Thursday, 26 April 2012

By The Skin Of My Teeth

La la la la...I am now in JB - drove back from Fraser's to KL and then from KL to was basically a day of driving...lots happened in Fraser's...mainly I took a lot of naps, wrote a lot of letters, went for long walks (OK, not so long, at least not as long as the last time I came here), made a new friend (the Smokehouse manager). Listened to my Libera CDs on the way there, on the way back.

Before Fraser's I was on a two-day silent retreat. It was only silent in snatches as Malaysians seem to think it unsocial to keep quiet in the presence of strangers, even if you have been instructed to. So tea-time, lunchtime, in fact any break - was cacophonous. Kenneth later told me that the eight-day silent retreat really is silent. Must try and make one of those. I bet I could be quiet for the duration.

As there was not much silence during the retreat, I took off to Fraser's. I thought, OK, I don't know anyone will be silent...but no. The manager turned out to be a kindred spirit and we talked up a storm. I brought all these books of poetry and one of poetic prose...and I read bits and pieces from each....I climbed into my large four-poster, bed-curtained bed and took many naps. It rained and I huddled deliciously beneath the blankets. I turned on the fake fire which gave light but no warmth (though the light was comforting in itself). I had a glass of sherry as a nightcap and read Joseph Chiari's poems and on the second day, Barbara Pym's early novels. (yum!) One of her books was on the shelf there, near my room...seems guests come and go and leave books. My room had been occupied by an American novelist who wrote steadily every morning and stayed there for 10 days. He made up legends about the fancy suites, but sadly, they do not survive.

I switched off my phone over there and when I turned it back on, there was the usual hysterical drama (you could have been murdered and we would not have known!) which I reacted with my usual aplomb (losing my temper).

I am sure there is more to say, but it's late and I'm tired and there is much to digest and process.

1 comment:

  1. A silent retreat, what a wonderful idea. There is a monastery several hundred miles from here where the monks rarely speak to each other (a Cistercian Order, I believe) and amazingly, they have a small hermitage available. If only I could slip away for a week...

    I hope you still had some good navel-gazing time in the midst of your not-so-silent retreat.