Saturday, December 27, 2014

Three in the morning

At three in the morning I'm stripped naked and I can't pretend. Whatever is, is. Whoever I love, I love. The screaming of outside noise recedes and I hear my heart. And this grief that I have been labouring under for the past year or so, I feel it. The sheer weight of it. And I can't pretend. No I can't. Not at three in the morning. Which is why I prefer to be asleep by this time.

But sometimes I'm not and something cuts me right open and everything pours out like sludge, like fuel, like the oil that leaks into pristine oceans killing all that beautiful marine life. But when I keep it inside for too long, it kills me, slows me down, when I keep it inside too long, it's like I'm moving slow, so slow, as if through amniotic acid. When I keep inside too long, I feel nothing, I forget how to feel.

And this is the hour, the moment of truth, always the moment of truth, when everything slips into something sleep, we go deep. Awake, well, the mask slips and there we are, scars and all, ugly, horrifying, but real. So real.

I am weary of all these masks. No I'm not that tough, in fact not tough at all.

Can I stop pretending now?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Billy Joel - And so It Goes

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose.

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break.

Dear Diary, Please Tell Me What To Do

Dear Diary, please tell me what to do. I thought it was my mind that deserted me, but it wasn't. It was my heart. I didn't care anymore. And I still don't.

I can go through the motions. In fact I make a good approximation of going through the motions. And even on slumberous nights such as these when my heart used to fill with emotion so potent, so overwhelming that I was forced to write, even then...well, those nights are gone. And I feel nothing.

And what I'm struggling against is this emptiness. It feels like, well, nothing. Like reheated soup. Salt not included. Like a sky enveloped in that murky haze, bled of colour. No rainbows, no cerulean blue. Just me. Here. Lying on my bed. Eyes wide shut. Drifting through days that make no sense, have no meaning.

You always come up against death. There is no explanation or comfort there. Just the great bourne from which there is no return. You can't look past the wall. The way is closed. And the dead, they keep their own counsel. They keep it closed.

But I'm not dead yet.

So why do I feel like I am?

Does this ever end?

Does it ever stop aching and become peaceful, sweet, serene, all right?

I'm just asking for all right.

I'm writing a letter out into the ether for my heart, if it hears me, to stop wandering around, orphaned and untethered and to come on home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Someday You'll Forgive Me

Someday you'll forgive me
And I'll wake up
and won't know why.

Someday you'll forgive me
And just like that
I'll stop weeping at sad intervals
for the things I did
for the things I didn't do.

Someday you'll forgive me
and the fissures in my heart
will smooth over
and I'll sigh, exhale
and finally fall asleep

Someday you'll forgive me
and when you do
I'll know.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Post Holiday Blues

The holiday was supposed to calm me down, be an oasis in this desert of busy-ness and lots of niggling little things that nibble away at me like mosquitoes. But it wasn't. The holiday itself was well enough. But the coming back to this chaos filled me with some vague nameless rage where I find it difficult to be civil, even a little civil and I've taken to avoiding people because they (without meaning to, of course) drain me.

There is so much work to do and the work is not going to let up until New Year's Adam. And possibly after that. And I don't feel equal to it. And I don't care about it.

And all I want to do is snuggle under the covers and sleep for longer. Or read trashy novels about bakeries (I am craving freshly-baked focaccia for no discernible reason) or cafes or wrap presents (actually I'm avoiding this because my room has degenerated into a scary tip and I find it safer to be outside of it).

I sent out a whole bunch of cards while I was in Australia. Not nearly enough cards because I have lost my major address book which has disappeared somewhere in that slush pile which I need to sort through carefully, patiently to make some headway.

No headway so far.

Elliott has come out into the hall to curl up on his green bed so he can be close to me. He has difficulty figuring out where I'm going to sleep and until I switch off the light, he has one eye open to regard me quizzically every time I move. I need to move though.

I need to shower.

And tomorrow we're taking off to Klang for a brainstorming session. I need to get directions as I don't know how to get there.

All I know is I'm tired and grumpy and I would rather sleep in. Late.

I can't believe that after two weeks off I'm back to feeling this way, even worse than when I left.

I just can't believe it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Today I bid on my first eBay Christmas present: a set of vintage watchmaker tools. For the first time in my life I entered a high maximum bid and now I have to wait two days to see if I get it. It feels thrilling. I am not sure about Christmas this year and what I want to do about it or where I want to go.

Have to start creating new traditions around it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Still Running On Empty

I think it's exhaustion. That's the only explanation I can come with at a pinch. My mind has deserted me and it's been awhile. Every time I have to finish something, every time there is a deadline, I go to pieces. I cannot write, I cannot think, the words get away from me, until I force them, force them, force them...

I don't know what it is. I can't tell. Part of me is in mourning and I don't think it will ever get out of mourning. There are so many that I miss so much. They're not here anymore. They will never be here again. And I can't even hear their echoes or see their shadows, no, not even in my dreams.

If I try to read something fairly complicated, my mind shuts down and refuses to comprehend the words - they're just words, strung together in some sort of pattern that really, doesn't penetrate my thick skull.

I am tired most of the time, all I want to do is sleep or hide out or run away.

These waves, they frighten me.

At which point did I lose control over my life; at which point did I take the wrong path?

I can't tell. I survive now but barely. If I go on like this, they'll ask me to leave. And who could blame them? I'm of no use to anyone, especially myself, and I'm so tired and so sad...does this sadness ever go away, can this grief recede?

When it comes down to it now, I love nobody. No, not anyone now that Mummy and Arnold are dead. They died and took whatever tender feelings I had left with me. Not that I wish them alive...not in the condition they were. It is right that they are dead. But it doesn't feel right that I am alive when I really have no desire to live.

But I will.

I will put one foot in front of the other and force myself to go on because the alternative is just too much shit for those around me who don't deserve it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


I'll never see you again. You have disappeared into that big somewhere and sometimes I try to find you but you're not there. I cannot feel you, wrap my arms around you and if I tell you I love you who knows if you hear?

I'll never see you again.

And maybe in time I will disappear myself and it will no longer matter.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Please Let Her Live

Dear God,

Please don't take my friend.

Please let her wake up after the operation.


Please let her live.


I love her.

These Be Strange Times

There I am tapping away at my computer transcribing yet another interview and it's the still watches of the night but I don't feel so forlorn because there Emily is, tapping away beside me and Li Ming, who was clearing stories, has just gone home. Misery lurves company, in fact, so much that when it has company, you're no longer miserable. Maybe that's what Robin Williams needed. Company.

Anyway, I suddenly remember that Jeff is supposed to introduce me to this professor at a local university and I forgot to remind him. And although it's past 11 I send him an email. He replies with an email introducing me to said professor. Yeah, at that time.

And I say: Thanks for the introduction Jeff. These be strange times to send emails.

And he answers: These be only times emails get sent.

I love my job. And the people I meet in the course of my job. And the ones who stick around to become friends.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cranking it Up

Every once so often I feel like writing here. I have been short on sleep for a while now. Last night, it was my fault. I got home late after transcribing an interview and then, although I was dead tired, instead of sleeping I messed around with a template on, uploading short stories I had worked on over so many years, I don't remember how many. I want to make a book. I want to make a book for Christmas. Maybe I actually will. You know how fickle I get.

But right now, I type as fast as I can because there are so many stories to finish, so many interviews to do. I'm not the only one stretched to the limit. I look around and see the rest of them. Sarah has three interviews at the same time next Tuesday. That is going to take some managing. Emily was in late last night (she went back after 9 at night and when I got in early for a change this morning because I had a super early breakfast meeting) she was already here. Tapping away. Forehead scrunched up in deep concentration.

People send me emails and text messages at ungodly hours. People overseas. People here. Nobody seems to be sleeping. It is a situation I expect will continue until September. Which is when so many of these things are due. And then, we will all take a collective pause, sigh deeply, kick back our heels and maybe go to the beach to veg out. Let the brain which is cranking along at a godawful pace, take a breather.

The only good thing about having too much to do is I don't have time to drama. There is no time to wonder how I feel about things because I'm too busy doing to feel.

And maybe that's a good thing?

Letters delayed. Maybe I'll write some tonight if I'm not too tired.

Wired on strong coffee at the moment and due to go out for another interview. I think I need new batteries on my recorder. I think I need petrol; my tank is almost empty. I think I need to top up my Touch&Go.

I think I should start transcribing yet another interview.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Waking Up

I have spent the past week or so trying to sort through and clean up my mess. And there is a lot of it. I let things slide when Arnold was so sick and everything heaped up in corners and started to emanate smells. Bad smells. So bad that I was driven from my bed from a regrettable necessity of breathing once in a while. I wore out the sofa with my sweaty body all curled up, trying to get comfortable.

And then, at the start of the Raya holidays, I tried to shake off my apathy (no easy task, it's been there for so long it's grown roots and held me firmly in place, unmoving, unable to move) and I started. On Saturday, I called the plumber to come in and fix the leaky tap in the bathroom. Huh! I think times must be really bad because he came (with his little crew of two) almost immediately, so quickly, in fact, that I barely had time go to the nearest ATM and withdraw some money to pay him, and found himself a lot more work to do. OK, about the taps, I was not here when they arrived, so Dadda, taking advantage of the splendid opportunity of having a real plumber at hand, pointed out two other pipes that needed work. He quoted the earth, swearing, all the while, that it was the lowest he could go and he was getting only a small, tiny, minuscule, you'd need a microscope to see it, profit.

When I suggested that it was too much, and I only wanted that one pipe fixed, he paled. And said, no, no, do it all at once, since we are here already. Dadda shuffled his feet and looked embarrassed for having shown him the other pipes. It was unlikely that he was going to let go of that. So we knocked off about RM20 from his original quote (still way, way more than I was willing to pay) and then one of his crew, who had been walking around the house noting things that need to be fixed pointed out that the roof was leaking.

Here's the thing. It was. In fact, some of the wood had rotted clear through and we always knew we would have to get around to tackling it but it seemed like such a gargantuan task (not to mention expensive) task, that we had hemmed and hawed and promised to do something about it vaguely at some point in time, in the future. So while the boss of the outfit went out to get supplies, the dried up little fellow who specialised in fixing roof, got a ladder and shinned up. He took pictures with his nifty little phone to show how many places the roof was actually leaking. A lot. And then he quoted a price to repair...and I sighed because more and more of my pay check was being eaten up. And it was barely the beginning of the month.

But this really, was something that HAD to be done. So I gave them a downpayment on the job, and the guy went out to get more supplies...and while they were at it, I started to tackle some of the tasks I had neglected. Everything was in a fearsome mess.

Firstly, there were the dog beds. They needed to be scrubbed down with chlorox because they had attained a level of murkiness that had to be seen to be believed. And there was Elliott who was sleeping on one of these beds, and who had been scratching so violently that he had worn holes into his body. He needed to be bathed. And then there was the bathroom that I thought I would wash. And then there were the groceries that needed to be bought.

So the workmen worked and I worked and Dadda either watched them or played on his computer.

At the end of the day, I was so exhausted that I curled up and fell fast asleep on the sofa.

And so, day one. A lot accomplished. Oh, I forgot to say. When they started fixing the roof, they came across white ants eating through the beams. Yes, they could address that as well. But it was going to cost us. I watched fascinated as their bill got longer and longer. Gulp.

Day Two of the holidays I was pretty exhausted, but thought it would be a good time to tackle the hall. I would finally clean the fan, clean the windows, wash the curtains, dust the altar and everything else that needed dusting, swap the picture of the Sacred Heart for the one from JB. If I had tackled all of this in an organised way, I could probably have finished it in a day. But I was tired. And not organised.

So I cleaned a little, read a little from two of Mummy's old Mills and Boons novels that I had brought from JB because they made me nostalgic. Then cleaned some more. There was a point where everything was covered in dirt (shaken loose from the fan and various things across the hall)...and my hands were so black with dirt that I made marks on everything that I touched.

End of the day....hall still at sixes and sevens. I finished it the next day. Hung up the newly washed curtains, spread the newly washed cloth over the coffee table, put out the papers I had set aside for recycling (the recycling man came along and bought them for all of RM4). Then it was time to tackle my own room. The motherlode. The floor was so covered in stuff that I had been hopping over things to get to my bed. Not that I got to my bed much. I didn't like sleeping in it anymore. Here, the two days of holiday I had left was not sufficient. So the place was still in chaos when I had to go back to work.

And I've only just finished it today. Finally sweep and mop. And ah, isn't that better?

I bought nails and hung up some pictures. Ah, that feels better.

I feel now the room is organised I can start doing stuff. You know, stuff I want to do.

Like write my letters at my actual desk, instead of on the bed or on the sofa or at work or in restaurants or cafes.

Like, look at the projects I have neglected and come up with some ideas about what to do about them.

Like watch Youtube at my desk while I tackle my needlework project-du-jour.

Maybe now I've freed up some of the energy here, I can get moving again.

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

And After The Storm, The Calm...

I feel so much better this week. I feel like Arnold's spirit has really moved on, and yes, to a better place, which I was not so sure about last week when I sensed his restless presence, like he was unwilling to move on without me, like he still wanted to say goodbye.

And now, I'm slowly gathering all my energies because, well, there's so much to do as far as work is concerned. Maybe if I can transcribe fast enough and decide who I'm going to interview fast enough and sort of juggle a million little niggling things, as well as read whatever I am supposed to read, whatever I want to read, I'll be OK.

Not there yet, but getting there.

I feel blessed to have the friends I have...I could feel their prayers holding me up or letting me ride on waves.

Elliott waits for me to come home and then he's eager for his walk. No time to sit and chat or rest or read a book. Just change my shoes (if I need to) get his lead and pooper scooper and a plastic bag (in case he needs to poop, which he rarely does because he would have gone out on a walk earlier with Dadda) and we go the long way, which he enjoys so much more...his walks having been seriously abbreviated versions recently.

Then I shower (or not), put on jammies and crash on the sofa...trying to read a book, write a letter and watch a silly movie (or box set) at the same time. It doesn't work, naturally. I end up having my attention pulled by whatever's going on on the screen, no matter how silly. (So today the TV is silent as I read Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit. It's either that or The Nature of Investing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hey Arnold, I Love You So

I cleaned the hall and mopped the floor late last night. And I dusted the top of the TV cabinet which had been caked in dust for weeks. I would see it, and want to do something about it and then not. Sometimes I would trail my finger along the dust and leave an indentation. And then, not do anything dust, upon dust, upon dust. And fingermarks.

And I sort of hung Mum's picture up so she could smile at me more clearly from over the TV set.

Today's been a sad and strange day. I know I have to get back to work. So I sort of did. And I can do that with no emotion, nothing else to pull at me.

And maybe tomorrow, I can write the letters I have neglected to write because my dog was busy dying and I didn't have the heart to. I didn't have the heart to do a lot of things.

Both Elliott and I know he is definitely gone. He's left no shadow behind. That is a good thing, I suppose. I wish I knew he was happy now, running free in some fragrant field somewhere, wagging his tail, being loved by angels...everyone strokes Arnold's fur, it's just so soft.

It was soft when he died. I cut some off before that. As a keepsake. And I have his collar. His bowl, Elliott can take for his indoor now Elliott has an indoor bowl and an outdoor bowl.

And except for certain weeping jags, I feel OK. I feel sort of hard and flinty and emotionless. I'm wondering about that. Arnold came into my life and opened up my heart. Is it set to close up again?

Hey Arnold, it was time to go,
Hey Arnold, I loved you so,
Hey Arnold, I love you so.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

He Was Not Mine

I had Arnold put down. How horrid that sounds. And yet I tried to make his last day as peaceful and memorable as possible. Well, more peaceful than memorable. Wheeled him through the park. Tried to express his bladder (yes some pee shot out but I don't think I nailed it). And then I wheeled him around the circuit, the full circuit, instead of cutting it short like I do most days, and he lay on the trolley and watched the world go by.

His breathing so laboured. His eyes so weary.

He could no longer walk, his back legs were paralysed and atrophying. He could barely crawl, pushing his way forward to his bowl or off his bed if he wanted to pee or poo. But with the paralysis, he lost control over his bladder and his bowels - he simply could not move them.

And yet I hesitated. I didn't want to put him down until I was sure he was ready to go.

Maybe he's been ready to go a long time and I was the one holding on?

I didn't know, I couldn't know...every step along the way I kept second guessing myself, as my friends and loved ones gently tried to suggest, provide support and guidance...and I, I was not sure.

I called Gasing Vet Hospital yesterday. Dr Melissa called me back in the evening. She made an appointment to come over this afternoon. I could hear the hesitation in her voice. I know she knew how much I loved him. Love him.

And today, after lunch, while waiting for her call, I put his head on my lap and he went to sleep for a while, a few minutes of blessed oblivion...his sleep is mostly disturbed these days. I would wake to find him staring, either straight ahead or at me. Have been sleeping in the hall. Allowing everything in my life to unravel as I grappled with what was too big for me to grapple with.

This huge heaving mass of pain.

And I loved him. How could I kill what I loved? How could I not wait for him to go naturally, in his own time?

But when would that be?

And in the meantime, he grew weaker and weaker and suffered so much.

Mike told me that there would be no pain at the end. That he would just fall asleep. That helped.

And so the Dr Melissa called to say she was on her way. I could hear the hesitation in her voice. Perchance I had changed my mind.

But I hadn't.

We discussed cremation options. I wanted him cremated by himself, not one of those mass jobs which they offer.

And then she came.

After the call, Arnold who had been sleeping peacefully on my lap was agitated. Did he know? Or had he picked up something from my energy?

I tried to calm him down. I called whatever Gods may be, whatever angels may be, to calm him down, to let him go, in peace.

And when she came...with an that van...I opened the gate and they came in and I was unsure of where to arrange him so she could get on with it...finally we opted for the green bed which is open, the lawn bed. I held on to the back portion of his body because the veins in his back legs had collapsed...and she would need to find a vein to push in the anaesthetic.

She pushed in the needle and looked at me: "Are you ready?"

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. I was already weeping freely.

And she depressed the syringe....slowly he ceased to breathe. She waited awhile and checked his heartbeat, his pulse.

And she said, "He's gone."

I collapsed sobbing and could feel Dadda's hand on my back trying to comfort me.

Arnold's eyes were wide open.

Finally at peace, finally free of pain.

He had fallen asleep.

He brought us joy...we loved him well. He was not ours. He was not mine.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

And then, there's the inevitable

Arnold can no longer hold it in. He peed in the on the floor, on the trolley as I wheeled him to the park and wheeled him back, in the park, back home of the floor again, and later on my car seat. Right now, I'm covered in his pee.

He had an acupuncture appointment today and she looked grave when I told her he had rejected his favourite food yesterday - the chicken rice chicken. Right now after his acupuncture, he's sleeping. I feel reluctant to wake him up but I do need to get him to the vet.

I have finished two stories and I just need to finish one more for the pullout.

I will have some tea, take a shower (or maybe take a shower first) and then haul him into the car for another visit.

Dr Suzy advised me not to get it done at the vet (if I have to get it done) but to ask if someone could come over to the house. There, in the quiet, surrounded by those who love him (mainly me), he can go peacefully. And not filled with trauma with people watching, at the vet's.

She said, be strong, be a man, do what you have to do.

I have to write stories. Make appointments. Figure out story trajectories. And put my dog to sleep.

The unravelling has begun
and the heart resounds
with the gentle sounds
of someone weeping
you go creeping into night
I watch you leave
and know I can't follow.

You were never mine
but I don't know
how to let you go.

There's convenience, and then, there's love

It seems that nothing and no one I love is ever convenient. Arnold just peed on me. He didn't mean to. He was struggling to get away from me as I lifted him and held him tight and kissed his forehead. I think I may have to consider diapers or a pee pad. He can no longer control his bladder...that was the one thing he had left. And now he doesn't even have that.

I was going to put him to sleep yesterday. I had convinced myself that it was for his own good. Though there was still life left in him. Life left as he looks wearily at me, eyes full of love. Life, as he leans his chin on my feet, my ankles, whatever he can get his little head on. Life, as I wake up to find him wide awake, staring at me.

I will have to take off these clothes and jump in the shower. Again.

But no matter. I am not going to have him put down, put to sleep. Whatever the argument for it.

Yesterday when I decided to do it, I got a text. Saying the doctor could see him at 8.30 at night. After which all the vets would be closed except for emergencies. Putting a dog to sleep is not an emergency. It would buy him another day.

I stared at the message on my phone. I was at the post office, paying for some stamps before I went to buy Arnold's final meal, chicken rice. He loves the chicken, he loves the barbecue pork, the roast pork. But the message came through and I texted back.


And that bought him a day.

Except that it bought him more than that. The acupuncturist was horrified that I had even considered it. She said, Arnold was not in pain, in distress. Yes, if I put him in a corner and ignored him, that was a different case. But I didn't do that.

I wheeled him out to the park and sat with him. I stroked him and talked to him. He enjoyed some food. Yes, he was not recovering, he was not doing as well as he could be. But that was no reason to kill him. Would I kill my grandmother because I thought the quality of her life was not worth it? Would I kill my grandfather? My father? My mother? Anyone who couldn't do all the things other people could?

Who's to decide?

I was sobbing when I talked to her.

And after I decided, I stopped crying. I, who had been crying all day because of the thing I was contemplating...he was so precious and I loved him so much and this thing, this awful thing...this thing I had come to see as my duty, but how could it be my duty to hurt him, to put him away?

Of course it would have been convenient. I had taken the day off to do it.

But I couldn't.

And I didn't.

There's convenience (although it would have been convenient, not nearly, not even close).

And then, there's love.

And love will just have to do for now.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Oh my! It's July!

Arnold is lying on the floor, his back feet pressed up against mine. I think he's asleep but when I check, his eyes are wide open. He hardly sleeps now, and even then, not for very long. His eyes remain open and he breathes and he breathes.

He grows weaker by the day. About a week ago (maybe longer, I don't remember, all days blur into each other) I bought him a trolley to take him to the park with because he's too heavy for me to carry for long distances. Not that it's a long distance to the park, but I find myself staggering if I have to carry him more than a few feet.

I'm not that strong and my knees are beginning to give way. So I load him on the trolley and push it carefully over the rutted road, trundling along, trying not to jolt him too much. People look out of their houses and see me going past, a now familiar figure? Cars drive past and stare. And Arnold, who resisted the trolley at first, has grown quite used to it. He knows it will take him to the park. Where he can pee in peace. He does not like to do it in the house. His bladder, he can still control. His bowels are beyond him.

But luckily he makes firm turds, and I scoop them up with old serviettes and toss them into the toilet. And flush. I used to toss them into the dustbin until Dadda stopped me. "They smell, Jenny, don't you have any common sense?"

Apparently not. Which is why I would have to end up living alone. I would drive anyone else, anyone who hasn't known me since I was born, or more importantly, anyone who hasn't loved me since I was born, crazy.

When we get to the park (once in the morning and once after I come home from work), I lift him off the trolley and set him on the grass. If he cannot keep it in, he starts peeing then and there. If he can, he gets up and stumbles awkwardly for a few steps. And then he squats down to pee, balancing on his now useless feet...and then he falls.

Some days he can barely lift his head.

One day, I slept in Dadda's bed while Dadda slept outside cos he wanted to watch football. And Arnold slept outside too, but I heard a heavy thunk and woke up and came out. I lifted him up and he stared at me. His paws were cold. So I went back, gathered my duvet and cuddled with him on the two-seater, under my duvet. He fell asleep like that. Deeply asleep. And I stayed there, my legs curled in, with Arnold against my tummy, waiting. Until he woke up. Except that he didn't. He just slept and slept. Eventually I lifted him to the green bed and went back into the room. But I couldn't sleep.

These days, I am tired, my eyes hurt, my thoughts are fragmented and I can't sleep. Not really. Not deeply. Most days, I stay on the sofa, with Arnold (and Elliot) somewhere close by. But Arnold senses that he does not have much time left. He stays awake. He stares at me. He likes to lay his head on my feet or my hands when he knows I am going to leave.

"Stay," he seems to say. "Stay, I want to remember you. Please stay."

And I leave but I don't really. I am uneasy elsewhere, longing to be back home, if only so I can share his air, as I flit about, restless soul trying to do this, wanting to do that, writing a letter, leaning back to think, putting the letter away unfinished because I can't concentrate. Reading a book, and then deciding to stop because I don't really like the book, it's as fragmented as my thoughts and what I need is coherence, coherence, and I've finished Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and maybe I can read the rest of his stuff on Gutenberg or perhaps, Newman's Idea of a University or one of the other books he quotes so much or one of the books that Helene Hanff bought from 84 Charing Cross Road which obsesses me at the moment when little else does.

Arnold, little plaintive dog I found dying on my neighbour's doorstep with the hole in the head full of maggots, the fur all wet from a thunderstorm...lying there, weary, hungry...Arnold who crawled into my heart like a Maggot and never quite left it.

Arnold, who grows weaker every day, no longer responding to the acupuncture or the Chinese herbal medicine or the raw food diet or the attention.

If he wants to say goodbye, if he wants me to hold his little hand as he moves off into brighter fields, running, barking happily, chasing butterflies, reuniting with the mistress who left him (or died), I'll be here. I'll hold his hand. I don't do death well. I don't know how to.

I lack the patience and grace that I read about with other people. I stumble forward jerkily, say the wrong thing, in the wrong tone of voice.

Lead kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom. And lead my little doggie forward. Gently like falling into a dream. Sweetly, like a kiss from someone you love.

Lead thou him on.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vexed To Nightmare

Every night a different nightmare. But each featuring the same person. My mother. Last night I dreamt she was not really dead, that we had buried her alive. Dadda figured it out and we had to dig her up again. And she spent her Renaissance preparing for Julie's wedding which had already happened. Before she died.

I have no idea what it means. I just know that when I wake up I have less and less desire to live.

She Calls

I've been dreaming of her every night; troubled dreams...and now my body is wracked with fever and coughs and keeps expelling food almost before I've finished eating. Now objects lose their fixity and meaning and there is an absence of desire.

Many many times I have felt like I'd like to cast off this garment and slip away but each time there was something holding me back. But now faces grow dim and voices muffled. I don't remember why I am here and delaying the inevitable because I have not really lived or left my mark on the surface of this earth (any different from drawing pictures in the sand) seems futile. And illogical.

Breathing to go on breathing makes no sense.

And she calls.

Every night, in fact every sleep is spiced with troubled nightmares, and I toss and turn and writhe in agony. And whimper.

Because she calls. She talks rubbish, tells me untruths that I can pick apart even in my sleep-drugged state and I wake up and curl under blankets unwilling to expose my face to the harsh light of day, unwilling to stagger out of bed to meet people who imagine they are fixed forms doing God's own work and not jellies, not transparencies...

What am I to do? She calls. And I feel nothing. And I don't care if I answer or if I don't. Except that I'm weary. Except that I wish I could rest.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Shreds Of My Life

These are the shreds of my life. I can't make them reconcile, cohere. There is no Grand Narrative. Only side stories that veer off into little drains off the corners. Until everyone forgets what they were supposed to be about. No central theme. Only fragments of this thing. And that. I can't connect the threads. It's like I've had too much whisky, my love. Or too much wine.

I stopped knowing who I was a long time ago.

And I stopped caring.

So how does a life like this end?

How long till I stop pretending to care?

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

In the midst of a crowd

Happy New Year. There are plenty of things I want to say. But I'm writing this in a crowded restaurant. So it's probably not the best time.

Later for you.