Mercury rising, fever dreams and a book found within a book

I’m finally very nearly better after being very sick for the past week.

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In a strange way, I don’t usually mind being under the weather, because it gives me a chance to stay inside, take extra care of my self and take longer naps than usual.  Last week though, I was bedridden for three days with achy muscles and a bone deep fever.  I not only retreated from the world, but whoever is the me that I know retreated from my Self and, temporarily, I was in that very strange shape-shifting space.

When I’m ill, I become ever so slightly hypochondriacal and watch my developing symptoms like a hawk. I like a good old fashioned analogue glass & mercury thermometer, me.   The only ones available these days seem to be digital ones, but I bought an old school NUS (never used stock) one from an antiques centre recently.

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Everything familiar looked slightly surreal.

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I spent a couple of days in a fugue state of fevered dreams about fractions that didn’t quite work out and strange faces with sharp teeth..

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Fortunately, Steve was at home all week, recuperating from the same illness, which I had nursed him through last weekend.  Our cordless phone works very well as an intercom system and he kept me well supplied with food and liquids and assurances that I will soon feel better.

When I’m sick, I default to some of the foods from my childhood periods of illness.  Then, it was 7-Up, Saltines, chicken soup and Jell-o.  The English versions are lemonade, Jacob’s Cream Crackers and jelly, served on a bed tray.

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By then end of the week, I was able to sit up and read.  It’s Fine By Me is a beautiful and disquieting coming-of-age story by Norwegian writer Per Petterson.  A rare sort of book that leaves me in utter silence after I have read the final sentence.  A silence which tolls in a new space inside of me that has opened up in the reading of the story.

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Interestingly, the protagonist Audan who loves to read, mentions a book by Paal-Helge Haugen, Norwegian lyricist, novelist, dramatist and children’s writer,  called Anne which is like ‘nothing else  .  .  .  .  .  Anne is lying there, in the book, seeing herself and the world through a haze of fever, and I can’t get her out of my head.  .  .  .  .  .  ‘

When I felt well enough to get back online, I looked this book up.  It appears to be out of print and has probably not been translated into English.  I found a journal, Asymptote which has a few passages from the book and a note from the translator:

“Anne is a long poem, or a bullet-pointed novel, as author Paal-Helge Haugen calls it. He writes in his “Note to Self” (in the final pages of Anne) that the book should be constructed collaboratively by its author and its readers. He goes on to explain that he has termed Anne a bullet-pointed novel because it is made up of poetic sections and sections of found text; Anne is not meant to be either cohesive or complete.”

67

The moon has large spots of fungus and mold
Heat heat throw me into the sea Write Thy name
Jesus on my heart under mold and stone mold
and stone
Long dorms with wind-swept children
Metal-wind            Smell of animals
The sand scatters under my skin
Judas pierces the living with needles
Blind kittens looking for udders for big
troughs of cascading rain
Fire-tongues
in the mirror Tight shoals of bayonets through my eyes

67

Månen har store flekkar av sopp og mugg
Hete hete kaste seg i havet            Skriv dig
Jesus paa mit hjerte      under mold og stein mold
og stein
Lange sovesaler med sveipte barn
Metallvind            Lukt av dyr
Sanden drys under huda            Hege naken i skogen
                                                Hender munnar
Judas stikk nåler gjennom levande
Blinde kattungar leitar etter spenane      etter store
kjer av brusande regn
Eldtunger
i
spegelen            Tette stimar av bajonettar gjennom auga

By the week’s end, I was still mostly bedbound, but bored. Yesterday I sat up in bed and played ‘target practice’ with my snot rags.

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Now that I’m pretty much up and about, I’m anxious to get up and out and on to perfecting my reversing around corner skills.

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