tenses and landscapes and isherwood and laundry rooms.

darlings

we have been thinking (not always a wise move) about the sheer Chance of the Thing.

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as in – if we had been born in the country of those that provided us with this (somewhat dubious but ever-such-fun) genetic Pattern – we would be speaking a different language now (french, irish/gaelic or, possibly, Arabic – how delicious and so very YSL).

and using Other Tenses like “gnathchaite” (the continuous past in gaelic) or Modh Coinníollach (conditional tense).

but due to the nature of Chance (or was it? *mysteriouslooktocamera*) we learned to decline Latin verbs instead with a Terribly British Accent.

but are those languages right now coursing through our blood as yet fully unexpressed? did they lead us to visit places we had no idea we needed to see?

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we had Odd occurrences during our youth of getting on the boat train from Victoria and arriving in Paris at gare du nord quite a long while later and feeling Different.

suddenly twisting a scarf in a new Way and sauntering to purchase a carte d’orange and Actually Speaking French.

then in Ireland – smiling and seeing similar eyes reflecting our gaze was unnerving at first (especially for our travel companion) – yet somehow Right.

which is probably why we ended up in America.

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because one can be Anyone here – but only if you’re from somewhere else – because the woman in the Laundry Room just after dawn rose simmered with a rage we rarely encounter on this mellow Coast – as she stood with her hands on her (yoga-slimmed) hips and stared us down while we stood helplessly with two bags of laundry (too busy writing and consulting until this very moment to do it) and she Guarded five machines. She is trapped here – doing the laundry of what looked like a full apartment (which is curious because there don’t appear to be Families here – we are all single Creative Types by and large) – perhaps she Takes Laundry In – and would not budge. We paused. It was early. But a spelt scone and a long walk to wake up might help. We said we’d return. And we did. Sadly she didn’t look like she’d have time for a scone and a walk as she was still knee deep in Folding.

Makes you think.

“An afternoon drive from Los Angeles will take you up into the high mountains, where eagles circle above the forests and the cold blue lakes, or out over the Mojave Desert, with its weird vegetation and immense vistas.

Not very far away are Death Valley, and Yosemite, and Sequoia Forest with its giant trees which were growing long before the Parthenon was built; they are the oldest living things in the world.

One should visit such places often, and be conscious, in the midst of the city, of their surrounding presence. For this is the real nature of California and the secret of its fascination; this untamed, undomesticated, aloof, prehistoric landscape which relentlessly reminds the traveller of his human condition and the circumstances of his tenure upon the earth.

“You are perfectly welcome,” it tells him, “during your short visit. Everything is at your disposal. Only, I must warn you, if things go wrong, don’t blame me. I accept no responsibility. I am not part of your neurosis. Don’t cry to me for safety. There is no home here. There is no security in your mansions or your fortresses, your family vaults or your banks or your double beds. Understand this fact, and you will be free. Accept it, and you will be happy.”

― Christopher IsherwoodExhumations

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtis not surprising then that we have chosen to live in a land that looks so much (in a certain light) like the places our blood desires.

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.”

― Christopher IsherwoodGoodbye to Berlin

even the woman in the laundry room has now entered our brain – who is she? why so much laundry? why so early? why does she fold so carefully in the laundry room (when most people stuff into canvas bags, throw it onto the bed and listen to loud music through earphones while folding in the comfort of one’s own apartment)? who waits upstairs? how long has she been here? what does she do (apart from laundry)?

and what did she want to do with her life?

w h a t   h a p p e n e d that made her so full of  r a g e?

yes.

these are the things we think about (constantly).

it’s exhausting.

but also Rather curiously wonderful.

synchronicity: malachy mccourt

at team gloria we particularly relish synchronicity – the “in the flow of the universe” and all that jazz (apologies to Fosse – couldn’t resist – sigh – a flick of the head and an ann reinking swish with a bowler hat and we’re a goner). for example – we were just thinking about someone at the day job and there she was, heading for the elevator, in a splendid navy blue summer frock. we talked for a while. so pleasant an encounter.

ok: back to the point.

so a good friend (dZ) emailed me from the not-humid-coast and said he’d just bought a book by malachy mccourt (dZ bought “singing my him song” i believe but malachy has written many as seen here). and dZ said he’d thought of me – because i have a malachy anecdote (you knew that was coming, right?)

team gloria is very polite, in a lovely 18th century european way (handwritten letters, arriving with white roses, helping with the washing-up) but uses 21st century technology to assist (cross-referencing and tagging interesting humans in a multitude of new and exciting devices with random facts to delight the user as if “just recalled” upon meeting a second time. you know – the names of people’s dogs and the fact that a glorious former executive at a global media company met her boss in the mid-1970s in a pub on the grays inn road and always prefers yellow roses when she stays in london – that sort of thing).

so – back to malachy – we found his book in a local carnegie library many years ago and LOVED it. and so did what we always do – sent a thank you note of appreciation.

AND HE WROTE BACK. (god, we love it when that happens)

so – on a trip west – while on business – malachy contacted team gloria and we had tea (it turned out we have mutual friends in common) – it was the most tranquil and splendidly irish story-telling of an evening, truly.

we’ve stayed in touch. and (not that malachy knows this – but he will soon as we send him this link to make him laugh – he has the best throw your head back and roar with pleasure guffaw – it’s worth seeing) we wrote a short story in his honour/honor. called “malachy’s inn”. which we entered into a competition (shiver with anticipation).

more on that at a later date. we promise.

for now – watch malachy embrace the tradition of the irish storyletter seanchai gene here: