Wednesday, September 7, 2011

free flame

I would like to tell you that I am writing this post from my sweet and slender new Mac Air book. I have one, it is up and running, lying with the cat on my bed, as it happens. But I don't yet properly know how to use it. I have to go to classes at the Apple place, not joking. For a not entirely modest amount you can get a year's worth of unlimited tuition, which is what I have got. But in the joy of the purchase (esp as not with my money but in return for certain services rendered - don't ask), and in an atmosphere of almost cult-like upbeat positivity (the shop assistants, if one can call them that, really believe in all things Mac and are radiant with the faith) it just seemed as though I would beam myself there and back, Tardis-like, whenever. Ha ha, I hear you say. Yes, and so I have not actually learned how to do the Mac word-processing thing yet. So this comes to you from my trusty Dell P C.

Well, so I am back, with a radical hair cut, short and spiky, all the old colour gone and the grey is - though I say it myself - pleasing. I was actually only away for a week, cavorting in Monaco harbour, the yachting playground of the disgustingly rich. The yacht that we were on was a mere dinghy in comparison with some of the floating hotels I saw. It was horribly hot and humid, but sailing out into the bay, swimming in the sea, was very good, and I slept well on the boat. But enough of that, I don't want to be telling you about what I did in my summer holidays. No, I have more pressing things on my mind.

Autumn is upon us, says the wind that has been tearing about in these parts, bending the boughs of the oak and ash. It is early, and summer didn't have much of a look-in, but never mind, it is here; and so it is time to review, re-dedicate and focus on what next because that is what I do in autumn, whether or not it seems practical because of the restrictions imposed by M.E. My plan is always, in any case, to be feeling, by whatever degree, better. If that is scuppered it won't be by me, but by M.E. So:

Out comes the new notebook and the intention of doing the Morning Pages again, because doing them is a good thing as long as one does not fall into a pit of writing only about illness and despair, and I do not intend to. My focus will be on process (creative) and the lovely incidentals of life in ordinary, which is good for the soul and for poetry.

The novel is progressing - so slowly that you can hardly see it move, and I've been so hammered with one thing and another that it hasn't been given much time, but still - the evidence is there in black and white word count that it is progressing, and it is still alive in me, the characters have not wasted away, as can sometimes happen when you don't give a story enough attention. A sizeable chunk is waiting to be transferred from notebook to computer. I still find composition best to do with pen and paper and even the beautiful Mac is unlikely to change this.

Not writing much new poetry. Can't be helped, I have promised the novel that it will get the best of my sustained attention. But there are readings coming up - one at the end of this month and another in October, and there is enough to be working on and revising.

Courtesy of lovely Kindle, I have been reading Titus Groan, the first part of the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake, a wonderful, fantastical, poetic creation. From time to time the narrator makes an observation that I take to be Mervyn Peake, writer and artist, speaking about how it is when mind is fully present and engaged in the creative act. Here, one of the characters, a young girl called Fuchsia, entering her secret attic place:

As Fuschia climbed into the winding darkness her body was impregnated and made faint by a qualm as of green April. Her heart beat painfully.

This is a love that equals in its power the love of man for woman and reaches inwards as deeply. It is the love of a man or of a woman for their world. For the world of their centre where their lives burn genuinely and with a free flame.

It is always a work in progress for most of us, I think, to reclaim or inhabit that world more fully. To this, with the strong breath of autumn, I re-dedicate myself.



Zhoen said...

I've come to love my grey hair, and would never dye it again.

I've been using macs since the beginning, only enduring pcs at work, and that only minimally. I have used Pages, but I don't do much word processing. Most of my writing is straight to blooger.

belinda whitworth said...

Love the phrase 'the lovely incidentals of life in ordinary' and must remember that in my own morning/afternoon/evening/not-quite-daily pages. As you say, it's so easy just to use them for having a good moan, but perhaps that helps too.
And on the important subject of hair, I too keep my hair grey, almost as a matter of principle, but my hairdresser is tempting me with purple touches. I may succumb.

belinda whitworth said...

Good to have you back - and I would like to hear about your holiday.
('It' wouldn't let me put this in the previous comment. I'd obviously used up the allotted space.)

Reading the Signs said...

Zhoen, your lovely hair has been one of my inspirations.

I need to get to grips with (Mac, not Morning) Pages.

Belinda, that's odd - you should be able to make the comment as long as you want. I've had some in the past that have been a whole post's worth of words. Hmmm.

Yes, the whenever-and-not-quite-daily-Pages :)

Perhaps I'll put up another post about holiday some time.

trousers said...

You always frame the creative process and the (ideal) mindset so well. It gives voice to what I'm trying to kick around. Thank you, Signs.

Reading the Signs said...

Trousers Herr Hosen - hello and thank you. It is very good to know that you are also kicking stuff around.

Mim said...

Good luck with the mac. I'm glad you joined the converts and believe soon you will have the convert's enthusiasm.

Always for daily life right now,

Digitalesse said...

I'm envious of your MacBook Air as my trusty old plastic MacBook is disintegrating on the outside and running on a borrowed hard drive.

I'm still persevering with the morning pages. Sometimes the illness thing does come up, but that's not necessarily a bad thing if that's what's on your mind at the time. Often by writing it down you can sort of get to the other side. I find that when the illness stuff comes up it can lead to a sort of workaround - what can I do within these limitations, what is realistic for me?

I'm going through a bit of that at the moment as my former classmates are forging ahead and getting themselves established as working photographers, building their portfolios or being offered places to study photography at Westminster Uni. I feel sad that I can't do any of this but I think that writing my pages has been useful so that I can work out what I CAN do.

Reading the Signs said...

Mim, I'm looking forward to learning about it. A cognitive challenge, but I have unlimited 'lessons' available.

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Digi,

The Airbook is a beautiful thing in all kinds of ways - but horribly expensive to buy right now.

I have struggled with the pages and illness. I would like it to work as it does for you but the truth is that I can spiral quite quickly into the dark heart of fatigue and get stuck there. Putting my focus somewhere else - when that is possible - is more likely to get me to that coming out on the other side place. It has been some while since I have got to page three - and that is often where the breakthrough comes. I wonder if you find this?

I can well understand your sadness.

Jemmy Farmer said...

Good luck with the Mac, and thank you for an inspirational read



Reading the Signs said...

Thanks for the comment, Jemmy.

Still loving the Mac.