Sunday, 30 August 2009
Saturday, 29 August 2009
She worshipped him. He ignored her. Never once did he answer any of her letters, yet she never lost faith in the hope that one day he might show her he loved her like they said he did. It was more their fault than hers or his. They told her that he loved her more than anything in the world, and the more she spoke with him and tried to please him the more he would love her. They told her that he liked things to be done in a certain way so she made sure to do everything in the correct way so as to please him. They told her to deprive herself of things to show him how much she loved him. In actual fact they didn’t even know him; he did not care what she did or how she did it. He thought she was stupid for being gullible enough to take all they said literally without thought or reason.
Thursday, 27 August 2009
I have to go on a walk everyday otherwise I start to loose connection with what’s important and what isn’t. The only days that I don’t go on walks is if it’s raining heavily or I have become too neurotic and sucked into what I am working on, which usually happens when I haven’t gone on a walk in a while.
Yesterday it rained all day. I did not go for a walk. My words started to slip and get lost somewhere between my animus and my ego.
The day before yesterday I went for a walk. I thought I was gone less than an hour, but when I came home it was already 6pm. I’d been walking for almost three hours. When I walk I try hard to push verbal thoughts out of my head, to live only with what my eyes see, my ears hear, my nose smells, my skin touches, my tongue tastes. Anything beyond this, anything verbal, I try to dispel. I am a verbose person, I guess that’s why I choose to write stories. If I’m not careful I start to drown in words. It isn’t good. It isn’t healthy. I have to take a break sometimes.
I am very fortunate to live in a stunningly beautiful place. The things I feel for this land are extremely primal and powerful. I love this land more than I love almost anything else. Within walking distance of my little white cottage there is so much to see. Here are some photographs of just a tiny amount of the treasures they lay in the surrounding three miles of my house. I don’t often photograph my walks because the process of photographing what is around me detaches me from my surroundings. I get stuck in Plato’s Cave. But I’ve walked these paths so many times that I think it’s now ok to respond to them from a reflective, detached point of view, on occasion.
This is the foundry. It’s been slowly decaying for 14 years, left abandoned. In 1860 the largest water wheel in
In a small wood beyond the foundry, up past the golf course, there are a number of underground bunkers that were built in WW2. They have something to do with the nearby Zeals airfield, which was in operation at that time. When myself and my siblings were children we’d play here, afraid that tramps lived in the bunkers. Even to this day I approach them with caution, terrified some bedraggled old man will stagger out into the light.
A view of the forest.
New Lake. I sat here on the shore for a long while, watching the herons and a strange black bird. Not sure what that was. It was huge and hulking and beautiful, nesting in the corner of the lake I think. This lake is very close to the famous Stourhead gardens.
This forest is quite large and stretches from here up to Longleat. One day I will walk from home, from the most Southerly point of this forest, right up to the most northerly point.
This is my favourite place in the whole world. It doesn’t capture well on the camera because its beauty is subtle. I can sit in this coombe for hours on end and never feel bored. A small stream bubbles down the trough of the valley, dragonflies darting across the water. Beyond the valley is a small copse in which is a witch’s cottage.
And here we are parallel with the foundry, back near the start of the walk. The distant view of Shaftesbury across the vale. That’s a town where most of my friend’s live. Sometimes I wish I lived there too, because though I am very shy, I like to be in the company of my friends. I don’t have a car. The town is up a steep hill. I am not fit enough to comfortably cycle it yet.
Where will I walk today? I don't know. I try to let my feet guide me and not plan it out in advance.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
On a similar note: I am starting to compile some stories together with the intention of making a short story collection and then maybe selling it. Most of the stories are allegorical, or freewritten or both. I have a few ideas in mind for the aesthetics that will probably mean I will self publish the collection. The way I want the artwork to look and feel and sound is very important, and in order to get it exactly right I think I will have to do it all myself. I’m really keen to collaborate on this one, but it’s early days so I’m going to refrain from talking about the kind of stuff I’m looking into. Keep your specs peeled for more news.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Journey to the East by Hesse is one of those books that will stick to you like glue for your whole life. Siddhartha is the same. Hesse has this way of writing about incredibly complex things in a totally accessible and clear style. And I think that’s the whole point. This stuff is not meant to be elitist and confounding, this is meant to be truth, clarity, spirituality. I mean, you can really tell how uncomfortable Hesse is in trying to relate this stuff using words. In Buddhism the idea is that you reach a state of communication that transcends the awkward limitations of words. That’s what koans are all about.
But Hesse was a writer, and therefore was compelled to use language despite the limitations, and I very much relate to that. I don’t think he could have done a better job. This story is allegorical, it’s mysterious and open-ended. If you haven’t read other Hesse stories then it’s possible you’ll get stuck at some point and wonder what this is all really trying to get at.
All different people probably read into it in all different ways, but to me personally the main thrust of this story seems to me to be about the death of the author, as discussed by both Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault. It’s depressing when your readers don’t understand your work, but you have to let this go, stay happy and accept that the work you create will overpower you, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Just give into it, let your own ideas die and be replaced by other ideas. This is also similar to ego-death, to let the ego die so that you feed into the one consciousness and become part of a larger, happier thing. You are no longer important, but you are happy, you are part of something larger.
The particular edition I read was beautifully designed, the cover and the feel of the book felt nice in my hands. In Tony Wheeler’s foreword he puts across a totally different reading to my own; a reading that seems to accept the journey as a literal trip to Asia, which I personally disagree with.
There was a song that popped into my head when reading the last couple of chapters, and that song is H. by Tool. Go listen to it; read the lyrics. I’ll be damned if this song is not about the last two chapters of Journey to the East. This song H., this album Aenima; even if you hate this kind of music it is impossible to deny the intelligence of it. This is Hesse in musical form…
It’s something that has been puzzling me for years now, and I’m probably continuously fooling myself into sitting here, in status quo. My writing lacks clarity because I lack clarity, probably because I’ve never reached a state of enlightenment or spiritual wholeness. But in some ways it doesn’t even matter to my writing, only to my own happiness. Bathes and Foucault were right; authors don’t exist, there is only language and readers. I can never capture the buzz inside my head clearly and communicate it to another person, because another person will have a different buzz inside their head and pick up my words in a different way to how I set them out. A story is a collection of different parts of a culture; it is a reflective thing because language is a reflective thing, even more so than music and art. Music can relate something purer I think, something that doesn’t need to be translated into words, something that stirs the soul without needing logic. So I always worry that I am too reflective, my words unable to capture what is in my soul. Truth is, it doesn’t matter how enlightened I am, my words will still be hollow, they will still be translated in so many different ways by so many different people. Words must be translated always, they speak to the head and the head has to translate it so the heart can understand it. The heart can read music, and (to an extent) art, without the brain getting involved. That’s just the way it is. That’s why I love music so much. But I’ve got to stay happy as a person, and there’s certain ways of doing that, and Herman Hesse knows it, and now I know it. I just have to get on and do it.
I am overthinking things now, and I feel unwell so this post may seem difficult to read. Time for me to go and celebrate my mother’s birthday and stop thinking so much about stuff that doesn’t even matter at all. Happy birthday mum. I hope you enjoy reading the story I wrote for you, even if you reading it kills me a little bit. That’s okay. That’s my job.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
I stand up on a high hill. All is saturated in colour. Blue, green and yellow. My hair whips at my cheeks, playing in the wind, dancing and free. Above, there is a buzzard, screeching and swooping in great arcs. I watch it, thinking about how that bird is in-tune with the air and its body; efficient and lithe. The bird will grow old and die, but it will not get so old that it will no longer be able to swoop. It will die before then. If I am to live out an average life of a human I will grow old, and then older than old, and I will probably not be able to move very well by that time. Swooping will be out of the question. And I consider this fact and I come to a conclusion.
I am already old because I do not swoop. What is the point of having a body if I do not swoop? Unlike that bird up there I am disconnected from my body. It is an alien and strange thing to me. I do not know how to move it with poise and efficiency. So let me tell you this, bird in the sky: I will learn how to swoop and I will not be afraid of injuring myself because right now I am worse than injured; I am barely alive. I am old now, but I can learn to be young.
I will kick the moon. I will salto. I will butterfly twist. I will jump into the void. I will not become a buzzard, but I will become a human.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
In the white room with black curtains near the station.
Blackroof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings.
Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes.
Dawnlight smiles on you leaving, my contentment.
Ill wait in this place where the sun never shines;
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves.
You said no strings could secure you at the station.
Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows.
I walked into such a sad time at the station.
As I walked out, felt my own need just beginning.
Ill wait in the queue when the trains come back;
Lie with you where the shadows run from themselves.
At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd.
Consolation for the old wound now forgotten.
Yellow tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes.
Shes just dressing, goodbye windows, tired starlings.
Ill sleep in this place with the lonely crowd;
Lie in the dark where the shadows run from themselves.