Richard Pierce

Life, Writing

Day 117

Today, I start therapy again. I don’t now what will come of it, if we’ll decide that I don’t need something long-term again, or that we’ll decide that I’d be better off changing to a local practitioner rather than zooming with my therapist who lives down in deepest darkest Suffolk. What I do know is that I decided over a month ago that some old bad habits were creeping into my life again, only in a small way, that I think need dealing with. The whole issue of the low self-esteem, the calling myself fat, getting cross with myself because of my perception that I have achieved nothing, the negative voice sitting on my shoulder and whispering hateful and critical things into my ear. All these things need to be addressed while they are still only inklings rather than having regrown into big issues. I saw what these things did to me and my relationships because I ignored them for over 30 years and they grew into almost uncontrollable monsters.

Inklings should be small drawings flowing from a fountain pen or a Chinese brush.

Coming back to what I was saying about some people only reading the personal blog and not reading Aggie. To an extent, it’s unimportant. What is important is that I’ve discovered a different way of pushing myself forward with the prose writing. And to that extent, Aggie is a throwaway, an experiment, a trial run for other books I’ve had in my head before I even thought of Aggie over two months ago. I just need to add to that output, can’t let Aggie be the only creative output. I need to get back to The Mortality Code, and I will, and need to write at least a poem a day. I’ve written before about the chaos in my head in anything that’s not day job related, and I need to organise myself. And I’m not putting it off. I do just genuinely need to do the best I can while the study is a repository of all things that were in the garage, while the study has shelves full of double-stacked books, while everyone who zooms with me can see the hoover hose behind me, because we’re a 2-hoover family, and the second one sits in here with me for now.

Inklings should be the children of hand-written prose.

When I was in here last night working and putting some things to bed that I had to action, it rained quite hard. So long has it been since it has rained that at first I didn’t recognise the sounds on the roof and on the door. Not that I had been wishing for rain; quite the opposite, actually. I’d been hoping for a dry barren spell that would last until October, wishing for intense heat that would drive the whole of England’s negativity away into the middle of the North Sea forever. A pipe dream, as always. My acupuncturist and I were talking about how so many English people think 16C is hot when we both actually think that that sort of temperature is very cold. I often think of sitting on a balcony in Torrevieja at 11pm in just my boxer shorts and a T-shirt at the end of May, strolling through an olive grove in the south of France in August at midnight and needing to wear nothing but some thin trousers and a T-shirt (it would have been shorts had there not been so many mosquitoes), and sweltering.

Inklings are the special scents of black ink that emanates from a fragmentary.



Impatient now, Robert herds them through the picture-laden hall, as tall as the house itself, the stairs a creaking of old wood up to the next floor, and the intimation of another staircase up onto a floor beyond that. ‘I’ll show you the rooms later,’ he says. ‘And let you sort out your own special sleeping arrangement.’ His voice twinkles, and he giggles, a sound at least an octave higher than his speaking voice. ‘Just don’t be surprised if you hear me wandering round like a ghost, and playing the piano like one, too.’ He opens the front door slowly, and the damp cool air of the early night creeps in over the threshold. ‘All clear,’ he says, laughs at himself. ‘Not that I’m that worried or bothered.’ He stands to one side and ushers them out of the house. ‘Straight across,’ he says.’ Through that barrier over there.’ He busies himself with locking the door, pushes against it to make sure it is locked. ‘Never know with these old houses,’ he mumbles. ‘A bit like old men. Always comfortable, but never reliable.’ His long strides take him past them all. He pulls a high bell note of keys out of his jacket pocket.

Aggie, again, is the one who keeps up with his pace, who wants to be right by him. She likes the comfort of him, the unreliability of him, his mercurial temperament, that feeling that she’s closer to Cassandra somehow when she’s close to him. And he amuses her, takes her mind of those increasingly dark memories that seemed so distant and are now creeping closer and closer and raising more questions than they give answers. The cobble stones disappear from a part of her vision, and she’s there again, in the early days, still hooked up to the tubes and machines in the sterile room she was kept in before she moved into the room of panelled wood, a room that she was reminded of in Robert’s living room. She can sense the fluids being pumped into her, around her, keeping her alive, making her stronger. She watches the slow drip drip of the red stuff in one of the plastic bags, writing scrubbed off it so she couldn’t even try for a clue, always just assumed it was blood, watches it flow through the translucent flexible tube into the crook of her elbow, thinks to her the understated sucking pushing sound of the liquid moving towards her, into her, finding its way along the maze of her arteries and veins, into her regrowing flesh and bones, ligaments and muscles, flexing unflexing, constantly in motion, atoms and sub-atoms and unknown particles and darkness. ‘No massive old key for the Minster then?’ she says, back in the now, a millisecond passed.

‘No.’ His voice, gruff and smooth, has some ancient joy in it. ‘It might be over a thousand years old, but we don’t have a key to match.’ He chooses a modern small and narrow key from the bunch he has in his hand as they walk up a wheelchair ramp to a modern-looking door, slats and grooves and the hue of farmed oak. He unlocks the door, pushes it open, and the hum of computers and air conditioning flows out over them. ‘What we have are up-to-date offices with all the technology we need in this day and age. The church has moved into the twenty-first century at last.’ The door swings closed and locks automatically quietly. ‘I sometimes think admin and paperwork are the new religion, and that we forget the real reason we built these places. So much for civilisation.’ He puts his right hand back into his jacket pocket. And this time, he does pull an old key from it, its wrought iron rounded and shiny with use. ‘But it’s only two hundred years old.’

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