Sunday, November 22, 2009

No More

All my life it seems that I have been adjusting to one prison or another. Safe behind these golden bars, because I'm too afraid to venture out, alone, in the dark. Safe behind these golden bars, because I'm afraid of what will happen if I do.

I step out, step out into the dark and fall.

And I know now, having lost everything, having to start anew, it's time to be stupid. To let go.

I'm about to step out.

I'm prepared to fall.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In sooth...

In sooth I know not why I am so sad.

I should have that stitched on a sampler and put by my desk. So I could gaze at it at leisure and just get lost in the interminable sadness that to me, seems to characterise this existence.

I fall.

I keep falling.

I haven't stopped falling.

I wish I knew where to go from here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Creaky Bones

It's about 11.04 in the morning now, which is pretty early for me up to be up, considering. I took knock out cough mixture last night but the effects were temporary. So I spent most of the night tossing (bed was full of bees, empty of sleep).

Before dropping off I attempted to make a start on Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveller. All I can say is he messes with your mind to such an extent that you begin to feel unstitched. Lovely.

In a few minutes I'll have to take a shower and head off for the mechanic to see why my car is leaking. On Saturday they said I could have blown a gasket. Oh well...once it's fixed it's fixed.


This is a car we're talking about.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Counting the Minutes

I finished Baldwin's Giovanni's Room last night. Or rather, this morning at 7am. And then I went to sleep. And woke up at 3. With Mum hollering for me from downstairs from breakfast onwards. Poor thing. I should have taken the knock out cough mixture and gone to sleep.

I wonder which book I'll go for next. Probably Go Tell It On A Mountain as I have that book too. But alternatively I might go for the Italo Calvino book. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Giovanni's Room was unbearably tragic. The tragedy was foreshadowed on the first page, the fatal flaw, so to speak (although as a homosexual, I wonder why he considered it a fatal flaw, or maybe, it was the closets who pretended and tried to lead hetero lives despite their proclivities, lying to everyone around, lying to themselves and then destroying everyone around them, who were fatally flawed).

I wish I had a volume of Tony Curtis's poetry now to break the mood.

Let everything that is to fall, fall, beginning with tired love...

Oh well.

I've survived one day more.

This Deafening Silence

Mum stood by the door chattering. She was telling me how she had nearly lost me before I was born. She was 8 months pregnant and in hospital because "the baby was in distress". She told me about the doctor, she couldn't remember his name, but he was very senior, a lecturer even, who sat there with her, recounted his life, told story after story, to calm her down, so they didn't have to operate. One nurse kept coming in to take her blood pressure, etc.

After this, the nurse told her: "You're very lucky. The baby's chance of survival at 8 months is very slim."

So it took another month of distress and a C-section for me to be dragged kicking and screaming into the world. Actually into an incubator as I was so tiny.

And I listened and tried to feel grateful that I had been spared. And I wondered if the baby that was had decided to give it a miss.

All I feel right now is unbearably weary. Like life has passed by and somehow, I missed the bus. And now there is nothing left for me but the slow process of growing old and dying.

And I see his face, white and mocking floating in front of me, laughing. Saying come out and play. And I look at him, beautiful, cruel, angry - and I think...oh God, not again. I know you. And I know what you will do to me. Go play with someone else. I'm not sure I'll survive you.

He withdraws.

All is silent.

I can't bear this silence.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The End

Virginia left her last letter (dated 28 March 1941) on the writing block in her garden lodge. About 11.30am she walked the half mile to the River Ouse, filled her pockets with stones, and threw herself into the water. Her body was not found until 18 April, when some children discovered it a short way downstream. She was cremated at Brighton on 21 April with only Leonard present, and her ashes were buried under the great elm tree at Monk's House with the penultimate words of The Waves as her epitaph: 'Against you I will fling myself, unvanquished and unyielding, O Death!'

Final page, Selected Letters, Virginia Woolf.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Because You Left Me

I was reading Virginia's last letter to Carrington (this was just before Carrington's suicide) and I cried. Just bawled. Who knew that a letter could convey such depths, but then it was Virginia Woolf writing, so that would explain it.

Lytton Strachey had just died and Carrington was unravelling...she was in some ways already dead.

Somehow, in her letter, Virginia managed to capture that sense of loss and futility, reaching out to someone, your arms closing over nothing, the emptiness washing over you, bottomless, irreversible.

And stale platitudes are less than useless, except for the vague sense of someone out there attempting to reach out a hand and comfort you.

But goodness knows, blind as I am, I know all day long whatever I'm doing, what you're suffering. And no one can help you...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting Ready To Jump Again!

My life takes on a sameness after a while...walking the dogs in the evening (they look forward to this almost as much as their mealtime), playing Bejewelled Blitz on Facebook, reading my Virginia Woolf (I'm at 1930 now and she's writing to Ethel Smyth of having torn her skirt, knickers and some tender parts not mentioned even between ladies, on barbed wire - ouch!).

So Mum asks when I want to go fix my car (the RPM is all out of sync - Mark trying it out told me to switch cars - he tossed it off lightly as if buying another car was a walk in the park - and maybe it is - I live in a world with imaginary fences which I am afraid to cross and maybe, just maybe, there are no fences but in my head)

And to pay some bills and post my first batch of Christmas cards (I wrote out all of 10 yesterday). I'm listening to Ordinary Miracles by Sarah Mclachlan now on Youtube, I find it particularly evocative. Sun comes up and shines so bright and disappears into the night. Except that the sun hasn't come up, or if it has, it is hidden behind muggy blanketing clouds that obscure and obfuscate the day itself.

Oh well, I'll stop prattling now, and stop playing BB and have a shower and take off for the wild blue yonder.

Later for you.

(I miss Mark. No, not that one, the other Mark)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The rhythms of this place is like balm to a wounded soul. I see myself slowly coming up for air. It's like a time-out from life. Hard to think that just 5 months left me this bleeding mess. That's all it took.

And I think I'm so smart but I never, never recognise the signs. The falling apart, the forced withdrawal from life and all I hold dear, the mounting irritation at my friends who are doing nothing more than simply staying in touch.

And slowly I start to feel like I'm going to fly into a million pieces.

And then I do.


That was close. Almost too close for comfort.

Maybe I was born to be a flaneur. Now I just need to find my City Lights and my brew of choice and there I'll be.

Later for you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If Tomorrow Comes

And the next day, I loaded up the car, and took a slow drive back to JB. Slower than I intended because it was tropical storming, so heavy, there were times I wondered if I was going to make it. What with buses and lorries flashing me for going too slow and all that.

So, tension.

And when I got back here, I just fell apart. Sick as a dog. I crept into my mother's bed and stayed there. Phone switched off. I went dark for a week.

Slowly, I felt my spirit knitting itself back together. Slowly.

And a week later I switched on my phone. Now this being my network, all the calls or texts that came during the week would be wiped out. But the phone started to ring. One by one, friends started checking in.

I started to reconnect.

A night spent tossing and turning after these conversations...and now...

What happens tomorrow?

I wonder.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

And So I Jumped

And so I finally came to the end of Virginia Woolf's Selected Diaries. The last word in them (unless the last word was edited out) is rhododendrons. Not even a word I know how to spell without looking up. The last year has a sort of unreal quality to it - the war slowly destroying everything she had taken as real and sweeping away the ground beneath her feet. Before that, even when depressed, she was light, sparkling, piquant, provocative and even in all her insecurity - secure in herself.

And yesterday I walked out of a job of no more than five months. I walked out before he ground me beneath his heel, having brought in my replacement and flaunted her in my face and attempted to order me to go for a special lunch in her honour.

"She'll keep you on your toes."

"I wasn't aware that I needed keeping on my toes."

"She can help out in the magazine."

Uh oh. You make your motives very transparent when you say things like that. You hired her for the newsletter. You want a clear delienation between the newsletter and magazine. And you say, she can help out in the magazine?

You said, would you like to come for lunch with...And I said no thanks. And you glared at me, went back to your office and issued an order. Via email. All of you are to come. Which I ignored. And then, you yelled at me in public for not showing up. Everybody else showed up. Why couldn't you?

But you see, you did it to the wrong girl at the wrong time.

I wake up every day with a tension headache wondering how we are going to see yet another issue through. I wake up everyday with a good for nothing deputy who comes and doesn't come to work as she pleases and who doesn't answer either my calls or emails asking for an update on her stories. I wake up everyday, now to your displeasure and the smouldering hatred in your eyes. Marshalling your forces. Making up the charge sheet. Preparing.

I see it all, neatly laid out at my feet, the course you follow. The course you always follow. I guess you must secretly despise me for agreeing to the low salary. We're all worth what we think we're worth. Never mind the fact that you make me work about five times as hard as my predecessor and that I successfully turned around your stupid magazine.

Never mind that.

You're looking to the international face of it, your new acquisition, oh, isn't she just precious, isn't she bout the cutest thing you've ever seen. A master's degree, some experience as a practitioner, she speaks the language...what more could one want?

And now, I've become the one who has defied you one too many times, the one who says no, the one who doesn't sugarcoat her no's to take into account your massive ego.

And so.

I have to go.

Not until this issue is closed, of course. I mean, there are only four stories in....still, oh, I don't know...another nine to go? Yes, let's all be civilized about it. Close the issue and then we'll have our fight and I'll either demote you or push you hard enough so you'll quit on your own accord.

No one is indispensable Jennifer, I thought you knew that.

And if I'd actually given two shits about you, I would have paid you properly.

So I jumped.

Without a net.

Without a parachute.

I cleared out my desk. Left my tag and my key on it.

And because of your frantic phone calls and your frantic texts (which I haven't read) I've switched off my phone and it will stay switched off.