After all the years I’ve spent in this town, I still feel like I don’t belong here. As I stand on a pavement, the road and buildings slope away in every direction — grey, dusty and characterless. You feel the night waiting beyond the horizon. People stay hidden behind their defences, and in a shop or office, all is distant incomprehension.
Last night I was watching something on TV about three young people attempting the craft of weaving for the first time. One of them was doing spectacularly well; really engaged in it, doing his research on the internet and getting it just right. Then suddenly — just when he was supposed to prove himself in order to win a further opportunity in weaving — he had a slump of depression (he’s bipolar) and felt so unmotivated that he just went away and slept.
Sometimes I think pressure (even a little of it) pushes you into that… you think “I’ve got to do this well, now,” so you turn everything off and disappear.
Have got through a nasty cold and am slowly sorting out books.
Found an old ‘Christian Year’ Birthday Book (printed by Frederick Warne and Co!) that belonged to my great-grandmother Jessie. She got it on her 15th birthday, which is just 8 days away from mine (different year, of course!) She was conscientious about adding family birthdays (and deaths) — my father and his siblings were in the book. Of course their dates of death aren’t marked; she herself was long gone. I was glad to see that, as though it somehow makes them forever young and alive.
I lay awake and thought about ‘Jessie’ and the names she wrote down, kept safe since the late 1880s. Her book was right there in the drawer beside me, a small link to the past — and all of a sudden the dark felt more inhabited and friendly.