanding of a troubled part of the world, was just 12 lines long. Fair enough, I thought: the Yemen's a pretty locked-down sort of place. Getting news might be difficult. So there should be more on this in the evening news on tele. It's so important that it should, at least, be in the first three or four stories they broadcast. Yeah, well. No such luck. No mention. Of course, the Yemen isn't of strategic importance: not much oil to speak of, and they don't eat many Kiwifruit.
Shame on TV3, I say. People are killed for asking for what we take for granted – political freedom – and they ignore it.

The shoot for episode one of the second series of “Legends of the Seeker” has finished. I gather it'll be on air in March of next year. In it, I am a terrified towensperson, forever running away from danger. Typecasting.

We're off to the movies this afternoon: a real special treat. It's a Film Festival flick, and there's a small story behind our eagerness to see it. A few weeks ago, I got the graphic novel “Coraline”, by Neil Gaiman, from the library. I read it, and passed it on enthusiastically to Jenny, saying it was extraordinarily good, and I could see a film-maker like Peter Jackson turning it into an exceptional movie. Three days later we picked up the Film Festival programme, and there it was. PJ won't have a chance to make it. Perhaps he'll be remaking it in forty years time.

READING: Well, nothing – art from Harry P. I've started a couple of other books, but they didn't inspire me. About time to open the new John Connolly, “The Lovers”. That'll do the trick.

LISTENING TO: The radio. Actually, Radio New Zealand National. Whew! What a mouthful!

WORD OF THE DAY: Ignorant. If I rely on TV News, I'll end up ignorant.


Mary makes most of her own clothing. She buys shoes and underwear and hosiery, and things like the pink and white candy-striped tights as well. But her dresses and skirts and gowns and smocks and blouses and hats she sews and stitches and blocks and creates for herself. And she makes them almost exclusively from a cabinet of over two thousand Butterick and Style and Vogue sewing patterns from the 1950s and 1960s that she bought as a job lot at an auction a long, long time ago.

In a galaxy far, far away.

The dress is green. Emerald green, like the stockings. It is definitely of the 1950s, and her mother might well have worn one. But probably not; it’s a cocktail dress, of shot silk, buttoned tightly with two rows of buttons that march up her belly to just under her breasts, and then the collar flairs outward and upward, eat your heart out Ming the Merciless, and the sleeves are tight over her arms, coming to point half-way down the backs of her hands. The black velvet sash circles her waist, and is tied with an extravagant bow over her left hip. The skirt flares and glows and swirls and sparkles, and she laughs and grins, and slips on a pair of candy-apple green pumps, cocks her finger gun, shoots the mirror, and says “Cowabunga, dude.”
Then she went downstairs, and spoke to her Henry, and gave him the gift, and he smiled. Then he grinned. Then he put his head back and laughed.“Oh, Mary, Mary. Wonders will never cease, not as long as I love you.”
The fog had vanished.
That night, Henry slept, and dreamed of a broad, open green field, where he ran, and ran, and ran.

Chapter Ten
Love Songs of Old Girlfriends, 2.

What is it that makes a couple like Henry and Mary?
It has been suggested by people who haven’t known them very long that theirs is the perfect relationship, made so by being secure and safe, and because they had faced only small hardships.
After all, they had never been burdened by a mortgage, had a fine, upstanding son, and less than a quarter-acre of lawns to mow. Mary had talent, beauty, and the sort of fame that meant that her pictures would be recognised while her picture wouldn’t. Henry enjoyed the respect and friendship of a town, and was well rewarded for the job he did at Brunton, McAllister, and Whey, Barristers and Solicitors to half the town.
But, like most couples, there have been brambles in their garden. Brambles that had twined their thorny tendrils about them and had nearly choked them to death.

It was like this:

Henry was mad with grief. It tore at him, a physical entity, a beast that clawed at his mind and heart. His despair was total: he had never thought that he could ever love another girl, but Miriam had stolen his heart and soul, and was now in front of him, dead. She was pure and beautiful, with an unruly skull-cap of curly brown hair, and Henry loved her with all his might, and now she was here, in front of him, dead.
His face was numb, his hands shaking, his thoughts a distant clacking, a hollow thrumming in his head. She was his Miriam, his life, his soul, and she was in front of him now, and she was dead. He picked up her limp body, and held her close to his chest, and moaned, and wept, and groaned, and he stayed like that for an eternity, and he grieves for her yet.
He had never seen sunshine as clearly as he had when he was with her. He had never smelt roses so sweet as when he was sharing them with her. He had showered her with kisses and held her hand and been in utter, blind, perfect love with her.

And now she was dead.

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