July 29, 2017

In Defence of Marriage

July 29, 2017

There’s no security in two men together,
no guaranteed payment, no signatures,
no witnesses besides the lady next door
who suspects our apartment is a one bed-

room like hers. We buy a dog for insurance,
have one bank account, and our initials
carved in the back of the TV stand: S hearts D
and D hearts S. I insisted it be mutual.

Tonight we fight, slam doors on each other
in our best imitation of love. I drive our car
in circles, discovering I am my father.
Your parents hope I won’t return

and you’ll settle for an Indiana girl
with big hips, low self-esteem,
maybe even children, but this isn’t 1945
and you didn’t just step off a boat fighting

a war people actually believed in, and I
was never your secret cabin boy,
all stars and stripes. In the morning we’ll fuck
without condoms, and hold each other in spoons,

believing that security is the possibility of disease.

Stephen S. Mills

Writing it all down

July 29, 2017

Why did I write it down? In order to remember, of course, but exactly what was it I wanted to remember? How much of it actually happened? Did any of it? Why do I keep a notebook at all? It is easy to deceive oneself on all those scores. The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss….

The point of my keeping a notebook has never been, nor is it now, to have an accurate factual record of what I have been doing or thinking. That would be a different impulse entirely, an instinct for reality which I sometimes envy but do not possess.

Joan Didion
On Keeping a Notebook


July 29, 2017

our evil jealousy

July 29, 2017

Writers don’t make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don’t work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck’s book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man’s stupid words. And for this, as I said, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more.

Donald Miller
Blue like jazz

29th July

It’s a time to pause and think. No one is coming to rescue you from this –

You think this is as bad as it can get?

You’re wrong, trust me. The pain has become you, hasn’t it? Anymore and you’ll break in pieces? Yet this is only the beginning –

Yeah, wade through that red sea of pain, feel yourself fuelled by it – feel your head enter a different place, that place of foggy mornings and stillness which touches your soul. Yes, you may burn – burn out. But you know you’ll come back, you always do, reborn out of the flames –

Breath in –

Breath out –

Effortless…well, just a little ragged, perhaps. But that’s to be expected, isn’t it? Take pleasure in it. And when she tightens the clamp and the metal teeth bite deeper, smile. Eat the freaking pain whole, master it, and ask for more –

You are like a tree standing against gale-force winds: you might bend but you will not break. You can smell the earth after a fall of rain, and the musty scent of old books which you love. You think of long conversations that go on through the night, and afternoons spent listening to music, or the sound of owls hunting in the darkness when you’re alone. You think too of the word: the ‘SAFE WORD’ that can end this torment –

But you know you will never use it –

You are drifting away from reality. Your body is a piano on which is played this music of pain, but you have slipped away. There, yet not there. Real, yet unreal. A tiny splinter of living agony, only partly aware…


I dreamed I was in the old house. All the mirrors had been covered with white sheeting. Nothing could be reflected. I could not see myself –

People used to do that when someone died, didn’t they? Close the drapes and cover the mirrors. Very fitting. Most apt.

I was in the old house but my dogs were not. My beautiful shaggy dogs had finally abandoned me to my fate.

I felt very sad.


Morning. Sky the colour of a three day old bruise. Body all aches and pains, the penalty of too much consensual abuse –

H C asking about my work last night. ‘It’s general themes are about our isolation in a hostile world,’ says I, in my most poncey voice. ‘We all of us exist in a capricious, deceptive, threatening world – a world full of corruption. I, as a writer, manipulate coincidence and show how close to the edge we all really are. Our commonplace fears are as nothing compared to the arbitrary and incomprehensible menace usually surrounding us -’

‘Oh, really?’

It’s pointless saying anything else. The concepts are beyond H C’s comprehension and semi-detached, rural life. Instead I recite:

The storm came across the coast
To the rolling moor
And the rain tasted of so much