are the rule rather than the exception. Frequently, I got confused. In a
closing discussion of the
Hood gives column heights
and widths in units of Florentine
but leaves me muddled on
front column spacing and side column spacing. All it
needed was a modest diagram measured in braccia, and a
handy glossary of terms like
'giornata' [amount of fresco painted in one day],
'intonaco' [fine-plaster finish],
'sinopia' [pre-fresco sketching with red-earth lines].
But, still, a book that discusses 15th-century Florence
and Fra Angelico in such loving detail, showing so many of
his frescoes, can only be good.
An intense sensation, almost like a flavour, hit me at times - as if
I could reach out and touch the bright Italian morning where mediaeval
suddenly meets modern, where belief overlaps with thought. That
the [to us] forward-looking, progressive art of Fra Angelico was part of
an antiquarian, backward-looking movement - the Dominican Observance -
came as a typical surprise. The very idea of a nostalgic,
back-to-basics faction in the 1440s trying to restore the lost
purity of the 1220s gave me a strange thrill of historical vertigo. As
that character in
says, art-history is as near as we get to worship these days.
office by downpour, so leggy Wilma cooks us an Italian meal. Then I
catch the train to Robin's.
Scott, Christie &
Cafe + teahouse.
at a bar where lots of Americans were registering to vote, including
John, Rita & bouncy
People actually discussing politics.
(or rotational symmetry?) from Bob too.
A page of
tilings. Scroll down.
Get up at 4am for long day of filming in
impressively sharp and focussed on details. Met Christie from Switzerland.
We all finish in
rather swish bar at midnight with Sam's
swaps trader cousin
Costume fitting in
tomorrow. Kind costume-designer Sosa drives us back into town.
I might have those 20
never get to heaven if you're scared of getting high.
Swam with Lilla, met
& Ilan. Ate
sunshine. Story meeting at hotel.
I float in
Swam a 1/2 mile. Unseen by
bikini girls glistening uptop, a ring of
knelt on the blue-tiled pool bottom, hissing bubbles like big black frogs.
Spent sleeping off
Thursday night revelry.
monks ate a lot.
Tom & I talk sales over
omlette brunch, then
of country names, via
Having learned that I am now an
another woman friend repeatedly describes me as
I think I see a pattern taking shape here, citizens.
mile. Met Terri, but Parisa away.
house-price article research.
Jessica, back from
laughs over a white-wine
that I've become an asshole. Praise indeed.
Finished Robin's old friend's
ochre-coloured copy of
by Idries Shah
about the elusive mystics and their work in progress. This old paperback fell apart
page by page as I read it, just like a book about Sufism should. Delicate glueing
Few books can boast glowing reviews from both
Stevie Smith and
Ted Hughes on the back
cover, and an introduction by
(I'm still recovering from the blunder
of actually reading
White Goddess' all the way through in 2000)
too much fun to be true?
Anyway, Shah's main story is that
are not an ism and not a sect of Islam,
but a group who
have worked within many religions, avoid fixed descriptions and rigid methods, set up
schools which are meant to dissolve and pass away once their teaching diffuses into the
surrounding culture, and seek to develop all of us in selflessly loving God and freeing
ourselves from spiritual illusions. The role of the true teacher is so important, that
go to great lengths to disguise their work from doctrinally-rigid believers of
orthodox religions, so that they can continue their work and so that false teachers,
fossilised dogma, & unprepared students can be kept at a distance.
Hence the riddles. Pretty much everything
about a range of mystical beliefs and mysteries over the last two thousand years can be
explained by attending to interlocking groups of words in Arabic losing their double
meaning once translated into Western languages. So
(we got measured
music from Arabic Spain? Interesting.),
in caps and bells, the apparently not-so-Jewish
er, Morris dancing,
Italian secret societies, the
pack, the good old
of course, and lots of other
unsolved puzzles boil down to deteriorated and misunderstood Sufi traditions.
Cor. The similarity of
Zen koans to the Sufi
stories suggest a link - yes even
Hindu yoga &
Buddhism are part of the project...
An edition with Arabic lettering in the riddle bits would motivate me to get back
I wonder how that chain-smoking Sufi in the blue suit I met back at
is these days?
Visit Sam's flat with Scott, Rita,
to see editing of
Seress film in progress.
evening with Lilla, Moni & Gyuri starts with a board game
and in stages becomes impressively disorderly.
A couple of weeks now since I ran into
friend Adrienn on the 47 tram. Chatted
for the 7 or 8 stops our journeys overlapped. I'd never really noticed before
just how haunting & piercing her grey/blue eyes are.
A couple of days ago Mariann & I went to the cake shop
5 minutes before opening time and found the open door blocked by a menacing
6-foot cardboard cut-out of an ice-cream cone. Somehow its big triangle resembled a
delta-physique doorman. Mariann got the giggles.
Last night stepped out for a late kebab. A huge butter-coloured
peered down my street.
Brief, lazy swim at
Moni signs me into the
library where she works, and gives me my first
lesson. Eerily, my data is still on the system from almost a decade ago.
Excellent party at Heather's for
birthday. Lots of bubbly law students. Oh, and
human body as a circuit component.
My young student in Erd has formed the singular intention of reading
'Emma' by Jane
Austen, a bold enterprise for which I fear she is poorly prepared. Finding I
could not influence her opinion towards a more amenable challenge, I urged her
to at least read slowly, and to approach her new ambition in measured steps.
Mark Griffith, site administrator /
contact at otherlanguages.org
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