Writers Are Always Naked

A woman who built a whole sub-culture underneath a dress (1)

Today I’m feeling completely awful, because I’ve got yet another cold. Probably an airport souvenir. But there we go. I got my September issue of Vogue yesterday, so at least there’s some consolation. I’ve decided that instead of actually moving this morning, I can carry on writing. My head doesn’t hurt as long as I keep looking forwards, and not to the side. I was enjoying reading the catwalk show stuff, and reading about upcoming winter trends. Winter gives everybody an excuse to buy leather boots. I went through a two-year phase of wearing heeled boots every single day, with jeans. As a result, I have calves of steel, and six pairs of boots. Some people (especially my dad), would six is too many. However, you can never have too many pairs of shoes.

Clothes are people’s way of hiding things that they don’t like, and creating personas of their choosing. Wearing a sharp suit makes somebody more confident. A track suit is comfortable, but jeans can be as sloppy or as sensible as one would like. It’s all up to you, like wearing a shield. Even cashmere is like a protective layer, and it stops people seeing the soft and squishy bits.

Anyway, back to the task in hand. My novel. It’s going fairly well. I have ten chapters. I even have a rough idea of what might happen next. Not many people can say that. I wish I had somebody whom I could rely on for critical reading and suggestions, but allowing my friends to read it seems somehow like walking down the street naked. Letting people read your work is like letting them see you naked. That’s why I don’t very often publish poetry online, and it is why I tend to be less open about my novel to the people who actually know me. Do you beautiful writers understand what I mean?

There is something distinctly intimate about literature, and about writing as a whole. Literature can be a window into somebody’s innermost thoughts, but it can also be deceptively shallow. The depth of meaning can only be known to the author, and the meaning of a text is not something that he will ever have to reveal to an audience. Postmodernism toys with the idea of depth and surfaces, and becomes very much like cubism, or impressionism. What is there, and what is there not? There is no way of telling. You could get into a huge debate about the author function, and whether a novel exists because of it’s author or vice-versa. But in this [articular arena, where almost all of us are aspiring to be writers, screen writers, poets, everything, it seems unfair. Saying an author only exists as a story seems to almost void our own ideas of ourselves.

But there we have it. I am enjoying my own metaphorical nakedness. I might even consider letting other people see it, one day.


(1) http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/images/marilyn_monroe_white_dress.jpg



On Time

Time is fundamental to people. We use time to measure when we should sleep, how long for, and how our entire lives should function. We measure our days in terms of hours and minutes; appointments are scheduled in hours, or half hours. Nine am is the accepted beginning of the work day; this presumption emerges from the natural trend of sunlight and sunset, and broadly, sunlight is present, in the UK at least, from nine until five, for most of the year. There are some black winter days when it is dark by four pm, and not light until nine am, but that is a construct of the seasons.

I’m having a brilliant week, because of an abundance of time. I’m essentially finished for this year, and before exams and revision kick off, I am to enjoy a brief respite from university work. The weather is beautiful, and I have little to do except lie around, reading books, and going to the beach. Waking up in the morning with nothing to do is a fantastic feeling, if it is a rare one. It means you can spend an extra twenty minutes in the gym, and then go home, and conduct your day as you so wish.


Certainly one of the creepiest portrayals of time I've ever seen. (1)

Without any spare time, household, administrative type things cease to happen; the dust on the carpet reaches levels of visibility, the washing basket overflows, and the purse starts to expel receipts. You get too tired to care about doing menial things, and in my opinion at least, this is depressing. I like to have a day, every so often, dedicated to doing boring administrative tasks. Dusting, and laundry, and so forth. I can’t abide not having enough time.

I also have an extremely irritating tendency to develop viral, throat based complaints whenever I’m incredibly tired. If I work a number of extremely busy days at work, with only five hours sleep between the end of one shift, and the beginning of another, I get some form of cold, flu, or sore throat. This has been alleviated somewhat by a tonsillectomy, however I still get twinges of sore throat, and stabbing pain in my ears. I wish I could be one of those people who can function on only four hours sleep every day, but I’m not sure I could- I get very grumpy, past a certain point of exhaustion. To the point where even I don’t recognize the snarling, irritable, pale creature staring out of the mirror.

Anyway, so back to my point; I like having time. We all base everything we do on time constraints, balancing our lives between commitments. In the modern world especially, we’re busier than we’ve ever been. I suppose it’s important to recognise however, that we should always, always, make time to do the washing. Because everyone needs clean pants.


(1) http://www.ideachampions.com/weblogs/Dali%2BPersistence%2Bof%2BTime.jpg


Adventures In Dreamland

I never quite know how to feel about sleep. Which of course is a very strange statement to make, but its true; I never really know how to feel about it. I’m usually caught somewhere between despising it, and adoring it so much that I’d like to maintain it for a very long time. I seem to swing between four, six, or twelve hours sleep. I love to sleep, and this is often my downfall.

If I allowed myself, I’d sleep from midnight until 11am, every day. In fact, I could sleep all day, and then I’d stay up all night, and this is what I did last year. However, I don’t like not seeing even the smallest amount of daylight; waking at 2pm in the winter means you are essentially nocturnal. Getting up at 7am is however, infinitely harder. It’s like you are trying to rebel against the biological want to stay in bed, all day. I read somewhere that adolescents are prone to this, and as you get older, it gets easier to be up early, and to be early. But this is what I’m trying for. In fact, I was doing rather well until two weeks ago, when I went home for a little while, and didn’t need to be up early at the gym everyday. This is my problem; I’m a creature of habit, of routine.

But now, I’m working hard at crawling back into routine. I’ve broken out my Outlook program again, and started planning meals. I did a nice healthy ASDA shop earlier, and looked at ways of making sleep patterns better. I’ve planned my week out with a colour coded schedule. It sounds so completely over-organised, but it seems to be the best way to make me get things done. I can’t abide not doing anything at all, and so scheduling, well, it gives me goals. Some people hate structure, and routine; I adore it. Have goals and achieving them is by far the most satisfying feeling in the world.

And this is just the breakfast nap... (1)

Sleeping however, allows our minds to flow into the deepest recesses of ourselves. It’s amazing when we consider what can happen in dreams. Dreams are always so much better than television; it seems miraculous that we can create imagery and story lines in such depth. And equally it’s scary, because our minds have secrets from themselves. I find psychology interesting but at the same time, I hate the idea of somebody poking about inside minds. We know very little about the brain, in comparison with what we know about other organs. We know all there is to know about the heart; we know how it works, what happens when we change things about it. It seems vaguely dangerous that we can play with the enigma that is the brain, it’s function, and assume what it can do. Like playing with chemicals that have only just been discovered, you can’t know what the reaction can be. Psychology helps people, but I imagine it hinders them sometimes too.

So really, in conclusion, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I think that’s a good mentality to have. A little of everything, but an excess of nothing. That whole sentence made me feel so old, and so boring. Oscar Wilde would have been thoroughly ashamed.


(1) http://www.deshow.net/d/file/funny/2009-04/funny-baby-506-2.jpg