Wednesday, May 25, 1983

I sit and look out

I woke up at eight, got up at ten, and was in the library by eleven thirty. I went down with Lindsey, who also had an essay to do. When we met again at one downstairs in the café I still hadn’t put pen to paper and when I finally did start writing, I progressed slowly and uncertainly. My subject was primarily Dickinson and Emerson, though I did intend dragging in Thoreau and Whitman somewhere along the line.

I left the library at nine thirty after spending ten hours there and writing seven and-a-bit sides. I wandered back through the gathering gloom smelling the grass and earth and remembering those nights long ago when I hunted beetles and moths in the back garden in Farnshaw.

I got back and continued with my essay, eventually grinding to a halt at ten-plus sides, which is nearly four thousand words. I tried to type it up but it seemed to take hours and my bed looked so enticing, and so at 4 a.m. my resolve finally crumbled and I gave up, with just a side and a half completed.

I’m very conscious of the poor quality of this narrative, especially after reading Emerson and Dickinson. Some people, I suppose, are born with the spark of genius and “come from where Dreams are born!”

“I sit and look out upon all the
sorrows of the world, and upon
all the oppression and shame,
All these, all the meanness and
agony without end I sitting
look out upon,
see, hear, and am silent” –

[“I Sit & Look Out,” Walt Whitman]

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