As the sheets of rain came down earlier this week I found it hard to write a new blog post to publish here. You might have noticed this and you might have noticed, too, that I took down the most recent posting, which was my attempt to satirize various media responses to the Swedish House Mafia malarky.
I don't think it was particularly funny, but that is not why I took it down. It just didn't feel a correct fit for this blog - it wasn't in tune with the 'heap and what it is about. I'm not good at snark here, even though I have a an unruly snark element in my nature that pops up in conversation or on twitter sometimes.
I've spoken before about change here, but I doubt what I do on asleep on the compost heap will ever truly change. I found out that that the blog has a 'feel' I can't betray. This week, when I had that satirical post up, I genuinely felt weird at odd moments of the day, struck by sudden realisations that it was out there misrepresenting my little blog and gathering the wrong sort of page impressions. As pathetic as that admission must sound to a non-blogger, I'm sure plenty of bloggers will know the type of unique neurosis I'm getting at.
I might start a different blog somewhere else. Who knows?
Today, I've been looking through all these notes. There are piles of them. I have a box of them under my bed, and I rooted it out. In the past, I've lumped stuff into the box, but I've never actually sat down with it and gone through it. This afternoon, I tipped it out and sat on my bedroom floor surrounded by years and years worth of material all written in the same clutzy scrawl that was remarked on in every single one of my school reports.
My God, what an amount of stuff. There are notes about every sort of thing physically written on every sort of thing: foolscap, torn cereal boxes, various diaries, newspaper pages - there are even more than a few supermarket receipts with scribbles on them. Seeing them all accumulated like this, it struck me what vast personal value these notes have.
I'm looking at shreds of slightly macabre stories about boys on building sites and farms, slippery and rare playground echoes that came into my mind long enough for me to catch them with a pen, things old people said in pubs, the wisdom of people who gave up alcohol, the self-absorbed righteousness of some of those people too, wisps of dreams, stuff written when I was young and drunk, stuff written sobering up, diary entries from a hitchhiking trip across Canada, drawings of people on buses, drawings of people in psychiatric hospital and (scribbled below) the things that they and their families talked about as I listened from my bed across the ward, shadow figures from my childhood fleshed out by sentences spoken in their actual voices and captured from the dark multiplying murmurings that rise around the mind as it falls asleep, weird newspaper stories, small-town rumours from Kells, stories my mother told me, ghost stories, impressions, the light on certain buildings, my uncle's wet woolen clothes hanging on a hook, the same uncle's cold as marble head that I kissed at a wake, sunset on Clew Bay, a teenager falling headfirst out of a swingboat during a torrential wet night at a fairground in Kells, an Easter rising parade marching through Falcarragh's main street on an almost painfully bright March day in the 1980s.
So much stuff. Saved in way. Caught from the rapid daily flux of thought and piled up like sediment in a box. To be honest, I never knew how valuable all this would be or indeed why I felt compelled to take notes on situations. I mean I've harboured a vague desire to write that has come and gone down the years, but the note-taking remained constant like a compulsion. I'm so happy I did it. It feels like I've given myself a heap (!) of genuine treasure.
Now I'm going to start building. I'm going to use my spare time to try to write fiction seriously.
Bits of fiction will certainly appear here as I try things out. But fear not, the compost heap will never really change. I joke from time to time about agonizing over blog posts but the truth is that I get a lot of peace of mind from writing here. It's a sanctuary.
Music lovers, don't give up on me, my next post will be about album number 7 of last year: Danny Brown's XXX