Saturday morning and recovering from all the sleep and the nightly dreams I have about the Inland Revenue. Things are approaching an administrative blockade here, nothing will be stopped, but I have no documents and need to think of passage to the other side. Already the romance of time to write and the recording of albums has given way to the tedium of where to live, how to register, whether to return home and the irrepressible situation of obtaining enough money to eat and attend to myself.
This is not to say that it has to be this way. In working these details out – which requires only a day of focus – the time is regained and projects can be begun once more. Take stock; what has been achieved thus far? Is it not true that the novel now has a beginning, a middle and an end (even if their precise relation to each other is unknown)? And have I not played out in Berlin, breaking some kind of fear to take my music beyond comfort zones (even if, as yet, I feel like I have not come to terms with what it is that I do). And have I not become more engaged in the documentation of my time – the upkeep of a blog, listening habits expanded and recorded through last.fm (in a direct and contradictory u-turn I am a recent, complete convert to the world of scrobbles – at last I have found a way to save those bands who represent only themselves for a time when appropriate listening is, well, appropriate), a regular and healthy email correspondence, the construction of google maps… these are voids of working time, but they are specifities of an age too and ones that can only align me further and connect me more.
Still reading Calvino, what began as the most awe-inspiring treatise on reading and writing definitely wavered in my favour – it became too jolting and the internal monologue, the x-ray of the construction of narrative became, apparently, unsustainable and was soon relegated to a side issue. The novel relies on readability and suspense and, of course, the dramatic cut. My reading (and this could be as much a representation of the times and humidities in which I choose to read as it could the quality of the prose) of the work has been fragmentary and the suspense has not quite drawn me in. Until this morning that is when, whilst drinking green tea and eating banana after banana, something clicked and a thriller began to evolve within the thrillers, and something became uncovered, something alluding to the connection of human narrative, the relations between the stories we all tell. There is something universal here.
And, having earlier in the day drawn a mental line under something tentatively titled first draft of first section, was this not something I tried with juvenile effort to come to terms with? Had I not written about narrative and memory as existing as the same creative act?
It is true that lives become irreversibly different through the act of creative remembering, as though people look through a new memory for the rest of their lives, as though it were a piece of coloured glass found on the shore, its edges smoothed by the actions of the sea. In holding this coloured glass to the eye, one’s immediate surroundings are tainted with a fresh hue, but one also cannot avoid thinking of the journey of the piece of glass, from whence it came, what former functions it performed, how long has it been tossed in those waves, how did it survive the forces of water and wind and stone and end up here, not just on the shore with all the other strewn detritus that the sea brings, but within my hand? Even if the glass is discarded, thrown to sea and skipped off a wave or even clutched tight in a pocket and set down upon a shelf at home, from this moment, it becomes impossible to look at anything without looking through that piece of coloured glass.
Each individual beachcomber is a silent enthusiast for coloured glass, and the process of retrieval and production and abandonment that takes place, takes place in everyone. Each person is a affiliate in a universal and invisible process that binds them to each other and to the world in which they find themselves. Each individual is responsible for finding thousands of pieces of coloured glass and also responsible for discarding thousands, or perhaps for giving the glass its original function or maybe even contributing to the peculiar roundness of its edges.