I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations, responses, apologies, and - more recentlyly - learning to sing. I hold posts to 300 words* finding less is better than more. I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Q and A

Can you interview yourself? Answer honestly?

RR2: Your tee-shirt sports a quote from a Mozart duet. Showing off? RR1: I suppose so. I've sung the duet and I'd like the world to know.

RR2: It's in German. RR1: Yeah, my German isn't good enough to justify that. The duet's in German.

RR2: The sentiments of the quote (Trans: Husband and wife, together, reach for divinity.) - aren't they grandiose? RR1: I've been undeservedly lucky in marriage.

RR2: Undeservedly? RR1: I wasn't much cop during the early decades, now I’m up to mediocre. After I'd printed the tee-shirt I saw the quote as a tribute to VR. But only afterwards.

RR2: You're 82, are you preoccupied with death? RR1: The thought's never distant but's it's the dying that grips me. Might there be a kernel of consciousness in dementia? I had breathing problems when young and that would be a lousy - no, terrifying - way to go. But I'm curious.

RR2: Do you consider yourself handsome? RR1: In a tall, gaunt, wearied form, yes. But only others’ opinion matters.

RR2: Clever? RR1: Not in any worthwhile way. But I can hide this defect behind well-chosen prose.

RR2: Competitive? RR1: As a working journalist, yes. I needed to be. In all other senses I'm a wimp.

RR2: Ashamed? RR1: I pretended I was a rock-climber but I lacked the moxie. I overdo blogging banter and hurt people. I talk too much, straining for effect.

RR2: You boast about reading Proust and Joyce. RR1: Why the Hell not?

RR2: Some of your opinions seem prejudiced. RR1: I could defend this given another thousand words.

RR2: Are all the above answers truthful? RR1: They include qualifications, the first step towards lying.


  1. From one wimp to another, why the hell not! You make perfectly sense.

    The thing about Joyce: short stories, Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist... or the beastly ones?

    I read most of Joyce, got lost in Ulysses (but that's not a problem, because Dublin is full of clues and quotes and not only on Bloomsday) and utterly so in Finnegan's Wake and have yet to meet someone who could explain the latter to me in three short paragraphs

    - but I have read every single novel and all the short stories by Joyce Carol Oates.

  2. Sabine: Yeah, yeah. But you're an established intellectual and - slily - you've chosen the easy questions.

    Let's hear you on one of the more testing probes. Do you consider yourself pretty? If not, have you ever been pretty? Sure, you feel the need to gip facing this question (Whether the answer's yes or no!), suspecting all the world will recognise if you fib. Strange how painful honesty can be.

    No marks for enjoying Dubliners or Portrait - Ca va sans dire, mon petit chou. Obligatory, in fact. And most people (ie, me for one) can defend ignoring Finnegan, provided they've read the big U. So don't try moving the goalposts with JCO. I know your game.

    1. Pretty? Seriously?

      I am a 60 year old feminist, I don't need pretty. That's not a term I use in connection with people. Things may be pretty, and possibly flower arrangements.

    2. Sabine: Yep, I understand (and sympathise with) all that. And it is of course entirely acceptable as an answer.

      But the point about this Q and A (directed at and answered by me) is that the questions were intentionally as difficult (even as unpleasant) as I could make them. Thus if you, as a feminist, had engaged in your own self-examination and had set questions you regarded as difficult and/or unpleasant (so much so that they made you gip) you might well have used "pretty".

      Perhaps the aims of this post were too serious for a casual blog. What I wanted to know - of myself - was whether I could achieve sufficient self-detachment to operate on both sides of my consciousness. The hardest question I faced was what was I ashamed of? The responses I provided were all as true as I could make them and I can't pretend I was anything other than uncomfortable about revealing them.

      The post may have been useful in one sense. Scribblers like me should leave psychotherapy to the professionals. Next up - the difference between the vocative and the imperative.

  3. I enjoyed this Q & A. But it seems to me that RR2 has it in for RR1 or, if not altogether hostile, has already made up his mind about him. His questions are somewhat loaded aren't they? Shouldn't good interviewers really want to know something they didn't know about their interviewee?

  4. Natalie: As implied by the initials, RR2 and RR1 are different parts of the same person. Who else is better equipped than I am to belabour myself with difficult questions? Fairness was never part of the game. Nor was the need to know since I would - ineluctably - know all the answers.

    To be entirely logical the difficult questions should have been followed up by even more difficult questions based on the answers given. And so on.

    This was not a futile exercise. None of us is ever honest about ourself. Not even close. And there's a good reason - honesty is a subjective quality and truth (a very slippery beast) would require the resolution of an infinite number of contradictions. You see how wise I was to limit myself to 300 words per post

  5. Robbie, Ithought I was being perceptive in a lighthearted way. I wasn't lecturing you but obviously that's how it came across. Oops again, sorry! Of course I knew that 1 and 2 were both you. I was giving my impression of the way RR2's questions sounded, as if you and your Doppelganger were in a play.