Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Never Stop Writing

The image of the troubled solitary writer, living the life of an ascetic in his stone house and stomping about the Cretan mountains, is a romantic one. However, I don’t recommend it and would add that this particular example of the kind would now like a bit less of the ‘troubled and solitary’.


So, time to socialize a bit more, which here means kafenions, bars, mezes and copious quantities of alcohol. I started to knock about with some new people and venture out of what used to be my comfort zone (and which is no longer comfortable at all). The result was less of the solitary but more of the troubled. I seem to ricochet between being mute and being a gabbling prat.

 
Picture from 2013. Caroline on the left.

Sometimes I want to run away and hide, sometimes I’m cringing at real or imagined faux pas. Other times I’m Mr Arrogant Confidence. And none of these is the real me. I guess, as the parlance would have it, I need to be centred, or something.

 
Another effect is insomnia. Over the last week I’ve been lucky to sleep more than four hours a night. I’m presently writing this at 3.40 AM. Yesterday I had a couple of beers, fell asleep on the sofa at 7.30 until 9.30, still felt incredibly weary and went to bed, then was awake at 1.00. This I consider a victory because the total is a massive 5.5 hours.

 
Anyway, the other day, after waking at silly o’clock, playing spider solitaire, writing in my journal and trying to memorize some more Greek, I went at about 6.00 for a 10 mile walk (pictures here). Like you do. No, let me be accurate. I set out to walk until I started to feel better, extending my usual 6.5 mile walk along routes I’d been told about and others I’d guessed at, and the total, according to my pedometer, was 9.3 miles.

 
At the furthest point from my house, at a road junction, I halted to mull over whether to head back or extend the walk further. Then I looked down.

 
It was a bit weird to see this, at this point. I am on Crete and that certainly isn’t Greek. It was also a punch in the gut because those are precisely the words Caroline used at one point while she was dying. So, a message from beyond the grave telling me to buck up my ideas and get on with what I do best? No, because I’m sure I have seen this text before, either stencilled on by the white line writers or somehow laid down mechanically. In reality, the only life after death is what might grow out of the ashes.

On that cheery note I’ll leave you. Time to do some more editing before heading off at 6.00 AM. I’ll see if I can extend the walk to the full 10 miles.
 
Footnote:

I was going to alter the start of this post to something like ... all this solitary walking in the mountains might have appealed to the likes of Shelley, or Wordsworth with his ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ nonsense, but my inclination is more towards swimming the Hellespont and drinking myself into a coma. I then wondered where the hell that had come from and realised I really really need to get some decent sleep. Oh, and I haven’t gone for a walk yet because it’s really cloudy ... and this is a footnote *giggle*

It might start to get weird around here.   
     

12 comments:

daniel ware said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KJ Mulder said...

It might not be a message from beyond the grave, but sometimes we have the capacity to notice something exactly when we need it most. Think of it as you telling yourself something in the most roundabout way possible.

Subrata Sen said...

Between alcohol and exhausting exercise, you have the bases covered for adjusting to loss. Still, sleep would be a better marker for recovery. In the meantime, I don't think you're ever going to stop writing. I heard Ray Bradbury say, a writer is someone who writes every day. He said a lot more. I did what he said for a month. Then I lost the script. This is meant to be encouraging. :)

Bob Lock said...

A nice coincidence no matter what you believe or whichever way you look at it :)
And also good advice!
Good wishes to you Neal, Bob

daniel ware said...

Pretty sure the exercise is better than the (alcohol-induced eccentricism and insomnia), but what a great message to stumble across, and quite apropos.

Hope you find the centre soon

Kirby Uber said...

oof. felt that punch in the gut all the way over here...

Nick Mele said...

Every person I know who has lost someone they were close to has suffered insomnia, not comforting to write but you are not alone.

Alex Cull said...

Just to say: stay well, keep going and - well, what the message said.

Thud said...

Keep well, best wishes.

Andy said...

Thoughts still with you Neal, never stop writing

Baggies Les said...

I posted this on Facebook as others found it helped but thought I'd leave it here too, hope you get some productive sleep soon.

http://www.paulmckenna.com/sleep

Graeme Finch said...

You know it all sounds relatively normal for a single bloke of independent means. Since we've come back from travelling and while her ladyship spent three weeks in Cyprus with her sister, I was keeping some awful hours, dozing in the afternoons, and then getting back to painting and decorating until gone midnight and then watching whatever crap was on the box until the wee hours before crashing, getting up at midday and doing it all again.

I be reckoning you're on your own clock for a bit. And as for flitting between those polar opposites FFS man look what you've endured. And now without that eye from the side indicating silently that it's time to STFU or the opposite, your looking inwardly trying to build back in checks and balances while simultaneously kicking yourself in the balls for doing so. Take two paracetamol call me in the morning etc :-)