Current Essays

Masochasting On:2001-05-05 09:02:27

The other day I had a...
Have I ever told you why I’m always so vague about exactly when the things I mention actually happen?
It’s because I never know how long these bloody essays are going to take me to write and I don’t like to actually lie to you.
At least not about that.

Anyway the other day I had a birthday (I was Mumble-ty mumble) and Docelyn, my neighbour, and a very nice lady, took me out to dinner to celebrate (or whatever), and, as you’d expect, I was feeling as birthdays always make us old guys of Mumble mumble feel, and so she tried to comfort me by pointing out the fame and the fun of doing my essays. Of course at that point the waiter she’d secretly primed came in with a course of cheesecake and candles and embarrassment.

Then (in a valiant attempt to make things worse) I started to think, writing---fun---what fun?? Writing is a dish of agony and horror with a side order of inadequacy. Writing makes the writer feel like---like those poor anarchists demonstrating on Mayday in London; blocked from doing what they wanted by thousands of policemen and forced to stand in the cold and the rain for absolute hours. Unable to do anything useful or escape---that’s writing in a nutshell. By the way someone told me that they actually had an anarchists’ school before the demonstration. I wonder it they got to graduate and have a certificate, gowns, mortar shells and everything---and imagine the scene at the beginning of the riot as the chief anarchists say to the poor buggers who didn’t graduate from anarchists’ school: “Nar, sorry mate you can’t take part you ain’t gort no qualifications. We don’t want no amateur anarchists ’ere”.

Oh! Where was I.. . hmmmm.. . maybe I should be ruled by the anarchists’ example and join a writing school.

First lesson of course would be on how to stare at a piece of paper or a computer screen and to make your mind go completely blank for hours on end. Then there’d be learning all the things that you absolutely have to do before starting to write like house cleaning (especially that important area under the fridge) and rototilling the bathroom sink. And brushing of the teeth---which I actually did just go and do between mentioning the sink and writing this bit---maybe I don’t need to go to school to learn this.

Then after finishing the writing or more accurately barely preferring finishing the writing to suicide there follows the recording session which I don’t want to dwell on because it is repeated torture (one for each take) and then finally there is the hearing of the piece on air when I can’t tweak it any more which is squirming embarrassment and the time that inspiration strikes and I finally have a great idea and realise how I should have finished, rather than just stopping and saying

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton

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