Being amphibious. “Never be unseated by the shying of that undependable brute, life, hag-ridden as she is by my own queer, difficult nervous system… I am writing this partly to test my poor bunch of nerves at the back of my neck – will they hold or give again, as they have done so often – for I’m amphibious still, in bed and out of it: partly to glut my itch (‘glut’ an ‘itch’!) for writing. It is the great solace and scourge.” (Woolf, A Writer’s Diary, 86)
Walking the river, reading Woolf. “Even now I have to watch the rooks beating up against the wind, which is high, and still I say to myself instinctively ‘what’s the phrase for that?’ and try to make more and more vivid the roughness of the air current and the tremor of the rook’s wing slicing as if the air were full of ridges and ripples and roughness. They rise and sink, up and down, as if the exercise rubbed and braced them like swimmers in rough water.” (A Writer’s Diary, 131) Drawn back by a swimmer seen on the bank a month ago. The memory of a tractor ploughing to the North, trailing gulls like a banner from a bi-plane. It’s Septimus, I said, home from the war and content.
This summer I discovered the beautiful Swiss town of Lugano. A real treat to be invited here to run a workshop looking at creative approaches to academic writing for the UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association. The group was set up by postgraduate students from the University of Sussex, University of Leicester, and Cardiff University. This year, their summer school was a truly international get-together, with media students from across Europe, the USA, and China’s Sun Yat-Sen University. Many thanks to Tianyang Zhou for organising things.