These are the times. It feels like someone large and immobile is sitting on my chest; like fat hands are restricting by breathing and that wads of cotton have been stuffed behind my nose. It feels like my eyes are weighted and there’s a constant battle to keep them open. When they’re closed they sting. I can’t think straight; I could sleep right now until Wednesday; the suggestion of work tomorrow, the nine o’clock sixteen year-olds on Romantic poetry seem so absurd that I want to laugh out loud. Like as if that’s going to happen..!
But it will because this is the real bits of life that gets squeezed into the cracks as we look busy about other things. These are the times that the truth comes out and the times where I really need to write. Writing can’t just be when the energy levels say it’s ok; when there’s the perfectly proportioned slot of time; when the mind has space. Writing, if it’s anything at all, does its best to capture life from all angles. It has to if it wants to be believed and trusted. Writing, they say, is not something that you do – it is something that you live and if you are afflicted with it then it must happen, whatever.
I could be in front of the fire now; it is Sunday evening and there’s plenty of crap on the television I could be watching. There’s a comfy sofa across the hall and a selection of blankets that I could be curled up into. But I’m here in the study at the desk and only the faint murmur of the television drifts in. From time to time the lights of a car float past the window. The girls are asleep in bed.
The clock ticks and that is my rhythm. I have no time to waste curled up on the sofa. I would not be happy with myself tomorrow if I did that.
I have work to do. I am trying to get a grip on Lolly, though I know that such is she that I’m not really meant to. I don’t want her summed up and that ambiguity is not easy to capture. It is a paradox. I want the words that I write to capture this feisty, naughty, sensuous little minx but the picture that I want I want to paint of her is a character that can’t be captured or pinned down.
The picture that I bought from the Mallorca market this summer survived the trip and has been on top of one of the bookshelves ever since. I pulled it down and put it in a frame yesterday and now it’s on the desk in front of me. It is Lolly. It is my muse. In the crowded marked at Sa Coma in the heat of the night and dizzy with food and wine she caught my eye. The girls were having Henna tattoos and I wandered alone. It is a favourite pass time of mine to wander aimless and alone. I think you can’t get lost when you’re on your own. (I actually don’t think that, but rather you can find your way out of it without anyone knowing when you’re on your own. Or you can stay lost and pretend to the world that you know where you’re going just by holding up your head)
Lolly was there on a stand selling prints. The most rudimentary of stalls: steel bars pinned with cardboard; prints gripped with clothes pegs. The smell of leather from the handbag stall next-door. Lolly looking down the floor as she pinned back her hair; a lock falling above her eyes and her shirt open enough to see the suggestion of a woman. She is dark; I know that the eyes would be dark if she looked up at me and if that shirt would move just a little more I would be satisfied. But she is frozen and as yet has not looked me in the eye.
It is February and I have to keep the momentum going. I feel like shit after all that’s been going on and generally not feeling well…I’m not telling you this for sympathy but to make a point …that these are the times to get up and writing. Who knows what the fuck might come out.
January was productive. I’m a couple of chapters in and I posted 25 times. It is small beer but still a good start. Maybe one day someone will get in touch.