Thursday, 28 May 2009
Rain all day, the same changeless grey sky so you don't even know what time of day it is. Helen's session this morning so I sit in for half of it then read student work for the other hour. The course directors, Claire and Ollie, are back. In and out of the office with an umbrella. Tutorials in the afternoon with an hour in between and a wave of heavy sleep overtakes me. My head is down for five minutes (or so it turns out) when there is a knock on the door. One student has come for her scheduled tutorial. I wake and open the door. My watch says 3.30 and she is scheduled for 4.30. We do the tutorial realising half-way through that her watch is still on continental time. She is an hour early. Farewell sleep. I wake up.
Kapka has arrived by lunch. We talk in her room. She looks very slender but sharp. I know she has had a difficult time. She is an extraordinary polymathic writer. Now novels, now poems, now travel guides, now memoirs, and she is only thirty-odd.
It is her evening. Reading followed by talk and more Jamesons. I must think seriously about getting Jamesons to sponsor this site. I will keep mentioning them providing they keep sending me bottles. Is it a deal. guys?
And United lose, which, to be truthful, I was expecting, since I don't think the team is good enough to win everything twice over. Won't do them any harm in the long run. 'Remember you are mortal, Caesar'. I have never forgotten that. Though I also remember what Keynes said about "the long run"*. Still, some pain, but at least I was prevented from watching and fretting.
And that Oxford Chair. It seems there is some enthusiastic backing. What to do? Nothing from here, certainly.
What's the matter with you, Szirtes? No ambition?
Oh, high ambition, higher than you could dream of, but not in this respect. Offices are another thing entirely. Still, it might be interesting. This from quarantine in Devon. Perhaps I shall be the Anti-Pope. Or Hadrian VII. In the equivalent of Avignon. Or just nothing. Just a poet. In the world where poems are the only judges.
Which is where the ambition comes in.
*In the long run we are all dead.