Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stormy Weather

We are probably in deep trouble.  Things have been happening.  I have noticed this before and kept quiet, but now everyone can see: many parts of Albion are under water, we are storm-wrecked and even respectable politicians are speaking about climate change and how when the dice are loaded it is time to acknowledge that “something is going on.”  It has been suggested to me (by someone I happen to hold in high regard) that if I were to begin blogging again it might in some way help to forestall the worst-case end-of scenario.  So that’s why I’m back here, doing my bit to save the world.  I can’t make any promises, but we’ll see how things shape up.

Blogging is like sex.  I can say this with some authority, having been away from it (the blog, I mean) for some months.  The more you do, the more you want to, and if you stop doing it you begin to lose the urge to the point where blog-celibacy becomes the new normal and if there isn’t a pressing reason to do it then why bother?  When I began this lark there was no Facebook or Twitter on which to fritter one’s time and attention.  There was just this talking into mysterious cyberspace where people may or may not be looking and listening and there was the sense that one was doing something a bit weird because one’s friends and familiars didn’t do it and the general thinking seemed to be that only perverts and very important people did it.  Then suddenly everyone did and now if you send a poem somewhere they automatically assume you have a website.  We are all promiscuous now. 

I never did come thinking I had anything particular to say – that was for people who wanted to write essays or the big Novel. But I was happy to go with the John Cage method of having nothing to say and saying it.  These days I do have things to say, but I am not saying them because a) there are people who might keel me if I did and b) I have discovered that it is possible to leave things unexpressed and still exist with a kind of equanimity.  Someone very dear to me, a writer whose name I can’t mention even though he is dead now because I might be keeled if I did, came to the end of everything he had to say and stopped writing.  It was the beginning of a long, dark, annihilating end for him, and when I’m on my way out that’s not how I want it to be.  I’m still doing poems and working on the novel, albeit so slowly that no-one would know, but I’m hanging on by the skin. 

I still have M.E. and until they find a cure or a way of addressing the symptoms, dealing with this is a large part of my life’s work and there are many days when all I can reasonably expect of myself is cloud-and-sky-watching from the bed or the adjustable chair in the living room.  It sounds quite nice when set down like this in black and white, but really it isn’t – not when one wants to be doing and writing, and also it isn’t necessarily sky-watching as the Normals might think of it, because one feels very ill.  FYI that is what we call those of you who live without chronic illness: Normals.  Makes us sound a bit special, perhaps, like those in the Harry Potter books who are possessed of magical abilities, as opposed to the Muggles who are just ordinary.  And I suppose we do develop certain faculties.  But we’d trade them in a breath to be a Muggle sans M.E. 

Am I back?  For this moment, it looks that way.  And the storms have died down.