Wednesday, 11 May 2005

note well

The note sent me into raptures.

This was not the note on brown paper, a floral kind of subterfuge, stowed under the pillow and waiting for sleep. It lay undiscovered under the triangle of roof, plain geometry broken by cloth and muslin. Its presence sang from afar, called out past the terraces and across the fresh, greened parkland, through the alleys and roofs of the city, calling out to me, even though I wrote it.

Nor was this the note left in the red book, a beacon. Hardback book cover, the inside torn out with angry staples still embedded, the inside painted an emulsion white and decorated with shattered slate. That note lay also, waited also, but it had found its home and was given. It was no secret but deserved and expected and I always know where to find it.

This was another note, written today.

They are all written in the same room, where not enough day or only just enough reaches us. We lay in the tiny light of the sunset’s reach last night, and laughed and drew on our cigarettes. The purpose had changed, and was a little lighter for our togetherness, my arrival and your hesitancy.

Written in the centre of the black notebook, the sentences wound in tight circles, burrowing into the centre. Usually, this book, a place for exercise and expansion, trial and error, the sheets and mattresses at the bottom of the stairs waiting for a fall. Sometimes a place where you and I felt uncomfortable, this notebook, a place where you and I couldn’t collide and only met abstractly. A book to hide in, hide within, a furnishing and a sorrow and a retraction.

The role of the black notebook is uneasy. I write in it in your presence but without your permission, a site of disregard and of forgetting, for sure enough you fade slightly as I write. I am distilled into my solidarity, a focus embittered with dictionary and event. You pale in comparison, you must as I seek to recreate what is called writing on good days and a distraction on bad.

This never approaches negativity in my mind, a role suited to denial, nor is it the absorption that you speak tentatively of (self-absorption, the artist as sponge) as you perch in the middle of the floor, drowned in notes and academia. The words never scathe or cut, and the truths they pretend to reveal only find themselves true in the faces of others. Your science baffles and belittles me as you read out the hypothalamus’ function or the activity of the cerebellum.

And it was during this productivity, one of those hours of the mind that you sought out the notebook and traced past its negativity, the essential failure of the piece, the fact that it sits and waits and talks to no man, and read it and sought to change things.

The tiny turn of your hand first, and the book second (for you turned its open, hard-backed cover with ease as you wrote) ensued, your pen’s craft pulling out circles. You wrote in physical circles of course, the sentences coiling out form the page’s centre, easing out spirals that rose around the page like summer heat, words of reality, words not like this.

The words formed a departure in tone, origin and form, to me and not from me and without the sober grandiosity of disposition that encumbers and holds my own words. Within there was a lightness, an easing and a forgoing of plans and secondary thought, the true stream obtained by not needing to write anything at all. And all of this in the middle, the middle of the page and the book and the day and in the middle of my thoughts and yours and at a junction and a partition, sitting at the centre of the table as we spoke over low candlelight the evening before and the evening after, always there as a setting and an event and a centrepiece.

This is what I forget, have forgotten, will remember on each opening of the page.

I still rapture.

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