Had a gently strange day today, wandering around from coffee to uncoffee, and then back to coffee again. My imagination is clearly getting the better of me: at least children and parrots seem to respond to my advances. A lovely young man ruffled my hair near Sainsbury’s whilst he was with his family and me with my SO. An impulse you don’t often see people expressing these days: stranger danger makes us so retiring, and occasionally rightly so; but the downside is that the physical contact and affection we’re frequently starved of continues to be absent in so many contexts.
Anyhow. We talked of old days, mainly in Burgos; how humour did infuse quite often large swathes. Life takes its toll, of course; of course it must and will. But being good friends is much kinder than continuing to be a confused opposition.
I have to add something else as well. I’ve been writing poetry and prose (mainly poetry, to be honest) for the past four months or so: quite frequently, quite persistently, quite randomly maybe too. And this process of free and untrammelled writing has unlocked – unbolted – so many memories I was unable to access for such a long time, making me realise I’m almost like I used to be in Burgos before all that horrible shit went down. To return to a time when life looks forward instead of looking back is so beautiful to feel, experience and transmit, that I can only give thanks to the artifices of the project – unless of course it’s happened by itself, in which case I must give thanks to the greater universe.
I’m still not out of the woods, of course: my imagination still runs away with me; and I often find it challenging to remind myself that what I think and what I see are never going to be one and the same thing. The other grand issue relating to being a writer who draws on their personal experience in order to create is that the fusing of reality and fiction often doesn’t leave a very clearly marked frontier. And for the imagineer, as much as the public, this may sometimes be both disconcerting as well as distressing. But the truth of the matter is that writing which plays safe is the kind of writing which doesn’t need to be written. And if I have ever hurt anyone with what I have written, I can only say I try to be honest and fair with what I say all the time.
I love many people in my life. Not all of them know it, nor even that they remain in my life after so many years. But they do, and I would never have it any other way: the things I remember from day to day, from childhood and adulthood both, have marked me, as I am sure they have marked us all. If I can both recover my semblance of reality by describing the things which are so important to me as well as helping others understand their own, then I think my job as writer will probably be done.