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Today I

1. Have done many little things adding up to far too much, in order to get some semblance of order back into the house. Lots of rests in between activity can only get me so far, am starting to pay the price.

2. Realised I am going to have to get the aircon guy back to do something about the fan into my room - it's too noisy. From an unrelated call from the electrician that did the solar, apparently it's because the fan is sitting on the ceiling instead of being suspended from the roof and he was planning to have a word with the aircon guy himself.

3. Have pondered my love of a tidy and ordered home, and my resistance to the concept for so many years.

4. Am thinking about In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

I'm trying to come at this fresh, so while I've probably read the Wikipedia article, it's only there for other people atm, I haven't looked at it lately. This book is the study of an horrific mass murder and it has convinced me already that Capote was a great writer. I'm only up to page 60. Unfortunately, he's such a good writer and the topic is so horrible that I'm not sure I'll be able to keep reading.

What is compelling is that thus far, most of the book is just about the lives of people who will be victims, yet unlike many other stories about crime (and its victims), they are really well described people. Even though I know, roughly, what happens, and I know I should not get attached, they are described in such a way that I want to know more about them, but most definitely NOT as murder victims, just as a bunch of nice enough, not perfect but likeable, folk of a particular time and place.

To jump to an apparently completely different writer: vassilissa recently described Vikram Seth's style as having generosity without mercy, a term I really liked. Warmth, regard and honesty. I think Capote also has these qualities: they're a bunch of folk with lives ahead of them, with all its ups and downs, highs and lows. They are very, very real. All with foibles, strong points and weak points - I haven't been able to help but feel attached. To wish so much that these stories would continue, to catch myself forgetting what happens next and wondering instead what might happen...rather like (to get back to Vikram Seth) what happens in "A Suitable Boy". But Capote isn't Seth and this is a very different story.

Capote has written something that is largely non-fiction, and intended to be read as such. But the vast majority of slice-of-life journalism completely fails in being anything other than profoundly subjective. I understand his work has been a huge inspiration, but I can also see he is still superior to those journalists who have been inspired by him.

The two men who will soon be murderers are now appearing more frequently in the book, and while they are on a completely different trajectory from the people we have met so far(the killers did not know their victims, there appears to have been no connection), they are also being presented in the same way. Thus what they will soon be doing will be even more alarming to read about than if they were painted in a less human way.

(I am so very glad that Vikram Seth, unlike Capote, has chosen to write stories that are not horrific in their subject matter).

5. Have named a box as "the box for things awaiting repair that aren't clothes". I like the title, it's the miscellaneous of the new century.

I hope it's still okay to call it the new century.


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