Inkspot has pointed out, quite politely, that it is practically a year since I last set foot here. He’s right. And really what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t ever write anything? It’s not as if it was gym membership, or anything else with talismanic properties of that sort. Did you ever see that cartoon (early sixties was it?) with two young men in corduroy jackets, or roll-neck sweaters, at a drinks party? One says, with an air of casual superiority, ‘I’m writing a novel’. ‘Neither am I’, says the other.
Regard this as an ice-breaker, then. Nothing in it except a resolution to come back soon and write something else. As soon as I’ve finished the piece on New York little magazines of the 1950s (Folder, Neon and Yugen, to be specific), and polished off the essay on literature and pacifism and conscientious objection in Britain in the twentieth century, and done a conference paper on Veronica Forrest-Thomson and the Tel Quel poets. In a few days. Honestly. Before term starts again. The thing is, the older I get the less good I seem to be at writing things. I need to feel a lot of loose time around me in order to get my thoughts together. Not isolation, or concentration: just an absence of the general sense of vague urgency which moved in between my shoulders a few years ago. Also, the Novelist has been in the Norwegian Arctic for the last week, which ought to have forced me back on my own resources and let me relax into a bit of solitude, even with the aftermath of Christmas and all that sort of thing. But her presence, when she’s here, is strangely comforting, and it’s even harder to concentrate when she’s away. The insides of drawers get cleaned instead, and socks arranged in alphabetical order. And notes get pinned to the blog, like this one, saying ‘back in ten minutes’.
P.S. Oh, and I did finish the long poem I mentioned last time, if you can remember that far back. It's called The Glass Bell and will be out from Barque Press in the nearish future. More on that soon. Happy New Year.