Transcribed from our conversations and my scribbled notes
We both woke up at the same time: 6:40. I often wake at 5.30 and read till she wakes at 6.30. I had a strange dream of living in a foreign land. Where am I? What am I doing here? But then I discovered my mobile still works. So we could keep in touch no matter what weird things happened. It was a country where they do things very differently.
I suppose it was one of those very short dreams concocted by our subconscious to wake you up for a pee. She went down to make the tea. I took 5 Rich Tea biscuits from the jar, put them in my dressing-gown pocket before coming back to bed. Which is where I am now.
I’d printed today’s crossword soon after it becomes available at midnight. I always get up in the night to have a nightcap, or these days a small “midnight feast” as we used to call it at prep. school. Then sat at this desk to fill in the first three answers, before getting back to bed.
Completing the crossword is a game where we compete with the cunning compiler and with one another. The general rules being that we each do three, then pass it to the other.
If we get stuck we use the Crossword Helper, hosted on a computer at the University of Adelaide, Australia. This morning we were looking for “game”, whether prey or pastime, and found “bridge”. See 19 across. The whole thing will be mysterious to some readers, especially if not from the UK. See 15 down for example: “possibly shoplifting paper”. Answer: Theft: The FT, Financial Times.
While it’s her go I can keep on writing this. That dream: it offered such a strange landscape that if I could expand it into fiction, I would. But I can’t, except for fantasies. I never finish them, see for example “The Secret Life of Strangers“.
She just said “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” referring to the famous film starring Jack Nicholson. It was based on a book of the same name, I can’t remember the author but I do recall he was mentioned in one of Tom Wolfe’s imaginary versions of reality: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, about the hippies who wandered about the southern states of America in a Day-Glo bus. I’m not doing any fact-checking here, it’s all from memory. They would hire church halls for ad-hoc concerts often by the newly-formed highly experimental Grateful Dead; whilst unbeknown to the bewildered pastor, the buckets of Kool-Aid were spiked with Acid, ie LSD. The results were variable and sometimes fatal, but the Merry Pranksters moved on to another small city to do the same.
I believe Jack Kerouac also took part in these japes. Long ago, I read On the Road and The Dharma Bums, and was strongly influenced by them for years after.
Then in 2012 we had a few days in Amsterdam and were attracted by the shape of this building across the water.
They had a continuous program of new avant-garde films, one of which was “On the Road”. I was keen, but she didn’t like the sound of it, especially as we’d have to wait 75 minutes before the next showing. Furthermore they didn’t serve hot food in the restaurant at 11am. I persuaded her to watch it. She didn’t like it at all. It’s 2 hours long but we agreed to walk out after the first 45 minutes. It’s all about crazy young men hitch-hiking, taking drugs and abandoning their women. They have no respect for anything or anyone, for example shoplifting, stealing gas and probably not returning borrowed cars. This is all from jaded memory.
Which reminds me of other books When I arrived at Birmingham University in 1960, conservatively dressed and shy oin manner, a fellow I hardly knew lent me Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer followed by Tropic of Capricorn. Both books full of sex, rambling ideas and general transgressiveness. They changed my attitudes to life.
Then, in my same first term as a a fresher, the Arts Block reception office put up a small poster. There would be a prize for the best essay on the topic of “The White Hipster”. Norman Mailer had written an article in 1957 called The White Negro. I’d never heard of a hipster, but started to research in the Stacks of the huge campus library—much to the neglect of my prescribed studies. I don’t think I ever completed the essay.
I’m reflecting on the different ways K and I do the crossword. If I find a word that seems to fit I put it in. If it’s wrong we’ll find out later. She’s interested in words for their own sake, fascinated by all the slang, synonyms and puns.
My interest in words is to write down my thoughts and experiences. My creativity is to express myself exactly as I am—but with the rough corners filed off and polished. These days I am fundamentally lazy, but take pride in my mental sharpness at this advanced age. Especially as I had a brain infection some months ago, as diagnosed by a neurologist, which caused me to go crazy in frightening and dangerous ways. It’s cleared up on its own. The neurologist says this can happen. If you are otherwise healthy(-ish, in my case) you can recover spontaneously from meningitis as if it were like the common cold
My design and DIY over the years will I hope stand as a legacy. The same goes for my writing. It’s encouraging to know from the Stats that I still have a few readers but I don’t go out of my way to attract them.
The beauty of WordPress and Blogger is their free versions. Thus without anyone’s intervention they will remain readable for the foreseeable future.
PS The extract from my notebook above reads: Am I frightened?
Of the cold. Certainly not of death. There are things I approach reluctantly. Getting out of bed is one of them.
So I shall sign off for now and type this after breakfast.
PPS I think I may be unconsciously influenced by the essays of Montaigne which I wrote about recently (….).
Title: In bed this morning? finished @8.20