Friday, August 18, 2006

A catch-up in my life...

Many laughs over Donut's last comment, who was desperate to know what's happened to me in the last couple of months whilst I've forgotten about this blog. And reading back over it, I do realise that I left anyone who comes across this blog on a bit of a cliff-hanger.

However, as is often the case in life, the hopes for the future don't turn out as we would have had them.

However, in the next couple of posts I write I will try and get you all up to speed on what's happened to me in the last six months or so. Before I start, many pardons if I write it in a slightly novelistic way, I've decided that I have too little time to write my much vaunted novel, so I'm using this little blog as the only outlet for my (considerable - of course!) artistic talents.


I started living in the little house on a hill, on the top floor across from Carly. I didn't sleep with Carly until much later - but we were already good friends when we moved in. We'd gone on a couple of day trips. One to Cambridge (a place I'd never been before, but was spectacularly beautiful - old buildings that loom into the sky carring on their turrets, it seemed, the weight of history). We were there to meet one of Carly's old friends - she went to Cambridge University to do her English degree. Her old friend was a don (I believe they call them) who had taught her.

Looking back, I definitely remember feeling a little bit awkward - a bit like the poorer cousing in the environment. The Don (she was a Professor - and I'll continue with my avoidance of real names by calling her Professor Darling), made us Dinner in her 'rooms' which was a suite overlooking King's College. Professor Darling is a tall blonde woman, with glasses perched on her nose and a slightly sixties way of dressing. We ate an elaborate salad with hazel nuts and rocket (amongst other things), and talked about English literature. I could pretty much hold my own - I think, but constantly I got the impression that I wasn't quite up to standard. I can only suppose it was my own paranoia.

The rest of Cambridge was nice, however - and was probably the first time that I'd even considered Carly romantically. Perhaps not - perhaps I'd thought of it before, but only in a general, nebulous way. We slept on the floor of her friend, and she was sleeping only a few yards away from me. We talked - as you do in these situations, as though slipping into a sleeping bag immediately regresses you to the age at which you invited friends over to camp in the garden - and she was open and - I don't know. I nearly rolled over as the night passed on and put my arm round her. I didn't - I don't know why. I suppose there was some - foreboding is too strong a word - but some doubt. Quite clearly now, it is a doubt that has been vindicated.

I'm out of time now - and I've got about a day into my catch-up of what's happened in the six months (well done, Wanderer!) At this rate I'm going to have the same problem as Tristram Shandy - too much life to write about in too little time.

Will post again soon.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Return after a long Hiatus

Well, well, well... I found this blog again - that I started earlier this year when I was full of life and full of hope.

Unfortunately not much has happened with my writing in the last six months or so. I have found myself a little flat in Deptford (for those of you who don't know it's in South London), and have taken up another boring job - doing bits of things in an office nearby.

Its amazing. At the start of the year I thought I would give up everything - run away to London. I thought I could make it. Money pressures took there toll, I suppose.

I will try and keep up to date with this blog now that I've remembered it, though I will only put on any information about my writing (which, as I say, incidents of which have been few and far between).

Maybe finding this blog is a good sign - maybe I will take up my pen again. I will try and do some writing tonight.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Quick Post...

Am in an internet café in Cambridge (of the hallowed academic fame). Not much time so will explain all next time I blog. Just to say that life is good and writing is going swimmingly!

I so want to write more but Carly is motioning me from the door. We have to go to a party! Ah, the life of a concerted socialite such as I...

Til tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Very Important Day...

Well, where do I start. Today has been an incredible day. I finally did some writing, which has made me feel a whole lot better - and thank you to those of you who have been providing me support through my three or four days of writing drought (even you, Bryan, who encouraged me with visions of my own mortality!). But that was earlier today, and I really need to tell you about last night.

Reading over my last blog I left you last night with the door bell ringing; it was, indeed, the Laird. He had to ring the doorbell because he'd left his keys in the hall of his house - he could picture them, picture precisely the place - and so had no means of access to his own house. I say his own house because, and I wasn't told this by any of the rest of the set, the Laird owns the house and is the landlord to whom all the others pay rent. I don't know why the others didn't tell me this before; they acted as if the Laird was just another young renter like them, trying to survive on a shoe-string and find enough cash to pay the rent.

The Laird has never, it seems, had to live on a shoestring in his life. Although his clothes and hair are messy - he has a shock of blonde hair that sticks out at all sorts of unlikely angles and which he is constantly, and unconsciously, pressing down onto his head - he has clearly got lots of money. Even if I didn't know about the mansion-like property in Wales and this beautiful little town house in the country I would be quite certain that he was prince-like in his riches. He has the air of someone who has money, he sits expansively and walks busily like he knows where he's going. If any of you know the British Conservative politician, Boris Johnson, the Laird reminds me slightly of him, 'though he doesn't have his constantly confused attitude. Rather he is very direct, very crisp; he speaks as though he's reading from a script (maybe something written by P.G. Wodehouse). He's also very funny.

The set in the house - me, Carly, Darren, James and the new man, the Laird - all sat up drinking wine. It seems to be a regular event in the house, these intense talking sessions that go on for hours over wine and - in this instance - ready salted crisps. The Laird picked them up between two fingers, holding them aloft like a dandy might flourish a pen, before slipping them into his mouth - not breaking the stride of his conversation as he did. He certainly is a character.

Obviously the Laird was a little surprised to see me - a stanger in his house - and I had to explain how I had been effectively homeless in London (because of my ridiculous attempt to write this novel) and that Carly had taken me in like the little saint that she was. 'Little Saint' was the Laird's name for her, 'My little saint...' he said it like a character from Evelyn Waugh. However, I assumed that the conversation was tacking towards my eviction from the house - and this is understandable. I have, after all, been on their sofa for over a week now and I am a stranger who none of them really know. However, this is not how it turned out...

The Laird pointed to me, mid-conversation, and summoned me to his rooms, he wanted to show me something - the others ohhhed at this. I had the feeling that there was a private joke that I was not privvy to but I followed anyway. The Laird's room was actually two - on the ground floor at the back of a house, he has a separate sitting room to the main one and an interconnected bedroom. In his sitting room is a stand-up piano and the whole place is strewn over with marked-over stave-sheets (you know the kind with four musical lines, that composers write music on).

The Laird sits me down and explains to me that he owns the house - this is how I found out - and that he is very particular about who lives in it; he's not an ordinary landlord who doesn't care as long as the rent is paid. I think this is going towards me getting a telling off, how I dare I come into his house! etc. but it doesn't. He says he collects artists, he's not very artistic himself, but he's always liked to be around people who could draw and write. He was always like that at university. So, he says, he wants to see my writing.

I say, "Excuse me?" and make I don't really understand noises. He says that he assumes that I would like to stay here long term - "You have nowhere else do you?" - and that he wants to see whether I'm the kind of person he wants around.

I'm getting a bit flustered at this point, because - as I've complained here enough - I haven't written anything yet. I tell him so, I tell him I've got plenty of ideas, but I haven't yet put pen to paper. He looks skeptical, like my tutor did in college when I gave some excuse about not handing in my essay on time. He asks me to tell me what my ideas are. I'm started to get that flushed uncertain feeling; I really didn't like the idea of telling him my ideas - what if they sounded stupid. Eventually, however, he got them out of me.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is: he was interested enough in what I was doing to let me stay! So I am now a resident (non-sofa) of the little house where I've been living. I asked the Laird how much the rent was and he said, "How much do you want to pay?" I said as little as possible (I've got no work as of yet and am living off my savings). He offered £40 a week. Now, I don't know if any of you reading this are from London, but £40 a week is a pittance - its like paying nothing at all. So I took it immediately. The Laird smiled his foppish smile and clapped his hands like he was applauding me. He has a very young face, I'd imagine he's about 25-27ish, but he looks much younger, almost like an adolescent.

So, now I'm living on the top floor - across the landing from Carly's room/studio. There's not much furniture in here; a bed without a mattress a desk that looks like its falling apart, but I can get used to that. So, life is good!

I'm getting to the end of my time, so I'd better go. And I haven't even got on to today, yet - when I started writing my novel! How exciting! I'll have to tell you about today tomorrow, and then hopefully catch up the time lag in my blog somewhere down the line.

Til tomorrow!

PS - I'm so excited about the future!

Monday, January 16, 2006

A few moments...

Hello, am quickly using Carly's laptop, so can't post for long. Exciting day here, for we are waiting for the return of the Laird - the mystery fifth house member, who is getting here any time now.

Another day without writing, but I feel less morose about it right now (and thank you everyone who sent messages of support - they were much appreciated!). I went back to my plan and addd some ideas, and I'm feeling much more positive. Will definitely start writing tomorrow.

Ah, the ring of the doorbell! I think the Laird may have arrived.

Til tomorrow.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

And the drought continues in the wasteland ...

Still, nothing has come.

I am now three enormously wasted days into the writing of my novel, a task which has involved absolutely no writing at all. Today I spent six hours in front of the blank leafs of my beutifully leather bound moleskine notebook and absolutly nothing. No flow of ink, no flow of words. I have, now, pretty much all the planning, all the thinking that I think I need. I have the structure - or at least as much of it as I think I can bear to put down, without completely tying my hands. Its scribbled on various envelopes and cadged pieces of paper (from Carley).

I didn't write any of the plan in my notebook; I wanted to keep its virginial pristine whiteness for the actual words. Its maidenhood has remained very much intact, its pristine whiteness unspoiled. I forced myself to stay in front of it, not to go off and drink coffee, from nine to twelve thirty and from one thirty to four. And I couldn't write a single word (or rather not a single word was left after I wrote shit and then furiously crossed out).

I'd call it writer's block, except of course that I have no right to call myself a writer - not yet, not in any sense. In fact, the last three days of writer's block, are nothing more than the continuation of the twenty-two years of my life prior to them; one long line of not writing.

I gave up in the mid-afternoon and took up the book I've been reading, V.S. Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival. Its very much about writing, itself, though from the other end, from the side of someone who has arrived who knows it all - Naipaul now has since won the Nobel Prize for literature. I don't know whether it's my current state but I found it wholly disappointing and not a little smug.

The whole thrust of Naipaul's argument is that he has found his voice, he has found what it is to be a writer - and that is to be true to oneself, to understand your surroundings and all the different cultures that have made up the writer's self (Naipaul is Trinidadian, Asiatic, has made a home in England, and he puts great store in this).

I just don't find it very interesting, I suppose, this obsessive need to anatomize the self; to try and enuciate the modes of being, to hold up personality as some kind of deity to be kowtowed to. Its not how I'll write. I'm interested in what people think, not who they are; nor am I interested in people's weaknesses but their strengths. The rest of Naipaul's novels (a good 300 pages) is an inventory, it seems to me, of the weaknesses of the people who live around - what makes them small, what makes them petty. Like Blake he wants to see the universe in a grain of sand, is intent on finding something significant in the minutae of life. But not all grains of sand are the same, some do not contain the universe, some are just grains of sand. Writing takes decision, it requires choice.

This is me speaking, someone who is yet to put pen to paper, lecturing the winner of a Nobel prize. I suppose I should write something before I start to cut down those who do, who can. I will.

Am at the internet café again, so I should probably make a move on. Things at the house are well. Exciting news, I am finally to meet the elusive, infamous Scout, the laird who is currently in his mansion in wales and is the fifth housemate.

Right, tomorrow I am going to write.

Til then.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Damn, damn, damn

It's been the second day in a row during which I have got absolutely nothing done on my novel, and I'm in a particularly bad mood - feelings of desolation and self hatred abound. I'm half-way through a book I picked up at a little 2nd hand place - V.S. Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival.

Maybe today I had my first twinge of doubt about what I'm doing. It's not a question of whether I have the sensibility or the talent, or anything so high-minded. Its just a question of whether I have the self-discipline to write something as big and scary as a novel. I'm spending my days walking around London, taking in the sights, drinking coffee in coffee shops - not writing. I go home (look, I just called the house where I dossing 'home') and talk to Carley and James - and I do not write.

Tomorrow I will definitely write. Also, I think once I'm done with a book I'll post a review of it. Reading has always been such a component part of writing for me, a means of inspiration and of hope, and I think it will be relevent to share with you what I reading, as well as what I'm (not) writing.

Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a less black day.

Til then.