Sunday, February 11, 2007

Something for the weekend


The Chief has a habit sometimes of narrating our time together as if it were the product of a living novel. Sometimes he does this to make a point, for example if I say something facetious, he will say something like: "Suddenly, a car swept past at great speed, at this precise moment The Smurf stepped forward and it hit her. The Chief shed a brief tear, and walked on. He gave a beautiful speech at her funeral."

I always find this habit endearing, as well as a little disturbing, because I have done the same thing in the back of my mind since I was a child. I assumed that it was something writers did, and that this was how we knew our destiny. Of course, now that I am older and know a little of amateur psychology, I realise it is further proof of my ongoing and consistent self-obsession. But I still think it's a little endearing.

I'm at a crisis of self-confidence with my writing at the moment, a crisis that I'm probably in danger of spinning out into an excuse for a period of inactivity. I've been looking at some old morning pages for inspiration over the last couple of days. The morning pages are an idea from a useful book called The Artist's Way by a woman called Julia Cameron, and they entail getting up in the morning and writing 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness writing every day. I went through a stage in 2003 of doing the morning pages every day. I've never re-read them because there's a rule that you're not allowed to look at them for three months anyway, and once the three months were up, I just never got around to looking back over them.

I've kept the morning pages sporadically since June 2003, andI have a huge folder filled with them. Yesterday, I took the folder down from the shelf and had a look. I'm still not sure if this is a good thing, but I know that each time I read one of them it gives me a strong urge to get disgustingly drunk.

The thing about the pages is that stream-of-consciousness writing is really immediate. I suppose everyone would complete this exercise differently, but I write them in the present tense. They form a snapshot of every morning over some of the most important years of my life. Every morning of my last (and I wonder over the meaning of that) relationship of any importance is within these pages. It's probably the reason, subconsciously, why I haven't been back to them.

They're like a time-machine. And a time-bomb. Reading them hurts, and yet it fascinates me. Reading them returns me, almost entirely, through the looking glass to the past. I read the pages for the three days leading up to when I met my last lover of importance (who I may refer to as LLOI from hereon in). These are strange to read because in the pages I have no idea what's coming, as it were, but now, reading it, I know that in 3 days I'll meet him, I know that shortly after, I'll fall in love, and I know that much later, he'll leave me for a middle-aged hairdresser from Peckham.

I've tried screaming at myself to see through his charms, but it's all inevitable.

And now that I have tripped over this journey into the past, my own Life on Mars, I'm in danger of getting addicted to it. It's irrational. it feels like upper-class therapy - more over-indulgence and loneliness than working things through.

Still at least Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were on the tv this morning. I watched 5 episodes of Spaced with Kate this afternoon to celebrate. Only 2 days to go....

1 comment:

Dill said...

There is a book in itself in your morning pages hun? Mind you i'm not sure if what you are saying is that you are short of ideas for writing?? Knowing you, there is no way you are short of ideas but perhaps that you have that big long stick out again beating yourself up and telling yourself you are no good! Well put it away nincompoop! You are an amazing writer and you are wasting time on the stick!

Just a thought but the draft writing is already done on the morning pages? Work your magic, it would be a great exercise?

Love you.

S. xxx