1. Vexed to discover i can’t speak even simple German after 5 months in Das Reich. i brood and ponder. i concoct language schemes. i’ve hit upon reading Luther’s translation of the Bible, alongside the King James. Thank God for the internet – both are online. i’m going to make my way through St John’s Gospel, my favourite though Wittgenstein didn’t like it (i suspect he disliked precisely that which i enjoy, its non-literal, poetic nature – Clement of Alexandria said that John, perceiving that the Synoptics had made the matter clear, composed “a spiritual Gospel”).

Now, one may reasonably object, how do i intend to learn conversational German from Im Anfang war das Wort, und das Wort war bei Gott, und Gott war das Wort, and so on. Well, at some point i decided that just as my Italian is Dantean Italian so too my German should be Lutheran. Start at the peaks and make your way down.

2. i indulged in another pizza today (“Winterzauber” with lots of garlic, for just under 6 Euros). It takes about 15 minutes so i always get a bit of old-fash reading done at the pizzeria; i’ve had enough of Fernando “my tedium is infinite” Pessoa for a while, so switched to Inferno for the good stuff. This today:

Se tu se’ or, lettore, a creder lento

  ciò ch’io dirò, non sarà maraviglia,

  chè io che ‘l vidi a pena il mi consento.

If, reader, thou art now slow to credit what I shall tell, it will be no wonder, for I who saw it scarcely admit it to myself.

(Inferno XXV, 46-48, tr. John Sinclair)

That could stand as the motto to my life for the last year and a bit. i realise that what i know, of my past lives, and other people’s, is very little, and has been very slowly & cautiously dealt out, but even so i sometimes think “that seems extremely unlikely”. This not regarding my own lives so much, because i inhabit those from the inside; but other people’s. Having spent the first three decades of this life as an odd but essentially ordinarily sane human being in a secular materialist society, i still half-think in terms of statistical probability, mechanical cause and effect. i am as a result quite often perplexed by the sheer improbability of things, as they actually are.

3. A wise email from a friend, who suggests i become a Church of England vicar:

And what you’d get out of it is an income, somewhere to live and a congregation. Perhaps you could do a Dalrymple and become a prison vicar – imagine the material. And one last benefit, certainly not the least – you could live in a combination of black gear and tweed. It would virtually be your work uniform. How cool is that?

 At first i chortled and guffawed; then i thought, “that’s actually a pretty fucking good idea”. Belief in pagan deities and reincarnation need not stand in the way of becoming a minister these days, not in the good old C of E. It would probably give me an edge over rival applicants, if anything:

 Interests and Hobbies. Please include any information that may be relevant to your application:

 i worship Woden and only the fear of legal consequences prevents me from carrying out human sacrifice (noose and spear). Also, i have been a priest in another life, so i feel it is my vocation. Well, actually i was a priestess. Of Ishtar. But the basic principle is the same. Oh, and in another life i thought i was an incarnation of Thoth.

 The thought of being a prison chaplain is appealing. Picture the scene, if you will:


 A prison room. Bench, chairs, ashtray. Mike the Pitbull is sitting at the bench, smoking. He is covered in tattoos and scars.

 Enter Elberry in priestly vestments.

 Mike: Who the fuck are you then, fucking Pope or summat? 

Elberry (produces spear and noose): Don’t get on the bad side of god, my son. He isn’t one of these nice modern gods. He likes human blood. Repent, sinner! (throws noose over Mike’s head and slowly throttles him to death). Repent! Repent!

 And so on.