As I write these words, I am meant to be busy typing and clicking in another window, in another language, with another hat on. Yet I am self-evidently not. Instead, I am tying myself in knots. Self-evidently.
In the past few weeks the little engine that keeps my head spinning, and the sky from caving in (it’s ok – it’s a very personal piece of sky, there’s no need to be alarmed or look up, or invest in U-SAVE-ME Head Protectors) has moved from WWII-destroyer-cannae-take-any-more-cap’n, through to Model-T-any-thought-you-like-as-long-as-its-black to itty-bitty-kitty-lying-in-the-sun-purring to Norwegian-blue-cold. Mon head-engine est mort. Deceased. Moved on. Past it’s sell-by date. Past it’s use-by date.
Paid work and fiction deadlines have streamed past, like meteors. The hull of the mothership has maintained integrity, while little else of me has. The temptation to do a dying swan in a matt-black ship into a white-hot sun is ever present – but fortunately I lack both the energy and well, the energy, to do anything excessively maudlin.
I do not seek pity, or condemnation. I write these words to myself – a minor public flagellation. I operate at my best under pressure, but my duende and assorted internet gremlins are always seeking to release the pressure. Distract me. Disinflate. Disfunction. As Philip K Dick wrote, everything tends towards kibble.
My head, my words, my actions. All kibble-bound. It’s at times like this that I am reminded that no matter how privileged, or happy, or healthy, one may feel, there is always a need for a sense of injustice, of struggle, of need required, to achieve anything worthwhile. And because I lack such focus, I simply trip myself up – like millions of others. Just to see if I can get back up again.
Anyway. Six weeks or so I haven’t touched the novel. I’ve barely done anything beyond run and exist. And yet still there is not an aching unhappiness. Just a general sadness. I used to wonder if I ever really felt anything – if I was simply too controlled, too passive, to succeed as an artist (or as anything much). This, and other nonsense, is the outcome of the luxury of spare time, a navel, and half a brain.
I’m nearly 40 years old. I feel about 12. I suppose it’s about time to get back on the horse of time and try and catch up with the grown-ups. While I still have clients, stories in my head, and nerves in my fingers. Push the button.