I’ve been hors de combat for seven days now with a mean version of flu. I thought it was a normal, if nasty, cold and comforted myself through one day by expecting the next to bring an improvement. Instead, each morning I’ve woken to find a new crisis camp has been set up in previously untroubled territory. This has been happening in disordered progression around my body: throat, trachea, head (sixty sneezes a minute) and finally the lower labyrinthine reaches of the lungs where it is now lodging. Each way station was accompanied by much fever and sweating and altogether it’s very depleting.
There’s still been plenty to occupy me. I have had to cancel, or announce my non-attendance, at all the events that were happening this week: two writing workshops, (one which I VERY much wanted to go to;) the normal two writer’s meetings; a birthday tea party; a birthday brunch party; a visit from a friend who was planning to stay overnight on her way to visit her son in Aberdeen, and we had arranged to have coffee with another set of friends....... In short that was to have been a bigger week for my social calendar than all the other weeks so far put together. Maybe that’s why I caught the dratted virus. I tend to prefer a quieter life.
I never have much of stock in my larder because if I do, when the evening munchies strike, I eat through what’s there like a plague of starving locusts. No self control. My poor daughter was also fighting off this bane whilst still working at putting people right (she has so much more strength of character than me) so once the cupboards were bare I learned how to do my weekly shop on-line and a nice young man came round with bags and bags of goodies from Tesco. I wished I owned a burka for this event. Pasty, puffy, and blotchily flushed is not a good look, and the smell of Tiger Balm must have been almost overwhelming (I can’t smell a thing.) On the whole it was a success. I didn’t mean to ask for a tiny bag of flour fit for a dolly’s shop, and next time I shall order more than one tomato.
Although my eyes have been sore I’ve read six books and watched many DVD’s. I’d just been all through ‘Bones’ for the umpteenth time when the bug hit so I tried re-running ‘Angel’ until it started to get heavy and depressing which wasn’t helping the melancholia caused by miserable neurons so I trawled Amazon to order emergency supplies. A series of Father Brown, The Julia Mackenzie ‘Marples’; the Matrix (which I have never seen properly, only in snatches;) and ‘Cloud Atlas’ which I watched this evening and think is the best, most interesting, film I’ve seen in a long time. My daughter tells me there was a novel first - As usual I missed it, but shall rectify that. Thank you Amazon.
Thank Creation for creative people. Especially I thank novelists. Without all this entertainment from the minds of others (and I know enough about the process to appreciate how much effort it has cost them) I would have been going crazy. I already caught myself talking aloud once.
Now that the fever has gone down a notch I’ve started my latest MOOC. This one is put out by Nottingham Uni. and is titled ‘How to Read a Mind.’ The first week was promising. Not sure I’m up to giving a coherent synopsis yet but it is run by a Prof.of Literary Linguistics and appears to be going to take us though the way we use a kind of telepathy to construct the characters of the people we meet in ‘real’ and fictional life. (Which should help to give pointers to creating characters in story form.)
Phrases like ‘cognitive poetics’ and ‘mind-modeling’ have been bandied about.
I’m looking forward to learning more about them.
These courses are such a gift. It’s amazing that they exist and I’m so grateful. If I had to pay for them I wouldn’t take them because,although there may be useful hints and guidance that will make my writing better, they are mainly interesting for what they are - and that wouldn’t sound like justifiable expenditure.) I’m so impressed by the work of these academics who have by close observation and research been able to locate the stages of assimilation from perceptions to concept (will I find a better word than that?) that the brain goes through when meeting a new person, real or fictional, animal or mechanical (bet you talk to your car!)