The hardest part with these memoirs is the effort to be honest – there is too great a divergence between my relatively unstained thinking, ideas and emotions, and my real treason, flight and the squalid, cowardly and ugly things I did to people in moments of panic or rage.

Robin Cook (Derek Raymond)
The Hidden Files

out of the labyrinth

January 18, 2018

mask2

The writing of Suarez (I was Dora Suarez), through plunging me into evil, became the cause of my seeking to purge what was evil in myself..If I had no guilt to purge I would not have known where the road to hell was, nor how to look for Dora. It was an 18 month journey during which the world of light was no stronger than my belief in it, but it was enough for myself and Dora to find our way back and out of the labyrinth. On my journey I left the world for the page, and the page of hell, and the hope for the return journey. I have returned. I crept terrified into a dark place and struck a light in another’s darkness and I have returned here with the knowledge that Dora’s agony among the lost is over. The squalid atrocity of her death has dropped away from her and she is freed, unlocked, no longer lost and dead to herself, which is what damnation is. That I have never known Dora in life, that she was just the face in a police photograph of a dead, anonymous girl whom I named Dora doesn’t matter; that she should have found her identity is what matters. What matters is that we met in the middle world where the living and the dead meet, and brought each other away from that lightless place.

Suarez was my atonement for 50 years’ indifference to the miserable state of this world; it was a terrible journey through my own guilt, and through the guilt of others.

Derek Raymond
The Hidden Files

swimmers

Existence is sometimes what a forward artillery observer sees of enemy lines through field glasses. A distant and troubling view brought suddenly into focus with a wealth of obscene detail.

Derek Raymond

The Hidden Files

On Writing…

February 6, 2016

keyboard

There is a part of me which, according to a lot of people who know me extremely well and who therefore can’t all be wrong, is reserved or cold; a part the other person, no matter how close to me, can never really reach.

I am afraid this not very flattering judgement is correct. A part of me is made up of a set of functions which enable me to write; it serves no other purpose that I can see. This part takes charge when I am at a keyboard, or even outdoors, or in the middle of doing something that ostensibly has nothing to do with writing. Agnes sometimes tells me that I am a good writer, but a little man; and it is true that during long periods I have no human passion except on paper. I have always had this problem, and it cripples a real-life close relationship. I try to lead a normal life, and respond to people, but I am often miles away; all at once, whatever I am doing becomes mechanical, I answer questions absentmindedly, am only half aware of what I am supposed to be doing, stop paying attention to the other person or do not understand what he is saying; this is because, for no reason, some thought has struck me, which I start trying to integrate with characters, situation, surroundings, dialogue. Mentally, I am already writing it down, trying to memorise it before it can get away, and the fact that I am not physically doing so makes me frustrated, irritable and unreasonable, impatient of being approached or interrupted.

There is only one image that I can offer to help explain this syndrome. My behaviour at such times reminds me of this computer I’m writing on now and its array of hidden files, files which hold the functions that make it the subtle and flexible machine it is, memory, comparison, exchange, replace, obliterate, restore. These files are written in symbolic language, and even if the viewer could understand them when they were shown to him, they never are shown, because the machine knows that it is not necessary to show them, except to an expert, who has his own access to the hidden files if for instance the machine breaks down. Like the computer, the writer’s performance is judged on the final, visible quality of his output rather than the obscure, cryptic processes that contributed to it.

In love, though, the other, in order to know the whole person, needs access to all of him, including his hidden files; but the subject often cannot reveal them. This is unfortunately the case with me. Outwardly I’m open, and genuinely as far as it goes, which is all the way up to the hidden files. I appear to be the most accessible person you could meet. I think most of my friends would agree with that. The change that I undergo while I am writing disturbs the other; disappointment or anger replaces love as he discovers that the gap between appearance and reality is very wide indeed I apparently become the complete reverse of what the other thought I was.

I think a genuine human problem is that people are so used to living with themselves that they often fail to realise how bizarre they appear to others; anyway, I know that that is true of me. I am less egocentric than subject to an obsession; while the fit is on me everything and everyone else is allowed to slide. I’m parked in a siding while the express roars through. While I’m writing I write absolutely: on the other hand, when I am not writing, I do absolutely no work at all – which in turn worries the other, and justifiably, as deeply as its opposite mood does. When the other realises that the clue to this mode of behaviour lies in the hidden files, he feels that his need for access to those files is all the greater. The relationship is in peril and he must inspect them. But in my case the hidden files cannot be inspected; I have not the means to reveal them.

Derek Raymond
The Hidden Files