Today, I will not chide myself about not getting up until after 10am. Today I will not get into that pit of telling myself that I have wasted my day because I got up late. I don’t have to. My thoughts run away. The day will do that for me. I have a sense of time stopping and slowing and then speeding up to twice its normal speed. This is not what I expected to write. It’s like anxiety is imposed on me from the outside.
When I was younger, I read story about a woman pricking her finger on a thorn. The wound didn’t stop bleeding, and she died. I can’t remember what the story was called, and I wish I could find it, because it made a lasting impression on me, how our lives could be changed forever, and ended, by one simple mistake, one simple incident that we, at the time of it, would never know was going to have a life-changing effect on us. I think this planted a seed inside me which makes me ask questions every time I have a scratch, a pain, a feeling I’ve never had before. A daisy-chain of worry.
I try to breathe normally. What is normal, anyway? I dream of leading a normal life. What is normal, anyway? I think about changing the world, and yet where’s the time and determination for that? Is a normal life the one I read about or see in films, where everything is comfortable and makes me feel comfortable (like those massive American apartments in those very narrative American films)? Is it the one from those days gone by when I went back to my parents on a Sunday for lunch and to sit in a comfy chair in the living room bay window in the sun reading the Sunday papers? Or was that just an escape from real life, anyway, where I decided to ignore the things that were staring me in the face, like that they wanted control, and me coming home was just reinforcing that control? And that me having my own mind was the last thing they wanted?
My browser crashed while I was writing that, and I feared I had lost all my thoughts, and desperately tried to log in through other browsers and devices. Too many passwords, too many user names. That’s what sucks the time away. Maybe I should write all this down on paper first. Continues…
The weather continues in its unpredictability. What frightens me most about myself right now is that so many memories from a long time are surfacing and yet my short-term memory is such that I can’t remember words from 12 hours ago, that I can’t remember a train of thought I put to one side yesterday. And this morning, now, a realisation. It’s not senility. It’s my mind jumping from one thing to the next, my brain dumping what it thinks is unnecessary, but not being able to really decide what’s important and what isn’t.
The sun shining into the room in my peripheral vision. The song on the radio, the heaps of paper on my desk and on the floor. The books glowering on the shelves behind me. My fingers flying across the keyboard but not quickly enough. The journals to my right that I dragged from the shelves to find the passwords and user names when the browser crashed. The wish to fly across the dancefloor with M dancing the quickstep. The anger at the short days and the changeable weather. The pains in my body. The plot for The Mortality Code. The provider’s billing issues with work’s web site. The longing to get changed into track suit bottoms and football shirt, and to stand in goal again and to throw myself about on the hunt for the ball, to catch it and not drop it, to feel something real around me, the homesickness for a game that made me feel at home (and somehow more than others, because, as I’ve said in a poem before, goalkeepers are the guardians of the grail). The endless glances to left and right and up and down to all the things that make my life, that make me who I am. The tsunami of words already on paper in this room in my handwriting, and printed on uncounted pages (that’s the glowering, the books’ desire to be read and counted and never forgotten). The fear that my words will be forgotten and no-one will savour them when I’m gone. This infinite time, loop or not, that stretches ahead. That flying through a boundless ocean of time and space as an intangible soul watching all the mistakes repeated. Mine. Everyone’s.
And then I open my emails and see someone has ordered a book of mine. Happy days.
Beth6th February 2022 at 14:23
Much to resonate with here. We have to consciously fight against, I think, the forces that seek to divide and fracture our attention — and there are so many in today’s digital world — because they also increase our anxiety and make our entire being feel fractured into little insignificant, ephemeral pieces, when that is actually not the case at all. I’ve read every one of these entries since you began and appreciated them, both for your words and for the fact that there is a person writing them who clearly thinks and feels some of the things I do and tries to express them. This is not trivial! And in spite of the bleeding and the anxiety and the attempts to make us feel so much less than we are, we need to find the courage to continue to create and to share our work, even when we don’t know who is on the other side. (BTW, I have The Gates and am looking forward to it.)
Richard Pierce6th February 2022 at 18:41
Beth, thanks ever so much for writing this. It gives me greater courage, too, to know I am not the only one who feels like I do, and that the struggles are not unique to me. Thanks ever so much for reading each of these entries, and for having a copy of The Gates. I am working on disciplining myself to be able to fight against those forces you speak of. 🙂 R
Ren Powell6th February 2022 at 21:44
I hope the surfacing memories are warm. <3
Richard Pierce7th February 2022 at 07:47
Some. And some are unwelcome distractions. Twas ever thus with memories. 🙁 R