Amber leaves, shed from the horse-chestnut trees, line the yard and although sunshine prevails, there is always this indictment of winter that hangs over us. We three are like an accused here in this house, lying on the outskirts of the city. People come to visit us on bicycles, they visit us from the centre and they come to look at how we live. They enjoyably take black coffee fresh from the stove and we sit in the garden, one in the hammock, one on the decaying wicker chair, and we talk.
Sometimes we talk of the ensuing recession, or of the latest exhibitions to have been installed in our favourite warehouse spaces. We talk of the things we have made, perhaps the music rehearsals that we took part in, future plans to travel, to move abroad to Warsaw or Lisbon. We talk of Iranian revolutions past, or even Russian attitudes to a free press, the republican collapse as reported by the German median and the endless forgotten stories that can only be found by looking.
Then these people go, the visitors from the centre, they say thankyou, climb onto their bicycles and return to the centre, thankful that they do not have to spend winter at our place. It’s great, they all say, but I couldn’t live there. Meanwhile, we sit inside waiting for winter to come, the threat of cold hanging over us, waiting for the next visitor.
But it is too much all of this, because we are happy. A structure enters my everyday with some work to be done. I spend hours plotting reverse timelines and critical path schedules for various projects, some real and some imaginary. I write meandering emails to family and friends and then delete them. I write and rewrite blogposts, angry that I cannot focus on the small details. When this is my only intellectual contact with old friends, and this itself is presumed, I want to set out boundaries here. I want to speak of learning and growth, to say to them remember these things. Then when we next meet up in weeks, months or years, we will remember again and debate these ideas until all the candles have burnt down and night is truly upon us.
What it must be to achieve a kind of writing that encapsulates the giant movements of peoples, those dynamic shifts in belief systems, or representative social thought, those energetic movements in which action is taken en masse buoyed by the prospect of change! And even more so, what it must be to write of the large things but only with small words, as if you were buying a house with only loose change. Preoccupied with the everyday, with inscribing its pleasant mendacities onto the world, somehow I hope it is possible that change can be elicited. With age it becomes apparent that not only does nothing change, but that at the same time everything changes and it is always changing.
An obvious contradiction, but a true one. Progression exists as itself, necessarily it moves forward or it fades in the minds of people. There is no such thing as non-progression, there could only in this instance be a blank space, a limitless silence. In no way can the origins of progression be obtained, for it does not end without ceasing to exist and if it does not end, it does not begin. With no end or beginning, it has no boundaries, it has always been this way and its origins cannot be obtained. It appears, then, that nothing changes. As my grandmother used to say to me, keep on keeping on.
So enough of the plays in logic, enough of the gestures towards plain thought. Instead, to the leaves, to editing my novel as though I were sweeping leaves from the pages to reveal cold words beneath. There are friends I need to see the book, I need them to see these words and to commence a charitable cull before the thing is laid in type. Before this however, and before my days become curtailed by paid observation and fading light, I must finish, finish, finish what I started.