"There are no days more full in childhood than those days that are not lived at all, the days lost in a book. I remember waking out of one such book beside the sewing-machine beneath the window on the river in the barrack living room to find my sisters all around me. They had unlaced and removed one of my shoes and placed a straw hat on my head. Only when they began to move the wooden chair on which I sat away from the window light did I wake out of the book, to their great merriment.”
This “strange and complete happiness when all sense of time is lost, of looking up from the pages and thinking it is still nine or ten in the morning, to discover it is well past lunchtime” author John McGahern describes mirrors my own “pure, unfathomable joy" when adrift within a ballet performance. For my pleasure’s own sake, it feels, the structure of time is turned on its head. A close solidarity is formed in the theatre and my affection grows with each visit. I have, in the space of a very short time (but, time, what is that?) become a balletomane (though what to do with that clunky ‘t’?). A devotee of ballet, it requires less self-discipline than a dancer, and all of the gratification.