Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I have been getting up at 5am to write. I stare at the screen and feel tired and wonder where it is going and why I am doing this instead of staying tucked up in bed where it will be warm and there might be an easing of the nightmares that still rattle around inside me.

So instead of writing I begin to read. Reading is a part of writing. If I read something inspiring it will make me think about the way it was constructed. I will be encouraged by something beautiful that has been printed and bound into a relatively attractive package. I will want to compete with my own work. This is the plan anyway.

I have been sliding into depression again and even the idea of writing exhausts me. Instead I will read and I will repond to what I am reading here and in my work. After all it is all a part of the process of writing.

I am a slow reader. I read each sentence carefully. Where my fellow workmates tear through books I turn their pages ponderously. I stop and think and move on. I read like I swim, slowly and consistanty. I need glasses and I squint at the page because I never wear them. The words blur and shift and are difficult to pin down. Often I get a headache for my efforts.

I am reading "The Two Kinds of Decay" by Sarah Manguso. It is a memoir about a girl who gets a blood disease. It sounds like a misery memoir but it isn't. It is sparse and clean and more life philosophy really. The medical things make the reader squirm and there are a lot of medical things. I like her lack of sentimentality. Her writing reminds me of the writing of a friend of mine, very mannered and restrained, just the back of a whale protuding from the water, the rest is hidden and lumbering and huge. The rest is left for the reader to discover in herself.

I think about my friend Mark as I read this book. Yes I knew it would come around to talking about my friend Mark. Mark had a stroke almost two years ago. His recovery has inspired me to think about the brain in this way. He is the same man, only changed because of the damage inside his head. I think about the time I was visiting him in hospital. I think about the hope and the possibility for recovery and the feeling like something is happening that might make things better. I think about the after-time, the slow moments when it seems like nothing is happening. The time it takes for him to adjust to the world, the un-learning. He has spent the past six months learning about the things that he can no longer do. He is learning, but this process is removing things from him one at a time. He is settling into loss.

I remember when I was filming him, hoping to make a documentary about his recovery. A friend of mine turned the camera on me and started to ask me how it was to be supporting Mark through this. I started to cry. I didn't feel sad, but it is there on film, me bursting into tears and weeping. 'I can't communicate', I told her and the camera. 'I can't communicate'.

I sit each morning at 5 am and I look at my computer screen and all the hope that I have gathered around me though the night dissipates. When I was a child I had a recurring image of me with my lips sewn together. I look at my computer screen and the image comes back to me without any trouble at all.


Grand Purl Baa said...

Just discovered this stream. It is tragic and triumphant all at once. Everything you write seems so extremely intimate, no word or phrase without palpable weight. How can you 'know' so much. Where the hell is that publisher.

Krissy Kneen said...

I forget I have an audience. It is hard to think of other people at 5am.