Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Mrs Dalloway insulates

For anyone who failed to note it, there is a hot water bottle mentioned in Mrs Dalloway.

First weather news: a Pineapple Express is on the way passing through Thurs & Friday — it is rumoured to be a light one, so may prove more pineapple crush than express. Do not go out in your bedroom slippers unless you are after soggy toes.

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Second: Tim Parks prostate memoir. Jeepers Mr Parks this memoir is the Lincoln Tunnel of urology! Fascinating ! It has pushed Mrs Dalloway aside so I returned to her and I am not sure if that is simply a talent of Mrs Dalloway but that book seems to constantly speak at or back to whatever is being read beside it.

Today Mrs Dalloway in reply to Mr Parks memoir:

“and all the time let rumour accumulate in their veins and thrill the nerves in their thighs…”

Perhaps it would need to be remixed to “and shrill are the nerves in the thighs”

There is a moment of deciphering happening in Mrs Dalloway where the women are looking at the sky trying to figure out the letters the planes are making. It could be said that Mr Parks memoir is entirely laden with deciphering and uncovering.

Mr Parks and his wife Rita have just undertaken a walk that’s not going very well on account of his prostate. For thirty years they’ve been together they’ve walked — isn’t that a mighty thing to have done for thirty years? I think so. But I am a walker. My current pain dilemma is making walking both a challenge and an enticement in equal measure. Dickens. I recall, was also an obsessive walker who suffered with terrible physical pain.

Mr Parks Prostate

I am grateful to my fellow Little Star writer Tim Parks’ banjaxed prostate and his recording of such in his memoir Teach Us to Sit Still, which I have today added to the I Love Dick (Chris Kraus), Mrs Dalloway reading mix. The third party being Mr P’s prostate. What’s curious about his memoir is its, thus far, whole focus on urology! This a rare focus! Thus far it’s mainly him dithering over urology and living with astonishing discomfort. What possessed you Mr P to piss about for so long in such misery? It’s remarkable. Has the reader hopping leg to leg in some kind of Pavlovian retort. Anyhow he has finally gone to the clinic for tests at the chapter I have reached.

The first time I met a urologist I shudder to recall remarking to him that basically he’d pulled the short straw having to sit about puzzling out peoples piddle problems and wouldn’t he have been more excited by performing open heart surgery? He, a calm older dude, who reminded me of something out of The Godfather laughed warmly and explained how he gets to do kidney transplants and poking about with piddlers was only one part of urology. Now of course I hail him and all who work in urology, especially those who label test tubes and do the scans and the grunt work that delivers up the verdicts that urologists set about analyzing and fixing. But yes pain, it does rather do the head in, force one to stay still, drugged up while embracing three books and remembering all the many more days of flittering about, drinking too much tea in pain-free abandon.

This is curious: how to conflate someone who wrote a urology textbook with someone who wrote 10 mysteries who shares the same name. Or are the 10 mysteries full of urology? 

Mrs Dalloway Loves Dick

Be not alarmed at the title of this post I do not infer smutty tones o’er Mrs D rather I have been on something of a reading adventure during these past 48 hours in tandem with a suspected kidney stone adventure.

I commenced yesterday morning with Mrs Dalloway and paired her with I Love Dick by Chris Kraus and have been fluttering between the two since. On my way back from loving Dick, which is very funny indeed, I began to note some parallels strangely in Mrs Dalloway namely: (This may only make sense if you’ve read I Love Dick if not you can listen to Ira Glass interview Chris & Sylvere here and gather the gist)

“… But with Peter everything had to be shared; everything gone into. And it was intolerable, and when it came to that scene in the little garden by the fountain, she had to break with him or they would have been destroyed..” (Mrs Dalloway, Woolf)

And

“She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on.” (Mrs Dalloway, Woolf)

Both of the above I cite relate to the autopsy that Kraus performs on her and Sylvere’s imagination or imaginings in relation to Dick. An autopsy of the possible perhaps? An autopsy of the exhaustible and inexhaustible? And a disciplined deconstruction on the dust passing the pair of them in the air in between. Whatever it is, the point of view in I Love Dick is fascinating, even if the tone of it reminds me occasionally of a BBC Wildlife program on penguin migration. It’s a microscopic interrogation of a moment that could have been fleeting but becomes its own landscape. And remarkably I am beginning to conclude it’s not about Dick at all.

And now a speculative riposte to Dick from Woolf in the form of this line from Mrs Dalloway.

“His letters were awfully dull; it was his sayings one remembered…” or to remix it a tad belatedly for Ms Woolf “His letters were non-existant, it was his sofa bed they remembered”

And Dick’s riposte to Chris Kraus and Sylvere Loringer via the words Mrs Dalloway (ok this one will require some Tardis time travel)

“..cared not a straw for either of them.”

Now I interrupt this post and return to Mrs Dalloway.