Snail, Feather & Fear

I woke from dreams about making lists and various characters from The Woman in White. I’m surprised I’ve not yet dreamt of Laura’s time in the asylum. It was harrowing, as was her mostly mute endurance of it.

I’ve begun reading John Berger’s book A Fortunate Man about the rural doctor John Sassall. I listened to the radio adaptation of it a few weeks ago and was so moved by its beauty and compassion that he bought me the book. I savour it, slowly. Do you know that John Berger is 94? I said to him. No, he’s not, he said, he’s dead. Is he? Perhaps I remember reading of his death. I am sorry for that. I want to read all that he wrote.

I trod on a snail the other morning. The crunch of its shell under my walking shoes went right through me. I am sorry, I whisper, I am so sorry. I can’t see them in the dark as they make their long voyage across pavements. I try to avoid them. I do not want to take a life, any life.

There was water under my loo last night. There is a leak. I think it is the cistern. I dreamt that our new dehumidifier was leaking water and I couldn’t staunch the flow. Then I dreamt of my cousin. He looked tired and world-weary and he offered me some money. I’m alright, I said. I’m alright.

I saw something white in a window at Alexandra Hall. A tiny thing. It was jangling. I thought it was a butterfly caught in a cobweb, and trying to pull free. But it was a white feather, caught yes, but being blown by the breeze. Another white feather floated down before me yesterday as I walked. Some people think they are angels.

A nice day yesterday. I was more peaceful with my work. And I listened well. Mark Bonar was in another radio play, this time about a young, gay man longing for Hawaii. ‘I’m scared,’ he says to himself, ‘is admitting to being scared the beginning of courage? I’m frightened of everything, particularly my work. I am fearful of writing of making of being. Will I ever be good enough? I try. I know this. I try. And sometimes there is peace in the sitting quietly, the trying, the being with the work. The sewn words are small, but there is grace in them. I think about art as gift, gifts to others, can I do it? Can I make it happen? Where I bear witness and make as part of the process?