Monday, 10 December 2012


I'm conscious that I've been here for five days and I haven't yet sat down to the reason I came in the first place. I'm not clawing at a reason, but see how the brain likes to recognise patterns and have things Make Sense. Anyway, it's funny how the order of importance shifts, but still places the most difficult things at the bottom. I will much rather shop snow boots, book festival tickets, weigh up sea versus air travel, marvel at DHL charges. This is procrastination on an open scale, without a deadline, no aim no product, no exterior force saying 'sit down and do some writing otherwise this is the consequence'. All I am is my decision to be here. It was enough. It is enough. You know all the mantras but they annoyingly peel off when most needed. Shorten the recovery period. Make it even shorter.

'There is nothing more certain than uncertainty'. You're following a feeling, a right, a truth, a kind of devotion by other description, animating the hand of God, as Patti Smith put it. A need a want a lack a divine truth. It gets a bit hazy. Of course we all want a nice life, to not face up to our whys, doubts, pounding existential weight. They say it's nice to know what you don't want, but once you eradicate things, perhaps exhausting work or a draining relationship, you're left bare, honest and vulnerable. On cold days a little pointless. I'm having trouble deciding what matters, she once said quite plainly in conversation at the bar. I loved that one, we laughed.

You moved for love, he asked me later. He'd already asked if I'd moved for work. Our society seems to place the biggest emphasis on our job, our money-earning capacity, our worth as sacrifices made in order to pay for things. I imagine I wouldn't have minded such classification in trading days. I grow this thing and I swap it for that thing to add a little variety to dinner tonight. I make this thing and I swap it for that thing as I do need to darn the holes in my socks (I actually do). The directness wholly makes sense and is instantly gratifying.

I didn't move to Berlin for either of his reasons, I moved for me. He stepped away slightly and creased his face, muttered something in squints and I'd only just met him so I didn't know if this exclamation was a good thing or a bad thing. What, I puzzled, searching my eyes over him to confirm my absolute craziness, fully expecting to instantly lose the respect of each near-stranger as they uncover my fraudulence whilst my back's turned. Amazing, he smiled. I keep hearing it. I haven't yet worked out if it's a polite euphemism, but this time I'll take it as the truth.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Vital signs

I keep telling people, that's exciting, they say, wow good for you, they beam, I'm jealous, they confess. There seems to be a pattern forming. I carry it on and continue with my own chain, it's scary, I say, hopefully good for me, I confess, yeah, I agree with whatever personal statement they've shared. I pull a who-knows face and shrug my shoulders towards the unknown, dragging down some force I'm trusting in, a weak, shaky trust. Though I've now started to cut short my doubting replies and dive to the end point - everyone is saying the same things, but what they really mean is that's crazy, why would anyone quit their job without another and move to a country where you speak no language and don't yet have a bed. I shrug and I'm free. It seems like a kind of virtue. 

I moaned a few months ago how I'd like to become more wild. Not that I am any shade of wild at present. So I'd like to become wild. I'm quite interested in cliches at the moment, and 'throw caution to the wind' 'comes to mind'. Any slice of wariness is thrown into air, given over to natural forces, nurture gives up, lays back, waits. I keep having this image of throwing balls up into the air like those John Baldessari prints, I'm not looking for a line but waiting to see what else forms, I'm able to zoom round the balls in CGI style to watch from all sides, I'm intrigued, but I have no fucking clue what's gonna happen when these balls land.

About five years ago I had a vision. It was a small, darkened notion of low hues and warm tint, a peek no bigger than a postage stamp, actually more like the size of a hole punch. A flicker in what was such a terrible terrible darkness, to think now how I kept such a light makes me feel strong. Anyway, this vision was like the 'little lift' she mentioned, which I may or may not have spoken about before. It glimmered in my heart whenever I was turned to it, like a penny fresh out of a glass of Coke, yes it was definitely fizzy and astronomically exciting and potential-filled-to-the-brim. It was a glimpse into how things could be so much more alive.

To list these things will be like explaining a dream, it just dies as soon as you turn it into language, but suffice to say I was single and free and I lived in London and I had friends and went dancing and lost my cynicism and wore dresses and lipstick without occasion. There was a lot more to it than that, because that sounds like a pretty shit dream. And it came true. My inkling was right, and wow am I glad I went with it. And now I have a new one. The difference between here and there is like the life of another character out of a completely different book, a huge absurdity gap, twisted and flipped and re-imagined in a utterly different materials. It's exotic and a bit wild, and it might be me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A New Type of Heat

I want to be hot, I wailed, when what I really meant was I want to turn back the clock to a time when I was quite beautiful and didn't know it, before my heart was swollen and exploded, before the weight of the world had truly come, before I knew the meaning of existential angst. A time when play ruled and work lay dormant, and I didn't quite appreciate it because I was all fizzy and suspended and the future beamed. When what looked like a tan from multiple holidays actually came from twice weekly post-Eastenders trips to the sunbed, before my upper arms started to sag, and my stomach knew it's next roll down like a trustworthy next door neighbour. Before life happened.

I'll go blonde, get thin, scale down my cycling calves to fit those jeans, carve out the tense curve between my ears and shoulders that could be lovingly deemed 'desk job neck'. How many sit ups did I used to do each night? But the fact is, you can't revisit an old heat. You can't re-light a fire once the embers have turned to ash. You can't copy spent formulas, though you can try out the methods and mindset that got those results, and see what you get now. A pack of cards shuffled will never read the same, but there are tendencies (if you trust in the tarot).

I spent the last few days spotting street cuts, for some reason there is a heavy link with the hair. I stared at a bleach blonde, saw her cheap dye job go yellow at the back, the bit they don't let her see with the mirror, the bit her boyfriend is too grossed out by to tell her about. A long blonde with locks but strands that looked dead compared to these soft lengths. A bob walked past the train window, all sweaty city lank, it wasn't right either, I pictured it working on sunny plains with bags and boots and true but temporary friends. No-one looked like the new me, of course.

I got excited by the least amount of effort being transformational. I was walking to the bank and I thought, yes, imagine, you do the smallest move and it makes the biggest impact. Simplicity. You don't enter into a peroxide contract, all that effort stretched out in front of you, forever chasing an ideal which crumbles the minute you walk of out the salon, because y'know what, hair grows. It's an expensive moment. My hair is costing the least it ever did. Am I being as honest as I hope? Or does her Chinese proverb ring true: 'There are no ugly women, just lazy ones'?

Monday, 4 June 2012


I wanted to have something to ask, I sat logging my adrenaline, wondering if sick guilt would drift over after if I didn't release my question into the wild auditorium. I couldn't place one, couldn't piece a something together out of bits of almost nothing. I was empty. I was just ears, I was no thoughts. I listened for entertainment rather than collaboration. I felt sad, or didn't feel sad, wanted to feel sad, or just felt want; I want to be involved, but I'm not. Figures of help available for free, my selfish questions bound not to be the most annoyingly time consuming. But nothing.

I walked away trying desperately to piece a something together, fully ready to double back once the motivation came. It didn't. I got to the station, left the station, got to the next station, pulling faces of too tired to cry, too late to turn back. She told me that sometimes things have to take a back seat, because you're focusing on something else. And that this is ok, because they won't disappear? I added the question mark. How can we be sure the submerged won't call our bluff? I felt as unconnected in the talk tonight as I did at the party last night. I neither belong in the world I'm devoting my time to, or the one I'd love to bask in. I'm not faithful to either. Neither felt like home. What I value most is truth, and I've stopped writing because my position within it feels compromised. I've stopped even writing to myself in case my self reads it. I mean that's a censorship too far.

Added 4 June

I have republished, because the fact of being unreadable also made me unwritable. Very odd. I removed myself after giving my name out to too many people and feeling too available, and then decided it's probably better to be available at all, rather than closed and stunted and stopped. I like this forum. It also makes me part of the online world that my objection of has turned into a theoretical prison. 'I will make myself unreadble because perma-availability is the death of creativity, originality, worth'. Shiny things still shine when they are surrounded by dullness. They probably shine even brighter. Besides, no-one is actually looking anyway. And my handwriting is becoming unreadable.

Friday, 11 May 2012

I came back

Oh it's all changed! Oh I left it and came back and Blogger is upgraded! I stopped writing because keyboards and screens are work, and real life comes in pizza nights and bad films, in weird secular meeting halls, in bowls of velvety soup and unusual ice cream mixtures served by a charming Lothario, in yoga classes stretched 2 hours long which melt me into some bliss that leaves me unable to function. I was just short of slapping myself yesterday, I swear after that class, you miss the last train, you drink a smoothie a week out of date that cost £2.20, and you don't care! Normally those things make me care in a rather wasteful post-rationalising (thanks Rory) way that sees the good the bad and all in between, but that class. Mellowed like butter mistakenly left out on an unusually hot day. Knife laid on it and falling into it. Dangerous. You can't make a cake with butter that's no longer solid. You can't Work in these times without a little adrenaline driving the insane load. Three days later I can't decide if I'm sick or tired or sick-and-tired.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Ripe Brain

I didn't want to go to work this morning. I really wanted a duvet day. I felt ready and excited by ideas and I wanted to fulfill them. I wanted to agree to the urge and follow it. I wanted to let things flow, open a tap, let the natural thing happen. Forget yourself, he shouted, the only way to write the thing is to write the bloody thing. Or something like that. I was so rapt I forgot to minute-ise these wisdoms. Forget you, he said, it was all about Forgetting You, putting the tiny percentage aside, There, Tiny Percentage, sit, and opening up a flood of you-have-no-idea (yet). You. The conscious knows only part of the story. The conscious is trendy, post, after, over. The unconscious, that's where the cool new lies.

The problem is, it takes the conscious You to make the effort to sit down and begin. Stop checking the roast veg, stop researching doctors' surgeries and foreign flights, stop moaning that your back hurts, your shoulder hurts, there's not enough lemon in my water. Oh look, there's a pile of stuff that needs washing. No, boring conscious, boring You, take control and Just Write The Bloody Thing. He talked of momentum. Start, and it breeds, runs, blazes, catches, travels, goes bloody wild. You have the key, and these secrets just pour out. The You can't help it, because by then it's sitting back, removed, and barely even watching what's happened until it's done.

More research is needed here, if my brain can bend enough to get determinism. You have to take the (conscious) initiative to sit and place you hands above keys, or have pen hovering over paper. Put yourself in the potential position. Then, something catches. The unconscious sparks mix with the conscious and somehow get catapulted out as a thought. The unconscious sets alight, and it blazes a trail that feels a bit like fate. Stuff you knew 'needed' to be said is so. And when you don't take action to sit and do this, it kind of builds up and constipates itself. The natural course of events is faulting, moments overlapping and building up and driving each other deeper down, though never actually dissolving, but becoming knotted and dangerous.

So, the problem is time. When (stirs roast veg and does twelve sun salutations, ok, not the sun salutations, because White Heat starts in 11 minutes and they take at least fifteen) there's so much to do, and the largest chunk of one's day is given over to something not conducive to anything personally productive, this leaves little time to work out what's important. I want to read my new book, knit my cardi, cook a meal, watch a serial while I still pay for cable, and all this before even beginning to think of socialising and leaving the house. I want to write OF COURSE but it somehow falls to the bottom quite quickly because you can't eat it or wear it or talk about in at work tomorrow, and it's frigging terrifying.

(Boils rice, watches White Heat, reads some Philip Larkin, sleeps nine hours, does fifteen minutes of yoga, reads last weekend's paper, has a shower, eats a Basics fromage frais) (writes paragraph, becomes mildly late for work...)

I never could answer the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up, because I only just realised the answer is 'retired'.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Day 1

Indian philosophy says that what you do on the first of January sets the tone for your year ahead. As last year went, that seems quite apt. A 6 mile walk and yoga; 2011 saw me become a real yogi and solo Sunday walks fulfilled me wonderfully. The year before sits true, and the one before it. The year before that I have no recollection of, perhaps on thinking it was the year's eve I got the most drunk I ever have and will, passed out and was sick on myself, spent the next day just surviving. If it's the year I'm thinking of, I did spend that year just surviving.

So, I had grand plans for today naturally. I'm setting my tone I'm setting my tone, got to get all those flavours in to make the taste of my year a success. I mean I wasn't too stressed about it. I knew there'd be dancing at 3, I wanted to do my housekeeping duties, and the usual bracket of *writing* *knitting* *sewing that bloody duvet cover that is totally haunting me (just sew that frigging duvet cover will you for Christ's sake?!*. I'm now aware it's 9:22 and hoping I melded a good flavour...

Woke up early not hungover (quite usual but worth stating), did some research on buying a phono stage for my poor abandoned record player (poking actively into a challenging 'I don't know enough about this to make it happen so I'll leave it' area - good work), watched Charlie Brooker's review of the year (three-fold: 1 - iPlayer in bed = relaxation and nurturing actually and TV is the new no-TV 2 - I am laughing more this year. I am laughing everyday. Really laughing from the heart. I'm putting comedy on if I have to, or watch the George Dawes Baked Potato sketch 3 - I want to engage with the world's affairs and get out of mine), mild yoga, a lovely brunch (smoked salmon, eggs, soda bread mmm), did my washing and attacked the ironing guilt pile, arrived at dancing in good time, danced (bring on the ballroom, take off the girlfriends), had an enforced comfort break and read my book in the members bit with the sofas, ate a great dinner, writing/cheese/wine (and some Ben & Jerry's in a non-desperate manner), Clare Teal on Radio 2 (woo!).

I don't want to think the revelation of the year will be directly proportional to the amount of time assigned to said activities. Like I wrote intermittently for only an hour or so (in between George Dawes, Ab Fab, more Smooth Criminal) probably less time than I spent watching telly, and less time that I spent on the bus. I want me doing *things* to be a large part of this year. Making Thing Happen in reality. I was at dancing for 5 hours in the end, but I don't want that to be the majority of my tang for the year. Imagine if I attacked every day with this same fervour; must get things done! Must perpetuate calm, truth and greatness as far as possible. Would it be too intense, or would it be the best approach to life one could take?