Darning (5)

They’re my walking socks. Skiing socks, warm but thin. And they are wearing out. Holes are appearing. It makes me sad. The loss of things one is used to. I mend them again and again. They smell slightly musty, like damp students, wet dogs. I darn. I do it quickly. It used to be an art. Invisible mending. An art. An art form. I think about the Bronte sisters ‘turning’. Turning clothes inside out so that they can ‘go another day’. Imagine. Such thrift. We just throw away these days. My MBT boots are going too. The sole and heel. They cannot be mended. I am sorry. Need to let go. Let it go. I think about ‘turning’, performing it on the tube.

I am fearful today. An existentialist fearing. Not real, baseless. I’m in no hurricane. Imagine that. My heart goes out to them, all lost. Everything lost. What can we do? I am with you. Hundred and eighty-five mile hour winds. We’ve had eighty, ninety here, I think. Sometimes I haven’t been able to walk, clinging to cars, to lamp posts. It is beyond us. Almost magnificent. We are small creatures, but ants on this world. It is not vengeance, just Nature being Nature. Surely? I watch the sea sometimes in the early morning, standing at the edge of the Perygyl. A moving, breathing being, careless, beyond care, it is not personal. A raging, a wildness beyond our understanding. What can we take from it? Humility. A righting of perspective? I feel for you truly. Truly. I fear for you.

It is such an eating away thing. An erosion of joy. The little things, eating away. There’s a crow on the roof outside my window. It is preening. What is it thinking? Does it think as we do? A beautiful day. It began with a beautiful morning. Early, 3 am and the moon was full. A precious light from the sky. No need for a torch. The water made silver. Me being buffeted. Alive. I like this time, just before supper. He is out with friends, talking crosswords and bollocks. I wait. Perched in this space, watching the crow. Or is it a rook? They are masters of the rooftops. Caw, cawing. Do they live in fear? What can I do? Is it a change of space? Of life?

I read about it on the internet. Don’t do it, he said, he moaned. He wants me to feel safe, not more frightened. Does that frighten me? No, not really. I want to know. To be in control. To know what is coming. The symptoms match. We shall see.

The sky is made big with clouds. Mountainous clouds. The echoes of life in the distance. No train whistle yet. I can hear someone’s radio or is it Margaret’s TV? She is deaf and has it loud. She watches quiz shows while eating her supper. Eggheads, Mastermind and University Challenge. I never hear her shouting out the answers. We did, we used to. I remember going to visit his mother in the home. Every room with a TV, a cacophony of voices. She liked quiz shows too, I forget the names of them. Yes, one was called The Chase, I think. He’d watch them with her, she in the bed, he in the arm chair, the girls coming in with the trolley offering tea, cakes. They liked him. Had a mattress ready on the floor for him, whenever you need it. And she, reduced to a doll, cadaverous, no teeth and a femur.

He will be home soon and I must away. The crow/rook has gone. The sun shines through. Off. Off with the sadness, the fear. Let it go. Go.

Mistake

Nothing is ever a mistake. Is that what she said? I paraphrase perhaps. It is a line from a film we’ve just finished. It’s called Evening. An oblique title. A movie choc-a-bloc with female stars – Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette and Glenn Close. It had its schmaltz certainly but also some really moving moments. Such as the all but last scene when Ms Streep arrives and lies next to the dying Ms Redgrave. Such class. Not another Meryl Streep film he bemoans, jokingly. For we both recognise the safety of being in her hands. Nothing is ever a mistake, says La Streep as she cradles Toni Collette’s face. Nothing is ever a mistake, she says to Ms Redgrave as she strokes her cheek. She had a whole life. A whole life. I am communicating this badly. The cinematography was luscious, colourful and it played into my dreams. Colouring them differently. I am a sponge. So open to the influence of others. The boundary between what is myself and another loses definition. And the gorgeous Harris, so cool, so enigmatic. I’m a sucker. I remembered our stars, he told Anna when they met by chance in the rain, his head turning to check his wife and child hadn’t noticed. Ah, let it go. Schmaltz, schmaltz. Anna was too perfect. Sometimes I cannot watch such bodies. I want the normal, the real. All those perfect teeth. He was once voted the most good-looking man, said the radio announcer about Terence Stamp during a programme about his school reports. He used to go truant, slipping out to go to the cinema. Class times two. He is and was. Still. I like to see age on the screen. The lines on Ms Redgrave’s and Ms Streep’s faces. Gorgeous. Enough. What about work?

We waited for a train. We waited in the café. Doing crosswords and drinking coffee till it was time. Sewing in a damp train station. Working the canvas. Some people noticed. He got some good photos. He is so generous. I like working with him. To direct, to show, to make manifest what I imagined. What will I do with them? A work in progress. Sequences. I like the sequences. And making it live. The sewing goes to pot. It is hard to see, to concentrate. Performing art is so often uncomfortable, but that tension, that dis-ease is good, I think.

Try not to get obsessed with it. I know they are in there. Let it be, even if I do have this hard ball of stomach. I’m on the way to getting better. That’s something isn’t it?

The rain was coming down so hard. My heart sinks. But I still go out. And then it is magical. Up goes the umbrella. It is warm. The rain is lines of light. The rush of water into drains, sparkling drops on leaves. The patter on my umbrella. No one is about. The wind gets up on the Prom. Down goes the umbrella. No Perygyl, too wet and slippy. Yr Hafod is still full. That’s nice, even though it will be pissy-downy all week.

We go soon and I find it hard to focus. So many bits to deal with. I am unsettled with leaving. More than ever. An age thing perhaps? And yet when we get there it will be difficult to pull ourselves away to return home. I am so blessed. Two weeks of rest and his company. A gentle time. The ebb and flow. And warmth and the light. I need that. Winter approaches. The leaves are turning. So be it. I will embrace the dark. Have I told you I am less scared in the morning? He told me he has a remedy for anxiety. Shall I try it? Herbal, its all herbal. He suggested Dandelion Root for the water retention. Maybe.

I don’t know where it is leading. An investigation with no real final outcome, perhaps. Would that be so bad? It is the doing it that matters, the being there, doing it. Like this morning. It feels alive, particularly when it captures people’s curiosity. Keep going onward. It will come. It will come.

Bacteria

It’s not what I thought it was. I think that I know my body. Am I so wrong? It gave me the heebie-jeebies. He called them parasites. Parasites in my gut. Well, bacteria really. The wrong kind. Bad bacteria. So he wouldn’t do it. It wasn’t worth it. He advised a lab test to find out. Find out which ones. Animals living inside me. Why not? We are but animals after all. Might I be cured? Is it possible? I was prepared to put up with the inconvenience. So be it? It is expensive, I shudder at the cost. But he is behind me. Let it be so. I am curious. What are they? They may have been there for years, for eons. Bless them. A host. A host to these creatures. No light of day. Not a sign of it.

The murky mist has lifted. Blue coming through the cloud. I was a little thrown expecting one thing and getting another. C’est la vie. I meant to write about my work yesterday. The tension was intense, it overtook me. My back a rigid mass of muscle, pulling my shoulders forward. I see the Brute tomorrow, she will loosen them. But how discombobulated I feel afterwards. Trippy-uppy I call it. Watch out. I am so lucky. All this healing. I’d like to offer it back. Can I? I baulk a little at the intimacy. She is non-plussed in her Swedish coolness. The only time I’ve seen her a little distrait was over the ordering of a new cooker. Where do you start? she asked. There’s so many.

We were early and had coffee, finishing off the crosswords. I do love him. We snap in the car, just a little over the directions. It is me, usually, stressed at being out of control, fear of being lost, being late. And yet, I am always early.

It’s my mind, it always does it. Says it. Is that it? it says after every work day. Is that it? And yet, I did, I achieved what I set out to do. I follow my plan. I set myself before the blank page, the blank canvas, the blank screen and write, create, make. I do it, religiously and yet it always finds fault. What is that about? Where does it come from? I remember feeling the same way as a child pre-school and during school. My work, my marks, my writing, my drawing was never beautiful, never sophisticated, never transcendent in my eyes. Why? I made comparisons always. With my sisters, with my fellow pupils, with my heroes. Why? Who had introduced the need to compare? Where had that compunction come from? Why wasn’t what I had to offer good enough? Can I ever answer these questions? He doesn’t think so. He sees my specialness, and tells me so all the time. Was it my parents? My mother was critical certainly, and I have her voice inside my head, and yet, I can understand. I do understand for she was the child of a critical mother too. It is just a repeating. That’s all. I can stop it. I can halt it. Now if I like. Like the bacteria, kill it with good. Simple, eh?

Pitter Patter

I expected rain so I took my umbrella. The drops were hardly discernible at first. I didn’t even put my hood up. I liked the feel of them on my face. The force increased building up to a steady fall. I put up my umbrella and listened to the pit pit pat. Pitter pitter pat. Is it a nice noise because of memories? Memories of childhood days with wellington boots, umbrellas and rainy-type fun. Did I have fun as a child? Did I recognise it as that? I loved coming inside from the rain, especially cold autumnal rain. Coming into a warm house, the seclusion of my bedroom, my precious safe solitude. I like being under the canopy of my umbrella. The safety, the protection it affords against the elements. Not much. The wind worries away at it, pulling and shoving. It withstands it. It is brave. It doesn’t take it personally, the wind is just doing what it does.

I’d never actually seen her before, though I’d assumed she was a she. Something about the knick knacks I can see on her windowsill, and that cosy kind of mess of a kitchen. Lots of stuff. She is often awake when I’m awake. In the early hours. I’d imagined she was a nurse. Did she think the same of me? Did she even think of me? My studio window looks straight down onto her window. Her lights were on and there she was bold as brass naked except for a pair of pants. The yellow light hanging over her head, her distant figure too far away to distinguish features, the darkness outside. A life being lived, unaware of the observer. Hopper-esque. Just like a Hopper.

Radio 4 Extra are doing re-runs of Down Your Way. Pam Ayres is hosting this particular tranche. She was in Cornwall. So koselig. There is no edge to her, she is of the people, approachable, natural, kind, I think. She interviewed the late Peter Skellern and a man whose family had lived in an old railway carriage. Think of that. I was a child who loved small spaces. I’d wanted to make our downstairs bathroom my very special home. There was a car down on the Prom this morning with a home on its back. Just like a snail.  A wooden, shed-like home, perched atop of the car. Lovely. With a little chimney too. Imagine carrying your home with you wherever you went. Good and bad. Escape but with baggage. I fantasise about a motor home holiday. There are downsides but oh the freedom, that joy in setting out.

We can we do? The newsreader played a clip where the journalist said that they were just sitting in the road not moving, traumatised. What can we do? I picture myself, sitting down next to them, in solidarity, in empathy, with compassion. What can we do? Manage our own sphere of influence. Be kind, be joyous, be alive to what is.

And my anxiety is at times an embarrassment. It pricks away at me. Comes in on waking. My back crawls with it. A tight, rigid mass of constriction. Will he help tomorrow? I believe so, though in the end it is up to me. Good things come through, positive, loving voices. Just do the work. Let the fear be. Her essay is lovely. I am honoured. I love the detail, So rich. There is no fear in her account of my practice. Who is that woman? So strong. So fearless. Fear-less. Fear less. Try joy. Try.

Seminar

We’ll have a seminar, he said. Yes. What shall we talk about? Let’s wait and see.

The sun had been shining, so we sat outside. The hotel was busy. A few families and couples clustered under umbrellas or playing pitch and put. The clouds had come but we braved the outside. I had my wrap and he his jumper. What do you want? Breakfast tea. What kind? English. And a large pot this time. With two teabags. Yes, the skinflints. One bag between two, I ask you. Whatever happened to a bag for the pot? I love the metal teapots though. Heavy and much battered with lids that make a clank noise as they drop. He brought it out on a tray. A nice, fresh-faced boy. New to the job. A woman in the adjoining set of chairs was asleep with her mouth open, her husband was talking into a mobile. He tuts. Stops talking to listen. Let it be. Let the world be.

We talked of love. Not our love, but my other love. We dissected it, disembowelled it. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. She is a stranger yet there are these feelings. Are they real or constructed? Can it stand such scrutiny? There is no one to blame, it is awkward for all concerned. There is no real precedent. I want to do what is best. I want to extricate, remove my ego, my fear of judgement. To get to the nub of it. How should I proceed? Back off, leave her to it and just be here if she needs me. She asked if I would take an active role. Would I wish to? Do I know how to? We don’t know her, don’t know him. It is all so foreign. A foreign territory. And yet, there is this warmth. I feel it when I am with her. What is that? A care, a yearning for something other, something once expected, something my body expected, my heart?

We talked it through and I felt stained by it. His mouth sets. He believes she is unkind. He wants her to treat me well. I want him to like her, love her. He glowers. The sun comes out. Sun on our faces. Hot. We are high up. Looking down. I want to be kind. To be good. I let it out. I want to tell the truth. But what is it? Who has it? Mastery of life is not about control, he writes. My life is all about control. I know this and understand it. And I have compassion for it. Stepping out of it, I see the possible peace. Just to let it be. Do nothing. Be actively passive, embrace what comes without second guessing the outcome. Found out what you want. What you truly want.

I want to make my way being authentic. Make my living doing what I do best. Is that too much to ask? I want to be kind in my dealings with others, to understand my reactions, to behave with the right motives. To love, to be open to love and loving. I have so much. I am so blessed. I know this, I feel this. I watched the butterflies on the buddleia. So few these days. There used to be so many. They are flutterings of joy. Cabbage whites. There used to Red Admirals everywhere.

The sky was clear again this morning. No falling stars. No spillage from the clubs, except at the end. Walking past The Angel, a group of people tumbling out. My folks, one man with an American accent was saying to a very large man in baggy shorts, my fucking folks….

The I newspaper are messing around with their puzzle page. I’d got used to it. I do it over breakfast. Now there is a jigsaw Sudoku. I managed it today. I even liked it. And now tomorrow there’s another new kind. Don’t they know we are creatures of habit. Puzzles give one the opportunity to impose order. Make it fit, make it work, solve it. I like that. When I don’t manage it I am wobbled. Mastery of life is not about control. Do I want to master life? I want peace, is that mastery?

I stood by the hydrangeas again this morning just to hear the silence. The distant generator still hummed. But that was all, everything else was sleeping, silent. The flower heads rustled. The odd house light is on as I walk. I like that. I think about those people under those lights. Are they insomniacs? Are they off on holiday? Are they nurses returning after a night shift. I feel an affinity to them. There is such quietness at that time. I pass a man on Llanbadarn Road. A black man in snappy jacket. I look him full in the face and smile. He is awkward, eyes down.

Thoughts of new work, new ventures with film excite me. I feel the joy of it deep down in my stomach. Step by step, I want to keep the joy, the playfulness alive. Don’t crush it, keep it from the judgement. For now. For now.

Ladies & Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen, the barman of The Angel is calling out, I’m shutting the bar. It is 3.55 am. I am walking past the pub’s open door. The yellow light of its interior is spilling out onto the pavement. It is virtually empty. Just a few voices. Lip Licking is shut, so it Pizza Lush. No taxis either. Do they know when the kids will be out? Or is Thursday night traditionally quiet. No wind this morning. The sea just lapping. Colder though. The Times did threaten frost. No mist though. The sky was clear. All the stars were out. I watched them from the Perygyl. Standing still for a moment. One seemed to be moving. Not falling but sliding across the sky. A plane’s tail light perhaps. I think of my family. All over the place. Parts of me, dislocated. London, Yorkshire, Copenhagen and now one on the way to Greece. And another in Cornwall. Separate. Known yet not known. Unfamiliar. I cannot know how she lives. I want to. I want to be a part of her. Detach. I shall practice detachment. I often think of the tale of the monk. He was given her, then she was taken away. He accepted it all. Maybe it is more about acceptance than detachment. Detachment feels like not caring. But the caring isn’t straight forward either. It’s because I care, she’d say. Call me, I want to know. I can’t sleep if you don’t. It felt heavy, a burden. Her caring became my burden. Do I want that for her? I don’t know. I don’t know what to do for the best. I shall bide my time. Wait for the wisdom.

I felt better yesterday. My back lost its tightness for a while. Such a relief. What was it? What made the change? Ideas. I worked with ideas, I let them come and I am excited by them. I will try the technical stuff – go into my fear of it. Make it mine. I watch some how to videos on YouTube. Funny. He kept sneezing. And then the one about Jesus. Made me laugh. Out loud, at work. The sleepy man came in again to talk about flooding in Texas. Forty inches of rain. Poor loves. To lose everything. A deluge. Such extremes. Has it always been so? Feels like a punishment. Biblical in proportions. No. Never. It’s just nature. Doing her thing. It isn’t personal. Look at the beauty of her.

I am more at ease in the dark. I accept it. Let it enfold me. I stand by the hydrangeas in the Castle Park, watching as the breeze jostles them. Silence. I wait for the silence. Never completely so. There is a generator hum, an oystercatcher calling, and the rustle of the petals. Still.

My knees are healing. I am still a little stiff. Soon to be fifty-five. I stride forth wanting to be strong. Someone called out to me on Great Darkgate St. No idea what he said. I smile.

Soldier striding. The Pelican Bakery’s door was propped open it’s warm smell of life guiding me home.

 

Lightning

He had warned me. Perhaps I ought to take my umbrella, I’d said to him the afternoon before. I’d forgotten and when I’d looked it was bone dry outside, so I left it behind. There’d been another warning, when I’d been upstairs preparing breakfast. A flash of lightning. It lit up the whole room. A white, bluish light. A shock. I felt unsettled, edgy. I walked into the dry air, slightly cooler than of late. It smelt good. It smelt of dew laden fields. Then they came. The raindrops. Heavy, large drops, splat, splat. It was a deluge. I got soaked. I kept walking thinking about when my waterproofs would fail and begin to leak. It didn’t take long. My boots, my gloves, all sodden. So be it. There is beauty in it. The raindrops caught in my torch light, under the street lamp glare. And then stripping off once home, my skin cold and warm at the same time. Getting dry, warm and cosy. Rain calms the thoughts. It becomes a focus. I walk fast into the puddles. My boots, it seems, are not that waterproof.

I write this before I go to work. Another early. The same guest as yesterday though this time he is coming in to talk about Texas and Hurricane Harvey. Such devastation, it is unimaginable. I hear the survivors or should I call them victims talking on the radio. So upbeat, so strong. It is the American way, it seems. I hope they get the help they need.

We ended up talking. I went to bed later than I’d intended. The grief is still there, raw, hurting. I think it is the not knowing what to do for the best. I find it hard to separate what I ought to do for her and my own feelings of need, or expectation. I call and there is nothing. Just nothing. A continuing silence. It is just like her, the other her. Letter after letter, nothing. Just nothing. Making me feel like nothing. Do they not want me? When I see her there is much warmth, love, I think. And then this endless, interminable silence. Show me what to do, for the best, for her and for me. He sanctions non-action. It hurts him, the what he calls, unkindness. Is it unkind? Is silence, no response, unkind? I cannot understand her, get inside her head. We do not share the same rules. She lies, I know this. I have done of course, I am no saint. But she is so trick-sy, my mercurial girl. So elusive.

The clouds build up outside. Mountains in the sky. Daylight is good. Things feel better in the daylight.

We will have another seminar, he said. Talk about everything. Yes. Tea and talk. No work. Escape.

I’m re-reading Sara Maitland’s Book of Silence. She writes about hermits, a particular one who lived in a cave in the desert. He made, he created for no one – all year making, only to burn it all at the end. Make destroy, make destroy. It was about the industry, making to keep sane. Not the product, not the object. Just the doing. It needs thought. It goes against the grain. We shall see. Talk and tea. Talk and tea. Tomorrow.

School Reports

They’re doing a repeat on Radio 4 extra featuring celebrities talking about their old school reports. It was the turn of Wendy Cope this morning. She wasn’t good at lacrosse, apparently, nor indeed any sports, she liked music but found Wordsworth boring. All that judgement at such a young age. Could do better, might amount to something. How can they know? Those dried-up women at my boarding school, spinsters a lot of them, virtually a cloistered life for them. I can have empathy. It can’t have been easy, all those high-spirits to curtail. Judgement, it is a stone in my heart.

You should do a PhD. a friend said over lunch. I was tempted for a while, for an hour, for a day and then I thought no. Not again. Why would I do it? What for? God knows I don’t need another qualification. And I don’t want to teach in academia. And all that money, for what? Would it stimulate my creativity? Perhaps, it would depend on my supervisors I suppose. But then there is the writing. So cold. So severe. I think of, no I see them in my mind’s eye, all those judges. They are men mostly, vague figures, unsmiling, cold, harsh, logical. I love to write but not in that way. I write to clarify not obfuscate. And I did start one. I loved going to Dartington. I loved its wildness. I loved its wackiness. I loved walking along its roads. That sweep of countryside. I did make some good work but having to then contextualise it, box it up, contain it, I struggled with that. To be fair her suggestion was a result of my bemoaning the fact that I had nowhere to place my current work. And that’s true but maybe that is where my investigation, my research should be begin.

The question is do I really need to exhibit, to show what I do whether it is my writing or my making? It is all a question of changing my point of view. I’ve been shown a particular way of approaching creating, that’s all. You make you show, you write you publish. It is always for the consumption and judgement of others. Else it is not valid. I went to art school, university to validate my creativity. Do I need to keep repeating this process. Might I just make and write for myself. Why just? Isn’t that the most important thing. Can I finally let go of the sense that I am not good enough? Can I?

We were fractious again yesterday. A phone call. I struggle with them. I struggle to be myself. I feel fraudulent. He sees my difficulties and snaps. They are not kind to you.

Rain this morning. I walk under the canopy of my umbrella, it is nice. Nice to hear the rain.

I’m wearing my second-hand dress. It reminds me of one from childhood. It has a beautiful covered button at the back.

Listened to the second part of Bernard MacClaverty’s novel. I want to write it out word for word. Sublime.

The boom boom of a car stereo followed me round town as a walked. Ghostly. Two lads in baseball caps. A small car.

Work has just called. Have to go. Tomorrow. A bientot.

Wasps (7)

It was a fretful kind of a day yesterday. Sundays often are. Even though I cherish them – that stretch of time in the studio. The wasps were a symbol of it. That inner fighting. Snappish. He was also unsettled. It’s bank holidays. Always. He hates them. Hates the influx of people, often those he feels obliged to visit. He wants the same old, same old. No obligation. No chit chat. So do I, mostly. Though sometimes I want change, a shake-up but always on my own terms. Always. Yes, the wasps. He wouldn’t go down to the Prom. Not today, not with all those people. It’ll be heaving. No to all other suggestions so it was the University again, to sit outside the closed café. Fine. But there was no sun.

First it was a bee. Don’t flap at it. Then a wasp and then another. I’ll be fine if I keep still. Stop flapping. It was me they were interested in. Was it my perfume? I heard them in my ear, then they encircled my arm. I felt them crawling along my flesh. I wanted to be still. Let them fly away. He wanted to help. It made me edgy. She’d been the same. We’d egg each other on my sisters and I, no not egg but stir up hysteria. First one then another running down the beach. Don’t run, she’d call. Stand still. They won’t hurt you. Our panic made her cross. She had little patience with it. Then she’d swot at them. Sometimes crushing them between her fingers. I didn’t want the killing. It was a case of see what your silliness made me do. The responsibility had been ours, not hers. They were big then, and agitated. Yesterday they were small wasps, sleepy, irritable, disorientated. I didn’t want the killing nor the stinging. I gave him his pocket Archers and then we left. Dissatisfied. The sun hadn’t shone. (Pocket Archers – a pocket-sized version of the Omnibus with voices. He likes Joe Grundy best. I do a kind of growling nonsense, impossible to tell what he is saying. He never listens to The Archers himself. Telling it back the way I do makes him laugh. But even that made me stressed yesterday. The stress of having to be funny. Sometimes I’m just not.) Sylvia Plath wrote about bees. Her father as beekeeper. I need to write about wasps. My mother. My sister blowing them from my face. Our last get-together before Dad died at my youngest sister’s place. Eating out on the patio. Wasps everywhere. Adults agitating over small children. They crawled all over me, my face, my ears, my arms. Stay still, she had said. And I did, though it was excruciating. Oh my god, my elder sister had said, they’re all over you. How can you? And my younger sister leaning over to gently blow them away. An act of love. And then way, way back the taking of the wasps’s nest. All the men from the estate. A posse. It took on mythic proportions. I wrote a story about it. I want to revise it. Sharpen it, hone it.

We talk to them at the checkout. I like to do it. I like hearing about their lives. One lives in a cottage a way away. She leaves home early. Before the house is awake? I ask. Yes, I only put the downstairs light on. No breakfast? No breakfast, she says. And today. Another lady, our favourite, telling us about her mother. She hasn’t seen her for twelve months. She’s the kind of woman who stops talking to you over nothing. Impossible. We were on holiday once and me Dad was cooking. Watch those potatoes, she’d said, they’ll boil over. Everything’s in hand, he’d replied. And that was it, she said. She wouldn’t talk to us the rest of the holiday. It was dreadful. She wouldn’t come out, nothing. I watch her face as she talks. Trying to read her experiences. She is sanguine but it must hurt, mustn’t it?

A quick burst of work. It’s something. A busy morning. A professor of law talking about migration. Scottish with a Russian surname. As thin as a rake, he’d said when I’d got back into the car. Town was heaving this morning as I walked. The clubs had been open last night. £1 party at the Why Not? club. Three girls talking on a Prom bench. One saying, I lost weight when I first got to Uni…

Work. Now. A milky sky. Any chance of some sun?

Giggling girl

We used to do it all the time as children. So much so that my elder sister often used to wet herself. It usually started at times of stress, or when we were cooped up, inside or at the table or at a funeral. It would drive my mother to distraction. Not just the noise, the hysteria of it, but the fact that it kept her out. It was private mirth belonging to our childish world. She was doing the same. The dancer that came into the studio to do various interviews. She came in with her co-star and they, she, giggled all the way through it, pausing only to talk. They all reckoned it was because she was enamoured of him, he, after all, was making her laugh with his ‘snap chat’ antics. We could hear them in the office, through the external speaker. It was a high-pitched squeal, rather out of control. Giggling like that is exhausting and what a come-down when it is over.

The other morning we were having coffee in Ta Med Da before work. We’d seen several girls dressed up in their body-hugging finery walking through the car park. It was too early in the morning for night clubs and cold to be without a coat. There were more in the canteen, and boys too in fresh suits. He asked one of them. Oh, he said, its our summer university graduation. They’ve been here over the summer studying, a kind of high-brow summer camp. There was the very tall girl who flapped around noisily with the wasps, she must’ve been one of them. The boys looked like boys be-suited by their mothers, hair dampened down, the girls looked older with their bordering-on call-girl chic. To them it is beautiful. To them it is important. But they looked so cold.

We sat out there yesterday, even though it was shut. Avoiding the hoards down on the Prom. Quiet. I watched a magpie. The sun was warm. We talked of Bernard McClavery’ s novel, A Midwinter Break, that I’d listened to on the radio that morning. A gentle piece. We talked of Ireland and its troubles. I said how I’d found myself listening to it as writer, word by word, sentence by sentence.

I often see her as I walk in the early mornings. She is out on her own. Always the same sweatshirt top and plastic carrier bag. Usually she doesn’t give me eye contact but today she looked up. Is she an amnesiac. Is she going to the 24 hr SPAR?

It is never completely silent when I walk at that time. I eschew headphones and music for the paying attention to what is. From the town there are distant sirens, the hum of generators, gull screeching and kids shouting. Down by the harbour the boats’s rigging rattles, the wind winds and calls. Today there was the sound of a siren.

A police van was parked outside the Peer Pressure Nightclub. They were just watching. Two queues of people still waiting to get in at 3.30 am. A raucous crowd, much jostling.

He wrote about Julian of Norwich and her cell. To not move. To be willingly incarcerated. Another poet wrote about the meditators of Asia (I can’t be more specific because I cannot remember) being holed in for three months and three days. To be alone, to meditate, to think. I cannot conceive of not moving, of not striding out, of walking, shifting the body along. But that devoutness, that austerity, Julian only a had a bed) appeal.

I worked steadily yesterday, though progress is slow. I think about making that kind of work. How does it feel to work a hobby-ist project into something that mattered? The approach is the same, the concentration, the diligence. And though the doing of it, watching it develop is gratifying, the end result is disappointing. I want it to shine, to be luxurious. It’s not the thing but the process, don’t forget. But alas the desire to make the beautiful, the shocking, the amazing is so strong. Now I must be off to get on with my other project. The repeated sewing of ‘work’. Just to see where it takes me. It’s uncanny how what I listen to while I work imbues itself into whatever it is that I am making.

More Moth Radio Hour? I’d love to do that kind ofstand-up, to tell life-stories. I thought about my work as I walked this morning. I’d like to find a way of filming myself. Its a kind of discovering, an intense watching, trying to find what my practice is all about. What I am about. Hire a cine camera, perhaps? Can I set it up in my studio? Wait to see what it captures….perhaps in Super 8 where it goes all juddery. Think about it. Off now. Go.