10 May 2006

literary cacophony

Cacophony's a great word, but I'm having difficulty with it. You see, the 'phony' part of it restricts its use to sounds, and the realm of the aural. There isn't an elegant equivelent when dealing with the written word. Or if there is, my vocabulary falls short. There are some fantastic words that come close - gallimaufry is wonderful, though its origins are culinary. And its obscurity makes its use a wee bit wanky. So if I were to say that this post is going to be a gallimaufry of subjects ranging from the loosely relevant to the downright trivial it may put people off and give the impression that I'm a terrible word snob. Which, as an aspiring writer, I suppose I am. But I don't want people to think that. What I want is to describe this post as a cacophony of stuff that's going on, but in order for that to be an accurate description I'd have to be shouting the contents of the post at innocent bystanders.

So, anyway, the Red Sox beat the Yankees last night 14-3, which was far and away the best news I had today. It had little competition. But the ritual itself, checking Boston.com and seeing how they did, perusing the highlights, that's become a morning comfort regardless of the result (well, almost regardless) and it's a good way to kick things off. I should add that while I do love the Red Sox dearly, I'm not one of those frothing fans whose moods are determined only by wins and losses.

That said, my moods would be better of late were they to match the Red Sox's wins and losses.

But they don't, so whatever.

Speaking of moods, my father accepted the offer made on our house by the pizza man. Between my mother's mood of despair and my father's mood of grim pragmatism, laced with sympathy for my mother and a bit of despair in itself, sits my own mood. This mood is new to me, shifting from anger at the sheer unfairness of it all to bleak depression and then quickly to maniacal optimism that some long lost family fortune will turn up or the lottery numbers will come up or some other such nonsense that would conveniently arrive within the last 15 minutes of a dreadful Hollywood family blockbuster.

And everytime I look around and feel at home comes the stabbing reminder that within 90 days it will not be home anymore. I remember reading once that 'home' as a concept is unique to the English language. It has no direct translation elsewhere. My linguistic abilities stretch to a passable Fife accent and I cannot confirm the legitimacy of the statement but it rings true. A 'house' is easy to explain, a 'home' is hard and English may just have been the lucky language with that one. French has a surplus of idiosyncratic words and phrases that put most languages to shame with their eloquence; it's fitting that English should have home as it seems so simple but isn't really. At the moment it's like pulling the duvet right up just above your chin and finding just the right position on your bed that requires no adjustment or turning for comfort and knowing that it's freezing cold out but that doesn't matter because your pillow, your duvet and your mattress have achieved harmony and as such so do you, and in your harmony you are at peace.

And then some utter twat pulls off your duvet and pours a bucket of ice water on you.

I view the situation a bit like the Red Sox between 1918 and 2004. Kind of hopeless but in the grand scheme, not that important. In spite of the maelstrom of emotions I described, there's a very sensible and somewhat detached part of me that knows it's all just a game and I'm not playing in it. This is an issue entirely on my parent's shoulders. My move home has merely given me front row seats. My parents, if they are looking at it as a game, are looking at it as one they've lost. And while I know that they're all grown up now and can take care of themselves, I cannot stop trying to mediate and comfort. Which is not easy and terribly distracting.

And while the insignificance of the whole situation in the grand scheme of suffering, triumph and the global stage is clear in my head, the proximity of it all and the deep affection I have for my parents makes that knowledge as comforting as hedgehog mouthwash.

I don't have any link I can use with the term hedgehog mouthwash. I'm not sure where it came from, actually.

Writing. I just wrote the term hedgehog mouthwash and I'm perpetually attempting to write a novel. There's a link. Not a very good one though.

I received a heart-warming though sharp kick in the arse the other day regarding my writing. The funny thing about kicks in the arse is that they come seconds before you come to the same conclusion. Or that's what we like to tell ourselves. I receive a kick in the arse and mumble something about thinking something along the same lines but not being quite there yet. But anyway, loads of different things seemed to click and it was as though I'd been wearing shades in the cinema.

Thing realised 1: I've been more prolific writing in my notebooks (real notebooks, not laptops) than on my computer of late. This is in spite of being far more at ease with typing than with longhand.

Thing realised 2: More ideas have been coming to me while running, walking or writing in my notebook than on my computer.

Thing realised 3: I haven't been very productive on my computer recently.

I mulled these realisations. A bad surgeon blames his scalpel. A dreadful surgeon blames his hangover. And I was beginning to blame my computer for my own lack of discipline. I'm easily distracted. It's not some bullshit ADD thing, it's just that without really disciplining myself I go all goldfish. I know that it's not clinical because I've spent literally days playing Civ3 and watched 2 Lord of the Rings Extended Editions back to back once.

Potential distractions from notebook - measuring the space between the lines, unravelling the page marker, filling in the "if lost" form on the front page, twiddle pen around thumb

Potential distractions from thinking while running - dog poo, other people, turns in the road, dead ends, fucking cyclists

Potential distractions from computer - the internet, email, video games, ichat, messenger, blog, photos, general geekery

A pretty obvious link (better than the hedgehog mouthwash one) emerged.

The thing is, I have this excuse now. This pile of legitimate distractions, familial angst, the physical reality of moving and preparing to move, the mediator role, all of that shit. If I took a month or two off to get things ready and deal with everything else, few would begrudge me (well, one would definitely begrudge me, bless 'er) and what difference would it make, really?

Never have I been so resolute to finish this book. Because all that's going on, my unwitting place in this regretable mess, the morose and miserable pall that's lingering over the house like the rain cloud that follows that truck driver in So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish would not be my problem. Yeah, I'd be sad and I'd help and I'd do what a 30 year-old son would do to help, but I'd be hell and gone from the middle of everything (well, the middle of the periphery). Moving home has meant that living my life and pursuing my goals is so closely linked with my 'rents that the line between my life and theirs gets blurred and fuck that. The line's being drawn in that awesome, smelly fat magic marker that you get with all the warnings not to sniff and not to put on anything you don't want stained forever.

My mother asked me why I wasn't pursuing the wine trade today, for Christ's sake, if she doesn't get it now the only way to drive it into her skull is to smack her in the head with a fresh-from-the-press hardcover copy of my first novel. When she's less emotionally fragile, of course.

On a different note, but still being typed (link), I've been rereading my copy of The Essays of E B White. It is battered. It was one of my texts in my senior year of high school. It's a book I used to carry with me wherever, as I never tired of it and the writing was of such incredible beauty, wisdom, clarity and simplicity that I felt almost protected by it. I cannot remember when I stopped taking it everywhere with me, nor do I remember why, but I think I'm going to start carrying it around again. You can never get enough beauty, wisdom, clarity or simplicity and a sense of protection isn't so bad either.

I considered putting lots of this up as seperate posts for the sake of coherence and reader patience. I didn't. But I did learn the word gallimaufry, which is worth both coherence and patience.

6 comments:

tinkerfaerie said...

Honestly I didn't finish reading the entire post. LOL. Oh well I have some sort of A.D.D going on so there. Have a nice day :)

Richard said...

To be fair, it's a pretty long post. At least you commented - no else does that around here.

Alicia said...

Will discuss issues of this post with you later. For now just want to say, I was at that goddamn Yankees/Sox game, and I....ugh. I have this theory, see, about how the relationship between the yankees and their fans is the same as that between God and the Jews. Seriously, if I could be bothered to explain, you'd see how it made sense. I'll blog it later. For now all I have to say is- y'all did not win that game. We lost it. We just bent over and took it like a bunch of little bitches. But hey, it's May- baseball doesn't matter till July. Which is about when we'll start kicking your asses.
Hey, my comment was almost as long as your post!

Richard said...

5-3

And that was a proper game. So there. :-P

Alicia said...

A proper game? You won because Matsui broke his HAND! Oh the denial you live in......ppfffft.

Richard said...

He broke his hand in the first inning. You're just a big wuss.That said, we lost to the Rangers in terrible weather and only 6 innings last night, so we're once again tied for first, separated by mere percentage points. Ah the drama. And as you rightly say, it's only May.

Oh, and all the other angst-ridden stuff in this post? Yeah, that's all still going on - but getting better.