Tourist in the library

I am on vacation in England visiting Oblomovka’s relatives and have about 100 blog posts to write, about books I’m reading, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and my trip, and some things about music that have been building up & that I need to write about. And I owe an update on my book coming out this winter from Aqueduct Press. But until that happens… here’s today’s burbling!

Today we drove to Oxford (from Essex) and I was super happy it was sunny & everything was gorgeous. I enjoy driving on the other side of the road as it feels like a superpower to concentrate and master it — just a tiny bit scary.

We went to look at the exhibits at the Bodleian Library. A page of Frankenstein! Hooke’s Micrographia! Sappho! Kalila and Dimna!!!! Suffragette flyers! The Whetstone of Witte, Book of Fixed Stars, amazingly beautiful Urashima scroll, Marco Polo, Kalidasa, Chinese poems in jade book covers, Gutenberg Bible, Wilfred Owen poem which I enjoyed b/c I just read 2 of the Pat Barker trilogy about WWI poets & conscientious objectors …. Well, I beamed happily over too many things to list and had a fantastic time. When I come back someday I’ll find something here that relates to my research and dig into their reading room!

Description of a flea: “But, as for the beauty of it, the Microscope manifests it to be all over adorn’d with a curiously polish’d suit of sable Armour, neatly jointed, and beset with multitudes of sharp pinns, shap’d almost like Porcupine’s Quills, or bright conical Steel-bodkins; the head is on either side beautify’d with a quick and round black eye….”

fragments of sappho poems

I thought as I looked at all the books and scrolls and fragments — this is what I love to do and what I’ll always do — even if I weren’t from this time I would have done something like this as best I could. I thought of all the people spending their lives doing this strange, esoteric, beautiful thing and felt like I loved them and I’m so glad for them that they got to make books and write whatever they wrote and that other people still appreciate it. A bit sentimental & simple really. And feeling like I could a message sent back through time to say “Hi Mary! I love how you made the moonlight shine in the monster’s hair as he convulsed! You’re awesome!” simply because her handwriting is real & right in front of me. Though I can’t quite approve on another level of the mystical fetishization of objects. Still, I’m swayed…

We then walked around High Street, Queen’s Lane, Broad St. and back up. I thought about how nice it would be to live right next to a little library/study hall and barely have to go anywhere and just write all the time. Hell yeah!!!!! Bought a notebook and pen & had cream tea.

Then I was going to go to a women-only Take Back the Night march and rally but realized I was far too tired and it was uphill both ways with cobblestones. Thought about maybe Taking Back the Taxi to the rally at the end of the march, and then wussed out. I am sorry, nice feminists of Oxford, that I missed meeting you and supporting your rally… Instead it is time for #occupymybathtub.

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