Richard Pierce

Life, Music, Writing

Day 84

I have woken up this morning with a song in my head which I know neither title nor artist of. I don’t even know if the lyrics of it swirling round my head are the right ones. The tune is familiar and I really want to play the song, but… I’ve even tried to google what I think the song is, what the lyrics are, but have drawn a blank. And now I’m listening to Max Richter’s November while writing this so I can block out the madness that comes with having songs play to you in your head but not being able to decipher them.

A metaphor for life? I’m not sure.

I still don’t feel comfortable at my desk. Everything seems like it’s an inch or two out of place, and my keyboard straddles the crack here the extension leaf of the table starts. Only now, as I look at the desk have I realised I could sort this by turning the table round. Maybe I’ll do it next week when I’m on holiday, although the pain of having to disconnect  both computers, all the broadcasting equipment etc etc is putting me off. Silly really. Although I do have another idea for the reconfiguration of the study that involves cobbling together a standing desk for broadcasting using a load of Ikea storage boxes and a spare white table top that I think came with the house when we bought it.

Ramblings just to get words out. Consider it a warm-up.

I still haven’t glued the last three days of posts into my journal. It can be a problem, because it sort of stops me from writing long-hand poems into the thing, because I need to have everything in chronological order. I have always found it odd that someone whose mind thrives on chaos when it comes to putting words together is so OCD about the exact placement of his keyboard, about having his journal in exactly the correct chronological order, his books and vinyl in alphabetical order (not yet achieved for books because half of them are still in boxes in the shed).

We are just contradictions. That’s the beauty and irrationality of us.

One thing I hate, and I see it looking back up this post (although I won’t edit it out) is starting the sentences that begin paragraphs with I. It always seems a little self-centred, but I’ll give myself slack this morning. Perhaps I don’t think of myself enough, perhaps I don’t think enough of myself, perhaps I think too much of myself, too much about myself. Language does strange things with the positioning of words. I start therapy again in two weeks. I think I have come to the recognition that I probably need this weekly hour with someone outside the circle for the rest of my life.

And on the keyboard thing – if it’s not in the right place it makes the wrong sort of sounds and my fingers hit the wrong keys. And I’ve suddenly remembered the song. It’s playing now. Open Letter by The Beäfets. One of my 23 top songs of 2021.

We are fragmentaries. We hold fragments of lives. Our past. Our present. Our future.




‘I didn’t know it was you,’ Anna says, sitting up. ‘The hair.’

‘We could be twins now,’ Aggie says.

‘I’m too short to be your twin.’

‘Why are you here? I thought you’d gone back to Hong Kong forever.’

‘I had to leave. Before they found me.’

Aggie helps her up. ‘Sorry I hit you.’

‘You’ve done it before. That’s twice you haven’t killed me.’

‘What the hell is going on?’ Zav finally says, having stood uselessly around with his mouth open.

‘Long story,’ Anna says, smiles at him, her eyes the shape of dark almonds.

He blushes.

‘Oh, please,’ Aggie says.

He rubs his face with his hands.

The three of them sit round the table.

‘Some shooting up here, too?’ Anna says, points at the bullet hole in the floor.

‘Just a little game,’ Aggie says. ‘To get him to talk.’

‘He does seem a little shy,’ Anna says.

‘So, this story,’ Zav says. ‘What is it?’

‘She was meant to kill me,’ Anna says. ‘A long time ago.’

‘A housemaid killing someone? Unheard of,’ Zav says, leans back, folds his arms. ‘This I have to hear.’

Aggie glowers at him. ‘Nothing to tell.’ She remembers the bullet exploding through Anna’s shoulder, Anna turning and running, scrambling through the forest, further away from the house, the mentor hissing chase her, chase her down, she mustn’t get away, and sprinting after her, ignoring the branches slapping into her face, ripping the skin from her face, exposing the wounds underneath, and yet not trying to catch the girl she had recognised before she’d been told to pull the trigger, the girl she recognised from the corridors in the old house, the girl whom she’d seen playing chess with the mentor, the girl she’d seen flying through the air out of the window of her room, turning somersaults before Aggie could even walk properly. Even then she’d wondered how many girls the mentor had saved with those strong sinewy arms, those hands that she now realised could squeeze the life out of anything they chose, those green eyes whose only pleasure now seemed to be cruelty. And then she’d given up, had stopped running, had let the injured silhouette disappear off through the trees to wherever it might escape from this hell. And had thought of escaping herself, had put one foot forward, and collapsed as if some button on some remote control had been pushed to deprive her of power. And woken up in the dark cell.

‘Another time,’ Anna says.

‘Why were you sent?’ Aggie says, her voice sharply quiet.

‘To kill him’ Anna says.

‘Not me?’ Aggie says.

Anna shakes her head. ‘I didn’t even know you were here. I’ve wondered for so many years what had happened to you.’

‘Well, now you know. I’m a housemaid.’ Her eyes drive the message home.

‘Who sent you?’ Zav says. ‘And why?’

‘I don’t know,’ Anna says.

‘How did you get in?’ Aggie says.

‘You need to ask?’

‘Alright,’ Aggie says. ‘When did you get in?’

‘When you weren’t here. You didn’t set the alarm. Made it easier.’

‘Schoolboy error,’ Zav says.

‘Obviously,’ Aggie says.

‘I’d have got in anyway,’ Anna says. ‘We all know that.’

‘What now?’ Zav says.

‘You can make us two girls a cup of coffee,’ Anna says. ‘Time for a catch-up and some strategy.’

‘That black hole,’ Aggie says.

Anna nods. Smiles at Zak, the sweetest smile imaginable. ‘Go on then.’

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  1. Ren Powell

    25th March 2022 at 14:20

    I used to worry a lot about all my sentences beginning with I.
    The thing is, if if doesn’t and it is still my thought – the I is implied or I am making the assumption that I am speaking for other people as well. And that is just rude 😉
    So I stopped worrying about it much. Sometimes if I think it looks too repetitive visually – I just abbreviate the grammar – swallow all the I’s.
    You’re good. Balanced. Generous. No worries about your I’s.

    1. Richard Pierce

      25th March 2022 at 16:17

      If I’m balanced, so are you. Yes, I like abbreviating the grammar, too. Always have. Dead Men is full of staccato. Like the white space, it divides the audience which can never actually be a bad thing. They’re all thinking. Just like we are. And at the risk of making us writers sound vain and like megalomaniacs, we do speak for other people. That’s why we write. 🙂

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