Monday, December 03, 2012

roosting ennui brewing


You may think that you have seen this picture before, because I posted one very similar last year. Similar starlings if not the same ones were settling down to roost in the same tree in The Grove this Autumn as last Autumn, but I am  not ashamed of repetition.  The seasons don't apologise for it. Meanwhile perhaps differences matter more than we are prepared to admit.

Ennui is my favourite French word. It sums up an almost sensual abandonment of purpose, an idleness which is at the same time irritating and  melancholic. A world-weariness which embraces tedium, a tedium  which lulls the frenzy of getting and spending. An annoyance which manages both to  grate the senses and to soothe them.  It impossible to find an English equivalent which matches it for internal music or layered meaning. Poets like Baudelaire and Mallarmé liked it it because it evoked  the sad, disentegrating world of sensuality and despair in which they lived. The first line of Mallarmé's poem Brise Marine sums it up..." La chair est triste, hélas! and j'ai lu tous les livres!". The flesh is sad, alas and I've read all the books." A sort of self-mockery and ironic wit buried there I always think. I find its musical equivalent in the Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes of Eric Satie

More stories for my other blog One Fine Day are brewing. One is nearly finished and will be posted soon. Writing them is not the problem. The challenge is working them out in the early hours of the morning or last thing before going to sleep,  both curiously creative times of day. And then remembering what I have, to much asleep to write then down, recited to myself.

2 comments:

Roderick Robinson said...

Ennui has other more humble meanings, as with many, many French words. Perhaps to compensate for the fact that the French make do with far fewer words than we do. Soon after we moved into the Drefféac house, we discovered a leak in the toilet. Not knowing anyone I went to the mairie to ask for guidance and heard the receptionist make this delicious phone call (literally translated, just for fun): "Ah M. Chauvel, there is this English gentleman who has some boredoms with his toilet."

Short story. I may well have shot my bolt. Recently I wrote one in which two people in the spying business are involved in an interview. The giveaway is the title which is built up from fencing jargon. I aimed to be enigmatic and succeeded rather too well. I tried it out on my brother and he admitted himself baffled. I have loaded it on to my tablet and will attempt to disentangle it between Newport/Paddington and Paddington/Newport on Wednesday. Otherwise I think I shall drop this diversion.

Joe Hyam said...

Strange to say I have a story nearly finished which touches on spying. While I am being baffled by yours you can be baffled my mine. See you at The Retreat.