2009 ends in largely underwhelming style for me this year. The year has seen me move house, back to the frozen wastes of the North (that I love) and begin a four year odyssey to try and add some letters to the beginning of my name. As way of reflecting on this year, I cast my mind back much earlier, to May 2005. This is wholly unrelated to 2009, but the memory sprung to mind and has sat there for a while. I decided to self publish a book this year, and had one large print copy made so I could go through and edit it before making it properly available. I find it hard to make changes to something so unwieldy without having a hard copy to scribble on…which doesn’t bode well for the FUUD.
My recollection is a series of places I sat to write the book; they all returned, revenant like, when beginning the arduous rewrite (in turn, this is preventing me from sorting out the current book I’m trying to get through*). The first, and probably coldest, was a siding near Norwich railway station that appeared in the book in three or four guises. There was a small wall, a fallen tree, two rusting train carriages and a biting wind so writing was usually reserved for short periods of time before catching a train.
I wrote in the University Library a fair amount as well, as it made researching that little bit easier. I sat opposite the low rise of the ziggurats, with their moss covered roofs, the outline of power lines in the distance above a man made lake and pine trees. Many of the birds I spied from that lookout ended up peppering the text.
I also wrote in a series of rooms I occupied during my time at University. The first was often swaddled by fog, which I attempted to record on minidisc one December (haunting was important to me even then I think). High up, leaking, penthouse style windows all around giving a panorama of hundreds of other windows. Rear Window. Another house I wrote in had frequent power cuts and was beneath ice for a sizable part of the winter of 2003 (there’s a track I recorded about it in the Audio Archive). The room I concluded the book in was on Lincoln Street, a short stroll from The Garden House where I remember a pint being spilled, a man named Toby, and me being dressed as a pirate detective. These all crept in, the latter being a principle character in the new one.
In May 2005 I finished the book. I spent two years writing it, on and off. It runs to about 260 pages, though my large print one is annoyingly weighty. Roughly speaking, I think it is about the end of the world, or rather all the ends of the world, and how five characters recall their former lives. It isn’t much, and is quite scttrsht, but I felt the need to preserve it for posterity, and to prove that if I don’t get the current one finished I at least had one book in me.
The question of why I write, considering it seems I already have enough writing to be getting on with, is perhaps best saved for a different time. So 2009 made me revisit old haunts, in preparation for writing about haunts in general. I guess that is what I’m saying.
Coming up in the next week, a series of album reviews from my associates.
The brief was to write a review of an album they’d heard for the first time this year, so not necessarily of this year. A fairly broad selection including Cardew’s rereleased Treatise, Bon Iver’s For Emma…, Wild Beast’s Two Dancers, Telefon Tel Aviv’s Immolate Yourself, Kevin Drumm’s Imperial Horizon and possibly one other.
* hobbies probably shouldn’t be cathartic, but the process of writing tends to expunge years of notes and half formed ideas, most of which fall on to the page with only the briefest attempts at shaping on making coherent.