Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Pages from a psychiatrist's notebook

Gaps between haircuts are getting longer. Last week I entered the hairdresser looking like Moses, left much pelt on the floor, and emerged bullet-headed, a lager-lout looking for a fight.

Shabby too. The same navy fleece unwashed these several years, navy corduroy trousers with the pile wearing away. Hair never brushed, handkerchiefs rarely changed. Away from the physical and social world, not really doing anything my late father-in-law would regard as work.

Like the haircut gaps, my blog comments are getting longer. Having found a post where content, style and discipline are in balance I advance complex often fantastical reactions that may parse but are frequently misjudged: byproducts of my new novel which demands techniques at the far end of my comprehension and ability. When I’m not drafting, tweaking, reading the stuff aloud and re-writing I’m researching.

I know what villages south of Bayonne look like, also the cockpit of a twelve-year-old Cessna 172R. I am devising R/T procedures (“Montaubon Tower this is Gascon Sierra Delta Romeo, ready for departure, request right turnout heading 330 degrees”) and exploring what technical degrees were on offer at Arizona State University fifteen years ago. My main concern is the life of a woman operating in a world predominantly shaped and controlled by men. The war in Afghanistan provides counterpoint.

The blog is my neighbourhood where I walk an imaginary dog (which does not defecate) and chat to those I meet, most of whom seem to have arranged their creative impulses rather better than me. Less obsessionally. I believe I am seen as a dry-land Captain Ahab who has lost the desire to hurt whales; certainly I’m indulged and thankful for that.


The Crow said...

Most of this post sounds about right for someone busy writing his second (third?) novel, preoccupied by the imaginary world he is creating to pay as close attention as he might have to the one in which he actually lives.

You do live here, don't you, or are you a figment of our imaginations?

Lucy said...

It's because you are such a good blog host, and guest. We can't help coming, person-from-Porlocklike, and bugging you. You can also be as scruffy and shaggy as you like since we can't see you. Not that we'd mind if we could...

I arrogate the right to speak for many.

Plutarch said...

I like the idea of an imaginary dog that doesn't shit. Are there imaginary people who don't shit?

Rouchswalwe said...

Shaggy, shabby, if people would spend a little less time standing in front of the mirror trussing themselves up perhaps we'd have more honest beauty in the world. Lucy can speak for me any old time! And Plutarch asks a good question ... to which I do not happen to have the answer. But I imagine we wouldn't want folks who are full of it in imaginary states.

christopher said...

I too am preventing too much arrogance on Lucy's part by freely ceding to her full rights to speak for me on the matter before us. It is all too amusing to be troubled much by the hesitations of the present moment.

FigMince said...

Aye, there's the rub:
To be for you, or to be for 'them'?

Have you let yourself go – or set yourself free?

It's long been my belief that the opinion of me that should be most important to me is that of the only person who knows me better (albeit as yet perhaps not completely) than anyone else does – me. And it's only I who can make 'their' opinions relevant to my consciousness, by giving a damn what they may or may not think of me – something I'm less and less inclined to do.

Doddering into septicgeneriation© (just a few days now!), my ambition is to achieve true eccentricity – although of course, eccentricity isn't something one consciously achieves, it's a state of freedom at which one arrives without noticing. Hey, maybe many of us are already there!

And a answer to Plutarch's question:
According to some subjects, Her Majesty.

herhimnbryn said...

Lucy, beat me to it with the 'Porlock' ref.

Banging on your blog door with bottle of red in hand.....we know we will be welcomed and the conversation will be good. That's why we visit.

Barrett Bonden said...

All: Just in case there should be any doubt, it is my comments to other blogs that are becoming mysteriously longer. Very, very long in some cases.

The Crow: It's the sixth, possibly the seventh. The problem is that the basis for that new world has not yet been created, so I'm sitting on the rug amidst a mass of Lego (or Sticklebrix - remember those?).

Lucy: Yers, I like the Kubla Khan bit. Also arrogate the verb. Nobody bugs me; I profit from you all. The scruffiness is included because it's easy to write about those things. Charity, fortitude and celibacy are another matter.

Plutarch: Let's cite dreams. You're walking hand in hand down Pall Mall with Valerie Hobson and it would be a grim dream if she had to break off and look for a loo. The answer's yes.

RW (zS): I particularly like to buy the most expensive seats for a concert and then turn up looking like a tramp. Of course they may imagine I've stolen the ticket.

Chris: I think most of us would accept Lucy as an advocate, certainly I would. In fact I feel quite wibbly. I believe that deep down, below the oh-ye-millions-I-embrace-you bit, there's a feistiness that would get me off a capital charge.

Figmince: Somehow, intentional eccentricity sounds wrong. I am at the more dubious stage - having let myself go I'm now getting mileage from that state. Objectivity about oneself is OK so long as the downbeat bits really are downbeat, even loathsome. Hence the unchanging handkerchief.

HHB: Excellent metaphor indicative of a deeper truth. Under the right circumstances the quality of the wine doesn't matter. And I am touched.

Lucy said...

BB you're a darling. But who is Valery Hobson and what's her order at the Bloggers' Retreat?

20th Century Woman said...

You take my breath away. And Lucy speaks for me, for one.

I'm glad you don't want to harm whales.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: Valerie Hobson was a star of British films when they were mostly B&W, had an aristocratic face and played a variety of upper-crust roles (eg, Edith d'Ascoyne in Kind Hearts and Coronets). She was married to John Profumo whom you may be too young to remember: cabinet minister who dallied with ladies of the night, resigned, mewed himself up in charitable works for the rest of his life. Valerie stood by her man despite being at the centre of one of the biggest scandals of my lifetime.

She was a name picked out of a hat when I needed to place Plutarch in a pleasant but platonic dream intended to get across a point about defecation. She would never have eaten at the BR for one very good reason: I cannot remember ever seeing her in anything other than high heels and these would have been severely at risk traversing the BR's holy lino.

20CW: So I take your breath away but for what reason? Good or bad? My imagined body odours, my unbounded chutzpah, my attempts to pass as a man of letters, my inability to cover up my West Riding roots? Please put me out of my misery and let on.

Avus said...

We all go round to meet up at B.B's and enjoy the "craic". You have the felicity not only to provoke interest, but to attract interesting people.
Blogger Judith of "Not Dead Yet" once compared blogging to a group of friends meeting up for a chat around the kitchen table. It seemed to me a very apt and simple metaphor. (I'll have a glass of HHnB's red, please).

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: We are identified by what we say, what we do and how we respond to others. Of course we could be lying but I think this would show up after a year or so. Since a heaven full of harp plucking, psalm singing and praising an unpredictable deity would be hard to imagine and even harder to take, perhaps what we're experiencing is a trailer to a secular form of heaven. In the real thing all bloggers will speak a thousand languages, be unfailingly and unrepetitively witty and have perfect pitch.