The Book of Random Access
The invisible wind is redefining itself. It came out of nothing, but it's
everywhere. Let's sit down at the table together and talk softly late into
the night. In the place where the storyteller was the coming of night was
marked as it was not in towns nor in modern homes. In repetition of
traditions that were the people's own, like the table, the bench, the
grandmother's chair, what was told was news of people they knew - the queen's
daughter who herded geese, the king's son whose quest was for nothing less
than the Water of Life. News of people we know and do not know. A massive
blackout has left 86,000 homes without power in the Greater Manchester area.
The Penan's way of life is under threat as commercial logging continues to
destroy their home around them. A bent twig stuck in the trail may simply say
'we went this way', but complex arrangements of cut twigs, sticks and folded
leaves can tell the Penan anything. Switch off the TV, let's talk late into
the night. We talked, then stepped outside to see Orion and The Plough, the
half-moon rising. When however, the pieces of the moon had united themselves
together again in the world below, where darkness had always prevailed, it
came to pass that the dead became restless and awoke from their sleep. I want
to question the world more closely, and to feel the sun on my back, for
perhaps I sleep, and dream, and walk on the paths of childhood.
Hello? Are you there? Who could
be more of a stranger than a dead man? Almost the weekend, but I have to
drive south on Sunday night and stay in the Holiday Inn at Egham. The writer
is nobody. Fill in a self-assessment tax return. Install XSI on my laptop.
Make doctor's appointment. Buy some ear-plugs. If only I had a better memory.
An attention to life, sufficiently powerful and sufficiently separated from
all practical interest, would thus include in an undivided present the entire
past history of the conscious person. Hingis Quits Under Cocaine Cloud. The new wars of religion. Work life
balance? Don't know where to turn? Call 0800 716017. 24-hour support, 365
days a year. The indivisible continuity of change is precisely what
constitutes true duration. My grandmother lost her husband, aged thirty, to
tuberculosis, leaving her with three small children. They often didn't have
enough to eat. The two boys went off to war in 1939. He never talked to me
about his war experiences. His life seems to have been lived so long ago.
Under the cocaine cloud the climber coughs, till the cloud clears and views
of fabled lowlands glimmer in the gloaming. The ice was crisp underfoot, the
scree scurried and grass at last cushioned his boots. Soon he will reach the
village where tribesmen will offer him honey and goats' milk, he will sleep
on sheepskin and in the morning call 0800 716017. Hello? Are you there? Who
could be more of a stranger than a dead man?
The kitchen is quiet at this late hour, but through the open door
the sound of a TV - Question Time, the politicians and the people. Who is speaking
for the birds? Sparrows seek asylum in the orderly sunlight, squabble for
scraps in the disorderly breeze. She drove across the border. Her mother's
tears. She's gone, gone, gone. The music drowns out the TV. The building
workers from Poland are in that place, the cleaners from Latvia, maids from
the Phillipines, the marchers for Peace might be there. The gardens will be
well-tended, and in the public parks football and games of hide-and-seek.
Police say there were nearly 10,000 arrests during the dispute. On average,
3,000 extra officers were deployed each day. The miners were like gypsies,
travelling miners you know, right round, they drifted, Lanchester, Annfield
Plain, Marley Hill colliery and then when they all closed, they went to the
coast pits. During the strike, the women had blossomed and started coming
together and making decisions...but the men didn't want that; I mean most
men. The fellow-feeling - I suppose I'd call it that - was like a form of
Grace. A snowy morning, after the first shift had gone through the picket
line, me and two others getting warm round a little bonfire. I was
twenty-six. Things changed. Grace has both the meaning of self-adornment, as
in the ego-self-image, and the true grace of simplicity and acceptance. The
student of the I Ching eventually realises that the goal cannot be separated
from the path.
In view of its occurrence among organically healthy individuals, dj vu
commonly has been regarded as psychogenic and as having its origin in some
partly forgotten memory, fantasy, or dream. It was late. The office was
quiet, only the hum of my computer, the noise from the aircon. The chairs
were at odd angles to desks, as if they had invisible occupants. I didn't
like the feeling of being alone there, and was about to leave, when my phone
rang. You're on floor five aren't you, the caller said. I'm on my way upÉ
They didn't give their name. A hoax. Forget it. It's time to leave anyway.
It's just I have this strange feeling that I've been through this before, and
I know who this caller is. I'm still not ready for them, so I'd better leave
now. Walking through the city I reflected on what a strange thing memory is.
Deja vu: memory, fantasy or dream. Virtual memory is a scheme that gives
users the illusion of working with a large block of contiguous memory space
(perhaps even larger than real memory). O sleep it is a gentle thing. Switch
off the TV. Check the kitchen appliances are off, lock the front door. Lights
out. Well, maybe leave the bedside lamp on for a while. I didn't like the
feeling of being alone there, and was about to leave, when my phone rang.
You're on floor five aren't you, the caller said. I'm on my way upÉWhile I
waited, I consulted the I Ching.
Children today learn about sex, gunslinging, drug dealing and other forms of
corruption much earlier than their parents did, but they learn very little
about death. Halloween is based on a medieval European concept of death, and
is populated by demons, witches (usually women) and other images of terror --
all of them negative. The Day of the Dead, in contrast, is distinctly
different, and demonstrates a strong sense of love and respect for one's
ancestors. The souls of the dead return each year to visit with their living
relatives - to eat, drink and be merry. Just like they did when they were
living. Today I got news from my mother that my uncle Joe has died. In what
seems like another age I was playing in front of the open fire when my mam
called from the kitchen "Come and see your Uncle Joe". I ran in to
see, sitting on a chair in the middle of the little scullery, an apparition,
an impossibly tall, angular man wreathed in clouds of cigarette smoke,
smiling down at me. When somebody close to us dies, there follows a time of
great sadness, with many preparations needing to be made for the organising
of a funeral. funeralsuk.com is here to help you with the arranging and
planning. Rain, fog and gales are playing their usual part in the January
weather, but with the compensation of winter light, when crisp air and the
sun low in the sky combine to form a brightness beyond the reach of summer.
The character called Kî is used as a symbol of being past or completed._î denotes
primarily crossing a stream, and has the secondary meaning of helping and completing.
The two characters, combined, will express the
successful accomplishment of whatever the writer has in his mind. What do I
have in my mind? 1. The noise of the Wii console which the girls are playing
in the next room. 2. An anxiety due to writing this instead of working (this
is a 'working from home' day). 3. I must book that week at Centreparcs. Thus
we behave under the varying experiments of Time, which once again has got me
leaning on the window sill looking into the dusk, trying to make out some figures
across the park. Who are they? What are they doing? Sounds of a fiddle being
played and the long twilight make the streetlights seem impossibly remote.
There they are again, those figures in the half-light, not menacing, but
strange. Only the barking dogs break the spell that spells disaster, but
there's no need to take them too seriously, and anyway, disaster is my meat
and drink. Still, I wish they'd take their leave with whatever rituals and
exaggerated farewells are needed. The fiddle, or is it in fact an old and
expensive violin, sounds, I can only say, strange. Then follows hexagram F,
belonging to the eleventh month, in which was mid-winter's day, when the sun
turned back in his course, and moved with a constant regular progress towards
the summer solstice.
Hexagram sixty-four, "crossing the great water", means getting past
a period which is dangerous to our perseverance. It's time to book a holiday.
I logged off and slipped out of the office through the side entrance. I
walked out into the morning, along the bank of the swollen river,
unaccountably happy. When crossing a river, don't get your tail wet (the
sixty-fourth hexagram warns against this). It's usually cheaper to book
flight and accommodation separately. I'm looking for somewhere with almond
trees and evergreen oak above a carpet of flowers, terraced hillsides with
cedars and a coastal path to the moorish watchtower, a "view over the
bayÓ. We went horse riding on a trail through the hills; I guess these things
invoke some collective memory of a nomadic past. I took books on poetics and
psychology (she said "they're a bit heavy, here's a magazine" and I
never read the books). Te-shan rode up in his cart with his notes on the
Diamond Sutra and right in front of the Zen hall he built a big fire with
them saying, "Even though you have exhausted the abstruse doctrines,
it's like placing a hair in vast estates. Even though you have learned all
the secrets of the world, it's like letting a single drop of water fall into
an enormous valley." And he
burned up all his notes. He walked out into the morning, along the bank of
the swollen river, unaccountably happy, replete with the compensation of
winter light, a brightness beyond the reach of summer.
Debut et Fin de la Neige, Yves Bonnefoy, (Mercure de France, 1991) tr. A. Baker
Introduction to The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales, Padraic Colum (Random
'The Moon', from The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales (Random House, 1980)
The Book of Questions, Edmond Jabes, tr. R. Waldrop (Wesleyan, 1991)
The Creative Mind; An Introduction to Metaphysics, Henri Bergson (Citadel,
Galaxy, Paul Simon
A Guide to the I Ching, Carole K. Antony (Antony, 1980)
news.bbc.co.uk, "On This Day in 1985", 3rd March 2005
Female Involvement in the Miners' Strike 1984-1985: Trajectories of Activism,
Jean Spence and Carol Stephenson (University of Durham; University of
The Encyclopaedia Brittanica on 'Memory Abnormality' and 'Virtual Memory (Computer
The Ancient Mariner.
Wikipedia on 'Day of the Dead'.
The Guardian, 19.1.2008.
The I Ching, tr. James Legge. (1899). http://www.sacred-texts.com.
George Eliot, ÔMiddlemarch'
The Blue Cliff Record. tr, John Tarrant Roshi John Tarrant and Seshin Teisho