October 30, 2017

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid (The Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday. I pray this line at the beginning of every service of Holy Communion. Sometimes, to my shame, I say it too familiarly; at other times, fearfully (He sees the wrongs that I’ve concealed); but on these last few Sundays, I’ve taken hold on the text firmly, and with a clean heart. Or, rather, it has taken hold on me. How wonderfully consoling to be so completely naked and transparent before someone who cares deeply, unconditionally, and meticulously about your feelings, wants, and needs; someone who has the power to intervene and change anything that’s missing from, or out of kilter in, your life. This is God the good parent raised to the power of infinity.

Sky blue, temperate air, badly-fitting trainers: a run, nevertheless. I’ve an established path from my house, onto Llanbadarn Road, through the churchyard, taking the return road on the opposite side of the village, passed the Sports Centre, parallel to and then through the Municipal Cemetery (I always walk through it; to run seems disrespectful), back along Llanbadarn Road, and home again. Everything looked the same as it did last week; but everything felt entirely different. Today, I ran with the ‘wind’ behind me and the ‘sunlight’ before me.

Today. 7.00 am: New dawn; renewed optimism:

8.00 am: A communion. 9.00 am: Bibs and bobs of residual admin hanging over from last week needed to be squelched. I’m still on catch-up, and have a sore throat and cough developing, likely or not caught on the train back from Shrewsbury. (There ought to be ‘viral zones’, like ‘quiet zones’, on trains, in which to corral the sick and infectious.) More little Post-its under my screen. (Sounds like a line from a Max Bygraves ditty.)

10.15 am: I edged back to Saturday’s project: the completion of the script and PowerPoint for Wednesday’s talk at the National Library of Wales:

A public audience is an entirely different animal to an assembly at an academic conference. In writing a text for the former, I moderate the use of specialised words (or else take time to explain them). The density of the text is also mitigated. This isn’t a matter of dumbing-down the content; rather, ideas are given more space and explanation, and complications are unpacked and parcelled out in smaller and more immediately comprehensible pieces. My ambition is to communicate (to make intelligible) clearly a composition that’s demanding to hear and difficult to assimilate. Once a work goes public, its effect upon the listener is beyond my control. Some audients will deplore it, others will remain indifferent, and yet others will receive it enthusiastically. Very rarely, the work may act powerfully upon a person, and in ways that I’d not envisaged. (In such cases, I hazard, the work has been prepared for them, and they for the work, by a power that lies outside of both.)

1.45 pm: Post lunch and a return from town (lozenge laden), I continued with ‘The Sounds of Sinai’. The closing section needed finalising. I wanted end the talk by playing one whole scene – the ninth.

6.30 pm: Solo dinners are fast food. During the evening, I tested the integrity of the PowerPoint’s embedded sound files and rehearsed the time of the piece from beginning to end. Looking good, for now. I’ll do the same again tomorrow morning. 9.30 pm: I bathed in sonorities before bed. A hot water bottle, hot milk, and a scholarly journal were mandatory tonight. Life doesn’t get more anymore exciting than that, does it:


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