John Milton – after going blind in his later years – was heard to have walked around the house muttering ‘I want to be milked. I want to be milked.’ Though this seems like a symptom of dementia; it was in fact his way of describing his frustration to write when his squire was late to transcribe what he said. However, even with this qualification, the analogy does seem rather ludicrous at first glance. Can the act of writing really be described as the release a cow gains from being milked?
Monthly Archives: July 2013
A large crucifix hangs at the back of the stage. A long wooden bench stretches across the stage. A simple alter stands between the bench & the crucifix. A priest enters. He is a crouched-over old man with short, balding white hair and big Coke-Bottle glasses. He walks across the stage, blesses himself, genuflects and then sits on the bench facing the crucifix.
PRIEST: Good evening my Lord. I hope this day finds you well indeed like all the others.
[Takes out a napkin and wipes some sweat from his brow.]
PRIEST: This hot weather is not for the old I fear. It creeps into the blood and seems to accumulate there. It’s days like these that you miss those blissful days of youth. Those days when one could embrace the warmth in one’s heart without being overwhelmed by it. Ah, but sure those days are long gone from us now.
[His face curls into a boyish smile, and he supresses a giggle]
PRIEST: Mind you, the past did catch up to me today, all told. Well not so much ‘caught up’ more like found me again. I –
[A creak is heard, not unlike a door opening. PRIEST looks around checking for people.]
Freud asserts that ‘a piece of creative writing, like a daydream, is a continuation of, and a substitute for, what was once the play of childhood.’ Is that what the writer is doing when she write? Playing a game? In some ways, I have to agree. The writer – like the child – gives into her imaginative side and allows herself to roam free from this world and into the ‘worlds’ of her own mind. I know myself that my own sanity at times relies on the fact that I do write.
Why is it impossible to reach the level of uncontrollable excitement and happiness that we took for granted as children? I had a class recently of children – who are younger than the teenagers I usually teach – and I was amazed and astonished with the level of joy that children can gain from the simplest of stimuli.
Does life become more or less meaningful if the world and everyone in it are possible fictional subject matter? Since setting up this blog I’ve been thinking more than ever about this question. As a writer you instinctively go through life looking for inspiration in the world around you. It’s a natural process and one that you don’t get a choice in. Well that’s the way that it is for me anyway. Everyone I meet is a potential character and everything I see could have a place in my fiction.
I’m not sure how or when the proverbial health & safety snowball was nudged off the top of Everest. However, what is clear is that it is now careening its way across Britain. I’m sure that – like any poison worth its salt – it has been a slow and largely untraceable development. I am more astute then most in documenting the change given my short ‘working holiday’ visits to England with yearly gaps in between. I have spent the majority of the last few years in Second & Third World, so returns to the First World are always met with utter confusion. The Blame-Someone-Else culture is by no means a British phenomenon, rather a First World one.
The hazy fog descends and the sinews slacken and ease. The mind relaxes and the world becomes your voyeuristic reality show. Through the haze you look at people in ways that you never looked before, or so it feels. A bike passes appearing to ride itself as a boy stands perched on its seat. Droves of camera-yielding cattle sport fanny-packs and chino shorts as they are herded from place to place by their leader. This cyborg-like creature – more fitting in a dystopic film noir – that is only capable of speech through the microphone on the right of her mouth. She waves a narrow, charcoal wand with a blue ribbon at its peak, like it was a leash.