Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Writing

Day 120

Two blackbirds this morning. First the one which looks vaguely plump and familiar. I started talking to it, and it came closer to me, wiping its beak on the dew-dropped grass. I was about to hold my left arm out and try to get it to sit on the sleeve of my jumper, against my usual instincts of chasing birds away, when the second flew into the garden and started picking at the mounds of hardened mud left by the builders’ excavations. They seemed then to have a brief conversation, ran after each other for a few seconds, nodded at each other and flew off over the fence. And the garden was empty again. And I turned into a cat again, the sun warming my back through my three layers of black, and my shadow walking off without me.

The dreams I had last night were weird, although I can’t remember any of them. I am sure they were all a result of me finishing Stephen King’s Misery, which was an excellent excavation of the writer’s mind, every writers’ mind, and an exposition of writers’ needs to find the golden bullet that makes people turn the pages, not just at the end of chapters, but at the bottom of each page. How do we define great literature anyway? The Immortality Clock was written as a throwaway book, as something which might fit more easily into the genre of writing that uses a profusion of adjectives, and then became an allegory for Brexit, for the insularity and isolation of the UK. I don’t know what the second one in that series is becoming, but it’s necessarily conditioned by covid, what with me having started it during the first lockdown. It’s shouting at me from its folder on this machine (and its corresponding folder in my Cloud backup) to get it finished. The problem is that Aggie’s shouting is just as loud right now. Maybe I won’t do any day job work on Bank Holiday Monday but instead try to get another 10k words done. Famous last words.

The words aren’t exactly flowing out of my fingers this morning. I’m typing even more slowly than I would be was I using an old manual typewriter, whose clang and bells and weight I miss, even though my first typewriter was a slimline portable Olivetti. And at one point in 1989 I had an IBM golfball electric typewriter I wrote by first 100 or so poems for M on. That, too, has gone the way of all mortal things, and disappeared along with the past. But the poems, with the slightly blurred letters, the faint black line under the occasional letter, are still here, behind me, in four of those folders that have plastic wallets in them. It may not have been the best way to store them, because the old IBM ink is sticking to the see-through plastic of the wallets. But I do have the hand-written originals in one of the many journals sitting on the same shelves behind me. Perhaps I should leave instructions for them to go to the British Library when the time comes. Or instructions for them to be burned.

I like the way words breathe and turn in my head.




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