A handful of old pieces and places I have revisited of late:
1. For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffrey. Paul Bommer illustrates all 89 lines of Christopher Smart’s 18th c. eulogy, and there are few things more delightful.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incompleat without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
2. The Love Competition. Seven contestants have five minutes in Stanford’s fMRI brain scanner to love someone “as hard as they can.”
3. In the long languish between Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light (the wiki page now reads, “The third installment to the trilogy … will be published.” Well, good. Great. Thanks.), I’ve just been reading every other Mantel piece I can get my hands on. Her LRB diary Meeting the Devil is exhilaratingly effortless reading.
I wonder, though, if there is a little saint you can apply to, if you’re a person with holes in them? I can hardly expect the Trinity to care about my perforations, and I see the value of intercession by some lesser breed. Sebastian, shot full of arrows? It seems like overkill. There is a term for what is happening to St Teresa in Bernini’s sculpture; it is ‘transverberation’. But she was pierced suddenly by the fiery lance of God’s love, whereas I was pierced by prearrangement, in a hospital just off the M25.