I will begin this blog’s service with a small story. It’s about an inch worm. It’s a short tale. For no sooner had he moved, when he was cut in half. And now it’s a story of two.
Did you know that I’m wanted in 52 counties of this state? And what for? I hear you ask. Licking the cream out of éclairs. It runs in the family. It’s on my dad’s side. He’s got some French in him. His ancestors came over with Charlemagne for the Battle of Ascot. Turpin Pout was the ancestor’s name. He was Charlemagne’s viscount — a petulant one. And he had a real love of éclairs. Used to hide them in the fingers of unwanted gauntlets. And when he reached the soiled earth of Albion, and Kent in particular, he snuck off one stormy night to eat a rather well-filled pastry and bumped into the Earl of Sandwich who was out doing the same thing with two neatly cut triangles of bread. And, well, the rest is history, as they say.
If only I could afford a castle in Spain. Alcazar Castle in Segovia looks lovely. I wonder if they’d swap it for a good story? But I’d need gardeners. A bit like Adam and Eve. Who, in my mind, were Earth’s first gardeners — sans wellies and clothes. If only their myth had portrayed them as such, there’d be none of this divide between evolutionists and creationists. Just squabbles over what are the best roses.
Mind the protozoa as you climb down the evolutionary ladder, there’s a good chap.
I must admit to something. I write because I’d been terribly unhappy if I didn’t and also because I really can’t do anything else and because I hope to make some money from it. . . and, for me at least, it’s also a way of not being forgotten. When I’m gone, I’m gone, but a bit of me will remain. And crazy as this sounds, it’s a way of immortalizing myself, even if I can’t and nobody reads a single word I wrote, I still want to try in the way a piece of innocent pottery wants to go on to be found thousands of years later. A bit like Yeats hammering his thoughts into a unity to that “eternal place as a deathless golden bird singing to eternity.”
But I’ll know, up until the day I can’t put the kettle on, that there’s something beside myself that’s around, living in the world I once loved even though my work may be untouched on a shelf. I don’t want to be forgotten.
And, of course, I might. It’s a risk. But so is everything worth its heart beat. And, daft as this may sound, books are a way to continue speaking when you’re not around. All the dead writers are dead but their words are not. Outdated some may be. Difficult to understand some may be. Silly some may be. Even questionable. But they exist as long as people want to read. And I believe we will always need stories. Without them the world has no soul.
And if it comes to that then I hope I am forgotten. But before then I’ll write and I’ll hope my words go on speaking well after I’m silent. Even if it’s between themselves in a closed book that nobody opens. A book is alive even when it’s not being read. It just becomes more so when it is.
But am I writing solely for posterity? No way. I’m writing because I refuse to let anyone say I can’t. And I’m mad enough to believe that I might have something someone in this crazy world wants to read. And so posterity plays a small part. But then sitting at the keyboard daydreaming plays an equally small part in the creative process — sometimes even a big part. And taking long walks helps, too. And so does listening to music, and reading, and playing with my daughter, and making love, and cooking breakfast, and crying and laughing and doing absolutely nothing but watchingsnowflakes slide down the window. I want to drink the whole world into my head. And, for me, that even means the one I won’t be around for. But if it gets into my imagination now, then, well, who knows. As Blake wrote: “What is now proved was once only imagined.” And so I will go on imagining.
“Life in this world is a big dream; I will not spoil it by any labour or care.” Li Po