I'm at Oxford this week, thinking about Christianity and swinging away at a novel. I think it's time to change the article from a to the--the novel. Eventually, I may move from article to possessive pronoun--my novel.
Not surprisingly, it has rained every day since I arrived on Sunday. The sun emits a light that casts no shadows so I have trouble knowing what time of day it is. It is always grey o'clock. My cell phone doesn't work and I don't have a watch, so I've been waking up and checking my laptop in the black part of the 24-hour cycle to see how far away the grey part of the cycle is. My laptop also has a broken screen--old damage as well as new damage from poor packing and careless baggage handling--meaning that I really can't see much of what I'm typing.
These are, to use the coinage of a friend, Patrick Cuff, first-world problems. I have clean drinking water and little fear of malaria.
Yet Oxford has revealed something of the potential of eloquence to me (I'm reading Nabokov too, so perhaps Oxford is reinforcing his class, his aristocratic trill). Folks are conversationally witty and they use language joyously, playfully. Their sentences unfold syntactically and sonically like little doves flying to branches (in the rain). The old men's eyes do twinkle. I find myself wanting to say brilliant, glee, delightful, rather, and higgledy piggledy with a little snort and wiggle.