Beach Bag

ten days into the laxation and, saying so myself, it’s been a week and a half gloriously well spent, especially if you consider reading, swimming, sunning and sleeping as high and noble virtues worthy of note and application. so far this vacation scorecard is looking good: i’m already brown as the proverbial berry, i’m seriously rested and feeling fit, i’m five books through the twenty i brought and, miracolo dei miracoli, i’ve somehow managed to completely stop smoking without the top of my head exploding or destroying any valuable works of art.

but for sure we’ve been fortunate — the weather here has been nothing short of stupendous: hot and sunny, but with plenty of strong sea breezes to provide a perfect beachy balance and with water only more clear than calm. the unexpected absence of houseguests has been yet another added advantage, particularly after months of running what increasingly came to seem like a hotel and/or bar. the solitude, the quiet, the long lazy days and short nights, all serve to leave me feeling about as content as i ever dare hope to.

among the books i’ve read, two deserve special mention:
jan morris’ pax brittanica is everything that a history ought to be and so often isn’t, that is to say, an imaginative journey into the past in which the writer succeeds in bringing to life events which in their detail and combination give meaning and fullness to the experience. i’m mad about morris at this point and expect to be devouring as many of her books as i can lay my hands on.

so too, evelyn waugh’s first novel decline and fall lives up to its hoary reputation as one of the most uproariously funny books ever penned. having read so much waugh, it’s odd that i should’ve missed this one, but it’s a happy discovery. i really cannot think of another book that caused me to laugh outloud so often or so hard. more waugh gimme.
perhaps reading so much and not writing a thing, it’s only natural that my sleep should be roiled by strange, strong dreams. not really nightmares, but rather extraordinarily vivid and long-lasting narratives that painfully push and prod at the very edges of my psyche. this morning i awoke with a sudden start at dawn, my head swirling with the image of a slim blonde punk boy with chains tightly wound round his naked body and the sound of his voice saying in an appropriately dreamlike and dead nasal way ‘man, this stuff it really hurts, but it hurts so fucking good.’

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