Welcome to Pinklight.nz

Welcome to pinklight.nz. I am not sure whether pink light is a literal phenomenon or not. But I am sure that certain topics or words or people or objects seem to me to glow and one day I decided the glow was pink. It isn’t really the colour that matters. What matters is that light or heat or a magnetic force reaches out to me, and pulls me in towards it. I suppose it was obvious that this would happen when I began writing, because even as a child I used to read books that glowed, about topics that glowed. Some might call this form of guidance ‘intuition’, or even ‘cultural knowledge’, but these words seem a little tame and even slightly apologetic in that old Kiwi way. Pink light is not like that. It is more like the start of a song by Lou Reed. One chord and away we go.

My pinklight blog will probably be about reading and writing. This week I am re-re-re reading Anna Karenina. This time around I feel I could do without the plot, and feed happily on what might be called the book’s digressions. There is a wonderful section where Anna and Vronsky pay a visit to an artist’s studio. We get to see how the artist reads their expressions and how he is able to see his work from a new perspective by seeing it as they see it. As you might expect, this isn’t always pleasant for the artist, but it is interesting for him. In this scene Tolstoy tells you what people say, and then he tells you what the listener understands them to mean. He translates from the surface meaning of the words to the ‘real’ meaning using body language and peeling away social conventions and sometimes the paranoia of the listener. These digressions or explorations are the best part of the book for me, and they are what call me back time and again. Before I found this section on the artist’s meeting with some customers, the section where Levin learns how to cut hay was my favourite.