On Words and Streams of Thought…

Ulysses. I still haven’t read it. I’m over 40 and I’ve never even picked up a copy and leafed through it. Is it massive? Is that why? Daunting? I can’t even picture the width of the spine but I imagine a green jacket. Almost the same green as the girl’s coat. The girl who justified wearing leather as a vegetarian because it’s a bi-product of the meat industry. Why waste it? I never understood that argument or why she ever felt the need to make it. We all act and speak irrationally at times. Most of the time actually. It’s ok. Ok it’s not ok. But we do it anyway.

Stream of consciousness doesn’t flow like a river at all. It’s staccato. Nylon strings not steel. Ulysses makes me think of Yul Brynner in a red satin shirt. Is Dostoyevsky the link? My reading is so narrow. I’ll never have enough time to read all the books I want to and in pursuing those I’ll miss out on all the experimental contemporary stuff that I’m not even aware of. Too much information. No way of organising it. It’s stulting. I suppose I mean stunting except I don’t really. Stulting is what I mean but that won’t mean anything to anyone else. It doesn’t matter.

Words. They dissolve and are difficult to retrieve. The ones I start out looking for are never the ones I find. They assemble themselves in configurations I disapprove of and are difficult to rearrange. Like clouds on the ground. I’m thankful for full stops. Well, appreciative. They pierce the fog like flashlights though they still find neither subject nor object. Objections. Objectionable in free-writing perhaps. Full stops that is. But is there really any such thing? As free-writing that is. It’s about as likely as free will I suppose. And that woman who upended the problem of evil in claiming that suffering only makes sense if there’s the promise of something or other from a God whose benevolence we shouldn’t question at the end of it all. When the dust settles. I wonder how she defines evil. I don’t really want to know. Earth to earth. Billowy white sheets obscuring the view. A camera obscura mounted on a bridge from which Stoics won’t jump, capturing light trails from traffic – driving through last night’s rain. Displacing puddles. Scattering water into flung fragments. Disconnected sentences in my black and white note-book with wide lines and no margins. It’s raining again.

Page 1: “Intuition. Can be absent. Can be reasoned against.” And yet I still feel like I intuit something or other. I remember looking for a sentence on intuition I’d read years before when I scribbled that but I can’t remember why or what for. Such is the fate of most of my words. They disjoint internally, bursting like liquid film between abrupt conceptions that grow to overlap each other. Ideas I can see but find them too difficult to describe.

Page 32: “Rattle Cattle” – an incomplete poem I penned ninety minutes up the tracks from St. Pancras. Circling my ankles now as I did then as if the movement would somehow string together a cohesive line of thought. Nope.

My red note-book. A random page somewhere in the middle: “It occurs to me that ‘abstruse’ is a word which pops up time and again only in papers on autism though it has no direct connection with it.” The remainder of the page is blank. I’ve never read that word in any other context. From the next page the words “soul shaped hole” attempt a rare opportunity to see the light of day. I snap the hardcover shut and cringe. “I found your notes on Dinotopia,” Dave smirked at me, “You weirdo!” I contend that Archaeopteryx’s iconic status is as significant culturally as it is palaeontologically. Is that another made up word? Train of thought trundles on through idiom tunnel and derails in the dark.

I like the central alignment of the words here. The way they shift to the left as I tap the keyboard, like a typewriter but a lot less noisy, to produce wavy mirrored margins. The way it looks suits this method of writing I think. Not authentically ‘stream of consciousness’ because I keep getting interrupted. I doubt it’s ever possible to think uninterrupted thoughts, even in solitude. In fact, I’m absolutely certain it’s not possible so I can just ignore the internal voice that suggests I might be a fraud. Descartes was absolutely certain of one thing but I’m not convinced he was right about that.

I wonder if writing this way constitutes a skill which can be honed. I feel an experiment of sorts coming on…