That Feeling

In those moments when nothing else matters, absolutely nothing else. Nothing matters except the moment you’re in, right here, right now. Perfect. Those moments that matter when all else is suspended. That’s the one. That feeling.



The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.

On the Shortness of Life. Seneca(Translator C.D.N. Costa)


In the Summer

In the summer
I stretch out on the shore
And think of you
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you,
It would have left its shores,
Its shells,
Its fish,
And followed me.

Nizar Qabbani
Translation: B. Frangieh And C. Brown



As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)



A year ago, I dreamt this with great clarity. When I woke, I wrote it down.

Julie is nine. She’s English. She has long, straight hair which swings long past her shoulders and is cut with a fringe touching her eyebrows. Under the fringe her large, dark round eyes stand out. Her hair is such a dark brown it’s almost black. Her skin is pale, even paler against the darkness of her hair. Julie has an older sister called Laura. She’s still at school, too. Julie and Laura’s parents are middle-aged now, and still together. They are comfortably married and not about to change that. They all live at number 10. It’s a white house just in the countryside, on the edge of conurbation. There is, however, a busy trunk road between number 10 and another (now deserted) house opposite where a female partridge takes up residence in the yard at night. There’s also a child-minder living and working nearby, a young, dark woman with a very calm demeanor.

Julie is there, but not there. She knows it, her family knows it. But they know it differently – she can see them, but they can’t see her. They can feel her. She wants to get back to them very much and is trying very hard, but can’t. She simply can’t. Her parents lie awake in bed at night and talk about her. She hears them. She watches them. Her sister draws pictures for Julie and puts them up in the stairwell of the family home. Simple drawings, using colored pencils, Julie sees them and draws more on them. She wants her sister to know. She’s trying very hard.

This all begins one evening; Julie hears something while she’s holding a potted flowering plant (she likes pink ‘weathered’ anemones). She’s going to give the plant as a gift. There’s a man, he threatens her. He’s in his late thirties, possibly older, with short black hair and black-framed glasses. He’s very angry. That’s when Julie starts being there, but not there.



In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer
― Albert Camus


I like a lot of…

I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. . . figure out what the guy’s thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.

John Steinbeck ‘Sweet Thursday’


A New Ride

The train for ‘The Benefit of the Doubt’ has reached its destination. We are now at the end of the line. All change. On leaving the train, please make sure to take your common sense with you. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for travelling with us today. Have a safe onward journey to Broad Views.