I’m leaving, on a jet plane…
I thought I’d be spending New Year’s Eve at the Regency Wreck, watching the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge. Maybe even camping there overnight on a mattress. Instead I’ll be on an airplane, somewhere over the Indian Ocean without so much as a sparkler. I’m off for five weeks – back to the Dorset countryside and to London. I shall go stamping all over, and spend a day pottering in Spitalfields (where the streets are paved with iconoclasts); a few days in Marrakesh (where the streets are paved with Berber rugs); and a few more in Venice (where there are no streets).
(And if you don’t believe me about Spitalfields, take a look at http://spitalfieldslife.com/, which is a true delight).
Right now I should be packing, stuffing things willy nilly into my bag. Piles of clothes mushroom at the periphery of my vision but here I am instead, at my machine. Odd – when I have time draped in folds around my feet I can’t get a post together but when I’m on my way out of the door it becomes The-thing-which-cannot-be-put-off.
The highlight of this last year was buying the Regency Wreck. This time next year I want to be living there (oh, dangerous thingses, these predictions). The rest of this year has been one of drudgery – an attempt to cobble together the right conditions for health and recovering still (STILL!) from the psychoanalytic training – my sense of humour is not yet inflated, my sense of joy still fugitive. At the end of it all I feel a little colourless, a little pressed flat. These last few days a poem by Denise Riley has been blowing around inside my head.
As iron sharpens iron
I sharpen the face of my friend
so hard he sings out
in high delicate notes.
A struggle for mastery to most speak
powerful beauty would run any
attention or kindness clean out
of town in angry rags.
Ringed by darkness the heat pulsates.
And power comes in like lightning.
A lion in the room, fair and flowing
twists with unsparing eyes.
Whitely the glance runs
to it and away. But let it
talk its golden talk if we
don’t understand it.
Grabbed by remote music
I’m frightening myself. Speak
steadily as is needed to
stare down beauty. That calms it.
In this coming year I hope for a lion in the room. A pulsating heart. Some powerful beauty to try and speak. For you I wish whatever it is you need and much of what you want. Happy New Year!