An off-cut of gold ribbon sends me into a day-dreaming rapture, fancying I hear the whisper of Marie Antoinette's skirts and echoing giggles of courtly French. The mellow gleam from the pearlised flesh of a white aubergine, and the semi-hollow sound elicited by drumming my fingers along its length has transfixed me these past two days (its time with me is, alas, almost at an end as the idea of a goats cheese moussaka gains ground on the strange tactile glamour of this bizarre berry). A thick, creamy envelope of good quality card stock, lined with tissue paper is likely to send me into a sybaritic spasm.
I'm pretty sure I know what my problem is. I have no tenacity for the appreciation of anything requiring prolonged, diligent focus. The older I get, the less likely I am to read pounding works of literary importance or watch cinematic masterpieces over an hour and a half long. I don't enjoy music to any vast degree over and above the urge to dance (poorly and without much pretence at natural rhythm) or sing (terribly and devoid of tonal ability) along to it.
I've no patience for literature that delves microscopically into dates and grants necessity to the naming of many characters. I've lost count of the number of books I've started, only to cast aside after the first chapter, feeling unfairly weighted by a procession of protagonists who's minor, fleeting appearance warrants yet another list of names, dates and connections.
I gorge on short, intense bursts of information: documentaries, both singular and serial. Paragraphs, or even just sentences, chosen at random from a variety of sources. I take quick visual snapshots on a visit to an art gallery or museum, then fixate on two or three pieces (or the fixtures and fittings, other visitors and their conversations), and wonder at companions reading every little piece of information alongside each exhibit.
I'm more interested in artists than their art. Sure, a Velasquez or a Caravaggio will obsess me for a time, then I ditch them in favour of a particular Bacon, or a hastily scribbled drawing on a torn piece of paper I found in the street. I like snippets and facts, the minutiae of daily life and viewing every action separately and distinctly: one task and the movement to complete it. Multi-tasking is a horrible, panicked state by comparison.
I love ritualistic behaviour: tying a bow, making sure the loops are even and the tails of equal length. It's one of my favourite things to do for instant artistic gratification. I'm no artist, I can't draw or paint and I may be able to shape a mean meatball, but attempting to create anything approximating sculpture would be futile.
Intangible, unquantifiable notions leave me breathless: ideas and fancies, questions for which there are no answers, waking dreams that track across our thoughts every day. Those not-entirely-sentient synaptic flashes that make me wonder what a peacock smells like and ache for a feather or two. Just a simple thing to look at and contemplate... at least for a little while until the next obsession strikes.