Speaking of handwriting, as I was yesterday, I have today finally started Book IV of this year’s journal, which is about right, as there’s just over a quarter of the year left to go. The last page of Book III is a sketch Alex did at work when she had a quiet moment the other week. She drew it on one of the carbon paper pads they have when taking orders, so she actually had three copies of it, and the one I have is on the pink sheet, the last of three, I think. I thought that was a fitting end to the third journal of the year.
I have already scrawled some things into the new journal, and, because I am no longer hampered by the bulk the journals acquired when I was still sticking the printouts of this blog into them (a separate ring binder for these now), I hope I’ll do more hand-written scrawling rather than either writing poems straight into this blog, or poems straight into my Word package and then pasting. It may also remove my need to self-censor just about everything I write. The truth is, of course, that I’m too disorganised to remember to carry my journals round with me all the time, with them being A5 sized, which is one reason I bought an A6 leather journal and paper for our holiday in Crete (which now seems an age ago, a different era, almost, with all the things that have happened and continue – oh, well). I do carry that one around with me more. My executor will have his/her job cut out sorting all this paper into manageable and accessible piles. Or s/he’ll just dump it on the British Library and let them sort it.
What I did scribble this morning is sort of relevant.
There’s always this conflict between my creativity and the crises and necessities around me (and the politics of the day, to be truthful, because I can’t not comment on them, or not think about them). But writing often means cutting yourself off from everything around you, and ye being a parent/husband/friend means at the same time having to be available and open, able to think and do at a moment’s notice. The balance, for me at least, is almost impossible to achieve, and I often feel like I’m running away when I withdraw into myself to do what I want and need to do. Being in solitude is feeling safe. But even then the ache in the pit of my stomach doesn’t go away, the fear that something awful will happen if I don’t find a solution to a particular problem, if I don’t do something about the problems and issues surrounding me, the problems others have. And that’s not just about work; in fact work probably takes second place to a lot of the other stuff (thank God for the flexibility I have).
I have a vague recollection of reading an excerpt of a biography of Samuel Beckett (I think) many years ago which spoke of how he cloistered himself away when he was writing, how difficult he was to approach when in the process of writing, how he hardly spoke, and how the corridor outside his room smelled of cigarette smoke and how the scent of his cigarettes followed him around everywhere. Not that I’m likening myself to the genius Beckett was. I may even have incorporated some of that memory into Tettig’s Jewels, and now that I write about it cannot recall if it’s truth or another imagined memory of mine. Can we ever really tell?
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 216