Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Truth, Taking Back Words, Garden, and Being Here

I did start my diary, after all.  I’m not writing masses in it, just little flickers of things.  Buts that’s all that was needed, all I want for it.  Flavours, tastes.  I also started to do some limbering up exercises for this year, for more strenuous writing to come.  The whole Freewrites thing is the best way for me to start when I have no clue what I mean to say.  Sometimes you just pick a word and write a sentence or a paragraph, whatever comes into your head; other times, it’s a sentence that begins and you continue it.  Here’s some I did the other day…as Mr Hooting Yard would say, its perfectly ok that I am waffling on and have nothing specific for you today!

The truth is…
About as easy to come by as just thrusting your hand into a pool and catching a minnow, just like that.  It’s subjective, half the time.  How often can you get a fact (so and so died at such and such a time; so and so was born, at such and such a time) and it be all there is to the truth?  So rare.  Around the facts, like ivy or barnacles, come the interpretations, the emotional reactions, the liabilities of human perception.  Remember whoever it was in Hard Times, that described a horse by all its concomitant factual parts?  And it was all true, and none of it sounded anything like a horse at all? The truth is more than the facts.  Some days I feel I never should have had another baby.  Some days I feel it’s the best thing I have ever done – and both these statements are simultaneously (even) true.

I wish I had said…
Nothing.  I wish I hadn’t felt the jealous and rather spiteful urge to cut his achievement down to size.  Stanley stood next to me in the kitchen, one evening almost two summer's ago, the baby asleep on his shoulder (as he does so well), and looked pleased with himself, and very fatherly.  Almost as if it was all easy, and easier than he had imagined.  I felt proud, and jealous…of what?  The ability to get the baby to sleep?  Or just the freedom to think its this easy all the time…?  I thought of the 24/7 that is Fluffhead and me.  The way I get only snippets to be myself.  I heard myself say, with no forethought, just this blustery and yet cold burst of emotion: ‘You know you do Fatherhood Lite, don’t you?’  And I watched his face fall, just slightly around the mouth, and the eyes darken and shut off to me.  And the surprise, hurt.  All there and gone in a split second.  And I instantly regretted it, and hated myself. What a vituperative, nasty thing to say.  How unnecessary, really.  I apologized almost straight away, and then the more I thought about it, even more.  But he wandered off, as if it didn’t matter.  When, really, it did.  So what that I was tired, and my tired brain spoke…When I think of it, it makes me cry.  How nasty I can be.  I remember it to this day, with shame.

I need proof…
Again, that there is magic, I sometimes tell myself.  As if the frantic and tearful spelling that gained this house wasn’t a proof enough.  The fact that I now live here, in the nicest place I have ever lived.  In the country, nearly, in a tree lined street.  Where, when I walk down the hill to the villagey 3 main streets, I see thousands of trees in the background, behind the houses.  They are spongy with distance, having that haze and blur of things far away.  The houses are positioned between them, barely poking through – the trees win, clumping so vigorously.  Shades of green everywhere.  How can I need more proof, when I look out of my room’s window, and on one side is a quiet street, the houses white and orangey red, with painted beams in black – all so quiet, and so orderly.  And on the other side – the garden – wood pigeons, jays, magpies, blackbirds, sparrows, robins, woodpeckers, blue-tits, squirrels, cats.  The garden is alive with wonder, and I wonder at it all, and watch it change every day.  Apart from not being several acres wide, it’s everything I ever wanted.  And maybe I need to work up to my acres – learn to husband something smaller to begin with.  That would only be fair.  I feed the birds everyday almost, leaving them extra stale bread, or seeds.  The feeders are full of fat balls.  All are welcome.  Even the elusive fox that leaves its shit on the lawn at night, when we aren’t there to see.  The bread is left in the afternoon, and always still there when I go to bed.  It’s always gone in the morning.

It’s true, you know.  It’s easier to see magic in the countryside.

I went outside and…
There was no longer a yard, or an inner London street, stinking, loud and overlooked.  There was the garden.  Wide and surrounded by hedges and trees.  The three firs, a triad of dryads, guards and sisters.  All is hushed beneath them, and bare, except for the ivy and borage, which creep quietly.  The cherry tree, majestic and deeply secure; its roots go throughout most of the garden.  The holly tree, which is shaped like a perfect spade in a deck of cards.  It hides its trunk, the leaves gather so low.  They are the tree, holding its own perfect form – and the shiny and dangerous leaves, with their dangerous berries, are all you can see of the tree.  I had to get on my hands and knees to see the trunk properly.  There’s an area under the tree that a small child could sit (were he fearless concerning bugs), and have his own private world.

I sat outside on the lawn yesterday – when the day was sparkly and not overtired looking, as it feels today, and I just watched the trees.  I froze, but all was so clear.

For the first time ever…
I might feel like I am somewhere that is actually home.  Since Grosvenor Hill, I haven’t felt that – and never as a grown up.  As a child, you always more or less accept where you are – and if I have to be in London, the City, or Mayfair (how lucky was I, daughter of a roving housekeeper?), were the two locations worth being in.  They had enough interest and seclusion at the same time.  But now – out of London.  And do I miss it?  No!  I miss the galleries, museums and the shopping, a bit.  And Leicester Square, so easy to get to.  But I think I will simply appreciate them more, now I have to go to them deliberately, and make a big deal about it.  Like I will do later this week, when I have to go into town to go to hospital.  For the first time ever, I come home, and can’t believe how lucky I am.  I am constantly thinking it, and saying thankyou, to something.  Something.  Something.  It’s like I am stepping into my life, just gradually, but this is the location to do it.  There’s space for change, and I can feel it.  I need to take it, and to be my life now.  Not just watching and waiting.  Even though it’s difficult now, with Fluffhead being so much of my time and life, I still need to try and accept and do it now.  This life – for the first time ever, no longer about to begin – but: begun.  What an honour!

It surprised me when…
My nan died.  As it did when she told me, years ago, that my childhood memory of her eating oranges every day, the house always smelling of them, was not true.  That it was something she did for a couple of months and that was all.  Yet I remember it as an aeon of tradition, a solid fact.  And when she had a stroke, and wasn’t herself anymore, and then died shortly after, it was as if this could not be true.  When these things happen, I think people go into another plane, another dimension.  Life is so fervent and strong, and vociferous, here – and when people get very sick and start to die – they are in contravention of the laws of here, it seems, to me.  They are trespassing, breaking a law, a rule, a way of life.  They make a hole.  And they slip through, to another place, where drifting and seizing death is a more fluid thing, a thing always possible.  There it makes sense.  But here, always a shock.  Trouble is, there breaks through to here, all the time, at the drop of a hat.  There is here.  Just a flip.  Not even an accident.  Here all the time.  It’s just our juicy brains, crammed full of ideas and pictures and zinging with electricity that refuse to see how such an amalgam of life can be turned off, just like that.  But it can.  Step on a bug, accidentally admire the garden, with your toddler in your arms, and squash a huge snail that was minding its business, with your sightless big foot.  The things that happen to us are no different.  No sense, mostly.  Just are.

It was no use pretending…
That I was going to live forever.  The thing about living in the country, is suddenly you are constantly faced by the cycles – by the living and dying nature of everything.  Things change all the time, grow big overnight, wild, out of control, rampant.  This is the country: the outside tries constantly to come in; sometimes you let it, sometimes you don’t (I live with the mousetraps now).  To an extent, you feel yourself warring against all these other life-forms (plant and animal – not sure I am warring against mineral, as such?), jockeying for your place where you are.  You miss ALL this aspect of things in the city.  In the city, man has won – and odd, that being the case, that he has created for himself such an ugly grey wasteland, in many areas.  Why?  So many colours, and we have chosen to replicate an overcast day.  And then spray swearing all over it, and upset words, angry words.  We yell, and yet no longer speak; so many, and many do not see each other.  Here, less pressure for space means more likelihood of eye contact.  And if you watch the ground, there is no escaping where you are here: dead plums, dead cherries, dying crab apples, all that is not consumed falls to the ground and dies, slowly becoming the earth again.

A long time ago…
I dreamed of unicorns in my secret valley.  The place in my mind where I have limitless landscape, and created worlds of space; an Earth in my head.  Thus were the Lands begun, and I did not know it.  Here, with me, like another dimension of spherical perfection, they are, ever changing, ever the same, ever since.  Everything I could ever want is there.  And yet, when I visit, I spend most of my time in the porch of an empty potting shed in the middle of a vast summer meadow, with my cats nearby.

Still I dream, and why not?  Why not here, where one of my dreams has come true?  Surely that is a powerful place for dreaming to be done, on the site of a wish already fulfilled daily.

A long time ago, I dreamed.  I still dream, and still decide what is to be done.  The little girl BlackberryJuniper, holds hands with a little long haired boy, and two more small ones trail behind.  We stand on the edge of forever, the edge of it all, and we watch and decide what comes next.  We sleep and dream, and hug and feel the warmth of life with love in it.  The unicorns watch when they do, and trot away when they don’t.  They have the whole world to roam in, so they do.

I turned the corner, and there, coming towards me, was…
Alias Octa.  This is many many moons ago.  Nineteen years now.  I hadn’t seen him in over a year then.  I remember only that he blanked me totally, proving what he had said about not even spitting on me in the street if he ever saw me.

I sometimes wonder, what happens to me if I fulfil my dream, write, publish, and I am suddenly a bit prominent for a short while (as that is the way things go).  And there he would be, in the media somewhere (as he is), hating me, wishing me dead, in the back of that stubborn Taurean head (as at the front of it, he would imagine he wasn’t thinking of me at all ever).

The idea, knowing that someone out there hates you with a passionate commitment to that emotion, no intention of ever forgiving; ever viewing you as anything other than a slug…well…you can’t worry about them, can you?

I don’t dream of him at night anymore, hardly.  I don’t dream of him forgiving me; or being my friend, or being together with him as if we never broke up all those many years ago, so justifiably.  For years I dreamed these kind of alternate reality dreams.  I don’t even dream of seeing him down the street, with his family (who are all lovely, and good for that) in my mind.  No interaction at all, just the knowledge that he is ok. 

Though I feel him sticking to the edges of me like that sticky fluff that used to end up being over everything in Paddington, because of the Westway outside.  I, and everything, was never really clean.  Always scummy, always dusty, always fluffed.  Grey and sludgy.  Love shouldn’t be like that.  It shouldn’t glitter and glisten and sparkle you for a year, then turn into grey sludge.  Glue of the worst kind, barely done being dead animals, still lumpy, still showing hair.  Shouldn’t, should it?  Not right.  He went places maybe he should not have gone, and found out what I should never have done.  And it smeared us both, Alias Octa and me.  And maybe we will always fight to clear our eyes from the sludge that it left, never quite seeing clearly. 

Or maybe we are victorious.  Maybe our eyes are clean.  It’s just that other idea – the stone in our pockets that is always there, and sometimes we wonder what that weight is, and pick it up, and are downcast to remember.  One day, maybe, we can set the stone aside.  Throw it into the sea, or set it down, simple, in the garden.  Where nature can do to it, what she does to everything.  Claim it, grow over it, change it, use it.

Maybe I will be brave enough to try and set it down one day, and not keep fetching it back as punishment for myself.

That smell reminds me of…
The first proper planned rituals I ever did.  I opened one of Alias Troubadour’s boxes that he had repacked, of mine from the old life in Paddington, and the smell just flowed out.  I couldn’t discover which thing in the box smelt so beautiful.  But it was so familiar.  It was nights shut up in the bedroom at Paddington; the others not allowed to interrupt me. 

I would be gone about 2 hours usually.  At the end of the bed was the bookcase that was positioned quite high.  It wasn’t quite steady, one of Troubadour’s knock ups from stray wood.  It was my altar there, much bigger than what I have here.  Covered in a pashmina, whichever relevant colour.  I would stand on the bed, or squeeze between the bed and the altar, and cast the circle.  Finger, or wand.  I always used to do too many spells in those days.  I had to plan out the rituals carefully, and refer to many books (and have them to hand) because I always crammed so much in.  I was so eager and hungry.  I wanted so much change. I wanted to feel the energies flow, of so much magic.  (I like to think I am better these days, mostly only one spell, well planned and thought, and written; mostly there are hardly any spells now except in emergencies.  Now it’s all about balance and integration, trying to feel and understand the web and move within it.) 

It was hope, the discovery of power of myself, of my mind.  It was the idea change could occur, made a real intention with symbols, an enactment of a reality to come, to be, that was already, somewhere.  I called it.  I told a story, with gesture and action, with my props, each meaning something.  I told myself my future, and believed it.  And so it came to pass. 

One summers day…
I lived here. My life finally began. 

1 comment:

  1. pre-where you are now, not always very happy and increasingly so towards the nearly where you are now, Wendy.

    post-where you are now, a tired, skint but very, very happy Wendy