Thursday 27 February 2014

Today I read a six-month shift of my diary when I was seventeen, and found that for half a century I have depended on books and quiet places in which to read them. At seventeen I started on Proust, tried Kafka, learned how to spell Nietszche’s name. I was already a hunter/gatherer of things beyond me yet myself.

I read large amounts of dross at the suggestion of binding, font or title on library shelves, novels beyond my emotional range, beckoning; such a relief still, to leave adults to their peculiar games.

I was applying for university that year, reading set texts at all times in all places, bewailing nearly everything, finding the future in a language for all that, mine or someone else’s. I was a postwar bulge baby, disciplined to the point of despair, unable to convince anyone I was worthy of a university education, only fit for grinning out of a Tootal shirt advertisement.

Oscar Wilde, via Gwendoline in The Importance of Being Earnest, liked to have his diary with him on the train in order to have something sensational to read. I know what she/he means.

Reading old diaries is calming and astounding; finding yourself again as you hardly remember you were; finding yourself again as you still are. I can’t do it often. The sense of the person I am having been formed by the person I wrote is too disturbing.

The next night I dreamt I had the same clothes all my life. They hung in wardrobes, open, masked by dense silky cobwebs it was a pleasure to break through and then bundle the threads into a tiny ball.

No comments :

Post a Comment