25 October 2001 this reappraisal of modern living

16:43 Outdoor cafe, grey sky, fast-moving clouds, few eating here today. The news is unpleasant - the air strikes at Afghanistan, fears of anthrax in the mail, all kinds of collective neurosis, far better to attend to the most local events but there's no escaping the global even when it appears to be neurotic and/or the unintended repressive effects of industrial lifestyle. We live it and others suffer (but now everyone suffers?).

Last night I sampled my books of utopias and dystopias. Chance took me to Henry David Thoreau's Walden- the only one lived by its author and the only one that I feel is artistically or poetically written.

Then it took me to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and then to Thomas More's Utopia.When I began to read pages by chance I was surprised to realise that there is much art in the introduction to Utopia,(via More's letters to and from an actual friend in Antwerp) and to be reminded that 'O brave new world' is probably from The Tempest,though I could not find it when I looked through the play several times.

Later: I found it by phoning a theatre person who told me that Miranda says these words when, in the last scene, she sees many humans for the first time - and at that I added her words to the entry for 23 October... but I'm feeling now that they fit all parts of this reappraisal of modern living.

As I write the wind is blowing more strongly as forecast for this evening. My tea is getting cold but I'm feeling more alive. The last sunlight of the day shines overhead at the tall and bushy trees, still with their leaves, which are swaying in the wind - though here in the shadow of the outbuildings the air is still.

All these things are equally important... (my refrain from now on?)

I can see and hear two women talking - contentedly by the tones of their voices, though I can't distinguish their words. What a joy and a marvel is the ability to talk and to listen. To me it is the perfect invention, improvised (except in formal public speaking or in acting or in other unequal relationships), perpetually re-invented to suit the occasion, and by its tones revealing perhaps the whole personality as well as the momentary feelings.

One of the women is now augmenting her words with hand movements. There is so much to see and to hear and to think about in any kind of talking. The right model of life post-industrial I believe... But now the two women have gone and I will go also.