‘Go to sleep then,’ the book says. ‘There’s plenty for me to be getting on with while you’re gone. Put your feet up, go on. I’ll be fine.’
‘Can I trust you?’
‘Now there’s a leading question! What do you think? Have I let you down before? Don’t answer that.’
‘What will you be doing while I’ve been gone?’
‘Oh, you know,’ the book says, making a sweeping gesture with its hand. ‘Things. Stuff. There really is plenty to be getting on with. You go and sleep. I’ll be fine.’
‘I had a really weird dream the other night. There was this man, who wasn’t me but was, and he was a professor in moral ethics. And to pay for his child’s university education he did some really naughty things.’
‘I’m not your therapist,’ the book says. ‘I’m your book.’
‘But I thought you might be, you know, interested. It gets worse.’
‘I am not interested.’
‘I just wondered, how, you know, I could dream something up like that, a complete story, that was so -‘
‘You haven’t told me the complete story.’
‘You said you weren’t interested.’
‘You’re right, I’m not.’ The book stretches itself, and gives a loud, comic book yawn. ‘Right, I’m off,’ it says. ‘I’m done for the day, honestly. Time for a nap.’
‘But you said I could go for a nap,’ I say. ‘You would be ‘fine’, you said. You had ‘plenty to get on with’, you said.’
‘I lied,’ the book says.
In the Talmud, it says “Do not say you will study when you have time, because you may never have time,” – of course telling us to study, no matter what (a duty of holiness, growth, moral learning, and transformation). But how to write when you’re tired, when you’re troubled? When the things we do to pay rent, feed ourselves and our families, are so insistent, exhausting, and sometimes besmirching? — I don’t know. Except – Yeats: —- “…. less soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing, for every tatter in its mortal dress.”
Perhaps that means that you need to write no matter what. And that I need to write, study, and read no matter what. However, I’m very tired…. Oh dear.
Singing is good: when one sings, there is joy, and when there is joy, there is more energy and strength. So — off to do a medley from “The Sound of Music”, or “Oklahoma”, and hope that the neighbours aren’t obliged to hear.
Thank you — !
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