Have sent a couple of limericks off…

to a magazine which someone emailed me, called Pentatette (pentatette@limericks.org)  They were two from this blog, one about Edna St Vincent Millay, the other called Frankly My Dear, I don’t Give a Damn.

Hi Doug, thanks for sending the mag

It’s great if 5 lines are your bag:

I found inspiration

from your publication

if that don’t suit some, that’s a drag

(OK that last line was a bit lame.  That’s the problem with trying to finish something quickly – I usually let things marinate for a few days and then the last line will present itself beautifully.  Or not.  Anyway, I liked your limericks, especially the one about Schroedinger’s cat.  Can I reprint it here?  I thought it very clever.

It took me eight years to read Proust…

Tried to post a comment on Reading Proust in Foxborough but got embroiled in password difficulties.   Life is just too complicated and some time I shall post some thoughts on the insanity of trying to keep up with the many passwords and pin numbers that we are now supposed to keep in our heads.  Anyway, this person seemed t think I was trying to read Proust in 3 weeks and that if I succeedd I would put her to shame.


I don’t really know where to start.  Perhaps it’s just as well my comment didn’t get through as it was a bit of a rant and I don’t really want to rant at anyone who thinks Proust is worth reading.  But oh god why

WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY (I could go on but won’t)

would anyone wish to rush such a sublime experience?  Why, when we are living longer than ever before, do we insist on getting through everything in the shortest possible time?  Proust took me eight years to read – not only to read, but much more important, to think about and digest.  what is the point of reading if you don’t digest?  It would be my eternal shame if I were able to read Proust in 3 weeks (even if that were physically possible) because I wouldn’t have understood or taken in a single word, except on a superficial level.  TS Eliot (I think it was he) said that Dante is a writer you have to live with: read him in your youth and let him seep into every pore (I’m paraphrasing here) then come back and understand him in a more mature way – keep coming back.

Som dear “Reading Proust in Foxborough” – please don’t take my comments as directed against you personally.  I know I’ve been somewhat forthright in my opinions, but it really does drive me crazy that in our society we value speed so much.  So my suggestion would be, take as much time as you need and be proud of taking time.  Don’t berate yourself for not “achieving your goals” – after all

The tick inside

A goal

is a box

with a tick inside

it burrows into your brain

and sucks


If I can do anything about this overwhelming culture of speed and achievement – and speedy achievement – I will.  If not, I will just carry on in my own sweet way.

Thanks for linking here.  Enjoy Proust.  Oh, and there’s a really interesting book called “The Year Fo Reading Proust ” by Phyllis Rose.  She gives up almost everything else for a year to read him, for she has discovered that he is a “voracious writer”.(my phrase, of which I was quite proud).


Incidentally, another relevant thought I had this morning was about how many features modern gadgets have – all except one – longevity.  So that I thought they had many dimensions but barely existed in the fourth.

I am alos reading and enjoying very much “The Time Traveller’s Wife”.  It is not particularly intellectual but surprising (so far at least).  Mark was very grumpy about how ideas that have been current in Science Fiction for decades are now achieving prominence “as though they’re something new” in teh mainstream.  If I were him I would take it as a compliment.

Mark is very keen on SF and has written some stories in the genre.  Sadly he refuses to read Proust.  But like Marcel himself, this is such a momentous thought that I must save it for another post.

Pip pip!