When the new words don't bring any solace whatsoever, look to old ones.
August 15th. Cabo de Gata-Níjar National Park, Espagne.
It is quiet, except for the occasional whine of a mosquito, the noises carried on the wind from the village across the valley. The sky, which has been alight with pinks and oranges so vivid I swear that I could smell them, is now bruised with 10pm clouds. Silhouetted is the mountain we climbed years ago; it has not moved, and although it is miles away it looks like I might be able to stroke it from here.
I’m sitting with one foot in the water, my left, the other leg bent to support this paper, these thoughts brought on so suddenly by the stillness that I feel quite panicked—I don’t know if I will be able to get them out of my head fast enough. I’m leaning against an uneven stone wall in a thin blue shirt but I am not uncomfortable; when you surrender your flesh completely to the hardness of the ground, of the architecture, you are met with surprisingly little resistance.
If I am being bitten I do not know it, but it is getting steadily darker and soon enough I will not be able to see—what I am writing, or anything else. I think that I can taste Morocco, Algeria, a scent of the most unlikely home as a single star becomes visible in the sky. And it is shouting at me, wanting me to gaze at it open-mouthed and awestruck—I do, of course, it would be rude not to.
It has come to my attention that today is National Book Lovers Day in the US, which seemed like something I couldn't not mention, but then again if you are someone who is moderately distressed by the fact that there are people out there who don't really like or care for books at all, then it's likely everyday is book day for you anyway.
Whether you have only one beloved book or you cannot even see the floor of your house anymore, it's always nice to remember that books will love you back.
I sometimes feel bad that the books of mine lying on top (see below) get a bit sun-bleached, and 'A General Theory of Love' has suffered more than most, but they haven't yet complained to me directly and perhaps they like the warmth. I find that keeping them in this orientation means that I tend to get good at recognising a book by only a fraction of its cover, and because my wooden shutters still need to be able to close over them, I'm prevented from letting them grow uncontrollably.
There's more where this came from, but here are two for now.
It may have taken me nearly three weeks to get hold of a copy (thank you for letting me temporarily steal yours Amanda), but the current issue of The Simple Things magazine has a lovely few pages with some illustrations from Speaking in Tongues.
Essentially exactly the same book as The Illustrated Book of Sayings, but Speaking in Tongues is the UK version with a different title and cover. It's both bizarre and wonderful to see your work printed in these places, and I always feel very gleeful about it all.