Dec. 22nd, 2008

I briefly went to Uni in Adelaide, in the 90s. The first (and only) class I took was English Lit. The first semester we studied literature that could be classified as new canon. Two that I remember, beyond fragments of story and no title springing to mind, are The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and The Golden Gate, by Vikram Seth.

The latter was my favourite book of the semester. A book written completely in verse, or tetrameter sonnets, it captured my imagination. I loved that the entire book, including the author and title; Seth is pronounced sate, and thus rhymes with Gate. It inspired me to write my best essay of the class, despite the fact that I really couldn't identify with pulling and teasing 500 words out of something, when all I had to say would fit on one page.

{I was also the only mature age student and really had a problem with some of the more wanky aspects of literary criticisms. One story, set in Africa, had a teenage protagonist. We sat in a circle, and everyone discussed her motivations vis a vis plot structure and blah blah blah. When it got to me, my point was, perhaps her motivations were not driven by anything other than she was 16, and didn't have any common sense.

Golden Gate, though, I didn't have a problem with that book. My teacher said she enjoyed the different perspective I bought to her class, and my essays and shared with me a story about Vikram. He'd visited Adelaide in a previous semester, and had billeted at her house in the Adelaide Hills. He carried a notebook everywhere, taking notes on ideas as they came, thoughts about his works in progress, general notes about this and that.

One morning at breakfast, Vikram mentioned to her that he'd been up late, writing, and he'd heard a loud guttural bellowing outside his room. What was that?

Oh yes, she said, the males looking for a mate.

He furrowed his brow, and then wrote something in his notebook, and then showed it to her.

"Miles looking for a mite."


A few years back, we went on a Christmas tour of historic houses in a local town. At each house, they had docents in each room, to explain the history of the house. My kitchen is 10 feet by 10 feet square, and one of these houses had a kitchen that could fit my kitchen and then my kitchen and probably my kitchen again.

At the end of the talk in this room, I went over to the docent, and told him how much I enjoyed the space in the room.

He looked at me and said "It's the candles!".

Cue furrowed Australian brow, while I tried to work out what candles precisely had to do with making the room seem larger, perhaps like mirrors but with flickering shadows?

While I looked at him and settled into bemusement, he continued on "They're pumpkin, I think."

Ah. The spIce in the room.

this entry inspired by hnpcc's entry.



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