June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Heartache feels exactly like heartache.
That’s all I can think of. Stupid neuroscience.
June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
I have hope for my face. The lines I seem to have created are very unnatural looking, and for all intents and purposes appear to be lifting. It has become a full-time occupation controlling what I have come to think of as The Tension. I feel it building and subsiding throughout the day and my rational mind pushes back with all the stability my sense and memory can produce, with the aid of meticulously administered drugs. I have become something of a running expert on anxiety, and can swing by the old doctor who doesn’t mind a feel on my way from work and be home with three types of chemical relaxants before the start of the news.
I have positioned myself mentally outside of the city, in a place that is part my memories of home and part a sanctuary of my own design: a retraction; a learned behaviour I can only be sure I have somehow managed to learn. The action is remote controlled and because of this, I am mildly fearful for my person, and of any physical outcomes.
My room is private as ever but still in there it builds. I madly try to block it out by stuffing my ears with material and putting earmuffs over the top. This looks highly peculiar and I try not to emerge unexpectedly in doorways if my flatmate, who has lived in London and sometimes looks at me as if I am out of my mind, is reading or watching television.
There is an opening or a premiere at Fox Studios tonight and the searchlights beam out over my building, flashing agitatedly across the cavernous sky. When I was growing up I lived near the State prison and whenever an inmate escaped similar searchlights would beam from helicopters overhead into the yards of every home. I can trace it; it was the beginning of The Tension, the fear, the nightmares. So I can’t blame it all on this place: the hum of neuroses bound by earth and water. Or on being born to an institution, a routine of doubts and nerves. And looking at it that way it seems I was destined to be here and to gradually stand unaided.
If a writer must understand symbolism it has been interesting to be in one – a symbol that is – and to understand that everything happens in the shadow cast by its meanings; that the imagination it spawns is far greater than its parts or their sum. It is identity and fear, and like misguided volunteers, we think we sit inside it.
June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
My flatmate pours over a picture of her boyfriend, who is back in Germany. I see her sitting there, in her little room with her little pictures. “He’s fucking some other chick RIGHT NOW” is what I think. And who knows, maybe she is too. People are very bla’se when it comes to living double, triple or quadruple lives these days. One of my managers at work – and I must fill in here that ‘work’ is a demountable cabin the size of a houseboat – is completely capable of acting like the next room of the office space is “another department”. Having previously worked in a real bureaucracy, she is simply unable to relinquish the habit of a piece of paper taking a week and a half to move between two people. Knowing this, I constantly yell out to her from my desk like we are on a building site: “Got that memo about David’s contract? Chuck it under the door will you?”. She spends most of her time scurrying around getting cups of tea or taking “time in lieu” just to avoid the horrible discomfort. People, to her, are figments. The job she wants is one where she can stop in the corridor for some faux-speak about keeping such-and-such in the loop, only to disappear into her rat-hole of an office to become “The HR Department”, present only in vague official emails and at meetings. Oh, and in everyone’s mind. The content of her emails are, of course, rubbish. She never does any of the things she puts in them, she claims she is having meetings she is not having, and that she understands systems she has no idea of. I had to go into her office one day for a form, having been under the impression that it was a slick interview room full of manuals. I could not open the door for the paper banked up against it (she must have left by the window) and there was half a cake under the desk. There was paper piled up on the chairs, bits of what appeared to be a PA system, and every single memo and file I had been asking her about was heaped in with receipts, bits of printing and other books and papers in three Coles bags on the floor. She’s mad. It’s obvious, but no one can point it out, because it’s work and you just can’t.
What this demonstrates, though I’m actually not entirely sure that it does, is that people can tell themselves stories and live in entire worlds of make-believe and they actually truly and utterly have convinced themselves of the truth of it. Or that I can’t forget the amount of infidelity I have seen since the shedding of my child brain began here…
…I’ve just re-read that last one and it’s like every kind of “verbal photograph” I could ever produce comes off as this nostalgic reflection of a golden past which was fake and should be disregarded.
Out here in the crisp mountain air one can really appreciate the mediocrity of Andrew McGahan and improve one’s arm in darts.