Thursday, 10 June 2004


In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dulled and know I had to put it on the grindstone and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.

Ernest Hemingway, preface to The First Forty-Nine Stories

Roused by seven o’clock sunlight, the morning is having an extended reprieve. It has been given extra time to prove itself, and secure a permanent place upon the face of the day’s clock. The hands are set in opposition to the length of my sleep and hour of my retirement, and it is more than just a little regrettable.

It feels as though ivy has scaled my face and mind, set root, and is preparing to undermine me. The hushed grey of sleep permeates the imperfections and crumbling brickwork of my awareness, burrowing into my cognitions and slowing all processes to its own steady, irrepressible growth.

Simultaneously however, it supports and justifies my awareness, cementing my mind’s purpose and providing a shaded purpose, easing me into the day’s meanderings, providing barriers, facilitating upwards motion. Not to mention perpetuating an awful metaphor. Let us not pretend that this is the first time.

(And let us also not forget that thought today is for the first time, there has been no before, and what comes afterwards will be little more than shadows and whispers, projected hopes and diluted ambitions.)

The caress of sleep both dulls and blunts me, but I take solace in the fact that at some future point, some future point full of vivacity and understanding, today’s rolling and clumsy and tired thoughts, will clarify, both in terms of themselves and their surroundings (situation/reason/influence).

They are hardly bright or shiny, nor well-oiled and smooth but they are indicative of a time that, viewed from outside, will seem as remote, inaccessible and distant as the outside seems now.

The minutes I endure now are my Forty-Nine Stories. At some point I hope to have a preface to accompany them.

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