Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Grey, freezing afternoon.

The triangulation point unreachable, set in a moat of ice.

The wind so strong that when I opened my mouth it inflated itself like a cherub in reverse.

I had been lured here by the thought of a sacred grove. The lane was not so empty as I expected, the dog-walkers were hearty, we all liked each other. Soon I lost touch with them, though. I was going to a place no-one goes. When I got there I was too frightened in the gnarled trees to take any pictures, but I told myself they'd have been crap anyway.

"Told myself" is a phrase forever asociated with the Mills & Boon genre, but I needed it here.

Any writer who evokes magic isn't just a romancer but a charlatan. That's what I believe. Just because of Balzac, that doesn't make it OK. Still, I suppose I worshipped a god, just by being frightened. Not an enlightened god.

I can't apologise for posting these solitary rambling fancies, but they are a product I view with a little suspicion; an almost exclusively male genre describing an almost exlusively male experience - a solitary woman walker is something I never see. Apparently it's a genre immensely attractive to male poets ever since Marvell and Milton, and it still propels such significant modern poems as Peter Riley's Alstonefield.

I suppose it forms part of a larger class of social narrative, the "while I wasn't with you" story - and no doubt part of my impulse to go out lay in thinking about how I might talk about it later. - Other narratives like this are: "My fishing expedition"; "On my morning run"; "On my way to work"; "In the office"; "I had a strange dream last night" and "My heavy drinks session". Such stories are ideal for topping up with a little charlatanry when needed.

I saw the north terraces of the hill rusty with beech-leaves from the adjoining wood.


At 7:24 pm, Blogger Vincent said...

Well, I like your piece! "Any writer who evokes magic isn't just a romancer but a charlatan." Not sure what you mean by "evokes magic".

So what is wrong with a male genre describing an almost exclusively male experience? You have invoked the early works of Conrad for me, in that categorisation. But he went on to make women the inspiration for his male heroes.

Are you bothered what kind of "social narrative" it is? then why not let it be an antisocial narrative?

I cannot see that it makes a banal anecdote of the type "My heavy drinks session" - but then I cannot see into your soul.

Personally, I don't take a moral view. If someone in the story of their heavy drinks session can convey to me what the attraction was of behaving like that, I will suspend all judgement. Art is not the same thing as Temperance Society sermons.

In fact I can think of a TV series which is very good at conveying the highs and lows of a heavy drinks session, allowing me the audience to experience it by proxy and let someone else have the hangover: Black Books starring Dylan Moran.

At 7:40 am, Blogger rb said...

:) i walk alone as much as i can

almost all my outdoor photos are from solitary rambles


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