Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Frankly, I don't know where I am

What year is it? I'm clutching threads in my left hand and threads in my right hand but I can't find anything to attach them in the middle.

That's what it is to look out my face and try to follow a progression of events in time. Something happens, and I lose ideas about the connections, causes, consequences and effects that make up the hours. Then I have no control over the bits which connect the days. Swallowing holes, chasms, vacuums, blasts and voids, I can fall into those, no problem.

It's one reason why a daily dairy is a personal mission. Sorry about that for anyone who ever came here hoping for a coherent narrative, one day to the next.

I have to remind myself, while I still have a moment of memory. I am driven to diary for a) the educational militia of some local authority. They will one day send me a letter to remind me that I am an unfit disorganised non-educationalising parent. I will agree immediately. I need proof. Here it is. Squirrel read a book. Polly's March. I talked about 1920. The year Dead Grandmother the First was born. Her born without the vote. She had entitlements, instead, to a mining household, an abusive father and strong women with red arms and voices like rasping sandpaper. They would have made the law and imposed it too, had they not needed to lock themselves and the kids in the privy to escape being beaten up.

So Squirrel, your education for today is, you must vote. It is your moral duty. As to the family history, one day I shall write it for you and then I will die, deliberately, so you can't ask me any questions about where I told the truth and it sounded like a lie, or where I lied, just to hide the truth.

Then there is reason b). If I do not keep a daily diary, I will be totally powerless over anything, because anything could have happened. I could have wandered into 1789 by accident and never made it from France. I might have had a near-death experience; been abducted by aliens; fell down a volcano and not remembered how I climbed out. I could have wandered off in here and I wouldn't know. It's that serious. A diary makes one moment coherent in chaos. It lifts a single sense out of no sense. It plucks one positive from a minefield of negative. It doesn't have to be a grand order. It could be, Today I put the washing out. That would be okay, because tomorrow I will remember to bring it in again.

So I wake up today and find that I look different from yesterday but I don't know how. My skin might have left me, or my lips fell off. Maybe my eyebrows came out, but I can't quite tell. Maybe my head can't keep a constant thought and here's a lot of string, and there's nothing really holding me together. But some things did go and happened. Not always connected.

Dig left for England, where there has been flooding in the cellar, the place where I lock up my history books to prevent them escaping. It's my cave and I can go and curl up in there and live in 1422 instead of my normal lair in July, 1987. I need him to tell me if the pages are all washed away and the letters floating about the floor.

Yes, there was Dig leaving. And there was the Tiger Star, which exploded, shattering all the earth apart and breaking the wardrobe asunder.

That may have done it. That may have led me to the edge of some sort of chasm where I can't recall who I am or where I'm standing.

Tiger, why don't you extract my intestines, stretch them out like elastic, and nail them over the entire area of a football field like a fantastic hopscotch network.

I used to play a game in 1965. The neighbour's daughter, who bullied me and made me cry, would make me jump between the skeins of the skipping ropes that she stretched out around the back yard. When I was made to jump between them, prompted, probably, by a sausage pricking fork from her weaponry that she selected from the kitchen drawer, then she would tell me that she'd made the rope carry electricity, and if my toe so much as touched the cotton string, I would in all likelihood be electrocuted. The next time my mother saw me, she said, I would be charred splinters of split up skeleton bones and no eyeballs. I could have lived lifetimes in the seconds it took to jump across the back yard, feet between the wires.

Tiger, do that thing with my intestines, because you can see I have training to cope. I'll take my revenge to you one day. I shall do what I did to the neighbour's daughter. When she says she's coming to get me, I shall turn and run and hide under the sideboard. I'll hug my knees and stop breathing, for hours, terrified at her approach, realising with horror that I never locked the back door, and there was really nothing to stop her walking right in, pulling me out from my hiding place and stabbing me with the sausage pricker good and dead, once and for all.