Sunday, January 31, 2010

~ murine tears

murine - of, pertaining to, or characteristic of, the mouse, rat or (more generally) any mammal of the family Muridae. (Wiktionary).

In the English language, most living creatures [or groups thereof] have a particular adjective which refers to them. Hence murine for mice. Corvine for crows. Caprine or hircine for goats. (Hircine may also mean ‘libidinous; lustful; excessively and overweeningly desirous’). Pavonine for peacocks. Columbine for pigeons. Nestorine for the New Zealandish Kea ... and so on.

At the foot of my file of interesting words (my ‘onomasticon’ to use the appropriate [and sesquipedalian] word) I have a list of these adjectives which I add to as I encounter them. I’ve always had a fairly voracious interest in the English tongue and this is one of the ways it manifests. It’s also a useful tool when writing.

So, imagine my uneasiness when I encountered the following in a Priceline catalogue ...

Might they host tours of their production facility? I would be curious to see weeping mice, to learn what is done to make them cry - and in such numbers and to such an extent as to maintain a successful product on the open market.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

~ pink caligaric jug-eared

No point apologising for the wide intervals between my posts. No point promising to better my frequency, I’ll merely forswear myself. Life is too unpredictable and so am I. When things quieten, such as now, my mind turns to the Sails of Oblivion, but when I am harried by the innumerable demands of my mystifying existence ... it recedes.

I’ve finished my season performing for children as Roald Dahl’s BFG. Hundreds of litres of sweat passed through the fabric of my green giant’s costume. Many kilograms of snozzcumber popcorn spewed from my mouth onto a writhing, over-heated front row. I gave a thousand high fives, and hundreds of photos were taken of children in the presence of my pink, caligaric, jug-eared head. I damaged myself innumerable times attempting to match the energy of a cast which was, on average, less than half my age. Indeed, I went to school with the father of the actress Sophie Perillo, manipulator of an eponymous puppet which accompanied me through much of the show.

Actually, I think I’ve done something permanent to my knees. There’s a painful twinge now when I stand. In both of them. Have my seven weeks of delightful gamboling precipitated arthritis? [Not long ago, I espied an advertisement seeking applicants for a study on arthritis; the only prerequisite was a sore joint on the big toe of the right foot. I have that sore joint. I’ve had it for years. What does it forebode?] I still have a pain in my shoulder from Titus Andronicus. Perhaps I should be taking it easier. After all, I am approaching fifty. But then who cares?

My aim for the coming year is to raise fourteen thousand dollars, simple as that. The amount is a conservative estimate of what my lawyers will ask for representing me before a County Court judge and jury probably in early 2011. In some ways my life is on hold until then. I could be jailed and our house could be confiscated. Or I could come out clean. More likely the result will be something between these two poles.

In the face of this and other no less serious [but far more personal] difficulties, I’ve had to enact some complex mental and spiritual contortions to keep myself from sinking into a debilitating depression. In fact, strangely, I seem to be experiencing a kind of rebound. The year ahead is looking more positive than I would ever have predicted. The fright and horror of my legal problems appear to have splintered my inertia, and instead of running about in panic I seem to be taking what for me are calculated careful steps towards some sort of solution.

I’m coming to the end of Truth by Peter Temple, the crime novel I am narrating for Vision Australia. An invaluable experience. I think I would like to do more of it. I’m sure If I minimise my daily dose of spasmo-nemigron the gravel in my throat will recede to more acceptable levels. Through February, I am planning to at last complete a solid first draft of Ambergris, a play I’ve mentioned before in this blog. I have high hopes for it, which I believe are grounded in reason. I also have a slew of short fiction - speculative, mainstream and weird - which I’m going to polish up and spruik.

If you’re interested, I’ll be performing something at La Mama Poetica on February 8. [My name's not listed, but I'll definitely be there. There's also a Facebook group]]

In a book by the SF writer Charles Stross, I encountered the phrase ‘The troops entered wearing cream and beige office camouflage...’.

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