Monday, March 14, 2011

Day in, day out

I have been struggling to write a post. This is rare.

It is not for a lack of material. There are stories from South Africa, stored as photographs on my aging laptop:  the river at Stanford, lunches in Cape Town, walks in the mountains. There are meals here in Brooklyn waiting to be explained, to be turned into recipes. But every time I start in on some pictures the impetus evaporates and it all loses meaning. It is a difficult time for the world, and the expressions that make sense in our individual lives lose credibility. So I will retreat to an easy place: cooking dinner, where the chopping and sauteing and sniffing of smoke and then steam from the pan, the sound first of sizzling, then of bubbling, the slender stem of the flute of prosecco in my left hand, the wooden spoon stirring in my right, dark outside where last night I fixed the light on the terrace, the one that's been blown for at least a year, where the seeds sit the cold in their domes  - these things from the outside pull me away for a while from the inside...

As I wrote those last three words last night, my laptop's screen flickered once, twice, then died. Black.  

I write this on Vince's desktop. A new top-of-the-line Mac would be nice, but that isn't going to happen. My Toshiba, which was top-of-the-line SEVEN years ago, lasted longer than most laptops.  It was a good friend. I would like to bury it somewhere with a rose at its head. Like the lady who walked into the Chelsea Garden Centre years ago and asked for a big pot so she could bury her best friend, a pet ferret. I discouraged her, gently. Best to remember how he was, I said. Where is your ferret  now? I asked. In the freezer, she said tearfully.

Last night I put myself in the freezer and read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air in its entirety, save for their descent from Camp Three. Coming hot on the heels of Alexandra Fuller's brilliant Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and another book which showed me how not to write,  I have traveled far in three days.

And now we must travel to Best Buy, that oasis of electronics. I need a camera, too. Maybe we should auction the Cat.

Make me an offer.


  1. Our iMac died in the same way. It was most likely a video board, not worth the cost of repair. However we were able to access the hard drive in "target disk mode" to retrieve most of what was on it. I hope you will find the same, or were backed up.

    If it makes you feel any better re not getting a Mac, the iMac lasted 4 1/2 years before that happened. I am still fully a Mac person, but they still don't last forever.

  2. March is being this way all around, it seems.

  3. NO!!!You can't auction Storbie. He and I made a pact - if you decided you no longer wanted/needed/could afford him he would come and live with us.Ask him.

    Seriously, I have been feeling "unsettled" and wondered if, perhaps, I should quit the blog.

    But I think it's just emotional overload
    I'm finding it difficult to process so much hurt and loss.

  4. Sorry, cannot buy the cat. Would happily donate towards his t-shirt fund, though.

  5. OK... I just snarfed tea all over my screen. Rabbits in the litterbox. Hhhrrrpphh!

    Good luck in your war against the leederhairs.

  6. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs tonight. I so loved that book and all it taught me about Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and human nature. Rest your mind a little. With chaos and natural tragedy affecting so much of the planet, it sometimes seems that it's a little obscene even to think about nature in a benevolent way, but I'm hoping spring isn't far off. For all our sakes.

  7. Touched on so many things in this post. I will chime in to say that my imac is now 6-1/2 years old, going strong, but doing some worrying things from time to time. I am not sufficiently backed up.

    I would love a new camera, and now they are making ones that have what I want, but the money?

    In the catch 22 of moonlighting to make money to fix, buy, and stay (the studio, rent up 20%), yet then not having time to do the things the tools allow.

    And having trouble working on those things that have ever so recently seemed important, and still are. Painting, blogging -longer spaces between productivity. I've heard a lot about the weather being the culprit, but you've been away, can't say that for you.

    Either way, getting out and doing something new seems to wake up the spirit, which is essential, no matter it comes from writing, painting, gardening, cooking...

    Also, I have a cat to sell you:

  8. my iMac died after 10 good years - helluva lot better than the average life of a PC and not one single virus. i had no $ so had to get a little netbook for $200 and it works but has had 7 viruses and the battery is awful and heats up like crazy. go for the mac if you can - just buy a refurb instead of brand new - saves $ and buying used is more eco sensitive.

  9. I have been thankful for the sun we have had in the last few days. It has pulled me out in the garden and digging has always helped me cope. Wishing you (and your Mac) well.

  10. How I wished you were with us early yesterday morning Marie, as Claire my daughter, jogged - and I tried to keep up briskly on one of the first sunny days to hit Paris. We were in the Luxembourg Gardens and needed you to identify the buds and blossoms - all we knew were magnolias. Both said how your blog has opened our senses to the murmurings of nature as she moves into and through her seasonal moods. This time we could feel her gentleness and decided to just take in the moment before going home to see the latest on her fury.

  11. Hi Pam - yep, luckily backed up and we were able to back more up. Nothing was lost, so it could have been much worse.

    Chesley - in like a lion? I'm looking forward to the lamb part...

    MIT - but I could get so much money! Except after a few weeks, when we get hit with a lawsuit due to loss of skin and limb from the cat's new owner. Maybe just rest a bit from blogging. Rest, theenk...

    Tzipporah - ooph, that war. It's going to go out on a volunteering whimper. Shall have to write an update soon.

    Janet - I got a lot out of my second reading of it (or 3rd?). Really so well written and stands up to repeat scrutiny.

    Frank - good to know about your Mac...I'm going to see what I can do to raise funds. And yes, you must back some more is worth it. Although alarming that so much can exist on a little external hard drive. Wow. Now one of my most important possessions. Your rent went up? Ugh. And you're right, the spirit needs a good shake. Fortunately hard times seem to drive some creativity. Perverse. Somehow one's focus can telescope and see some things for what they are when the walls have fallen down.

    EcoGrrl - Ten years, wow. Hm, I hadn't thought of that - a refurb, I mean. Thanks...

    Monica - yes, small things are good. I admit I have some violas to plant :-)

    Pam - jogging in Paris, ha! - sounds rather lekker. And thank you...

  12. I'll give you my MacBook Pro (3 years old) if you KEEP Storbie!

  13. I offer my standard advice distributed to all and sundry:
    One external backup is definitely not enough. Even quality hard drives fail regularly, often simultaneously with original if there is some underlying issue, and in the course of work and life I've seen countless tears as lost electronic histories disappear forever. They're too cheap now not to have at least 2x backup. And consider one off-site backup too.

  14. Thank you Ellen - you are kindness itself. How 'bout you give me the MacBook and you take the cat? He and Seven can have kittens (immaculately conceived)who will go on to rule New York with their claws.

    Donovan - when you're right, you're right. Have you read Antjie Krog's A Change of Tongue? She lost a whole bloody book...Your dragons are very beautiful.

  15. PS Frank - how much for that blue eyed cat?


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