Well, I got the writing assignment yesterday, and it made me feel like a little kid raising her arm as far as she could, jiggling and yelling "pick me! Pick me! I know the answer! Teacher! Pick me!" which is annoying, but probably the right way to be feeling. I'm half done. The instruction was to spend no more than two hours on it, which I can do, but not straight - I'm better at editing when I let things sit in my head.
This organisation, whose mandate is anti-c0rrupt!on, and wanting to work for it so very badly, has had me asking myself all sorts of questions about my own life and my own relationship with honesty. I can safely say that at the moment I'm the most honest I've ever been as an adult. I can also see some room for improvement. Thing is, so many lies are accidental or unconscious in the defence of our self-image - just in our own defense, really. those are the worst ones because they're harder to keep track of, and you can walk out of a catastrophic situation without feeling an ounce of accountability but with a sense of dragging sadness, because you'll never be able to feel that that was the right thing to happen . . .
Listen to me. I'm babbling. It's just that at the moment I'm sad for a couple of friends who are having a knock-down drag-out over some silly issue that hardly exists - those unconscious, self-protecting lies have come into play and threatened their old, beautiful friendship. It sucks. It sucks to watch. Anyways.
I did the Martin Amis review. It's not glowing. The book did remind me, though, that I hadn't indulged my taste for the morbid for awhile. And so I'm just finishing reading The Black Death by Johnnes Nohl. Superb. Not the best structure ever built - the bits that are and are not primary sources aren't clearly delineated (but it's mostly primary sources, including absolutely beloved ones like Petrarch and Vasari) but it's fine. Nohl was a psychoanalyst so his digressions usually hold something of interest. And oh, the stories! The stories of how people coped with a third or a half or more of the population dying, the stories about how people dealt with the imminent prospect of their own death! It's simultaneously depressing and uplifting, and gets a good psychological treatment from the author, especially in terms of things like the flagellant movements and the dancing epidemics. Superb, and not just for a morbid fix.