Possession is for Book Club; La Bella told me that it reminded her of graduate school and she was afraid some of the ladies would hate it, but I’m enjoying it enormously.
As is so often the case, the things I notice in my reading depend on what else I am reading at the same time. Having just read Alice Starmore’s comment in the introduction to her Celtic Collection that Celtic art is a matter of the tension between order and chaos, I have seen that very point arise repeatedly in Possession. Order shows up as a marker for neurosis, for anger, for rather unpleasant sexual interactions. But it also shows up as a sign of competence, serenity, and a feeling of being at home. People clear up graves, clean books, moon over the organization of desks. And in the next scene, disorder and dirt are dwelt on in astounding and even implausible detail.
I suppose I also notice this recurrent motif because I have the same tension in my own life — though admittedly not to that extent. But the desire for order and the peace attendant upon it wars with the desire for spontaneous fun. On one side is routine housework, wholesome food, to-do lists, regular visits to the gym. This is the road to health and happiness. On the other side is spontaneous fun, doing what you feel like at the moment, and the temporary pleasures of sloth and gluttony. We know it is better to let all things be done decently and in order, but what happened to the weekend?
Ideally, of course, one would have servants providing the order, so that one could provide all the spontaneity. If this works for you, then you have Jeeves, Bunter, or a mother or wife looking after you, you lucky thing.
Yesterday I put the borders on the throw, baked, cleaned out closets, drove the boys hither and yon, sang Duke Ellington and Tommy Dorsey in church, and enjoyed the lovely fall day. How can I feel overwhelmed when so much of what I have on my to-do list involves lounging on the couch with a lap full of wool, reading?
When I have time, I will embroider around the edge of the outer border, which is I suppose more of a binding than a border.
It is back into the eighties today, which removes the sense of urgency from the wool throw, but we will like it when it gets cold again, and it is always good to recycle things.