Monday, January 29, 2007

A Bubble of Despair

It may, of course, have something to do with what happened to her as a child. Or, perhaps, to do with the more recent traumatic event that ended, as part of the rehabilitation process (as she called it), with a deep familiarity with the writings of Sting. That is, the lyrics of Sting. She said, to barely concealed hilarity: I don’t know, it’s something about him, about what his music says to me. She is currently, as you may imagine, nursing a giant-sized oil-painting of no particular reason or bent. She has much to say.

Such as on the subject of betrayal. And how to bounce back from betrayal and, you know, become all the stronger from the experience. To be happier, even. How to learn to wear those scars with pride, like they say.

In gala force, tonight, the players of stage and screen. Light they may be, but heavy their tread on the carpet. They preferred it though, as they never tire of telling us, when they were happier in their anonymity, playing to crowds of three, tiny gangs of four. They know what becomes of art when you spread it too wide, when you take it too far.

And of craftsmanship. What can one say that hasn’t already been said?

How gently goes that long walk into the.

Into the what? The unexplored dark reality of night time and fog where your artistic blatherings are all of an accord with the whispers in the scrubs? Somebody, you feel, should turn on the lights. As the popular indie magazine Crudup has it (circulation 300): there are leading lights this year who will be up while last year’s leading lights will be down. It is to this year’s winners, this year’s leading lights, that you should be making your overtures. But quick. The magazine is called Trait, obviously, not Crudup.

There are the telephone calls, the submissions, the grant applications, the corners of desks ringed with coffee cups and the memories of when you used to smoke. A leather chair and, for measure, an Olivetti typewriter next to the computer in the corner. Postcards. Half a bottle of whiskey. Blasts of old stuff, the rip of new stuff. A long lingering look when, in the evening, you lock the door and leave just moments after turning off the light. How sweet the scent of the air this evening.

So what happened to her as a child?

As a child, I was six, seven, I was a very what you might call these days precocious child, very solitary and bookish and, you know, shy and nervous with few friends except for my friendship with books who kept me, even at that age, from the edge. My mother was a what I suppose can only be described as a socialite, very beautiful and popular and very proper, very aloof even, distant, maybe not cold as such but not what you would call warm. My father was of a similar nature, from the same sort of background, and I saw him even less as he was often away on business or somesuch while my mother entertained at home. My basic needs, such as they were, were catered to by a nanny who my mother had hired seemingly in foresight of the moment when all of her world crashed down around her head and we spat, nanny and I, all over her as she writhed in the flaming acrimony and projected fire and bile that was her due, I wanted her dead and cared nothing for her as she lay dying, felt absolutely nothing, as the months of agony caused her to reach out for her daughter but too late, too late, as she finally died in front of me, sort of in my arms, and all I could do was laugh, giggle, telling my father when he returned home that I wished that he too were dead, dead like my mother, so I could bury them both in the garden and dance on their graves, my reach for the dramatic in those days as acute as it still is now, and my father disowning me, no more distant than he’d always been, packing me off to an aunt in Yorkshire whose outrageous lesbianism and commitment to the betterment of the working-classes provided me with a cliché of embarrassments that was intoxicating, in many ways, for one so young. Oh, I thrived there, oh how I thrived.

And what of the brother who told her, years later, that their mother had, in fact, lived, had created the whole death scenario in order to get her daughter removed from her? The brother who had been loved and cherished by her mother in a way that she had never been loved and cherished? How much damage did this revelation, all those years later, do to her? What did Sting say?

After the rain has fallen,
After the tears have washed your eyes,
You'll find that I've taken nothing, that,
Love can't replace in the blink of an eye.

Said Sting.

And her brother, as he was about to leave, commented on the small sketch of a face, the face of her old lover that she had knocked from the wall in her anger, in her pain. Here, he said, you should do something with this, with your talent. What else could she do but believe him? Her poetry too, great old gobs of verse that spilled from her, from deep inside, the words literally scorching the paper upon which she laid them and bade them to do their worst.

Which, of course, they did.


Blogger Inconsequential said...


7:45 PM  

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