Monday, July 14, 2008

14th July

There's a song going round my head:
"Please don't wake me
Please don't shake me
Leave me where I am.
I'm only sleeping..."

It's because I don't want to get out of bed...
I'm sleeping in the house of old friends.
He directed the very first play I ever had on, in 1980, and it's to him I owe the discovery I could write plays.
And she constructed the set.
And over all the intervening years , in spite of all kinds of vicissitudes, they've constructed a really remarkable joint life together.
They both do work they enjoy, and is of use to the world.
He runs an agency that promotes and supports artistic activity in the Highlands; she skillfully and lovingly restores antique furniture.
They live in a beautiful house with an exquisite garden they take great pleasure and pride in.
The house is comfortable without being ostentatiously so; it exudes pleasure, contentment in the act of being alive.
I don't want to suggest they've created paradise; and certainly, if I wished, i could also list their difficulties and problems.
If i were to write a novel according to the current aesthetic, or a play or a film, it would be of the "placid surface of an apparently happy marriage shattered by the arrival of a stranger" or "a chance event that exposed the ruin underneath..." or some such shit.
And how dull that would be.
Really what interests me far more is their state of contentment, and how they achieve it.
That, and their generosity and kindness.

I was reflecting on all this on the way back home - to the struggles with the current play, to the provisional experiment also known as my current identity - eating an absolutely delicious cheese and pickle sandwich that had been prepared for me.
Knowing full well that I would be incapable of preparing a cheese and pickle sandwich of any kind - never mind one as delicious as this - for myself for a train journey. Still less for anyone else.

They have two of Susie's pictures on their walls, which touched me greatly, and which reminded me that we often aspired to creating such an ordered and hospitable existence it would be a pleasure to share with others.
And we failed; we were too busy struggling to achieve basic necessities; to bring up our daughters, somehow, in the teeth of both our quixotic adventures.

We achieved so much I'm proud of - I wouldn't denigrate it for the world: but we never managed this.
And will I ever?
It's doubtful, while my identity remains so provisional; and while I have no sooner finished one play when i am at the mercy of the next.

But then I console myself, or try to, with the thought that we all create what we can: and we must value it.

Well (I also think): I hope they value what it is they have created.
And understand how much it matters.

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