12 May 2007


I think I cracked my skull on the way down
I think I lost my head when I lay down
The fear of facts presented in the cold light of day

I say the time has come for decision
Better steer my boat for a reason
Lost on the way I went over horizon
She went out of sight
The girl lost me a lifetime
- The Beta Band, Assessment

My latté is not frappé. It's piping hot and keeping me from shivering in the shop. I refuse to turn the heater on because it's May. The Scottish Weather lulled us all into a false sense of security, and we know it. We knew it. None of us trusted it and we're still surprised that the jumpers and waterproofs are back out of the closet and keeping out the damp and the cold. Any day can have any season here. Mild and sunny in January, bitter and damp in May. It confuses the passage of time. It distracts from how fast it is going.

I've been distracted.

It happens so easily. It's not only the weather. It's everything. I started listening to the chorus. The harmony of voices chiming about jobs, reality, sorting myself out. It gets easier to listen the less protein you've eaten, the more invitations you have to decline, the more you order tap water instead of a beer, the more you mumble the thank-you when your friend takes pity and buys you the beer anyway.

Slowly, I started to forget. Keeping the wolves at bay became more important than dream chasing. Jobs sought became less and less relevant. I've dreamt not of an agent, or a publisher, but of a salary. I've wanted comfort.

Dreams cannot be killed, but they can die. They can stagnate and fade and crumble slowly into vague fancy, leaving the dreamer empty, without even bitterness. If there's bitterness, then the dream isn't dead, it's fighting, reminding, spurring.

It's time to fight, to spur, to remember. To write and rewrite, to pursue, to chase, to know that keeping the wolves at bay is just that and nothing more. I will get angry, bitter, despondent. I will get hungry, thirsty and lonely. But I will be true. I will not be complacent, I will not capitulate to the ease of comfort. I am a writer, and I will write.

I will also turn the heater on. It might be May, but it's fucking cold.

10 May 2007

Her eyes red, but there are no tears. Dark smudges beneath them. There have been tears. She nods on the phone and paces the pavement, oblivious to all around her. She looks in the distance and sees who is speaking and the pain they describe all at once. I’m stealing this. It’s her pain and I don’t know her and it doesn’t matter and I want to comfort her but I can’t. I don't know her. So I steal her pain because I’m a coward and I share it to make amends.

I’m so very sorry.

09 May 2007

white whiskers

My stubble is now salted. Not hugely so. To be honest, I don't think anyone else notices. But I do. It's a small streak of white whiskers that run down the right side of my chin. My finger finds them at odd moments and twists them, scratches them, assesses them, trying to work out if they're different from the rest. They're not. Not that I can tell at least. But they interest me nonetheless. They are a sign of age that bear no pain. There's no morning stiffness, no prolonged hangover, no pessimism that comes with them. They just are, and I've become quite fond of them.

I don't shave often, twice a week tops. It's not a fashion thing, or a 'look' that I go for, it's just general laziness. If I didn't abhor having a beard so much I probably wouldn't shave at all. Still, it's nice, every once in awhile, to scrub up good. A close shave, shirt and tie. Its infrequency makes it all the more special.

I can't shave at the moment. In the early hours of Sunday morning I took a punch to the chin. A hard one. It knocked my head back into a stone wall and nearly sent my bottom teeth through my lower lip. While my fingers fiddle with my white whiskers my tongue traces the inside of my lip, probing the fast-healing indentations. The base of my skull behind my left ear aches where it hit the wall.

The punch came without provocation or reason. The bonfire was warm, the chat merry, old friends and new sipping wine and waiting for the sun to appear. I don't remember the hit itself. I remember shaking, curled in a ball, being told what happened. I went down. Marcus took a punch to the head, then stopped him, throwing him against the stone and sitting on him. I got up. I retaliated, raining both fists on him. Raging and frightening my friends. I don't remember.

He hit me first. I'd done nothing to him. But I look at the cuts on my knuckles, the bruises on my hand, and it all lingers, unsettled. Wrong in equal parts. He left the beach, confused, apologetic, saying that it wasn't who he was, it wasn't him.

It wasn't me either.