Whenever I think of comfort food, the image of Nigella Lawson springs to mind. A friend once gave me one of her beautifully illustrated cookbooks and, interspersed with smiling, airbrushed photos of the domestic goddess herself, she devotes a whole chapter to comfort food. One favourite that I share with her is mashed potato (which needless to say has healthy dollops of butter). I also like to mix in sweet potato and butternut.
But back to the reading. My mood has been a bit up and down the last few days and one look at the pile of books next to my bed confirmed that things are a bit out of whack. In no particular order we have: Depression Matters, Trauma and Recovery, Jung’s autobiography, Stress Matters and then the lovely but rather wide-ranging and disparate “1000 Books to Change Your Life”. And that’s just the first four books. Lower down the pile we also have Jonny Steinberg on AIDS. Now I’m a great fan of Jonny’s writing and I did enjoy the first 50-odd pages of Jung’s autobiography but these titles were just not cutting it in helping to lift me from my glum state. So I did what any self-respecting book blogger would do and that is to go and buy a book.
Of course I could have borrowed a book in keeping with SA Library Week or have re-read a book that was already within easy range but there’s something comforting about actually buying a new book. Ok, this is sounding rather lame so I’ll just tell you that the book in question is Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies. There’s continuity here since I’ve been curious to read him since I enjoyed (his wife) Siri Hustvedt’s The Sorrows of an American. And I also have a friend in Brooklyn so it seemed a good a choice as any.
So far so good. Easy narrative style. Engaging, literary, a basic plot with enjoyable diversions and stories within stories. Likeable characters with problems I can relate to. Just the thing. And enough references to New York to keep me happy.
As for the leave, things are picking up. Some retail therapy including a deluxe camping chair (trying it out before buying one for P too), some encouraging signs on the cricketing front and the end of the domestic Cold War. Just on that score, I discovered yesterday evening that my mother had had three fainting spells the night before which a) she hadn’t told me about (basically since we weren’t talking); and b) her doctor thought might be the precursors to a heart attack. We are talking about a 69-year old woman with a pacemaker here so this is no light matter. My sister managed to restore the patient’s spirits considerably with a flying visit. And she is also attending the appointment with the heart specialist tomorrow. The patient is looking a lot better, and I think scoring a victory over her son in the Cold War might have helped a little to boost her morale. (It might sound flippant but never underestimate the power of mothers.)
On the reading front, I also enjoyed an excellent article from the Psychoanalytic Review on a child case that read like a short story. Pilar Jennings writes extraordinarily well, and she’s made me curious to read Nina Coltart’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” as well as some Wilfren Bion. I also loved what she said about good therapists staying in the present moment and working from a position of curious, not-knowing which allows them to try and meet the patient in the (psychic) place where they need to be met. I’m not expressing it well but trust me, it’s pretty profound.