In Plenary, Production, Uncategorized on August 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm
It’s bright and on the inside of my sunglasses, the lenses are dappled with droplets of sweat. I am running away from the island I have shared with you, on the straight causeway that connects it to the coast: a brilliant, broiling Atlantic void on my left and the great, grand Strait on my right – that tuna-stuffed Styx, the dazzling blue Rubicon that made this, to the ancients, the ultimate dividing line: the edge of the world, the coast of everything.
Tarifa wobbles in the drops – little playa chica and its No Shitting sign, the tuna sculpture, the ludicrous but likeable outline of Santa Catalina, a derelict mansion. I flick my head to dislodge the drops and get a better view. It’s all still here, in all its glare and glory – the ocean, the hills behind the town, the pink dome of the St Mateo church. The castle and the modern port with its rotating ferries, the tumbling roofs of the old town, the schools and the fish factory and the holiday lets further up the beach. The cargo ships that clutter up the sea lanes and the huge dune at Valdevaqueros where the kite surfers congregate.
I’ve done a couple of kilometres and I’ll give it another couple. Then I’ll go home. I’m running so that I might stay alive a little longer and live a little better while I’m at it. Keep the blood pumping and the pump strong. I’m running so that I can write, running to get endorphins flowing and synapses firing. More
In Uncategorized on November 28, 2013 at 8:23 am
Writing is a question of motive, reading the same. It’s important to know why you’re doing it.
I can tell you why I write: it’s because I love the world as much as I hate it. Because I know it’s all I’ve got. Because a place can fill me up till I can’t breathe any more, pouring its stories into me like intoxicants. I can feel them in me, making me woozy even if I can’t always make them out, even when I can’t tell insight from pure imagination, or if those two things can be told apart.
I write because every time I so much as go for a walk the universe bowls me over. The daily litany of wonders: the sun, the wild Atlantic, murky Africa, the long coastal grasses and the man who won’t say hello to me even though we’ve passed each other by down at the water a thousand times. The litany of wonders and how it grinds. How it rubs raw.
I write because I won’t live for long. Because I’m a fucking mayfly and it makes me angry. It makes me grateful too. I write from the gratitude and I write from the anger. I write because I want to give you something and I write because I want something from you. I want your touch, like a cheap song; I want your breath on my neck. I write to make music of the noise, to make a noise in the dreadful silence, to find a silence in the roar. That is why I write.
Why do I read? See above. More
In Practice, Production on September 13, 2013 at 8:04 am
For protection from the brutal winds that blast the hills around Tarifa, the little homesteads that stud the slopes are invariably planted with something to surround them and take the brunt – some tall, bamboo-like grasses or a bank of prickly pear cactus. This evening these peripheries glow golden in the setting sun and so does the surrounding country as it descends from the high road to the shore below. I look down on it all from the bus window.
On the African coast Jebel Musa, Hercules’ southern pillar, peeks out from the murk of a marine layer and a few paltry tufts of cloud drift across the summit. Over Spanish soil the clouds are just as small and disparate but dirtier, full of rain. Above all that the sky is the tired blue of an ageing day. A lone vulture circles on this side of the strait – side to side and up and down through all the elements of the view, owning all of them. As it banks the sun catches its wings.
I’m on the bus because I’m back at work after a long and humid summer, but for all the mundane humdrummery of another working year, it does deliver this daily gift – the descent into the little pueblo that sits at Europe’s southernmost point, warmly lit by a yawning, westbound sun.
The winding mountain road straightens out as it slides toward the town and the vistas open up: the gleaming, endless Atlantic to my right, the Strait and Mediterranean to my left, Morocco dead ahead More