Thursday, April 21, 1983


I got up this morning at about half-eight, right about the time that Lee’s coach was supposed to leave. I had breakfast for the first time in months and we lugged the now hated dead-weight back onto the train. Campus was bathed in bright early morning sunshine: it looks quite good in sunny weather, but when it rains and the murk of a damp evening descends it’s the most depressing place I can imagine.

On the train platform Lee and I talked about the possibilities of me going up to Whincliffe on Saturday to see Joseph Beuys (Lee's going with the Art College), but to get there in time I’d have to get the 6.30 a.m. coach, which would get me into Whincliffe at half-two.

By the time we got in to Watermouth the 10.30 coach had left too so we waited around until the bus came in and then said goodbye. I’ve enjoyed his stay. The general way I’ve been thinking over the last weeks and Lee’s visit in particular etches the now vanished opportunity of going to Art College ever deeper into my mind. Have I made a mistake?

I’m writing this in the library: I came here to do work but instead spend my time in these blind speculations.

Today I had an American Lit. tutorial with Miriam H.: we discussed Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and his 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass and also, more generally, Dickinson, Thoreau and Emerson. I’m looking forward to my course on Dickinson and Whitman.

The scramble for accommodation next year looms large in everyone’s minds. Who will I live with? Who wants to live with me? Of course I’ve made no effort whatsoever about looking, or phoning up places or anything. I don’t know. I suppose I should go and look.

Shelley, Penny and Rowan want to live together next year, which is an odd turn around, for last term Rowan was set on living with Katie. Now they hardly speak. I wonder what happened over the hols to change so much? Shelley says that the people who stayed down have changed a lot and those who didn’t haven’t. “It’s something to do with living on your own,” says she. They're a happy little threesome these days, always going around together and smoking dope in Rowan’s room (I remember Penny when she was innocent of cigarettes and dope).

I haven’t touched anything on the narcotics front since I came back and I haven’t been out since Sunday. I don’t feel like drinking at the moment.

There’s something indefinable about the mood in Wollstonecraft; it’s not hostility but just something unsettling, not quite right. I don’t know what it is: perhaps me projecting my own self onto the environment? How do you write about something you can’t even describe or capture for yourself? I don’t know what I mean when I say “something unsettling.”

The sun has just set, a bright glow lingering above the dark blueing silhouettes of the trees. I can hear birds singing and, somewhere, a blackbird chirping.

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