Wednesday, November 9

On A Horse

I endure my labour because it is finite, it cannot last forever. Of course I always labour, always work hard, but these days it is utterly exhausting so that I struggle to write, and so I am silent. I tell my father—‘It’s shit, it’s keeping me awake. I literally cannot sleep because of it. I’ll start thinking of something and then have to force myself awake to stop.’ He tells me—‘That happens from time to time. It’ll end.’ He is right. It will not last forever. Coffee fuels my day, I consume twice as much as usual, but my twitch has disappeared. The twitch amused me slightly, I admit: I would stand before the toilet mirror and watch my right eyelid tremour. To the unaware it was barely noticeable but I could see it tremour so, and I could feel it pulsing against my eyeball. This is all my fault, though; I told my boss, in no uncertain terms, that I wanted to see a job through completion, and now I am doing so. I knew my knowledge and experience would benefit substantially, and they are; my confidence, too, is growing and I have made good relationships with the gentlemen on site.
Do not think that I arrive home from work in some catatonic state. No! I play guitar often, but mostly I paint. Yes, my greatest pleasure these days is painting. Maybe that is what I am destined to be: a painter.
The cold is here and the wind channelling through the grey, shadowless streets, aching the muscles in my jaw and cracking the skin of my knuckles. My flat is warm enough. I complete minor chores and then settle down to paint. I set my easel up, study the canvas, and begin. And, would you believe it, I forget the world in its entirety! I am sunk into the oils. The smell of paint thinner is overwhelming yet it is also strangely comforting; fine company, if I do say so. I light scented candles to take the edge off and put a record on. I guzzle beer and go to the window to smoke from time to time. I paint and I paint and I paint paint paint. The way the oils lay satisfies me greatly. I was painting a portrait of a friend but became too drunk, too enthusiastic with the brush and before I knew it I had ruined the depiction completely. I flew into a rage, broke the canvas in half – admittedly with a struggle, lightening the gesture somewhat – and forced it into the bin. The next night I tried again. Once I am done, I clean the brushes and admire my work; casting my head from side to side against the cloth to see the oils drying from gloss to matte. After dinner I find that there is nothing left in me and I cannot even begin to think about settling down to write. Perhaps I am not meant to be a writer after all. I hope it is not the case, but this, here, is a struggle. Surely that struggle, too, is finite.

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