Thursday, September 4, 2008
Season of school and frenzied stationery purchases
This year, I was ready for school. Farewell to the pig-squeals ringing through the house as one boy discovers that another boy is infringing personal space/changing the tv channel/dismembering another trashy Star Wars toy, goodbye to the moans of "I'm bored"/'Why can't I watch TV/play on the Wii/use your computer" and hasta la vista to the expensive and sometimes tedious provision of activities to amuse.
I did manage to read over 30 books, some of which (as you can see from the posts in July and August) were amazing, some of which were not. I wrote my first play, which was very satisfying, even if it isn't exactly Shakespeare, and I managed not to write a word of fiction in August, which I think might be a healthy break because now I'm brimming with ideas, although time seems to have vanished, because all I can do is chase my tail this first week of school, a situation exacerbated by the annual scramble to supply Minion 1 with his necessary school supplies... paintbrushes, gouache paint, boxes, exercise books and sports bags, staplers, sellotape and scissors, pencil cases, rucksack and coloured markers - you get the picture.
Meanwhile, I am 'agog and aghast' (as Alice Miles in the Times described it) over the nomination of spooky Sarah Palin to the McCain campaign. She has the gravitas of Basil Fawlty aligned with the religious views of the Christian equivalent of an extremist ayatollah. She seems ruthless in her own self-promotion, and while many a man has sacrificed his family on the altar of his own ambition without picking up much flack, she is hardly a poster-girl for the women's movement - she seems to me to have much in common with Margaret Thatcher in her approach and attitude to her fellow females.
The extent to which the outcome of the Presidential elections are dependent on visceral emotions and personality is absolutely petrifying. A schoolchild can see that McCain and Palin are dangerous, hypocritical and frighteningly incompetent - McCain on record as saying he doesn't understand economics, Palin fingered by her fellow-Alaskans as a financial nincompoop when it came to handling the revenues for a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. And she's a book-banner, a supporter of the aerial shooting of wolves and bears, a creationist who is prepared to push the teaching of creationism as a valid scientific alternative to evolution, and someone who believes that the US presence in Iraq is God's plan, that US troops are God's troops.
I really really hope the Republicans with their vote-stealing machinery and gubernatorial trashing of electoral lists do not nick this election as they've stolen the last two. Obama and Biden seem like savvy operators with some morals and standards. I'm sure they've both played the slimy Washington game as people who are in Washington must, but they do have conviction - without the passionate intensity that identifies both McCain and Palin.
" TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
Yeats seems more prophetic than ever. I wish he weren't.