Hul 29, 2007

Psychosomatism

Down to the cottage, housekeeperless, to a weekend of hard domestic work and cooking. No one has any idea of the problems of a woman Minister!

Barbara Castle
July 29, 1966
Diary entry


My dearest readers must have guessed the process. You read through a handful of diary entries written the same day, across the years since the press was invented. You choose one which resounds inside you for some reason. Then write your own.

You don’t need to explain the resonance. You need not even clarify it to yourself. Just snip and paste. Then hope that what you write will make some parallel sense.

Cross your fingers. Sometimes it does. But I have not given the full account of this inane method.

Anyway, I had read through some of my recent entries and noted my many mistakes with a dancing pair of dismay and a resolution to let the faults stand. But what I romanticize as resolution may in actuality be laziness. I must be startling my parents whenever I curse the monitor. Their weekend son who switches on the PC only to lacerate his eyes.

I sometimes wish I were more outgoing. Yesterday my brothers and sisters went out to take in the Saturday sun in their respective fashions. I asked none of them where they were headed. Meanwhile, I missed my afternoon meeting because of a toothache. Since my father has been having toothaches all week, I suspected the reality of mine. What if the pain was brought on by the power of suggestion coupled with some desire to stay home. How could that be when I wanted to attend the meeting? We were set to discuss extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances.

The razors between gum and tooth kept me from further thought. I resorted to my father’s meds and an insane PC aquarium game. Think like a fish. Think like a binary fish. And there goes what’s left of your pathetic social relevance, gargled out and down the drain.

Pain is a good thing because you’re assured that you don’t have to miss everything in the world that came and went. This is a better day because I woke with a cooperative mouth and a story in print. A pocket of reflection issues from this relief and the little sense of achievement. In this space, I wondered how much a person can take of other people’s thoughts and aches. How many pages of diaries must you read? How many pounds of pains and confidences must you hear?

So this bad feeling, for I recall encouraging and auditorium full of people to read and read. I used to level a pile of at least fifty books a year, a quota set by my friends. A different manner of teaching advises only five books for two years or longer, a prudent selection of the teacher. These the student would read over and over until he had thoroughly absorbed them. The next two years are then set to surpass the intelligence of the five books.

I find this method greener grass lovely because I realize what the numbers game generates: too many mirrors, too many selves.

For the sake of equilibrium, I recall why I promoted the race in the first place: there’s the faithful danger of narrowing men to a singular Word.