Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Marine cloud cover baby!

We have had two solid days of solid sunshine! It’s like a collective menopause. This is unusually warm for September. It’s very strange with the nights drawing in much earlier — darkness — and to concurrently have this heat.

Today I was alerted by a friend to “fog” to the West, which turned out, on inquiry, to be Marine Cloud Cover caused by fog and stratus that travelled up from California. (Thanks Johanna Wagstaffe CBC weather genius for educating me on this).

Pretty soon I am off on the road again to a few festivals, where the climate is bound to be much colder. I am curious to see whether this warm spell endures. Will we as usual need to turn the heat on in October?

What is happening with your weather? Are you also having a warm patch ? Report in the comments.

I’m off to find a humidifier.

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I was reading A Far Cry From Kensington in my Sparkist revisit. Muriel Spark reminds me of Beryl Bainbridge in her depiction of post-war Britain. I have to say I have cried off A Far Cry … because I didn’t understand why she took the narrative into publishing, publishing people, instead of staying with Wanda, the Polish seamstress. (*I did find her who gets a job part salient) However I find much to contemplate in her early depiction of Wanda and Millie. There’s something timeless about it. The struggle, landing up in a country, trying to find work, struggling, inventing and settling on work that may be far from what you did back home, but a survival nonetheless. This applies less to Wanda and more to some of the people I met on my recent trip to England and knew during my many years living there. Wanda has endured because Spark imbued her with anxiety and humility rather than just being a talking head to serve a plot line or a larger theme. My next stop on the Spark shelf will be The Comforters.

On the other line: I am reading Chris Kraus Summer of Hate. There’s an excellent paragraph where she sums up who reads her books (and perhaps acknowledges the dilutionists she has also spawned). I am glad to have read the book for that paragraph, however I may also be churning to a stop with it. I can’t get beyond the fact that Michele Bernstein was doing something similar 50 years ago and she was doing it in a more engaging literary manner. The prose in Summer of Hate is a tad leaden and plunky. Even though her meta-real estate dabbling is intriguing. Kraus is funny in a clipped way which I appreciate. For now we go on, mostly for the sake of thinking about the leaden line both on the page and the continuum of the line she’s treading. I want to consider how or whether any solid aesthetic has emerged since Bernstein with this work. (Bernstein’s second novel has only just been translated to English) I waver on whether it’s a “can’t be arsed” school of transcription we’ve come to now or has some anchor that I am swimming blindly past in my reading.

What matters is the thinking, more so than the conclusion, since conclusions can change and evolve.

 

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