ignis, glacies et pertinacia

Posts Tagged ‘caustic culture’

Mixed tapes a masterpiece

In The Waste Posts, Unforgiving Minutes on February 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

In Capel Curig a week or so now and struggling to find a routine. I’ve done no writing for over two weeks now, I’m sure. Nothing of any value in any case. Plenty of ideas. Ideas are not a problem. The trouble is I’ve not been able to establish my priorities or the habit of working on a particular story. It’s the old story then. And that’s the problem. Now that I know how much I struggle with consistency of output and priorities, I struggle to believe I can do it – too many bad experiences over the years, too many hopes shattered – and so I can’t even begin. Next to me is another fresh book for me to read. Another compulsive purchase, this time from one of the many oh so exciting bookshops in Bangor, a University Town, The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor. Two boxes full of books and I have to buy another. And then another, last time, a book by Peter Matthieson. And yet I know that even now as my Dad is cataloguing my books back home, writing their names, ISBNs and authors into a database I’ll never use, barely any of them have been read to the last page. A decent minority of them have been read beyond the first chapter. And then others into the twenties and thirties. Pages that is.

Scarcely a week in, having come into this shared house and dared to display my typewriter from the first night here, I started a new novel. And I called it that. It wasn’t a short story. It was a novel. It now sits scrumpled in the typewriter which I haven’t dared use but once, and under it.

It strikes me again and again here how easily a man like myself can learn not to enjoy the things he enjoys. I could love walking in the hills, or walking in general, but then to be surrounded by men who love motorbiking and climbing, I struggle to persuade myself it is not a feeble waste of time.

The case is not helped, perhaps, by the fact that many of my pleasures are ambiguous to me. I’m not sure if I enjoy them, or I tire of them at least as often as I find pleasure in them. Jazz, which I’m listening to now, is one such. Reading, running, cycling. Certainly writing, are duties as often as they are pleasures. Some people are not born to be happy.
As I am not at the moment. I am in fact depressed. I hear it in my own voice, which I despise. I cannot believe in the possibility of closeness to others. I have friends scattered around the places I have tried to make home. In reality I am homeless. Often I am reminded of R S Thomas who I read of recently in a rare example of a book I completed (314 pages of it), who moved from place to place trying to find somewhere he fitted in. I will be here for a while, and I will not fit in. Not really. Not at all. And then I will move on again. Perhaps I will make a friend here who I will keep at a distance as I move on and on again. Perhaps not. But that I will move on and on again seems inevitable to me. This, it seems to me, is the lot of the writer.

No television and little radio reception here. But jets rip through the valleys. In summer there will be motorbikes. This is the entropy of modern life. Read the rest of this entry »