Last week or so has been a bit scary on account of symptoms threatening with the usual push-me pull-you bully tactics. I’m well used to it but still after all this time I still have a fear of being clobbered into complete submission by M.E. I decided, unwisely probably, to work on a poem about all this and managed to produce something that was a) crap and b) suggested something about my relationship to the illness that isn’t true and makes me want to throw things. Of course poems don’t have to be true and we can take on as many supposed selves as we want, but this was simply unacceptable. It made M.E. seem a bit sexy and seductive, albeit in a dark and murky way (which is ok in different circumstances and don’t get me started on sex and death – really). To explain: I have often pictured the illness as a stalker figure who watches my every action with a kind of “every move you make” obsessive interest. He is a sweaty, toad-like creep in a suit who sits in his luxury but airless office where he monitors me on a screen and can bring on relapses at the push of a button, and does so for his own amusement or to remind me of who is boss when I do things that are a bit too much like living a life for his liking. This is not the stuff of erotic fantasy – not mine at any rate, but that’s the impression the poem gives, unsurprisingly with phrases like “touch of a demon lover who’s after your blood” and “poor Leda of the loosening thighs” (I told you it was crap), which I had intended to be so deeply and acidly ironic as to be purely sarcastic. Only once written it didn’t look like that at all. Even Keats would not have been half so in love with “easeful death” if he had known about this bugger. Anyway, I’ve binned it and have another inkling of an idea which I’ve begun to work on, so feeling in better humour now and for the moment a bit less clobbered. Planning a week’s island-hopping (words – doncha love ‘em) in Scotland with Mr. Signs in May. Yesss!
My son flies off to New York today to compete, with others from his uni who are part of a jazz a cappella group, in an international a cappella championship event at the Lincoln Centre. Then it’s back to maths and philosophy exams and the summer term. My daughter is busily involved with organising a festival in London for which she has also written a short play. My kids might guess, but will never know, the intense joy it gives me to see them living their lives.