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On being Agreeably Assaulted.

English Tea

I have been invited round for tea by a writer friend of years. She has just finished her morning's work. There are nice macaroons set alongside the tea. The setting is quintessentially English. I ask her about her work. I listen as she hesitantly discloses. She asks me what I think.

"Can I speak frankly?"

"Of course, of course, fire away do your bull in a china shop worst."

I launch in, "Its just that what you told me just now appears to me to be a kind of melange of facts and fantasies.  

"Well admittedly there is quite a bit of personal anecdote."

"But that doesn't justify a claim to objectivity in the narrative."

"Are you trying to say the narrative is trivial?"

"No, no, just that it is anecdotal and..."

"Mere anecdote, huh?"

"Look, you cannot unambiguously place your characters as discrete points, as entities."

"Why not?"

"Because there is no Archimedean point from which you can judge your characters as discrete entities. You are using language and in using it you must always leave something out. And this discourse in your book, even if isn’t a happy can't just synchronise, disambiguate everything to give it a final meaning."

"But I reject the assertion that there is no final meaning. I don't wish to be rude, Bosco, but who would want to be you. You think parenthetically, a solipsist putting the whole world in quotation marks."

We both take a breath.

"Sorry If I was rude there, Bosco, dear Bosco. But you have always been a bit of bull seeking out the nearest china shop. And you see for me, unlike you, problems are not barriers they are  incitements. Now do have another macaroon."

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