Book of Songs
This piece by Michael Murray brings out many small parts of the Kanteletar, a Finnish collection which follows a saga called the Kalevala, which my book group looked at 16 1/2 years ago, when H was in his little baby car seat near me on the floor. I loved the repetitions of that book.
He shows the pieces so carefully. I am taken into the exact thoughts I have been having about who goes where in a family, who goes into what household, who looks after whom, how does it all work? As time passes why do people change, what is really going on?
Living next to my mother in law since 1999, I have very gradually seen how her ways have become my ways. I did not set out to become like her. I meant to reproduce the best elements of my own family, but as with all things to do with having a family, it all falls by the wayside sooner or later. Silently or loudly and ungracefully.
I now see that the things she does with her son are things I now do with my sons. I am getting scared of my own self. Where am I? Does my own family background exist at all? What was that place I came from with our sense of humour and familiar way of talking with each other? How is it that I have been so unable to recreate what I came from?
The past is another country and all that. I insist on my pronunciation of words and on the allocation of coat pegs to different people. My kingdom is deciding the location of the bleach and the knives and forks. I can't tell whether I am some little mouse or a terrible fiend who must be skirted round with crossed fingers. A bit of both? A calm adult would be the ideal.
Map on my table cloth
I spent some time choosing items to represent my parents, brother, myself and this family here in the house. After a bit I tried removing different individuals to see what would happen, putting them back each time. I chose some new people to join the group, that was an eye opener. Why did this person stand there as a white candle on a metal base and that person turn up as a bb pellet cartridge? Another emerged as an empty sweet wrapper! There were even 2 striped candy canes who attached themselves to one person. Hmm.
After that I wrote some poetry lines, not surprising after the imaginative adventure I had had during munch, I mena lunch, ...mean lunch. Typos!
H and I talked about the umlaut today, then had a go at chatting in Arabic. Hit me with your best sentence he said. al qahira, hiya madinat fil misr. Cairo is a city in Egypt. Then I went on to I live in xyz, you live in the house, she lives in the small house and we are in the house. Verbs, and in the imperfect tense. Ahlan foxed him, it's hallo, but the engine noise put him off. Ahlan wa sahlan, more hallos, got lost as we went round a bend.
He knows al qahira and al qahida, so I am proud of him. I have repeated endlessly that every single Arabic word in English is incorrectly pronounced. And he has repeated back to me that it's the same for every language, which took the wind out of my sails, but is right of course. I am a tree trunk for him to strop his reason upon.
New Year's Resolution
To not interrupt. It means looking carefully at the person for a long time until they have completed their thoughts. It works.
My other one is to write clearly and concisely. I haven't started yet.