Quiet night out on the street – people recouping and planning their next move, I suppose. Awake around two am. My neighbor is a night bird and discussed music with someone in a conversational voice, on his terrace next to my bedroom window.
Threads of thought: photos done by one of my sisters some thirty-five years ago and which I received in the mail yesterday. An interview of the Italian writer Andrea Camilleri, now aged ninety, whose fictional Detective Montalbano is a favorite of one of my characters. The first pages of Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire – I sense this will be a book for slow reading, the way you chew dense, naturally leavened bread, a bit at a time.
The photos bring back memories, of course. Their main effect this morning centers on the issue of touch, as in affectionate display and ease. While walking the dog, it occurred to me I can’t recall any such photos with my parents from my own childhood. Which doesn’t mean they don’t exist, although casual hugging and embracing wasn’t part of the house style. The ritual night time kiss to both parents, yes. A cultural thing, at the time. Same as people didn’t smile on photos much before the nineteen forties.*
Camilleri, speaking of his fictional Montalbano and how the character evolves over time because the previous cases leave traces. The natural aging process and how experience modifies perceptions? Yes. An important aspect. How characters react to their own aging. How those reactions affect the stories and how they’re told.
The Nabokov: some books are made for slow reading. Same as some foods are designed for slow eating. Maybe some stories are made for slow telling? Long pauses in the building of the current one, in my case. The voices, slower to speak up. Heavy-laden ships.
At some point, younger imps are bound to speed things up again.
*but my favorite: a close-up of my daughter in profile, then eleven, leaning forward with her camera to grab her own close-up – of someone taking a close-up of someone else? No, the mise en abyme stops there (mise en abyme: those illustrations containing a copy of the illustration, containing another copy of the… etc).