Catching up

March 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

So my resolution to post once a week fell flat on its face. Unsurprising, perhaps, given a hectic term at Cambridge and my lack of self-discipline. Anyway, term’s over now, so I have time to think back to this.

What to say, then? Pointless trying to summarise everything that’s happened in the six weeks since my last post. Suffice to say I read some books, wrote some essays, had some wonderful conversations, made new friends and saw old ones, did some stupid things and some good.

All of which brings me here. I’ve just turned 20 in a new house in Kendal, and am exploring the town. It’s completely charming, shaped by the old wool industry and built out of  grey limestone. It is also thrillingly close to the Lake District – I’m going to go on a drive there tomorrow, I think. I went to a brilliant exhibition at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery today called drawn from life, which is an exploration of the idea of drawing and representation in the work of  modern & contemporary artists from across the world. I can’t find any pictures of my favourite pieces, but they include a couple of paintings from an artist called Muhanned Cader which are beach lanscapes drawn within the lines of national flags – showing national identity as a liminal, uncertain space.

This is getting a bit heavy…but I should also mention the book I’m reading at the moment, John Fowles’ The Magus. I’m not very far into it (and it’s very long), but it is completely captivating.   Uncertainty is central here too – the boundaries between reality/illusion/fantasy/the supernatural keep shifting and changing. Its portrayal of love is also very touching, and (I think) very true. The person who recommended it to me seems to have a knack for suggesting books that I fall in love with… and clearly knows me very well.

One final thing that’s occupying my thoughts: Libya. On balance I think intervention was the right thing (what would Gaddafi have done to Benghazi otherwise?), but I’m worried about how it will end. The allies are there to ‘protect civilians’, but it seems clear they want Gaddafi out. The potential for escalation is scary.

But then I’m no military expert. I’ll stick, for now, to having lie-ins, reading, watching TV and ambling about town. There are worse ways to spend time.






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