Those who have failed to regulate the self. Those whose behaviours enact a medicating fiction. Those who flew to the Canary Islands on a cheap ticket in December 1991 & left the remains of their personality in the apartment hotel. Those who ran from everything in a zig-zag pattern, so fast they never found the transitional object. The unsoothed. The dysmorphic. The unconditional. Those who were naive enough to take what they needed & thus never got what they wanted & whose dreams are now severe. Those who await Gefco. The confused. The pliable. Those who look at the sea & immediately suffer a grief unconstrained but inarticulable. Gefco is coming. Gefco you are always with us. Gefco we are here!
Photo: Nick Royle.
Few medical procedures are neccessary to maintain an occupancy once it is established. A bucket of disinfectant every two days, one or two injections of penicillin. The wiring, the other technical procedures, even the selection of the original subject all seem to have a preservative effect. What is meant by this ? Well, not simply that the more durable guests are chosen. In fact the reverse can be said: being chosen actually confers a quality of spiritual endurance the guest may not have possessed in ordinary life. Of course a certain physical toughness is also necessary, and guests can often surprise in that respect. Some won’t survive the first two or three days; those I always recognise, and dispose of quickly. But others seem so frail and last so long.
“Yes, I don’t know why, but I have never been disappointed … without feeling at the same time, or a moment later, an undeniable relief.”
–Samuel Beckett, The Expelled (1946), my ellipsis.
This blogged under the title You’re Lost, 2011–
Some common moorland bird, I never knew its name, makes a strange piping two-note call. Clagged up in a tiny but brutally self-similar stretch of peat somewhere between the Chew Valley and Laddow Rocks, we would imitate the sound but substitute the words, “You’re lost”. Later, experience of advanced outdoor techniques like this made it impossible for me to be terrorised by The Blair Witch Project. Grappling to release Rebecca Solnit’s determined grip on the meanings of being lost, I suddenly remembered this, from Nick Flynn’s superb memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: “I see no end to being lost. You can spend your entire life simply falling in that direction… Once you make it back, if you make it back, you will stand before your long-lost friends but in some essential way they will no longer know you.” Could anyone wish for a happier ending? (Except, of course, no longer knowing yourself?)
N is talking about people who work out of a segment of the modernist canon one writer wide. They always pursue some punitive formalism or other and are marked by an astonishing vanity despite being read only by a following of five, with whom they are in weekly savage public disagreement at a pub. They’re mostly men, she says, and you recognise them by their raw ears. Be careful about encouraging them: encourage one and you’ll be his next victim, because there will always come a point at which you reveal that you’ve failed to fully understand the precursor. Disappointment will quickly turn to rage.
That seems a little harsh, I tell her.
But N only stares into the air as if remembering something. “You don’t want their teeth in your leg, because they never, ever have the common sense to let go.”
(1) R.I. Gaines, a photograph taken in Oaxaca within the last ten years.
A team led by Lisi Fearnall established that the painted image displays “gains & losses of clarity” on a twelve day cycle. (“Though it is always sharper and brighter,” Fearnall reported to a private session of the Steering Committee, “whenever the vehicle is present.” Fearnall, emphasising the complexity of the physics, dismisses the view that R.I. Gaines is actually in the wall.)
& more here.
Southern England just doesn’t seem as nice as it did, dear, so your father & I are moving north before Thames Valley prices drop even further. We were thinking of somewhere in the Harrogate area. Above 100m, obviously, and with a bit of ground for the dogs. It will be such fun for them, especially Pinnie. The fact is, darling, your father and I are rather surprised that this has happened to people like us. You do see why some of the Somerset people complained, don’t you, but I think we’ll always vote Tory. Anyway, best wishes as ever, and I’m sure you’ll do well with your little wellington boot shop.