‘L’inscription commencante d’une parole en avant de soi, a l’ecart do nous, vertigineuse, ressassante.’ this is Francois Dupin and this is the translation by David Shapiro ‘The beginning inscription of a word in advance of itself, apart from us, dizzying, re-working.’
This excited me so much when I read it – it had the same resonance as W.S.Graham – the way in which words sometimes pull us after them, they find the seam and open it up before we realise. I’ve done a lot of thinking about writing and words in the last three weeks. The ‘knee’ experience has been both worse and better than the first time – worse because I knew what was coming, better because this time I seem to have avoided such heavy doses of anaesthetic and morphine and so have come to much quicker. From the first day I have tried to keep a diary of how I feel, what is happening. It’s pretty boring – a lot of a.m. wakings, but also thoughts and emotions too. It has helped to keep a hold on things. I am very frustrated at the moment – a domino effect yesterday – nurse comes and looks at the wound to dress it and is not happy, sends me off to the doctor. Ditto doctor who phones the surgeon who says come in immediately. I met him in the entrance hall of the clinique – go up to the third floor, ring for the nurse and I will come up soon he says. He looks me over – thinks the infection is only surface, puts me on a morning and evening dressing of alcohol and I go to see him on Monday. No physio – some small mercies! I am of course enormously grateful for the speed and attention that it was all dealt with – within two hours I was back home again. French health care is amazingly compassionate and efficient although the paper work involved is Kafka-esque. So – here I am back again to not doing much, hurting rather a lot and being unsure that progress is being made. On the other hand I have sent off six poems to Wings anthology, one to Poetry News, four to Artemis, sixteen and a submission to Cafewriters and I have four ready for printing for Rialto. At last I am beginning to move things. I still feel uncertain of the quality/revision but just hope that actually getting stuff moving will keep an edge on things. the ‘vertigineuse’ shaking things up.
I intend to do an analysis of the writing I have done in my diary – see what patterns emerge, hopefully it will feed into some writing too. I have been lucky with my reading too: Maitreyabhandu’s Crumb Road, Rialto, Poem, Agenda all reaching me when I was in hospital. I am curious about the way in which our understanding, focus, intentions are diverted and subverted by the physical donkey body. I have tried to hold on to grounding and then working outwards. At one point trying to see pain not as pain but as my leg finding a new shape, making itself a new space. The delusions and nightmares are also interesting. I often wake dreaming of having six legs, each one making a separate demand, and of being overwhelmed and adrift in a very alien and frightening environment. Corpus and mentus I guess whirling around together. I look forward to being able to write something wonderfully large in scape, ideas and thoughts pinpointing the word that is about to become at the moment though it is a relief to be able to write about the immediate and the boring. If one didn’t write – I read Elaine Fienstein quoting a Russian poet – ‘don’t write if you don’t have to’ (this is a poor gloss but I haven’t the energy to go and look for the correct quote). Well yes – I suppose that is what it is all about. I do have to, I am so glad that many of my friends and those whose work I admire also have to. I may dream six legs but I have three crutches – and one of them is words.