Swanning around


So, you want to be brought up to date? Saw oncologist yesterday, and, as usual, every time I think there is going to be some definite answer about something it all slips through my fingers again. Back to chemo on Monday, yuk. Then a welcome month or so off. Then yet another PET scan (the most inappropriately named of all the tests, with its warm and cuddly connotation) to see what is going on for sure. Then see Oncologist again to decide whether to continue with the present cocktail of fillet of a fenny snake, eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog, adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting; or whether to try adding lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing for greater effectiveness. So another month of uncertainty.

Last week handed over the last of my deadline tasks, the local monthly magazine. Occurred to me as I gleefully handed over the last paperwork to the new editor that this was the first time in some 55 years that I was totally deadline free. We all go through life meeting deadline after deadline – essays due, exams to study for, sports to play, classes to teach, theses to write, publisher’s dates, payments to make, people to meet, events to attend, jobs to apply for, and on and on and on. By the time you reach my advanced years it’s nice to stop, swan around, do things in your own time, or not, as the case may be.

So, no deadlines on this blog, as you may have noticed, inspiration strikes, or not, to its own timetable. Nor in my efforts, once again, to read Proust. No deadlines for him either I think. Sentences have a life of their own, finishing in their own good time, when they are ready. Descriptions of flowers take forever. One small step for most of mankind can take Proust a page to describe. Anyway, I am trying, for once, to stick with it, for reasons much as discussed here. Obviously the man was a genius, and my failure to have read him is a sign of a misspent youth. As is my failure to have read Montaigne. By chance I have been reading both at the same time, and it has struck me, no doubt old news to Proustians, that the two authors are very similar. Both:
“see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower”
And both
“Hold infinity in the palm of [their] hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
(Certainly, in Proust’s case, an “eternity in an hour”!)

But here I am, deadline free. If I finish Proust in 2013, so be it. If not, then not, and Alain de Botton can’t make me, so there. And I’ll keep casually browsing through Montaigne, at my leisure.

But now, must rush. As I said, gotta go and get attached to my lifeline again Monday morning, and before that I must finish some more posts for you before the steroid fog descends once more, and the world seems as impenetrable as the way by Swann’s.

Au revoir.