November 11th, 2007

eliphas, napping


Five days of freezing rain so far, sometimes making a half-hearted attempt at snow, but never getting around to it. Remnants of a storm over the North Sea rattle the trees and the windows and try to steer cars and bicycles off the path. I don't even try riding my motorbike in this weather.

cyrna and her husband are off for a three-or-four week health cure. At the moment, I'm caring for their cats. Those cats are very sweet and low-maintenance, nothing like my monsters. I come by every two days, feed, water and clean, and spend an hour or so on the sofa petting the black-and-white big cat who purrs loudly and always has this baffled look on his face. Thin white-and-tabby looks at me from a safe distance and seems to be considering the situation.

Yesterday I went to J___'s birthday party. We were sitting around, talking like old people, about old times and jobs, and kids these days, while the children played and screamed in the next room. On R___'s request, I had brought a salad of chicory, oranges, red onions and mint leaves, with a chili'd vinaigrette strong on the mustard. The leftover smell from the peeling, cutting and mixing in my kitchen is enough to banish evil spirits. It's fresh and harsh, coolish but fierce, a very "awake" smell. The mellowing element in the salad is chicken breast, fried and then let soak in a slightly caramelised soy/balsamic vinegar/orange juice sauce. Because of the vegetarians I serve the chicken on the side and leave the salad's unforgiving temperament unmellowed.

On the party, I met A____ who I hadn't seen in ages and who's now working practically around the corner from me. I had heard her name in some meeting, but as it's not a very rare name I had been wondering.

I came back from the party feeling out of sync with the world, with the rain hammering against the windows. It would have been a great moment to get some writing done -- writing in that state of mind needs editing, but it tends to produce plot and strong images -- but I was just too damn tired. I went to bed, slept for 13 hours and awoke with a headache.

The mood fits the season, graveyard season, with vendors of wreaths and grave ornaments opening seasonal stalls at the entrances of the graveyards. Day of mourning next Sunday, when all the old women go to the graveyards to remember their fathers, brothers, husbands who died in the war. Not sons, not anymore, and in my lifetime the women have gone from oldish to ancient. Oh well, with the adventure in Afghanistan they might get some new blood onto the graveyards. Won't the vendors shivering in their stalls be enthusiastic about it. And the Sunday after next is Eternity Sunday, or Dead Sunday, and after that the Christmas lights come on, and it will still rain.

The week-before-last I visited Tiassa. We did a lot of RPGing, as usual, and in between I managed to re-write an old vampire story. The interesting thing about the re-write is that what used to be our world in the first version isn't anymore -- it's now a world with no LeFanu, no Stoker, no Rice. No Báthory, no Vlad Tepes where this story takes place, no Christian mythology, no ready metaphors. Only the narrator, who has made a study of alien life-forms and human ghost stories once even associates a nocturnal, blood-drinking undead being with the legends, and even she, sceptic that she is, gives equal plausibility to the theory that the dead person was sent back by the patron spirit of righteous anger to settle a score.

We also watched "Stardust" and agreed that it was the most fun and light-hearted fantasy movie we had seen in ages. I had read the books only a few weeks earlier -- I bought them in '97 when they first came out, but somehow forgot to read them. The movie takes everything that works in movie format from the books, leaves out what doesn't, and changes what is necessary yet won't look good on the screen. Very well done. I didn't expect to love the pirates, who are, in the book, respectable and pleasant fishers of lighting-bolts, but I did. The one change I disliked was the one-week-limit that Tristan had in the movie. No way he can change that much in one week, and it cheapens the great adventure is it's done in what feels like a rush.

Big Cat is snoring on his favourite place, which is kind of above the radiator. I have made a hot water bottle for Little Cat who feels that November means snuggling up to something warm and doesn't understand why Big Cat wants to be left alone.