The rain continues outside, it has been relentless today. I sit now in the winter garden, avoiding arguments and trying hard to write. I am bored. Perhaps we are too far out of town here in our little surburban einfamilienhaus? Perhaps I need some more tangible goals to work towards? Perhaps the novel I reading – Pynchon, still – is not grasping me as it should?
And what new music have I heard? What was the last set of sounds to really get me interested, to really make me feel something? What last provoked not a desire to improve upon it myself, provoked not a desire to send me to my mixing desk and dictaphones, but simply provoked an emotional reaction? What are the mediums that might give rise to simple pleasures, how can I achieve enjoyment from something I choose to work within?
Where there are questions, especially at the beginning of a blog post, there is always an implied boredom and certainly nothing to write about. At times like these, every sentence I touch turns to pretension and self-obsession. There is nothing left to decry, I have outlined all the boredoms by now, five years of writing has made shadows of every type of supposed alienation. The question is not how might I come to terms with the inanities of life, my lack of intelligence, my cowardice, my comfortable, afraid social position, my mediocre talent or my lack of knowledge, the question is not this, but rather, how can I make this seem interesting? I’m not sure I can. I am not sure I can go on.
Greener than before, the garden still betrays a slide towards autumn. Today’s rain was a continuation of that which occurred last night and now, as I write quickly with cold fingertips, the ground is soaked fresh. I cannot go out, Jan has taken my bicycle down the hill. He and Klaas are going to huge Chinese retail outlets to buy cheap pullovers to stave off the bite of the plummeting temperatures. Everywhere in the house, except the kitchen with its oil-filled radiator and briquette burning oven, is cold. We all sit around, the ashtrays overflowing, holding ourselves for warmth and constantly drinking tea; green, black and peppermint.
Upstairs, Cara makes shelves. Were the others here and had they not taken my bicycle down the hill, then someone would be soldering and the other would be editing a film, or perhaps the other way round, or maybe neither of these things. We might all be in the wintergarden, simply smoking and saying very little. Perhaps I would have gone into town to take some coffee on a little sidestreet pavement café? Perhaps I could have worn my gloves and my scarf and been very content there, sitting on a bench drinking hot coffee and eating a small pastry.
Conversation here is good. When I am not wasting my time with computer games or eating, I try to read. This occasionally provokes a thought, sometimes even one that appears new to me. Often with a little polishing I can make this thought seem like an old one, like a thought I conceived many moons ago, perhaps in my teenage years. When I am particularly alert, say of an evening, I can recall this thought and inject it into a conversation almost so the other participants don’t notice the slight change of subject. If I am particularly good they might even give me credit for the idea, thinking he has a fine brain this man in their heads, silently.
I have begun again to write the novel. What a chore it is to begin again. Why do I ever finish, or stop or pause? Every time I do this, I should think to myself how hard it is to begin again. I should borrow one of Cara’s luminous notes with the adhesive on the back and stick it to my screen with the words DON’T STOP written on in black marker pen. Then, every time I consider a rest or a break from writing, I could look at this and remember how hard it is to begin again, and then I might write long into the night and actually get something done.
Soon everyone will be home, they will bring back the bicycles but no doubt by this point it will be too wet or dark or cold to venture out and we will spend another evening in the house, reminiscing upon the passing of September and how I – once more – have not left the house.
I am fantastic at making excuses to either leave or not leave somewhere. I can justify an exit or a non-movement in a variety of ways, all of which seem exciting and new. These excuses always convince me anyway, although I suspect the people around me know when I am making an excuse, they realise that what I say is not true, that very rarely do I actually have something important to do. At these times, when they realise that I am making excuses, they just leave me to it, thinking that anyone that keen to make excuses deserves to be on their own. Whether I stay somewhere or leave somewhere, the end result is always that I am on my own. When I say I have important work to do, it simply means that I want to be on my own.
Berlin holds uncertainty ahead of us. The weather closes in and becomes another obsession, but certain projects also threaten to flicker and fade. There are the dancers that I should work with, and the concert I have on Sunday, and the digital ethics research I wish to continue and there is the novel, there is always the novel. But to what end these things, and indeed to what beginning? Show me a form and I will show you progress. But without these delineations of end and beginning, I feel that all days are becoming lost and that this year slips past like the others with nothing to show for itself. There are others that feel this too, especially at this time of year.
Here, in this season, all of us are slightly trapped, trying to avoid the thought of an unthinkable winter, long and cold and with nothing to do.