via The Subtext…
As always, Sunday morning has arrived.
I say ‘as always’ as if it’s given fact, but one day, one week, playing at a theatre near you, forever, it won’t arrive.
I woke up this morning which means that Sunday has arrived. It was warmer outside and there was a sun shining vaguely through the morning grey. I woke up, I shuck up, and I went to make the ceremonial tea.
After that, I made my announcement:
“Today, and from this Sunday on, we will be going out for a run.”
What I meant by that was not thet we would be running everyday, but that when Sundays came to find us huddled tightly in our duvets, hiding from the promise of another week, we would rise from out slumber and jog politely into the new dawn.
“Is it cold outside?”
This was the significant other asking me a meteorological question and as I had just been outside, in the car, putting air into a dodgy back tyre, and washing off the winter muck for the first time in two months, one would assume that I knew the answer.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“But you’ve just been outside.”
“I know, but I was doing other things beside observing the weather patterns of East Yorkshire.”
I may have well have been asleep for all the notice I took of the outside world. This sometimes happens to me. Indeed, I think it happens to a lot of us without us realising.
To prove this hypothesis:
Key Question: Have you ever travelled some distance in your car, arrived at your destination and then forgotten large chunks of that journey?
Key Answer: I think it is YES.
So, I had been outside performing a range of vehicular tasks whilst also buying a particularly healthy soya and linseed loaf of bread. This goes great with the right cheese when toasted. As I was putting air in the offendingly-deflated tyre, I noticed a five pence piece, yet I did not pick it up. Perhaps I am richer that I think I am. I drove to the carwash and had a medium wash that did not entail being coated in a triple-wax treatment. My reasoning was that some of the winter was still hanging about meaning that the car would get dirty before long. Wait for the spring and then clean properly.
Having left the car wash, I returned to the house, parked the ageing but now shiny car, admired it, stood back and admired it again, encountered a nebulous half-thought that did the mind-coaching crap that I hate ‘this day is the beginning of the rest of your life’ – fingers in metaphorical throat, and went indoors.
“Is it cold outside?” The question I had not revised any answer to.
“I’ll just check.”
Surprisingly, it was a wee bit chilly and that mitigated the wearing of warmer gear and gloves. On this point, I have to say that I find gloves just as annoying as socks when it comes to being found. I have lots of pairs of gloves, but they obviously have lots of hiding places. Eventually, I found some wooly gloves. Although not ideal for sporting enterprises, they kept my hands warm and it was still sufficiently early to avoid the gaze of the athletically enhanced fashion Fascists.
“Hey folks. If you have been reading this blog.”
Two very misleading statements that I abhor as they tend to assume that the human-race has little better to do with its time here on earth but to read the ravings of a half-baked half-wit rather than battling “against the dying of the light”.
Anyway, I like a run. Unfortunately, I don’t like winter. Most mornings during late November, all December, all January, and most of February, will find me at the mouth a of hollow in our back garden, gazing into the underworld whilst cooing Persephone back from the bowels.
This morning, she was clear of the bowels (Persephone not the missus) and we were on our run.
For a number of years I have counted to twenty when I run. It keeps a constant pace, takes my mind off the strain, and puts me in the moment (zone for us sporty types). My winter lay-offs always take their toll so it takes me some time to return to that Mars-like man that I always dreamt of being. I also like to have a chat with the wife as we run. I tend to say things such as, “This is great, isn’t it?” and she ignores me. I have a greater appreciation of wildlife and the environment at these moments, but refrain from sharing too much until we get closer to home.
It was a good run this morning and I was pleased that the days are starting to get warmer. I was able to shrug off my shroud, ignore my bad knee (something I have not had to endure before), and just be.
No zombies, no end of the world, no big deal.
Just the moments, those little moments that make sense of it all.
The cat sat on the mat.
The mat was by the door.
It was cold outside and there was a draft blowing through the loose-fitting door. The cat slept or pretended to sleep. A vacuum cleaner whirred from some place upstairs.
The cat slept or pretended to sleep. A washing machine slowly turned through its cycles. Its churning indifference replaced the urgency of the vacuum cleaner which was now silent. The woman upstairs moved from room to room collecting this and that which needed to be collected and then needed to be thrown out. She huffed at things that had collected themselves over the winter months and made sharp references as to what would happen in the future. The washing machine began to wake to another cycle and this time its effort increased.
The cat sat on the mat, but was not asleep.
The man sat at his writing desk and tried to write. It was cold outside, but the sun was shining. He liked the sun and hated the cold. He listened to the increasing speed of the washing machine and was thankful that the vacuum cleaner had stopped its busy cleansing. He looked around for the cat that should have been sleeping, but found that there was no mat at the door. No mat meant no cat.
The washing machine spun for take-off. Any moment now they would all be leaving the ground and heading off into the clouds that had already been hushed into vapours on this cold, cold day.
Besides the sound of the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, and the cat that was not there, the world stood still and waited for itself to catch up.
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”
It’s only been a couple of days, but the need to write something new has been growing and growing. Perhaps the signs have been there for a while now and I had not noticed them. I was trying to write twice a day as a way of getting my skills into some sort of shape that would be worthy of calling myself a writer. First thing in the morning, I wrote silly stuff whilst in the evening I would try to write something more serious. It seemed to be working. But the more I wrote the deeper my addiction went.
It wasn’t writing that was my addiction. My desperate need for views and likes drew me to the computer again and again, staring at the screen, trying to make the numbers click over, trying to work out why nobody was reading my stuff; my very special stuff. I was dependent on acknowledgement and appreciation and that was when I knew that it had to end.
I reached the point of thinking about what would appeal to those who read my work and then I produced a post that was meaningless. It was about serial killers and cults, inspired by a programme I had seen on TV. In truth, it had nothing to say. It was a vacuum of nonsense. Even nonsense would have made more sense. And I posted it.
“I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don’t want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”
So, I posted some less-than-nonsense just to post it. I wanted to scare out the views, to add to my figures, to make me feel a little better about this venture that had started to appear to be fruitless. When I got big views, I felt good. When I didn’t….well?
Really, the writer doesn’t want success… He knows he has a short span of life, that the day will come when he must pass through the wall of oblivion, and he wants to leave a scratch on that wall — Kilroy was here — that somebody a hundred or a thousand years later will see.
When I write a novel I’m writing about my own life; I’m writing a biography almost, always. And to make it look like a novel I either have a murder or a death at the end.
As I have said before, the blog business was there to help me through a desperate time. It did so. Unfortunately after being saved from my breakdown, I lost the essential reasoning behind blogging. Do people climb mountains to reap the rewards of amateur reviewers of the feat or do they do it just because they do it?
From this day forward, backward, or sideways (in any direction), I shall write in order to write.
If you like it, that will be good.
I won’t lose my head about it either way…
I am stopping this for the time being. It has stopped making sense.
See you later, folks!
Being There 1979 Peter Sellers
I have just been reading a number of articles about a syndrome called ‘destination-addiction’ and it rang a number of clanking bells for me. In short ‘destination-addiction’ is a way in which many of us may regard our lives and our journeys through them. We tend to think of the days that we spend doing the living thing as time in which we ought to be aiming for something else.
Out there, at the end of the road, is a little hamlet that is called Nirvana. If we carry on without deviating, we will get there…eventually.
Once there, everything will be just fine.
So, I have bought my ticket and am on my trip towards completeness.
Not as easy as that. You are on the bus, on the train, in a plain, and you are racing towards your final destination, the place where it will all make sense, the place you have done it all for. And do you know what you should do when you have reached that place?
You should stop. You should kick off your shoes. You should take a look around because this is where you will be staying put for the rest of your earthly days.
But we are not programmed to sit-back. We are hunter-gatherers and we know that our next big meal lies just over the next big hill. But there is a pride of lions or sabre-toothes that live on that hill. All part of the journey my friend. They are just temporary obstacles; we will have invented powerful weaponry by the time we get to the foot of the hill and if we haven’t? Well, there are plenty of us; the cats can only eat so much.
So, we carry on…
We like a happy ending, but it has to be an ending that has been fought for. Struggle is in our DNA. Life is struggle and struggle is life. They go together like a horse and carriage. The horse struggles to continually pull the carriage and the carriage struggles to deal with the ever worsening road and pot-holes. On top of that is a man, or woman, struggling to keep the horse fed, the carriage in good condition, and their peckers suitably erect. Just another mile, another hill, another day. Just over that next horizon lies…and there’s the rub.
Things lie at the end of our journeys. That’s why people in the past had afterlives. When you are finally dead and gone, the struggle is over, all sorts of fun and relaxation awaits you.
I saw one of the finest poets of the twentieth century a few months ago. His verse had rung so deeply with me that I believed it to be mine own. His clarity of thought dismissed my youthful attempts to distinguish wheat from chaff and pointed me in clear directions. He was a seer and a prophet all in one and he captured it all in crystal clear stanzas.
It had been a period of thirty-plus years since I had last been in his presence and things had changed. He was older, bent by time, worn by the gradual erosion of hope. His poetry reading was in a Minster, a big old church, and he was my voice of God. But God’s voice was no longer ebullient with the struggles to come, rather it was diminished by those struggles lost. Both voices stood in the granite arena of certainty and neither was complete.
I met the poet afterwards and gave him my thanks. I would not see him in the flesh again. Of this I was certain. He looked at me and was grateful that his words had meant so much to someone who was a stranger. We had shared similar paths, followed similar roads, and reached similar ends. He was a poet of such legendary standing, something I had yearned for all of my enlightened life, but he was here at the point of fulfilment and still the road onwards beckoned.
Doctor Robert Holden. Director of the Happiness Project and Success Intelligence:
“Do you live your life only to get to the end of it? Most people answer this question with a ‘no’, but not everyone lives like they mean it. In the manic society that most of us experience, people exhibit a frantic, neurotic behavior I call ‘Destination Addiction’. This addiction is a major block to success. People who suffer from Destination Addiction believe that success is a destination. They are addicted to the idea that the future is where success is, happiness is, and heaven is. Each passing moment is merely a ticket to get to the future. They live in the ‘not now’, they are psychologically absent, and they disregard everything they have. Destination Addiction is a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is somewhere else. We suffer, literally, from the pursuit of happiness. We are always on the run, on the move, and on the go. Our goal is not to enjoy the day, it is to get through the day. We have always to get to somewhere else first before we can relax and before we can savor the moment. But we never get there. There is no point of arrival. We are permanently dissatisfied. The feeling of success is continually deferred. We live in hot pursuit of some extraordinary bliss we have no idea how to find”.
One glass and no refill
is life for men,
so keep pouring till
Death says when.
GREEK POET FROM FOURTH CENTURY BC