Monday, July 27, 2009


As I tried to navigate the narrow doorway, laden with two laundry baskets, Isabel took her accustomed station, standing directly in front of my feet and gazing unconcernedly around the room. "Zizi, move please." She backs up, managing to manoeuvre a little closer to my shins without standing on my feet. "Move, please." No response. "Zizi. I'm stuck. Move, please, so I can get through." Isabel, thoughtfully, emphatically bovine: "Moo!"

How arbitrary the world must seem when you are not yet two. I wonder how many of my requests make as little sense to Isabel as this one. It's really astonishing how cooperative children are, considering.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"And now for something completely different"

It is fascinating to read Henry James. His preoccupation with detail is mesmerizing. I find it delightful to move so slowly through his words, to see life in slow motion, every part emphasized, the unimportant unsevered from the important. This methodical record of every gesture and thought gives such a reassuring importance to life, and to self, unimpaired by the pettiness of the outcome or motive. Somehow this pace, this all-enveloping gaze, lends a gravity unsullied by the object of its focus. It is relaxing. There is no hurry. And no one is going anywhere.