Sunday, October 31, 2010

Excellent work

The whole year they were in the U.K., she told us, their son kept getting D school reports from Australia for 'not handing in his assessments.' And yet, not long after their return, one of his teachers at the parent and teacher evening said that, as long as he kept up the excellent work he'd been doing in the first half of the year, he should continue to do very well.

Now wearing a muzzle

He told us that he would never have remembered the dog which had bit him over a year ago, drawing blood, had the owner not approached him recently while he was crossing the park, so she could show him how her dog was now wearing a muzzle.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It could have been the building

We heard how the crowd in The Butterfly in Shanghai went wild when his jazz trumpet soloing touched on the tune of Frère Jacques - how at first he couldn't believe that the simple notes could have this effect - how then he let rip, as he put it, with this nursery revival. Even when he learned, that evening, that the tune had a particular association with the student rebellion in Tiananmen Square, he couldn't help thinking that his solo had stirred something more fundamental in the audience; of course it could have been the building, he thought, which was cuter than cute.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A kind of radiance

Aurally, she said, the flu had given everything around her a kind of radiance. That was one way of thinking of it. The other was to notice how this everything dispersed as it tried to get in to her past the over-whelming loudness, the ringing thick white, of her own ears.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Maybe like

He told me about how the primary school boys I'd just seen leaving buy the same things from his shop every day in the afternoon and how one of them often has hundreds or even thousands of dollars in his wallet, but all in fifty or a hundred dollar notes - never less than fifty - and how once he'd asked the kid if he loved the father who gave him the money, and the kid had said: no, not love, maybe like, and he had then told me how his own father had beaten him when, playing as a kid alone in the park across the road from the shop, he had yelled and yelled for his dad to come over and watch him on the swings.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Seemed to be alive

On their last night of the residency, they said they had gone for a walk in the rain and heard a distant party, or the music of a distant party - impossible to believe, they thought, after these weeks of rural quiet, and yet, every night so far, in the dark flanks of the Boydian cliffs - visible from so far away, on the other side of paddocks and trees, and a river (invisible) - they had always seen a single luminous stripe, and if they watched it they could see faint shadows moving inside it: how in fact this single stripe of light seemed to be alive.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Already old hands

As if already old hands at this kind of country living, I heard them tell the others that they had only four rings of water left in their tank.