Saturday, June 14, 2008

What others were feeling like today #4

More extracts from The Assassin's Cloak - the book that saves me from having to think about how I'm feeling today:


1850

Once again I have taken up my diary, and once again with new fervour and a new purpose. How many times is that? I can't remember. Never mind, perhaps I'll drop it again; but it's a pleasant occupation and it will be pleasant to re-read it, just as it was pleasant to re-read my old ones. There are lots of thoughts in one's head, and some of them seem very remarkable, but when you examine them they turn out to be nonsense; others on the other hand seem sensible - and that's what a diary is needed for. On the basis of one's diary it's very convenient to judge oneself.

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy, in case you haven't heard of him, was a famous Russian author, whose works include 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina'. If you haven't heard of him you need to stay in more.



I like the idea of analysing and judging oneself on the basis of a diary. Wouldn't most of us come up short? I certainly would. I wonder how many bloggers keep a diary and then harvest the best parts of it for their blog entries. It would avoid the tricky habit of completely pouring one's heart out onscreen to anyone who might stumble upon your site and could act as a kind of quality control. So many of the diarists featured in this anthology express thoughts that frequently run through my head and I find it strangely reassuring to note that a man as great as Tolstoy found that many of the thoughts that occurred to him turn out to be nonsense. He is also something of a hero in the field of beard-growth and this picture confirms that I was right to all but get rid of mine yesterday. Grandad could give him a run for his money though.


1962

Went to park. Full of girls who sit up, bending over their male companions who are lying down, receiving their kissings & caressings. It is disgusting to watch. No wonder Billy Graham thought our parks so foul. but I'm sure Hyde is the worst. There is so much riff-raff living near.

Kenneth Williams







Mr. Williams is somehing of a comedy idol to me, but his life is laced with sadness - including an inability to deal with his own homosexuality, which led to proclaim himself celibate, leading to outbursts such as the one above. Yet it is funny, albeit unintentionally, when he expresses concern for the opinion of Billy Graham, who most likely holds fairly strong anti-homosexual views.



This may, additionally, be the last recorded incidence of anyone using "riff-raff" in a serious way.

1 comment(s):

Blazing said...

If you haven't heard of him you need to stay in more.

Why did that make me chuckle so.