Wednesday, 2 April 2008

“You can tell the season has changed,” she says, “because the sound carries differently.”

And indeed it has. The noise of machinery flows down the street from the top as workmen grind pavestones and clouds of starlings move with urgent choruses from rooftop to tree and finally, at the end of the street, into distant grey shapes above the blue moorland.

“The season’s change is recognisable,” she says, “by the difference in the way sound carries.”

The recollection of a sentence over and beyond the aesthetic of its retelling; this came to me as I woke. I half-remembered, sleepily, Cara’s statement as we left the house yesterday morning. But unlike that moment, the sentence is now a viscose emblem of what was previously said, representative of intention but not form.

“Listen. The way the sound carries,” she says. “The season has changed.”

The right to retell, what right have I? He who sits at his desk now, every morning, justifying his retraction from the world of work. I shall work no longer, I have given myself over to letters. Two days of sunshine has provoked a immediate retreat into idiocy, into great swathes of pretension. But I cannot pretend I am not enjoying it.

Fitful dreaming (a result of leaving the radio on overnight) abandoned into a great flag of summerlike weather, and then black coffee and a barefoot stroll into the yard. Reading the paper (how long has it been since I last did this?), noticing shifts towards optimism. Can it be that newspapers are dictated to by the season? As we enter spring, there seems to be more hope replacing the bleak dictations of winter – today, the probable end of the Mugabe reign in Zimbabwe allied to a more general anointment of this current period as the time which signified the demise of Africa’s dictators.

What work for today, if I can call it work? To the screenplay, to actually getting down the framework as black and white. The script will never be made and could never be made – an unfilmable film script, an unreadable book, an unlistenable song – but still the preoccupations with the aesthetic of its retelling are present.

The first rule I taught myself about writing was present, plausibly, in yesterday’s reading, Aristotle’s poetics:

“…novices in the art attain to finish of diction and precision of portraiture before they can construct the plot…”

The plot is all there, but distractions of formatting abound. The purpose of the screenplay is foremost to tell three stories of three people, imprisoned by themselves. However, the conventions of script formatting, the precision of margins and italicisation, seem to lend themselves to a playful re-format, one involving haiku and spectacle. The challenge is to lay down the foundations before beginning to play.