Thursday, 11 May 2017

Church bells and kidney stones.

I've just set myself up for a fall. On this little afternoon with its thin light and the suggestion of approaching spring, I read yet again Camus' devastating little story "L'Envers et l'Endroit", the title that he gave also to the collection in which the story appears. I've never read anything so shocking, tender, depressing, sweet and uplifting in all my reading days. It makes me want to lie on my bed smoking a cigarette (even though I don’t smoke) and contemplate life with all its vague deceptions and uncertainties; to watch it through a net curtain on the surface of which the soft, shy sun throws down the shadows of a tree whose heavily-leaved branches sway gently but hypnotically in the heatless, sunny quietness. Through the open window the strains of a Church bell announce a death; from the flat below a howl and a squeal announce a birth and I'm caught in the middle. As dear Albert asks, "One man thinks, another hollows out a grave for himself: what's the difference between the two?" Surely we all need to be both, this side and that, but I'm no good with my hands. And what about the university graduate with the bitter soul who served me up this coffee that's now gone cold? Where does he fit in? But now that I’m able to read again maybe my recent depression is beginning to lift after an unreasonable length of time. Maybe I expelled it along with that kidney stone. On the other hand I might descend into the depths and ponder hollowing out a grave for my bones.

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