It is a still morning. I’ve seen a pair of female blackbirds meet on the top of the telephone pole, and fly off together into the still moonlit, blue morning. A neighbour is up – I can hear the runoff water from their shower. The last of the Monoprix decaf is brewing in the cafetiere. I’ve slept fitfully after a few too many glasses of wine (Montepulciano and then Sauvignon, both vegan). My friend Chris is up early too, and we’re playing chess online. The window has been open all night and the air is clear and fresh and welcome, after the thunder-pressure. Misha, my cat, is sitting in the front room on the window sill, peacefully looking out through the smallest, cat’s-eye slit in the curtain, the neighbourhood snoopy that she is. I brush her. She pushes back at me. I leave her to get the coffee and open my laptop, only five hours after going to bed and committing myself to ten days without turning it on. But this is not work, today, and I have no fear of obligations. There is still doubt about if I am doing the right thing or not. But there is more love, and love wins out.
My mouth feels itchy and blotchy on the teeth, as I didn’t brush last night—the electric toothbrush K gave me is still in the wicker drawer in the bathroom. All night I have been thinking, sometimes dreaming, of the things that I cried about last night. My father, missing, and what I am still missing, that person to encourage, care for, teach me about life and growing up. And what he is missing: a son to help him continue to find a way to live into old age, a son to be proud of. And the other thing I was weeping about: the pigs in the trucks on their way to the meat-packers, boiling over in the 45 degree heatwave because pigs have no way to sweat to cool them down, so they are dying in agony in the heat; and the love and grace of the people from Toronto Pig Save and the other city Pig Saves who meet them at the traffic lights on the way to feed them water and watermelon to relieve them in their agony.
As it says on the Free from Harm website, the first and last act of mercy and kindness they will ever receive. The mercy and kindness I’ve been unable to show my father. The image of that cow in Farm Sanctuary’s video, newly born, literally seconds born, being dragged by the leg by a farmer away from its mother, the mother cow who ran after it, her young, her newborn, but who could not stop the farmer taking that cow and putting her into servitude, chained into a narrow milking cell for the rest of its life. The image of my father, homeless, bring dragged out of the shop doorway, a gutter. Continue reading
Three powerful dreams from the last week, that are all connected by feeling, sense, people and imagery. They’ve really struck me as very important dreams, coming back to this sense that I am at a critical hinge-point in my life. I have always dreamt very vividly, and for a while kept a dream diary, and analysed my dreams a lot (I also, at MA level, did a module on Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams). At university as a Sabbatical Officer at the students’ union I used to take over our morning meetings with my dream stories. I can remember dreams from 30-odd years ago as clear memories—Abbott and Costello and Frankenstein and the On Air Sign and the Cardboard Boxes and the Lobster; I dream of apocalypse, of school friends in school uniform, of the swimming pool with the shark, of Darth Vader as my father, of new loves kissing under table tops, of new worlds and compassionate aliens and of sentient Panda Bears getting their revenge on us humans for wiping them out, lots of Zombies, of fighting, always there is a lot going on in my dreams which feels very claustrophobic, I have woken up with sore ribs from laughing so much at my friend doing a news report off the back of an unruly donkey, woken up screaming from the demons trying to get into my house, sometimes can never lock the doors or windows to keep out the enemy, sometimes am in that same house with the deep level rooms that are filled with ghosts and which terrify me but which I know I need to face, sometimes the dreams are filled with blood and knives and attempts to defend myself and all I love, sometimes even the Devil turns up at the bottom of the staircase wearing sunglasses, saying ‘I lied’. And every now and then I’m flying, seated as if driving a car; and rarely, although never to be forgotten, I am playing football like a kid again, with a hope that the time for fun will never end.
The last three dreams over the past week have had a different feel. Gentle, in some way, but with their own frustrations and paralyses, but also some flirting, teasing, lightness, love, energy and strawberries. But in particular staircases, doors, elevators/lifts, and some form of new connections being formed as old ones are left. Most of all, they feel very much about Soul, about the relationship of Soul to the Social and to Social Purpose vs. Soul Purpose. Of finding what is quite deep down inside, and using that as a guide to living. So I thought I would share. Continue reading
Last Friday I went for a job interview. It was for Lecturer in Creative Writing and English Literature at a northern city university, the closest thing we have to a liberal arts college in the UK. It’s a beautiful campus, city centre, opposite an ancient Roman wall (that T and I once walked along in 2008 on a day trip). I was an hour late for the interview after getting stuck in traffic, one part of which was due to an old caravan (the type you’d get at the bottom of a farmer’s field in a low-budget English tragicomic film) tearing in two down the middle, top to bottom, and scattering the owners’ belongings across the A19. And it went okay, it certainly wasn’t a car crash itself, but it comes at a very uncertain time, with lots of people I know in my current home city leaving or possibly leaving (the uncertainty itself is uncertain).
On 14th December 2007, on the train home from the interview at my current workplace, after being offered the job at the interview, I made a list of Pros and Cons to help me make up my mind of whether or not I would take the job. I sat down to do the same last night for this new job (not that I have been offered the role, but best to prepare!), after a weekend of not working but relaxing (Warkworth, beach walks, a bit of booze and chocolate and then dozing in bed with a book all Bank Holiday Monday morning), and couldn’t get my head around it, so made a new image-poem from cut outs from the newsprint magazine on Translation I picked up in the foyer while waiting for the interview to begin. (I’ll post it later once I get it to the scanner; left it at home this morning). The poem itself circles back around these issues of craft, self, personality and construction—what actions do we take that constructs a self, what decisions do we make?—but more than the output, it is the process of crafting, that clears the mind to then be able to move on and progress. Crafting as a spiritual practice, as is this writing, as is running, and as is time spent with friends. A couple of interesting questions from friends over the last few days: Continue reading