It seems a long time since I engaged with writing properly – I get up early and enthusiastic then feel suddenly tired and dis-engaged. The upstairs of the new part of the house nearly finished now – we have comfortable chairs to sit in and this is perhaps why I feel so sleepy! So reading Victoria Field’s lovely blog and discovering her link to Pablo Neruda’s poem ‘We are Many’ seems to sit comfortably with how I feel just now..
‘But when I call upon my DASHING BEING
outcomes the same OLD LAZY SELF,
and so I never know just WHO I AM,
nor how many I am, nor WHO WE WILL BE BEING.
I would like to be able to touch a bell
and call up my real self, the truly me,
because if I really need my proper self
I must not allow myself to disappear.’
Vicky has been writing about the shadow self – how to find where the gaps are – mind them. So often a metaphor or a simile creeps into my writing that is to do with scalpel-ing or slicing to the bone – as if the skeletal me articulates the real me but as if it is too difficult to find. I wrote a long time ago about being a Gemini, that astrological sign of ambivalence and androgyny. On Ayurvedic analysis I am split between two differences, but they are opposite ends of the spectrum; I know myself to be both deeply introspective and also quite a jolly extrovert. Does this layer of uncertainty about who you are create a shadow self? Sometimes I think that I have been existing in a dream and it is time to wake up – and I think that it is all to do with what is the next kind of writing that I am going to do. I have been reading old journals – up to 1992 now – just when I started to work abroad, to move through Asia, to find a different self being alone and dependent on others in places where I have no control of outcomes or experiences. At the same time I am starting to write regularly, journal and poems. As if the self was rising to the surface. Now, of course, if feels more like versa – the life turning back on itself, trying to find where it has been and what is the meaning of it, as if preparing for wrapping some of it up into something usable and discrete.
On Being Gemini
Always sliding; the image slipping across the horizon.
Ambiguous, undefined, even to ourselves.
Trailing leaves, remnants from the feast within the magic wood.
I disbelieve when the border is crossed.
He once said: ‘You are Monkey Mind.
a shallow butterfly that flickers for a moment, moves on.’
I remember bleached times, hollow places;
the rasp of desert dryness on the lips.
I make a portrait.
What unfolds does not resonate with a self within.
I see my mother, catching myself in the shop window,
my sister; Chinese eggs of family women.
The middle name. Gemini’s twin self,
A composite adventurer flirts and fades.