Wandering lonely as a plastic bag in the wind, steering around the bad vibrations – the strange hats, yells and shouts, swaggers and cans, despair and unhope, faded lettering and glassless windows. My fingers are numbled cold, noses, ears and eyes succumbing to grey lifeless turpour, sparkling only faintly like a still hurricane. I still – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – struggle for the words. Every sentence is self-surgery, tentative penknife scratches on the skin, unable to penetrate flesh and reset the bone or free the dead arm from the boulder.
Sometimes you feel a moment. And then it is gone, waiting as an apathetic, lethargic infection spreads over you. #amhoping. #amwondering. Am thinking you should get off fucking Twitter and carry on #writing rather than breaking your flow to tell us.
I never believe that these people are #truewriters. I remember being knee deep in the flow, trousers rolled up around my thighs, and nuclear warfare couldn’t throw me out of the story. To break off a paragraph or a sentence to tell the world how well you are doing? Pfft. You just aren’t trying hard enough. You need Turner to grab your clean hands and force your head against the canvas to spit, and gouge with your immaculate nails. You need violence; whether it is bloody and viscous or the hard nailing of a desk-fuck-lust rampage. It’d be nice to feel something other than ‘satisfaction’ after all.
Searching for sensations, I pull my car over to photograph a sunset and nearly end up arse-airborne in a slippery ditch – and there I go mixing my bad parking for sex again. When I write, I look for sentences like a rock climber who keeps dropping down a few feet at a time for a stronger hold, and a better route to the top. This is perhaps why a change of scenery is needed.
Writing is precious after all. It’s about making everything as good as it can be. My York woman still sleeps in a notebook from 2005. I found her whilst wandering aimlessly through the city. I still cannot put my definitive finger on what made her so incredible to this day, but I know that I stopped walking when I saw her. The raven black hair, the black and scarlet outfit, the hard face and shining eyes, a beaked nose and ballerina toes. I know all this because I wrote it all down. Ten, maybe fifteen pages of backstory for someone who crossed my path for less than a minute, scribbled in haste in a nearby bar just minutes after our encounter. She waits for the perfect story to be placed into. I’ve tried to put her into past endeavours but they never seemed like The Big Deal. She needs something wider than a piece of ‘Juvenilia’. So she continues to sleep, waiting for her moment.
I think of her whenever I consider packing up writing for good. She is a better reason than any I can think of to #continuewriting.
The waves crash and make noise in front of us, but then meekly massages our feet in tame ripples. When the tide goes out, we dance amongst the shipwrecks, laying inside the steel ribcage of a rotted wooden hull, smelling of salt and seaweed mingling with sandy hair and damp knees. The sun illuminates and passes through the iron fingers, chapped by weather, and we tell the time as it passes through. Only when the shadows merge together and the wind whips the sand into our eyes do we leave, past the dealers and the confused, the sleeping and the wide awake. We kiss and our lips swap sand, rough abrasions on our cheeks and chins.
We dance with ghosts; we walk streets, roads and highways that no longer exist and we do it to shame and expose fate, to mock the ‘certainties’ of gods, to erase full stops from history and replace them with empty space – commas and colons. To destroy fact and fiction and replace it with something new. Something so familiar as to be on the cusp of something not elusive but discoverable.