Beautiful, I Don’t Know and Love

I’m not sure what’s beautiful, but I appreciate it. What appeals to my senses might not appeal to yours, but I can’t be certain. The attraction I find to certain figures in the world … is it the degree of uncertainty that really draws my attention? The ‘who or what’s this?’ rather than the ‘that is’? Certainty makes me less interested, perhaps, because it’s an insistent lie. I can’t be certain. I lose interest in whatever I can’t trust; and I know I can’t be certain. Continue reading

Gentleness, Tenderness

This isn’t about my mother … this isn’t about harshness. Freud’s paper on Negation, one of the many reasons I find my jaw dropping when otherwise lucid individuals dismiss him as they would something found at the back of their fridge, suggests that my passion for gentleness and tenderness might have a strong connection to the lasting effects of my father’s ugly behaviour. Every time I find myself swooning at something like Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed’s pact to be tender (their decision not let themselves be frightened of anybody has a similar effect, but the best thing is her film with her dog playing piano) I’m in some way reminded that the brute Polish force of Dad won’t ever depart from these shores. Continue reading

Nothing There: A Cure for Writer’s Block and Other Things

It feels as if there is nothing there. There are so many things I could write about but the ‘something’ I am looking for hasn’t occurred to me yet. It’s not a bad place to start writing, but one where people usually stop. After all, what can you do if there’s nothing to do? Before I began this I could have written about David Cameron’s ‘arm candy’, whether there’s something anti-Semitic or anti-Islamic in all of the pig-presence in the news lately … but these were just thoughts in my head brought to me by some things I’d been reading, some conversations. Continue reading

Writing, First Thing

I like to start writing as early as I can, when I’m closer to the night. When I do I feel the brakes are off and anything can happen. If I don’t I find everyday realities, plausibilities and distractions claw in and leave me struggling to write anything I’d like to read. At the end of the day, when I ride the train home from London there’s a similar situation. Then, I’m letting go; letting the day that’s been slip through my fingers and, like dreams I suppose, some of the day resurfaces in what I write but often barely recognisably so.
        Just as I’ve woken most things feel strange, even the floor under my feet. I listen to something, uncertain what it is or where it’s come from: some birds, maybe, in a tree. A fox or the first train of the morning.

Punctuate Yourself

When I see someone coming towards me I get a sense of who it is, if I know her or him, long before I see a face. There’s something about people, their signature in the world, which I try to help people cultivate.
        I did something with a group of people last week, an exercise I’ve tried before and which always seems to help if there’s something troubling the sense of who you are. Continue reading

Touch

I was talking to someone about having to complete a form. It was the first one I’d filled in by hand for some time, and returned to someone who checked it, who looked at whether I was eligible for something, who sent it back to me with a request to fill in another form, which I then returned, signed, so it could be passed to another person, to sign and stamp and return it to me, so I could post it off to its final destination, an organisation I needed to join. The first form arrived in a manilla envelope. My address was written in small, spidery letters slightly offset from where I’d normally expect to see my name and address on an envelope. As soon as I saw the envelope I wondered … what was it about the process I was getting into that started with such a trace of humanity. I could almost sense a pulse. Continue reading