Friday, January 12, 2007

Anything to get away from the daily grind of plots and characterisation

Got a job.

More of the usual: reading novels and writing about them (Suffer, as my friend R would -- and indeed did -- say), work much of which can be done in bed, which is my kind of gig.

But the other thing about it is it's regular. Which means that I now have an income within the usual meaning of that word, rather than an assortment of varied, isolated, stumbled-upon sums of money at unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortably long intervals.

Intoxicated by the very thought, I did something today that I haven't done since 1997, which is, oh dear God, ten years ago. I bought five, five, books. I bought them all at the same shop, all at the same time, and they are all for me. And this on top of the two as yet unread Christmas presents, Judith Brett and Anthony Moran's Ordinary People's Politics: Australians talk about life, politics, and the future of their country and Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons, his long-awaited second novel after Cold Mountain.

These are the books I bought:

Drusilla Modjeska's The Best Australian Essays 2006

'Education, my parents taught me, was one of the most important things -- not because, or not only because, it led to better employment and more options in life, but because it was about what it is to be human.' (Margaret Simons, 'Beyond the Comfort Zone')

Alexis Wright's novel Carpentaria

'When he talked about the stars, they said he knew as much about the sky as he did about water. The prickly bush mob said he had always chased the constellations: We watched him as a little boy running off into the night trying to catch stars. They were certain he knew the secret of getting there. They thought he must go right up to the stars in the company of groper fish when it stormed at sea, when the sea and the sky became one, because, otherwise, how could he have come back?'

Clive James's autobiographical instalment North Face of Soho

'Between author and publisher, the relationship works awfully like sex: there is no substitute for being keen on each other.'

Pamela H. Smith'sThe Body of the Artisan: Art and experience in the scientific revolution

'Leonardo da Vinci and Dürer also regarded imitation as a learned bodily habit that became a cognitive practice and, finally, led to knowledge and the production of effects. Leonardo advocated that the apprentice should first learn by tracing and pouncing, among other mechanical means of copying, and then by copying after life. All this was done with the aim of developing 'giuditio d'ochio' ('judgement of the eye'), a kind of bodily judgement that not only shaped the images the painter produced but actually shaped the painter's own body.'

(This is a gorgeous book lavishly illustrated with some very unusual and not-often-seen images.)

And finally,

Sebastian Faulks's Pistache,
a dear little handsome book of 'fanciful, satirical and surprising parodies, squibs and pastiches'. The neologistic 'pistache' is defined as 'possibly a cross between pastiche and pisstake'. Highlights from 'The Brontës Place Some Lonely Hearts Ads' include

Married woman, 32, recently certified, seeks loft conversion specialist.

Are you my Mr Bounderby? Youngest of three N.Yorkshire sisters seeks escape from repressive family novel-writing business. Anything to get away from the daily grind of plots and characterisation! Office or manufacturing work preferred.

Orphan gypsy boy, aged 12, from Liverpool seeks loving family for quiet life. Countryside preferred.


Fyodor said...

That pistache looks exceedingly diverting.


"Are you my soul-mate? Morally-challenged charmer, 32, seeks romance, life-partner. Must have loadsamoney. Non-smokers preferred."

Kate (Moment) said...

So a pistache doesn't have anything to do with nuts? Oh god, I am SO funny. *weeps silently into keyboard at own lameness*

Hooray for new jobs. Mine starts on Monday. I too went on a bit of a shopping spree last week with some freelancing money and bought TWO CDs and two new shirts ('cause my job can't be done from bed, sadly) and a new pair of pants. Then I felt all faint from all the air rushing through my wallet and had to lie down.

comicstriphero said...

Well, congratulations on the regularity of income!

I still think you could have titled your post "I work in my bed *wink wink*" or something similarly juvenile.

lucy tartan said...

Congratulations, and oh yes, suff-fah!

Genevieve said...

Congrats on the great purchasing - proud to admit I bought two of those, too, the essays AND Carpentaria. What larks.

kate (poorlycontrolled) said...

Hooray for new jobs and regular pay cheques! 'They' always say that motherhood is unpaid. Fortunately I was so badly paid in my previous work that motherhood looks like making me money via the Family Assistance Office...

(Everyone talks about spending the baby bonus on big screen tellies, I fancy spending mine at Readings)

Genevieve said...

whoops, and congrats on the job too of course.

redcap said...

Ah, PC, you've landed my dream job! Lucky, lucky you. Who are you writing for?

Pistache was one of the books that I drooled over in the Imprints catalogue. Oh, and do tell us about Thirteen Moons when you've read it. I haven't got to it yet and I'll be interested to hear your thoughts.

Mark said...

Congratulations on the job!

Also, I've been wanting to get my hands on the collected Essays and Carpentaria too! Would love to hear what you think of them. I have to wait for my pay to catch up with our recent summer holiday spending. *sigh*