The supermarketness of it all

It’s not lethal or anything, yet this vice around my head is unrelenting, despite the pain killers (making me dopey). Or that could be the cortisone leaving me sleepless.

Could have done with this, perhaps.

Could have done with this?

But it’s just (another) sinus infection. Never mind noises are too loud, light is too bright, and standing suddenly elicits a shooting agony and a weird dizziness.

Not much writing is happening.

On sunny days, from my bedroom, I watch the clouds drift by. They are white and fluffy and made pixellated by the blind, which is down. Nothing happens in this mid morning hush.  What is needed is a strong wind to funnel through my head and whisk it all away like it did Dorothy and Toto.

With the news of Anita Brookner’s death, I feel like I’m in one of her novels. Specifics are messier than her’s, but the broader plot of my life has unfolded just as quietly. A writer of short stories, a woman of a certain age, and alone, occasionally becomes ill, but not seriously, the blurb might say.

Not all lives, or all stories, pay witness to significant worldly events. Some just exist for themselves.

Not all lives, or all stories, stand as witness to significant events. Some just exist for themselves.

I suspect her influence was more profound than I expected when I first read Hotel du Lac as a teen. Her work informed my writing, because often the action is emotional, rather than anything else, but I also believe she coloured my conception of what a writer and what a woman writing can be like. Independent, academic, and sad perhaps, but somehow successful. I should go back and read all her novels. Or go out and do something to escape this languid ennui I’m slowly being engulfed by.

“it is the mouse-like unassuming girl who gets the hero, while the scornful temptress with whom he has had a stormy affair retreats baffled from the fray, never to return. The tortoise wins every time. This is a lie, of course.”

Yes, I’ll read them or would do, but for the exhaustion. Tears welled up buying groceries the other afternoon, from the pain but also from the supermarketness of it all. I like to imagine Professor Brookner would have understood.


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