Friday, 13 January 2012
With all of the phlegm I can muster from my Fenland upbringing and East Anglian ancestry, and all of the fatalism I can summon, gifted to me by my Welsh forebears, I make occasional desperate attempts to play the recalcitrant and reluctant writer. At these moments I portray myself as the coldly disassociated observer (an idea I’ve played with before) coolly and calmly setting out the arguments as to why people behave as they do. I generously turn my steady and penetrating gaze upon the deeper ecological and psychological issues of the day, make judgements upon man’s relationship with his fellow non-humans, subtextually declare it the last word on the subject, put my pen down and congratulate myself on job well done. Perhaps, as a reward to myself, I will then join the rest of the human race for a while by addressing more mundane matters such as how to pay for the repairs to the roof.
After long periods of this kind of cock-a-mamy behaviour I get tired and bored and end up being myself for a while. This inevitably means soaking up the real and tangible landscapes and backyard wildernesses of the chalk hills that sit, patiently waiting for me to look up from my work, just outside my study window. And when I finally do look up, stand up, walk out and touch and feel the outdoors then that is when the thousand channels of history, emotion and feeling are at their fullest and busiest. It is rush hour in my visceral senses when I can, perversely, switch off but tune in.
It is the opportunities to simply be there, without any purpose except that of enjoying myself, that are most replete with chances of reflection. It is when I’m poised, notebook in hand, grasping for an answer to a question, that I am at my narrowest. Where I’m sure there are times that this is appropriate, the return on my investment is small when I’m focused on a single point of contact with my landscape. Spend too long there and it becomes a vanishing point.
And damn it all, I’ve just spent three paragraphs analysing what it’s like not to analyse. I’m going for a walk. If only to stitch in some more threads and also contemplate how I can use the word cock-a-mamy more in conversation.