Monday, April 16, 1984

Insubstantial life

I really can’t muster the energy to write with any form of inspiration at the moment. Insubstantial life. Time slips by. I should be getting back to Watermouth soon, but I will stay another few days yet.

Dad installed a pond today. He lost seven of the fifteen white axolotls; they were left in direct sunlight. Mum has not let the matter of my appearance rest and she grows quite desperate at times, adopting a whining, imploring tone of despair, as though she’s in great distress. She accuses me of going round “looking like a tramp” and when I bumped into her unexpectedly in town the other day, she wouldn’t let me wander round with her, even though she refused with a laughy face. She says it upsets her to think that I’ve been brought up to regard “being smart” a prime virtue and now to see me dressing as I do. I reply that what matters is how I am inside.

Mum and Dad are very much into the Zefferelli dramatization of Jesus’ life at the moment, and Christ’s message not to judge by appearances has shut Mum up for a while. She sighs and says, “I suppose you’re right.” It’s such a tiresome, trivial complaint.

Apart from this, and a teatime dispute with Dad about fox hunting, my time at home isn’t unpleasant. Dad’s stance on fox hunting is predictable enough, but I’m irritated by the glaring inconsistency and hypocrisy of his position. He professes to love nature and yet where fox hunting is concerned he has an infuriating blind spot. “That lot would have us in a grey world,” he mutters about animal-rights protestors. I can’t understand how he reconciles these two parts of his character, and he in turn can’t understand why I don’t thrill to the sound of the hunting horn and the sight of a hunt in full cry.

At these moments I detest political, moral and religious—even grammatical—orthodoxy, a hatred of being forced into the same written conventions time after time which, in my case, redirects my anger away from the actual cause of 'uninspired' prose—the self.

We’re all blind where personal vanities are concerned.

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