Monday, 10 August 2009

I Am the Woodlouse

I have a friend who once found himself urinating next to Martin Amis at the ICA. Thankfully, they were both in the toilet at the time, positioned at adjoining urinals. My friend was very interested in drugs in that period of his life – from an academic as well as a practical perspective – so, knowing that Martin Amis wasn’t opposed to a little dabble himself, my friend asked the urinating author which drugs he considered most efficacious for writing. ‘Cannabis,’ replied Amis, tapping the old man thoughtfully. ‘It has a shamanic quality.’

When my friend told me this story, I was thrilled. One of my favourite writers of all time had basically, via a pissing intermediary, said: ‘You carry on the way you are, Stan. You’re doing everything right. You’re going to be OK. Oh, and… get dental insurance.’

Speaking of cannabis, one thing that’s become extremely clear again recently is that although it can, if used carefully, buttress the process of writing, it in no way contributes to a healthy dream life. Currently, however, I haven’t smoked anything for more than a month and I find that I’m dreaming like a drugged wizard.

In fact, as I write this, it's just after 5 a.m. on Saturday morning and I’ve just woken up from an unpleasant dream about Morag.

Actually, I’ve been having lots of unpleasant dreams about Morag recently. In fact, even dreams that did not seem to be about Morag, may have actually been. For example, the dream about the woodlouse.

Sometime last week I dreamt that a woodlouse was living in my chest hair. I was happy about this, despite the fact that when I looked down, it seemed to be coming apart at the seams, its little legs and its almost transparent carapace separating as it struggled in my manly pelt. Then, when I woke up alone, sans woodlouse, I felt horribly alone. Not happily alone, as I have on occasion felt. No. Horribly alone.

Whereas this morning I dreamt that Morag and I were still together and she was distant, down and distinctly uncommunicative. Something had happened with a mutual friend. She said it was something to do with money, but she wouldn’t tell me what it was. I didn’t believe her. I woke up in distress. I found myself wanting to go back to the dream and ask her if she loved me at all; if she’d ever loved me.

Could it be that I’m not actually over her?

I don’t think so – I mean, I am over her. It’s not like I want to go back. We weren’t right. I want someone who’s right for me. I want someone who can love me wholeheartedly and Morag couldn’t do that. Not for long. What’s preying on my mind now is the fact that I loved her more than I’ve ever loved before and I’m afraid I’ll never be able to do that again, for fear of doing it wrong, for fear of loving the wrong person. But then just because it didn’t last forever doesn’t mean she was the wrong person to love.

Oh, fuck it. I’m going back to sleep. Perchance to dream sweeter.


Sunday night, Monday morning...

I didn’t dream at all last night. Or at least nothing stayed with me. Typical. I’ve cursed it. I will never dream again.

I’m floundering about a bit at the moment. In general I mean. I don’t really know what I’m doing with this blog. And I don’t really know what’s happening with the book. I guess it’s early days still. But on the whole I’m feeling a bit fed up. With everything. Mostly I’m fed up with being cut off from everything. I need change. It’s coming soon I know, but I kind of need it now. So – in the absence of change, I’ve decided to plump for something which is apparently just as good: a rest.

Oh! And well I never. I’ve just realised that a year ago this week, Keith’s old flat was flooded and I stopped blogging till the beginning of September last. That settles it then. This year – although I don’t have the excuse of an act of God – I’m going to do the same. I’m having some time off. Yes. It’s a decision I’ve made. I might draw the occasional Jackson and tweet the occasional nonsense, but unless something staggering happens, I’m away from here till September.

And just in case you’re wondering, this has nothing whatsoever to do with any shame I might feel over my misquotathon in the Daily Mail today. In fact I feel no shame at all. Not that I'm claiming that I’m suddenly a fan of the newspaper. Heaven forfend. I still regularly entertain unimaginably violent fantasies involving Amanda Platell, Peter Hitchens, Richard Littlejohn, Liz Jones, Christopher Hart, a roll of cling film and a meat tenderiser. However, I would like something a friend of mine said – when I mentioned my misgivings on the day of the Mail interview – to be taken into consideration. She said, and I quote:

‘I’m all about preaching to the unconverted, so I think MUCH better to speak to The Enemy, have some of their number find and fall in love with your writing, then be convinced by you that they should live better. It’s really an actively good thing you're doing.’

You See? An Actively Good Thing.

Plus, I’m hoping it’ll sell some more books. Not because I want the money, you understand, but because I want to Heal The World with my words.

Oh, and if you’ve come here from the Daily Mail, and you’re genuinely not aware of what a hideous paper it is, then look at this. And have a good long think about what you’ve done.

So. That’s all for now. Oh, except this, which is funny.

Right. I'm done.

See you in September. In London!

Oh, and I realise of course, that in many ways – deep breath – yes – I am the woodlouse.

Goo goo g’joob.

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Anonymous said...

i guess a woodlouse in your chest hair is like a pet...

be well, and i'll be looking forward to the random post, tweet or other form of communication that emerges!

Tim Footman said...

The byline to your Mail interview is 'Iain Aitch' but the 'we' in the headline seems to apply to women. What's all that about, eh?

Catofstripes said...

Have a good holiday.

I wish you hadn't sent me to the DM. I ended up reading all sorts of bollocks including something about Charlotte Church. Why?

The actual bit about you didn't come off too badly, except the odd belief that most of your blog readers are ugly men. Don't suppose you'll sell many books from it though. Maybe you could do a deal to serialise it in short words and sentences for DM readers.

B said...

I just find you, then you say you're having a sabatical?

This is outrageous!

I hope all this post-rationalising works, personally I think The DM readership is beyond help.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

I always thought it was coo coo c'choo...

But where is the party? We need to know!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, now you've made the Daily Smell I shall have to watch my commenting language. Luckily,I am also having 3 weeks off...

See you on the other side,Stan.


Ann Anon (not an ugly male reader)

p.s. When are you back in London?

gongman said...

You are clearly not on form Bete.A clue to this is the fact that this post has a spelling mistake!

Only one,but knowing your insistance on correct spelling and grammar from another of your blogs clearly points to the fact that something is awry.

Enjoy your time off.Recharge the batteries.We all can give only so much before the reservoir runs low and needs replenishing.

You could spend some of your free moments looking for the misteak maybe :)

Looking forward to your return....

Helen said...

"What’s praying on my mind now is the fact that I loved her more than I’ve ever loved before and I’m afraid I’ll never be able to do that again, for fear of doing it wrong, for fear of loving the wrong person."

Welcome to my world. Except I loved a man. Not a woman.


Beleaguered Squirrel said...

I too noticed the error. But it may have been more of an error of understanding than a spelling mistake. Like when I thought there was a frequently-used Yorkshire phrase, "daft apeth", that referred to some kind of olde worlde ape. Or maybe it was a deliberate reference to Godliness. Or just one of those little brain slips, where your mind slides sideways for a moment and returns before you have a chance to notice.

One thing which frequently annoys me is when someone points a delighted finger at the "spelling mistake" of another, when it's quite clearly a typo - which is a different thign altogether.

La Bête said...

Hey, Daisy. Very much so. Just not a very good one.

I don’t know, Tim. Bloody journalists, eh?

What was that, Stripey? Charlotte Church? Let me guess – she’s lost weight?

D, no! There is always hope.

BS, no. And patience, dearheart. Patience.

AA, back in three weeks. Happy holidays!

Damn you, Gongman, I can’t find it. I keep rereading it and totally failing to find the typo. Ah, well. We all make mistakes.

Helen, I’m sorry to hear that. Didn’t you have a date last week though? How did that go?

BS, if there’s any chance it could be deliberate, I’m going to say it was deliberate. So tell me what it is and I’ll tell you, ah yes, that was deliberate.

gongman said...

There was a clue in Helen´s post (she didn´t spot it either!)

I pray that it doesn´t prey on your mind too much though.......

La Bête said...

Oh that! No, that was deliberate.

~runs and hides head in shame~

Pueblo girl said...

It's "preying" (I'm a spoiler - and a translator). Fine, never loved like that before, will never love like that again. Welcome to life. All loves are different, and every time (hopefully relatively few) is different. Not better or worse. Just different. And every time you'll be convinced (if you're healthy) it's the best. Go for it.

Antipo Déesse said...

I suppose Gongman's 'insistance' is a delicious example of sweet irony.

Or perhaps he truly needs help. Shall we send the Serious Spelling Bee Technicians over to his house for an Earnest Emergency Intervention?

His use of 'misteak' however is blatantly silly and I refuse to be sucked in to pointing it out, as if I were one of those spelling Nazis.

Helen said...

I didn't notice 'praying'. I am a buffoon! I hand my head in shame.

My date wasn't good. Well, it was. In a way. He was nice. But he wasn't Chris (the ex). And I'm just not ready.

Le sigh.

marsha said...

Smart friend.

My granny had many wise sayings, among them:

Your first love is the one that you think is your last;
your last love is the one that you know is your first.

Ineloquent Amazon review posted, I'm assuming it takes a while to process. There are some really wonderful ones up there.