We have just come back from the park. A proud mother has now joined the other swans and their adolescents on the waters. One of the problems being married to a photographer and there are others, is that he always wants to check out my compositions and crop. I was so overjoyed to see the babes I even forgot to remove my sunglasses. Don’t swans have a crop? Yes, they do. I have just discovered that: Cropping is used by bees temporarily to store nectar from flowers. When bees “suck” nectar, it is stored in their crops.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away? (Yeats)
Oh God, except you deserted mankind rather swiftly after the Creation, or maybe we deserted you when we fell out of Eden. Please don’t let the swans fly away. I am trying not to be political today although there is a terrible account of ideas attributed to Cummings in the Sunday Times:
At a private engagement at the end of February Cummings outlined the government’s strategy. Those present say it was ‘herd immunity protects the economy and if that means some pensioners die too bad’
Am I mistaken when I see a comparison between the brilliance but sociopathic energy of Cummings and Rasputin? Is that what charisma consists of? Perhaps, Boris – who I suspect may be a hypochondriac and also like the Tsarina who wanted to protect Prince Alexei at all costs – (cf Boris’s early absence of maternal attachment when his mother suffered from a serious break down) thinks that Cummings will have a bespoke vaccination for him. Hopefully, one that will stop him being immune to to anything except himself. What the hammer? what the chain,/ In what furnace was thy brain? (Blake)
I also said somewhere previously that I was going to write about the topic: ‘Rejection’ which can also feel unbearable and it will be the first of my personal seven ‘deadly sins’ confessions, I hope I don’t fulfil all seven. I don’t in reality mean sins rather than aspects of my personality which are self-corrosive. I couldn’t sleep last night, not even though I turned off the news after the headlines which despite being unspeakable statistics were spoken. My insomnia was caused by my earlier blog reference to Georges Perec’s Spaces. Now, I thought about the losses in his life: his mother was a victim of the camps. His father died as a soldier in the Second World War. Today, when I was walking in the park I was aware that either the fruit blossom is very early this year or the silver birch, my favourite tree is late and still bare. I have walked far and wide in silver birch forests outside of St. Petersburg when I worked there, but when I discovered that the name of the Birkenau death camps translate as ‘forest of birch’ I have never been able to enjoy their wraith like beauty with innocence again. Now I just want them to come into leaf.
Now, for my confession and then I will disappear with Shame. (For those who don’t know the distinction between shame and guilt, the former makes you wince and want to become invisible while guilt tends to inflate the conscience and make the sufferer think that everyone will notice them.)
After I finished my first book, Who is it that can tell me who I am which I had to self publish until it was shortlisted for the Penn/Memoir prize after which I was able to sell it to Constable, I harboured a secret hope that If I Chance To Talk A Little Wild would also make it from the long list to the short list. It did not. I had secretly been convinced that it would. From the moment I found out through secret Googling, which I think must have been around July 2019, I developed an unyielding writer’s block. Writing is essential to me and I am a bit like a pelican in the sense that I write with my life’s blood, it feels like an infusion of essential energy and far more effective than any ‘Pure encapsulation’ supplement, even of Vit D. Thereafter, I went into a malady of block, melancholy and rejection. It didn’t help when my ‘best friend’ who knew the chair of the judges told me that the chair had liked it a lot but the judges deemed it ineligible because it wasn’t a memoir. I didn’t dare ask my ‘best friend’ what was the criteria of memoir because if ever there was life writing I had been chronicling my life.
It’s true the subtitle was, influenced by my mentor, R.D Laing, Self and Others but we can none of us live healthily without engagement with another. That is what is so cruel about little Zac. He has the sight but not engagement of his grandparents. No wonder the finest theorist of all to my way of thinking was John Bowlby with his Attachment Theory. It’s even true of many dogs and some cats.
The truth is out but also the thought that the COVID19 has inoculated me. Not yet with the virus but with an overwhelming, or maybe I mean an overweening, desire to write out my heart. It does still worry me that this compulsive need to share my life’s blood could be related to narcissism but maybe complex subject is better reserved for another confessional day…
Both our GP and our builder are suffering with the beast. The jury remains out until they get past day 6. I have also heard that the relatively young aunt of one of my ‘patients’ without underlying health issues is fighting for recovery in a London ICU bed. And another young psychiatrist, well not yet fifty is now in the Royal Free Hospital.
Tonight the Street WhattsAp has declared a candle moment at 7PM in those window ‘spaces’. I am never sure about collective activities whether they be street parties, or candle-lighting which reminds me of the Catholic Church, but I do love candles so we will participate. In the meantime I must thank John for our daily sourdough loaf. It requires both fermenting and kneading. I wonder what Dido would make of chickens in the garden…or John come to that matter. I am glad the squirrels are not carriers because I cannot look beyond a metre out of any window without seeing their obsessional industry.