25 thoughts on “The Flowering Hedgerow – Quentin S. Crisp

  1. A nature diary (?) that starts on Candlemass a few months before ‘Brexit’ and ‘Trump’ became branches upon our lives together…

    2 February 2016

    “They also gave a sense of depth and accumulation—branches upon branches upon branches.”

    Such depth and accumulation that hold arteries within my own mind and body search for a perhaps impossible gestalt…
    Meanwhile, this entry’s initial word-fragrant quest to define a breeze of Spring is certainly a leap of fate for me.
    Bowie had only just died, by the way.
    Paving a way … but whither that way?

  2. 6th February 2016

    I often discover my own ‘cabin in the woods’ in the texts I tease towards an eventual holy holism. Some of these discoveries are quieter than others, but all handled hopefully with humility.

  3. 9.2.16 to 22.2.16

    Charming observations of a personal life’s details as well as of passing natural minutiae. Sigh, I wish I could share in that feeling of “sweet emptiness.” It’s a different world today since February 2016. A new noumenon.

  4. 1.3.16

    An entry on time, its deceptive propeller’s spinning, a nonagenarian on the eve of his death. I just felt the same chill even as a septuagenarian. The loneliness from which we cannot escape, even if we want to do so.

  5. 2.3.16

    “But cancer is part of nature, too. If I had cancer and were dying, why shouldn’t I wander in the landscape of my cancer as if it were the Lake District.”

    You’d need a sidewise District line to get inside your own body, I guess.

  6. 15 & 19 March 2016

    “We take it for granted, as if the world has always been this way.”

    Two evocative examples here – the smell outside, while walking, of new hot cross buns when distanced from houses, and the surprise of retained heat in a switched off domestic heating system.
    Somehow, there are more truths available when disarming oneself of them, I guess.

  7. Up to page 50, end of 1.4.16.

    “So I see God everywhere in such daily things, though some see God nowhere.”

    I see God’s work as He channels Himself through the literature that He chooses for my gestalt real-time reviewing, thus ironically including this very book whereby I now make this confession. I have read a lot more than usual of this book today, as if entranced somehow or hypnotised by overhearing those youths on a train and later meeting Q’s father in Swansea Car Park. I wonder whether he is about my age and whether I am overdue my own stroke? I feel that I know Bee-chan although I have never met her. I have hardly met Q, come to think of it. Although his work – like this book – has a naive but sophisticated meticulousness that calms me down. Changes the configuration of the brain inside the head….

  8. Up to page 59…

    “Eventually something does, some tantalising titbit—just enough to keep me pressing the pedals.
    I realised the internet would ruin yet another day if I allowed it.”

    I hope this review is tantalising titbit enough!
    Meanwhile, I wonder about the nature of the Richmond office that Q visits so lackadaisically in the rain…?
    Today many people seem to work from home via that very internet and its various memory devices, an internet blighted or not!

    “Could I, possibly, be walking by the very edge of the raincloud?”

  9. Up to page 66

    “I wanted, then, to able to relate this small incident to someone, so touched was I by it. But I knew there was barely anyone I could relate it to.”

    …till now? And I am somehow endowed with the concept of the flowering hedgerow vis à vis some co-vivid dream about a 1950s black and white film, except for me, that film would have been in the cinema where I could have seen its first performance! But how can you take off gloves when you are not already wearing them, I ask? The concept of ‘lank’ rain, too. Sharing a church service without having been inducted properly into its communions of believing, co-vivid or not. I only hope, as a mere appreciative reader of this book, I may be a humble answer to the prayer embodied in the quotation above (if prayer is the right low-key enough word for it.) Appreciative, as I am, of this book’s naive but sophisticated synaesthesia of considered, but unsolved, motive and of ‘ordinary’ visions become near epiphanal.

  10. Up to page 76

    I looked up ‘Bursted Wood’ on the internet, and I could only find one reference to it as an actual wood: “quiet and peaceful” (Steve Huntley)

    I think I was getting it muddled up with Macbeth’s Birnam Wood!

    “If we are concerned with eternity, the gateway to eternity is always now, never in the future.”

    That makes a lot of sense to me and seems to fit in later with the Dao De Jing’s “Great vessels are never completed.”

    I, too, feel quiet and peaceful in relation to my ignorance. I am not sure what the Dao is, so it is perhaps just that?

    Meanwhile, I have never seen an elegant-eared dog.

    A brief flowering and fading of this review?

  11. 09BFC3E0-434A-4330-B651-B06423F303309 May 2016

    “….childhood picnics that could surely not have happened in this doomed and wicked world, but which did happen, and which, being impossible, seem also, somehow to defy time.”

    “Sometimes the heat has seemed to me like a kind of fear, like heartbreak,…”

    Time to advertise this review on “Ligotti Online”, or perhaps not – the mention of which in this diary today seems never to have happened, too, its own form of heartbreak. Or a fOWLering heartoak?

  12. Up to page 104

    My own son – a similar age to Q’s – also enjoyed Fighting Fantasy books.
    More quotidian epiphanies regarding Hula Hoops (the confectionery, not the plastic hoops that we twirled around our waists in the fifties and sixties) – and buttercups. And others.
    Not sure any quotidian epiphanies are necessarily enhanced by added mind substances – not that I would know, other than with alcohol!
    Soakings in the Bursted Wood that I think I must now know better than some real woods I’ve visited, and there is diary talk now of a revisit the next day to the residues of such a substance-assisted epiphany.
    I, too, still think my best writing is ahead of me, mainly these gestalt real-time reviews as their own quotidian literary epiphanies! Or maybe not. Hmmm.

  13. Up to page 116

    “I will cease and so will the sickness.”

    A retrospect of the stages of life’s containers, the simple pot or someone else’s kitchen or bathroom in their absence. Bursted Wood somehow seems also to be a container, but its given name seems to hint at a different potentiality of container? I was speculating, too, that this wood is, thanks to this book, due to become more famous than just the sole comment on-line by Steve Huntley that I quoted above. Google will at least pick up my references to it in this review? Still, there are more places to look than merely on-line…
    The “carving of the crow” in this wood — a prophecy of a carving more corvid than covid, I guess.

  14. Up to page 125

    I did some research on “aspen”, as I recall – perhaps wrongly – is suggested here for the reader to do, and I found this 1994 published story: https://nemonymousnight.wordpress.com/804-2/

    I thought about Wimsatt’s Intentional Fallacy (that I first encountered in 1967), following on from thoughts in this diary on blibiomancy.
    “‘Stop making sense,’ David Byrne exhorted us.”
    with a quote I first encountered a few days ago:
    “Someone once said to me, and I suspect it was the Devil, ‘The great writers are those who don’t understand what they write; all the others are worthless.’” — Silvina Ocampo in ‘The Topless Tower.’

    Arguably, there is little sense in devoting a whole diary entry to a mere two lines of neutrally undescriptive words re the sound of opening and closing the lid on a certain jar of honey…

  15. Up to page 135

    In tune with the “bibliomancy” here connected with page 102 of another book leading As You Like It, I was reminded of my own bibliomantic audit trails or cross-references in my gestalt real-time reviews, although I never thought of them as blbliomantic, but I will do so in future! For example, I had reason earlier today to cross-reference Q’s story ZUGZWANG (in Rule Dementia!) to ‘The Liar’s Dictionary’ (here).
    And later in this section of text I needed to look up ‘sehnsucht’ in the context of the smell of new cut grass…
    With Q’s later anecdote of the Bursted Wood fire I found myself reading about it and forgot I was actually reading anything!
    Agree about Ascot Races fashion, now my eyes have been opened about it…

  16. Up to 4 July 2016

    “There are so many things in this world by which to be enchanted and fascinated, and there is, perhaps, only one short life in which to choose among them.”

    And I have today deactivated from Facebook. A momentous decision on my part.
    Earlier in this section of reading this book today, Q ruminates (Q often ruminates, and here he ruminates about the Brexit vote he has just made in the then real-time, that led to M John Harrison’s Brexitania in Sunken Land, but now subsumed by Covidia and uncontrollable, yet seemingly controllable, co-vivid dreams), yes, Q ruminates here also about his life now being arguably halfway through (at his age 48?) but I, at mine of 72, the age of the Midsommar leap, wonder if I can afford the time to read this book, with so many others left unread? And it is possibly a great compliment to this book that I have decided to continue reading it and ruminating upon it here.

  17. 5 July 2016

    This entry started engagingly with mention of Gerard Manley Hopkins, but suddenly, without warning, when Q and Bee-chan were upon a potential epiphany of a train journey, these words were spoken: “Maybe we should split up.” So, I decided to let this book ‘rest’ there. At least for today. Hoping the words were either not intended or, if they were intended, later recanted. Still, a lot of water has already gone under the bridge since 2016 … although it still seems like yesterday to me!

  18. Up to page 155

    “We are moving decisively away from, and not towards, any kind of world I want to live in.”

    Following yesterday’s entry, a sense of anguished wrangling with science, attention spans, technology, transhumanism, etc. some of which I could not understand. Seemed bitter. (I wonder, as an aside, how views of science have changed since Covid?) — Anyway, I was relieved to reach a section about walking in the wood again and here aligned with photography. Some of the latter references I found favourably paralleling my own processes of walking and photography, and indeed my own philosophy behind gestalt real-time reviewing…

  19. Till end…

    I was determined to finish this book today, but the book itself also seemed, needful of my finishing it today, by compelling me onward in its own page-turning way. Page-turning seems to be a good word for this good book. Looking back at the dates, I see this notebook as diary (even though, somewhat disintentionally, overflowing, at least slightly, the original notebook used) broadly covers in 2016 the same period in 2020 where I have been in Covidual lockdown, ending as it does, at the beginning of 2016’s September, with an account of what the author calls a lucid dream, one that I would now call a classic ‘co-vivid dream’ (my term). An intriguing dream featuring Geoffrey of Monmouth. This whole book also makes me want to visit Bursted Wood, along with Steve Huntley, perhaps! Going through these last pages, I note, inter alia, the following things — I loved the hang glider analogy as a form of life’s angst. But then I was relieved by Bee-chan again appearing in the diary’s events (and later, towards the end, I see, Q and Bee-chan had another trip abroad, one featuring Charlemagne). [Not sure of the end of this particular story. Perhaps another QSC diary will tell me. I hope so.] Then, I suddenly read this: “Quite a hot day and I am on the train from Bexley to Waterloo East. I hoovered and mopped the floor earlier, and sweat began to drip from my brow.” I scratched my head figuratively, and then I laughed, suddenly realising Q meant the floor at home not the train’s floor! I agree that sacred values are possible without religion. And there is a detrimental habit of people these days in blurring ‘is’ and ‘ought’. And when Q noticed someone using ‘soul’ in a certain sense during a party’s backchat, I thought what I have often thought before … that talking with someone as sensitive and observant and (sometimes ditheringly) thoughtful as Q must make one feel very self-conscious of what one actually says to him in any sort of conversational context. The concerns of Dutch Elm disease and its cure seem to make an interesting parallel with today’s concerns about a Covid cure or vaccine. The story of the girl being recognised by a house alarm system, leading, inter alia, to “The value of the wild” makes me draw attention to my review of The White Horse Child’ earlier today HERE about ‘rewilding the literary imagination.’ And I wonder if Q has changed his views on ‘science’ and ‘technology’ following the Covid crisis. Is there such a thing as THE science or just the gestalt of different scientists’ views? And whether my conducting my book reviews on the Internet disallows me to say anything against the Internet in particular or technology in general. These are all rhetorical questions. This whole review perhaps is rhetorical!


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