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Four Years On

I started working on this ridiculous time vampire of a book just over four years ago.

With the recent coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi I am reminded every day that in four years I’ve still not managed to finish it.

I enjoyed the 2010 Olympics, had great fun watching the downhill, the snowboard-cross and ski-cross (nutters), and I especially enjoyed watching the bob-sled teams. The competition may have been gripping enough but, at the time, I only had eyes on the brakemen as I suddenly realised that some of them were the build I was thinking of for Gihon and I began to make notes …

Like Lia – what has changed in fours years?

Not a lot.

The loft is still not finished.
A year of therapy to try and stop feeling such a failure (on a break at present).
Still in a dead end day job.
Still struggling with CFS/ME.

150K + words in and I’ve still not got things sorted.

I’m not good at finishing things. Finishing things means I will be inviting criticism. That wouldn’t be too bad but I’m guessing all I’ll get is ignored.

At one point I thought I had an obvious ending, but that was too obvious. Now I am in a sea of greys, no black, no white to my conclusions and the more I have left my ‘bad guy’ in the shadows the more I felt sorry for him. One problem was that he was in the shadows so much I couldn’t see him at all. Now I can see him – progress of a sort – and he was never a bad guy, just lonely.

I keep telling myself just to sit down and get on with it. I hadn’t realised that writing was just as much of a habit as anything else. A habit I seem to have forgotten. Even these meagre words have taken weeks to complete as I start and stop and distract myself with distraction (then go off to look for the Four Quartets again as my head fills with stray TS Eliot).

Odd, the things that come back to you, the detritus of lessons I couldn’t remember when I needed them at A level and now the words swirl around my head and I start to think that maybe nothing I have is original. Is my head just a filter, rearranging random words and images from everything I’ve ever read or seen before? As an eighteen year old Eliot entranced me, confused me … crushed me. I have the words in my head living a life independent of the original text. So easy to go back to now the internet is our memory but do I still want to be reminded of how little I am?

From East Coker (V)

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

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