Richard Pierce

Life, Politics, Writing

Day 13

This morning is the first morning since the Winter Solstice, and since God knows when before then, that I’ve seen hope on the horizon before 7 am, hope in the shape of a sliver of gold and blue light beyond the trees and houses at the bottom of our garden. The branches of the trees, these winter skeletons, are sharp against those colours like the best photographs always are, but these are images that can’t be captured on celluloid or on digital media. The cork oaks next door have never lost their leaves, of course, and the damp nature of England’s winters mean that the grass has kept growing, and there is never the feeling that the land is frozen into hibernation. And that, in turn, means that there’s never really any hope of renewal, because the decay just carries on under the thin layer of the few frozen fallen leaves.

It’s this thin veneer of pretence which has ruled this country ever since words were first formed. England has always been driven by hypocrisy and the principle that class matters, that the closer to the aristocracy you are, the better you are. Witness the state of politics here right now; witness the state of the man who calls himself the Prime Minister; witness the state of the monarchy; and witness the state of all these things through history. There has never been any dignity or respect in this country. It has always been about the unedifying scramble to be in the class at the top, to ally oneself with the land-owners, the title distributors, the Establishment, the royals; the fight to make as much money as possible with as little work as possible, and then to look down from the top of the pile at the little people, and know that the rules which apply to those little people don’t apply to the important people at the very top of this corrupt pyramid.

But that thin line of sunlight and cobalt sky let me move into this new day with something approaching the energy of old, that hope, which somehow never quite gets knocked back, that the evil will get their just desserts, that life, for once, will dole out fair punishment to those who would punish, and that the sun will shine over a country finally finding its way back to what should be a global way of living fairly. And later I’ll turn the news on to find … well, actually maybe I won’t turn the news on.

Yesterday, I did open the manuscript of The Mortality Code which I hadn’t worked on since November. And I went through the two most recent chapters and corrected spellings and punctuation errors. And I finished Chapter 23 (probably added 200 words). And then I stalled; partly because I was working on my tiny laptop in the dining room, partly because I was self-editing in my mind, judging the standard of the words and narrative before I even let the words out. That’s the worst habit of any writer, to self-edit in the draft process, because it actually stops the act of creating dead in its tracks, and halts the flow not just of the words, but of the originating thoughts. So that’s something for me to ignore today, and to just spew words onto the page and at least get another 2k words done. No doubt I’ll have something to say about that tomorrow. In fact, I’ll open the manuscript right now, before I even save this scribble.

Done it.

One final thing. I strongly believe a country’s weather reflects its true nature, the state of a particular place; and England’s weather, despite the few historic freezing winters and drought-ridden summers there have been, has been invariably damp and dreary and mediocre, with the mist and fog hiding misdeeds, meanness, and mass murder perpetrated by the upper classes and the monarchy.

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