As the kids would say • 22 December 2007 • The SnowBlog

As the kids would say


Didn't I use the phrase being 'tagged' for a 'meme' a while back, to general and confused harrumphing? (Or at least silent indifference.) Well, Heather, from the distant land of Minnesota, just tagged me for a book review meme. To anyone not 'hip' to the 'lingo' I'm talking about 'tagging' as in "you're it!" and meme as in "dude, read some Dawkins, why don't you!'. And if that still doesn't make it clear, memes in this sense are little activities, usually self-administered quizzes, that you pass on like chain-letters (only less annoying).


Book I'm reading: Virtual Light by William Gibson

Comment: Every now and again, I re-read William Gibson's middle trilogy (Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties). I know I should find new things to read instead of going back over old favourites, but there's something very comforting about a book you already know won't let you down and whose language you get excited about re-experiencing.

Quote: [Chevette is remembering being sad and then getting ill, and how she came to live high up on the ruined Golden Gate bridge with lots of other dispossessed people:]

Chevette stood up and shivered, this tremor running down through her like a live thing, the way those red bracelets had moved.

How she felt, now, was just the way she'd felt that day she'd come back to the trailer and found her mother all packed up and gone. No message there but a can of ravioli in a pot on the stove, with the can-opener propped up beside it.

She hadn't eaten that ravioli and she hadn't eaten any since and she knew she never would.

But this feeling had come, that day, and swallowed everything up inside it, so big you couldn't really prove it was there except by an arithmetic of absence and the memory of better days. And she'd moved around in it, whatever it was, from one point to another, 'til she'd wound up behind that wire in Beaverton, in a place so bad it was like a piece of broken glass to rub against that big empty. And thereby growing aware of the thing that had swallowed the world, though it was only just visible, and then in sidelong glances. Not a feeling so much as a form of gas, something she could almost smell in the back of her throat, lying chill and inert in the rooms of her subsequent passage.

'You okay?' Nigel's greasy hair in his eyes, the red ball in his hand, a cocktail toothpick with a spray of amber cellophane stuck in the corner of his mouth.

For a long time she'd wondered if maybe the fever hadn't burned it out, hadn't accidentally fried whatever circuit in her it fed back on. But as she'd gotten used to the bridge, to Skinner, to [couriering] at Allied, it had just come to seem like the emptiness was filled with ordinary things, a whole new world grown up in the socket of the old, one day rolling into the next - whether she danced in Dissidents, or sat up all night talking with her friends, or slept curled in her bag up in Skinner's room, where wind scoured the plywood walls and the cables thrummed down into rock that drifted (Skinner said) like the slowest sea of all.


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

Many of the older posts in our blog archive suffer from link rot. Apologies if you see missing links and images: let us know if you'd like us to find any in particular.

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