Pablo Neruda and White Wine Spritzers

So after the very serious and thought-provoking blog post of two days ago, I’m back to my usual trick of attempting to write *something* on *anything* in front of ‘Friends’. I am hung-over and sleep-deprived though, so that’s… kind of an excuse.

New things, new things, what new things have I been doing. Well, here goes:

1) Pablo Neruda

I got a gift of a book of Neruda’s poems for Christmas, which I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I finally sat down and read it on Tuesday. Despite having given my brother a volume of Neruda’s poetry for Christmas a couple of years ago, I’d never read his stuff. So, it was good to sit down and dip in.

However. However. It turns out I have very little patience for poetry . This seems odd. I used to perform it for teenagers. I once spent my entire summer analysing every single one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Not school. Just for funsies (I’m serious. I still have the notebooks. I was hoping I’d be able to tell some snooty journalist about it one day when I was being interviewed for starring in ‘Scary Movie XIV’ or the movie version of Charlie Sheen’s life or something). Maybe it was just the circumstances surrounding the poetry. Or, maybe my attention-span has been so destroyed by tabbed browsing and social meda that I can’t focus on anything longer than 140 characters. Either way, if I saw one of Neruda’s poems went over two pages (and we’re talking A5 pages here people, not something outrageous like A1 or something) I was all, ‘aw, man, I have to turn the page? I have to remember what he said on the page before and then relate it to what he said on the next page? Aw, man, that sux. Jeeze. How am I even supposed to do that? Like, I don’t have superhuman intelligence.’ And, if his lines of poetry were more than about 5 or 6 words long, I was like, ‘Aw, man, Neruda, if I’d wanted to read a novel, I would have picked up a novel.’

And, apparently I want to be a writer.

This is not really the best advertisement for myself as an intelligent and cultured human being. And I do realise that Neruda is somewhat of a heavyweight in the poetry world. I think, in the end, I was trying so hard to just ‘get something new done’ that I didn’t actually take the time to experience it. I was much more interested in reading as many poems/words as possible than I was in trying to actually understand them or take them in.

In spite of myself, Neruda managed to attract my attention, mainly with the poem The United Fruit Company, which is funny, concise, political and cutting. Its also not a love poem and that very much appealed to me in my current mood. In fact, some of Neruda’s love poems set me bristling, which was quite interesting. I was pretty unreasonably incensed by these lines:

Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs,
you look like a world, lying in surrender.
My rough peasant’s body digs in you

But, like, seriously, Neruda? Can you get more cliched? The perfect, delicate, white woman and the rough man? Who are these alabaster women that pop up incessantly in love poetry? Is Neruda been screwing a store mannequin? I’ll tell you a secret. One of my favourite love letters of all time is the one James Joyce wrote to his wife about how much he loved anal sex with her. And that might sound like I’m contradicting myself, but well, actually, the REASON he loves it so much is because he loves the farts she makes during it. Now, I think loving someone so much that you will even write long odes to their farts (read them, they’re amazing) really is the marker of true passion. Who are these fake, marble women Neruda likes so much? Would he like them if they made white, alabaster farts? (In all fairness to Neruda, I was reading his poetry fairly superficially and I may have missed a deeper point. That said, his imagery made me fail to want to see a deeper point. So, you know, maybe we are both at fault).

And one more thing before I move on. These are the things that I have fallen in love with about men I have been with: the slightly excess layer of fat one boy had over his belly; the black snail trail another had; the tiny blackheads one guy had on his chin; the sausage-like fingers on one man’s hands; the sandy BeeGees hair and beard sported by another boy. And, ok, yes Neruda doesn’t describe himself as perfect, but my point is, attraction doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason and it doesn’t necessarily look like it does in the magazines and advertisements. Write about why you love her for reals, Neruda, rather than those bloody alabaster thighs.

2) White Wine Spritzer

I’ve had a pretty heavy alcohol month, starting with Brighton, moving on to my b’day, then on to the American theatre conference and now catching up with everyone in the sunshine-y sunnyness of London. In fact, I realised that I was beginning to count ‘alcohol-free days’ as days when I only had one drink (as opposed to nights when I woke up the next day with a hang over). I do hope my father isn’t reading, because I think he thinks I’m a very sensible, responsible young lady who always cleans her teeth, goes to bed at a reasonable hour and wears sunscreen even on cloudy days. But, its not true. I think I’m actually possibly teetering on the edge of a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Now, I know that it’s probably not too bad- I have spoken to friends who are alcoholics, or who have alcoholics in their families and they all say I have a different relationship to alcohol then alcoholics do. However, one did say I probably needed ‘retraining’ around alcohol, which I think is fair enough, really.

So, last night I attempted that. English people seem to be very into destroying their wine and beer. They’re all into shandys and tops (most beer with just a squirt of lemonade) and spritzers, or wine with lemonade, or wine with ice. My natural instinct when someone orders one of these things is to be like, ‘IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE TASTE OF IT, WHY DON’T YOU DRINK SOMETHING ELSE AND STOP WASTING PERFECTLY GOOD ALCOHOL JUST TO PRETEND YOU ARE AN ADULT PERSON WITH SOPHISTICATED TASTES WHEN CLEARLY YOU ARE JUST A 16 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO WOULD PREFER TO BE DRINKING BACARDI BREEZERS OR SOME SUCH.’ But, being an excellent waitress and customer service representative, I don’t do this.

Anyway, you can tell by my attitude that a white wine spritzer was not something I had ever really tried before. Nor was it, to be fair, something I had ever really wanted to try. But, I thought, for the benefit of my health (and my bank balance) I would give it a go.

On the taste front it was pretty lack-lustre. The soda water (oddly enough) completely watered down the wine, making it almost impossible to pick out the different tastes, which is (at least at the start of the night, with a good bottle of wine) a great pleasure of mine. However, the buzz I got off the wine was still fairly decent. Without being too much or too slurry. Though, perhaps it was just because I hadn’t eaten dinner.

So, my low-alcohol night didn’t seem to be doing too badly. Until my friends went, ‘really? You want another spritzer? I was just going to get a bottle’. And I went, yeah, ok, that makes sense. And then I thought, oh, well, I’ll just have an early one at least. I mean, I do have to go to work at 7am tomorrow. But, then one of the girls we were hanging out with said, ‘oh, and we might go hang out with Judah Friedlander later this evening.’ And then it was all downhill from there. Not because Judah Friedlander is an enabler, but because I just kept drinking until we met Judah Friedlander. Which means I probably made an excellent impression on him, because I always make an excellent impression on people after a bottle of wine and a vodka shot. In fact, I think you’ll find most deportment books and networking classes state this is the only possible way to win friends and influence people.

So, anyway. Though I didn’t quite achieve it last night, a reduction in my alcohol intake is on the cards. I’ve seen a lot of friends recently who have given up drinking, or given up drinking for a month, or given up drinking quite so much, and they all seem very healthy with glowy, happy skin and I think I’d like to get in on that action. I’d also like to get into a routine of writing 1 – 2 hours a day and the thing about big nights is that you don’t just lost the night you’re drinking on, you lose pretty much all the rest day too. So, yeah. This is my new resolve. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck…..




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