I went on a two week lying in the sun holiday in Greece a few weeks ago with the advice of many well-meaning people ringing in my ears about how I should break free from telecommunications and any attempt at writing and take a break.
I was, as I wrote in a blog afterwards, amazed at how well I took to doing not very much – the danger has been getting back into the writer’s straitjacket on my return.
Maybe I will not be able to write another poem I fretted for a week even though I had a number of ideas that I wanted to work up.
Falling over in a kungfu lesson in the park didn’t help of course as I was under strict doctor’s orders to lie low for a few days until the concussed feeling in my head subsided. For a bit, we all thought that I was going back to my immediate post-brain haemorrhage stage. I didn’t let on but I had a few moments when I wondered if I would quietly bleed to death.
Panic over, I quite liked this lying low bit. I had the first two series of the American drama Dexter recorded because I thought, one day, I would find the time to watch it. How luxurious it seemed to watch something so clever and gripping on a sofa in the middle of the day whilst defying the brilliant sunshine outside. Maybe couch potatoes really can have a good time.
Dexter, in case you haven’t caught it, is about a psychopathic serial killer who is a police forensics guy struggling to channel his “addiction” into killing unconvicted murderers. He is very convincing, almost seductive, and we are compromised sitting here at home gunning for him as he begins to slice up those bodies. It is clever, witty and psychologically dark stuff – just the sort of high-production-values, intelligent drama that only seems to come from America these days.
The series is particularly good at capturing Dexter’s “inner voice” as he talks us through his dilemmas. Anyone who works from home, especially with foolish delusions about writing, will recognise that constant voice of conflicting self-doubt, compulsion and ambition. It had been ringing around my head for a week before finally I got back to writing.
I had three new poems in my scribbling book when I did those readings last night and even though they are really only early drafts, I thought I would use my audience as guinea pigs and I tried all three out on them.
Even as I read, I was scribbling corrections in the margins but they made their effect and went down well. Well enough anyway for me to go to bed last night thinking that I was definitely back in the saddle. In a weird way, ( I know, you don’t need to tell me, I am watching too much Dexter), writing poetry again felt like an addict’s fix….it was almost like making a killing. God you’re weird, Wolfgang!
I should add, after a number of anxious enquiries after yesterday’s blog that yes, thank you, I got that new amp working and finally got to the end of Act One of Verdi’s Don Carlos. Dexter and Verdi – a winning combination I think.