Tuesday, June 01, 2010

On writing

I dreamt last night that I was walking amongst some empty landscape. On the ground, as a far as the eye could see, there were books and papers and journals, pictures and paintings and pieces of music. Layer upon layer, some collected in piles or stacked up neatly, some torn or burnt at the edges. It was a misty place and completely silent. I was only able to walk slowly, as, in the absence of a path, I wasn't sure where to walk and didn't want to damage the papers under my feet. To begin with I explored each and every text or image, agonising over who they may be, looking for names or handwriting that I might recognise that might make me feel less alone. In some way every sheet looked familiar, everyone appeared to be a person that I might have known, perhaps a map even, but their presence did not make me feel any less alone. I became quite downcaste. Then, feeling that I should not waste time, I began enjoying the nature of experience, scrunching leafs of paper in my hands, tearing them between my fingers, throwing piles of papers up in the air and watching them slowly descend in the gloom. This invoked feelings of elation, complete freedom. As I sat down, short of breath on a large pile of accountancy notes, I understood that absolute emptiness that I saw. I took up a long receipt that extended for metres from my hand, twisting in a large helix further than I could strain to see. I took out a black pen from my shirt pocket and began to write, anything I could think of, as many digits of pi as I could remember, the names and ages of all the people I knew, small doodles of butterflies and flowers and mothers with babies. I kept going, on and on until my hand began to cramp and the ink in the pen became faint. Then I lay down and covered myself with the sheets of an old newspaper, reading on the sheets nearest to me that Marilyn Monroe will marry Arthur Miller and that Red Army troops have invaded Hungary, before falling back to sleep.