Episode 49: Alexander MacLeod prescribes Elizabeth Bishop’s IN THE WAITING ROOM

In the last few days, two events have played themselves out. To be more precise: an almost infinite number of events have occured if you’re willing to squish down to the atomic and subatomic (which I am). Yesterday, for example, a posse of geo-neutrino particles, 1,800 miles below the earth’s surface, instead of just passing through the gooey core of molten metal with zero interaction (as anti-matter is wont to do), set up a pirate radio station deep within the turbulently convected 5000°C low-viscosity fluid and started broadcasting anti-matter bebop which was detected all the way into the upper mesosphere. But on a slightly grosser level, the Queen was celebrating 60 years of ensconcement in Buck Pal, and Venus was moving across the face of the sun. 

I was hardly aware of the latter interplanetary episode due to the asphyxiating media saturation of the former interregal avocation, so I thought I might alert you to Venus and her movements, just in case you too were smothered by Jubilation. But mainly because I need the Venus traversal to serve as an analogy in the next paragraph.

Venusian transits have only occurred seven times in the last 400 years, and the next one is set for 2117 (which you will probably miss too, due to some other royal family or sporting event). So they’re kinda precious. Which is how I also feel about the occasional transits of writers visiting the city where I reside from other parts of the planet.

The RMSYL you’re about to hear was squeezed into the extremely tight touring schedule of Mr MacLeod, with thanks to Tara at Lutyens and Rubenstein and Kate at JonathanCape for finding a way to shoehorn me in. This means we were unable to read and discuss one of Alexander’s favourite short stories (Everything That Rises Must Converge) which I’m still hoping to get him to read for us in 2117? But we did have enough time to read and talk about a poem he adores, and by the process of nuanced reading and a very spirited discussion, I now love too. [Alexander MacLeod’s thrilling short story collection Light Lifting can be purchased from the Empire of Bezos, as well as indie bookshops like L & L. Intro tune: Latché Swing]


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