Infections acquired: 0 (v. good)

Truthfully, it’s all a bit grim and I have attacks of extreme pain-induced grumpiness. Like I came limping into the kitchen and H had left an empty orange juice carton on the side and I acted like someone had spit-roasted my dog. I’m embarrassed just remembering. I’ve inherited from my father, and my crazy Russian ancestors, a bloody awful temper but the years have taught me, well, how to temper my temper I suppose. Or rather, I’m quite good at channelling it towards abstract stupidities and away from people. So it was a little disconcerting to witness myself FREAKING THE FUCK OUT like that.

Pain can be so grotesquely uncivilising.

And sometimes self-awareness is like looking in a mirror and watching your reflection do stupid things.

But, between tantrums and feeling rotten, I have been moderately productive. Well, I’ve been pretty unproductive for a hale and healthy person but since I’m a whimpering and in-pain person I think I’m doing pretty well. In some ways it’s quite liberating because your estimated productivity ZERO is literally anything you do is a bonus.

I put a sock on: I AM PRODUCTIVE!

*showers of rose petals*

Also there’s an exciting stage of having a serious burn when it looks like you have contracted zombie-ism. I won’t go into details because it’s vile but … yeah … the skin sort of sloughs off. Pretending I am a zombie is some small compensation for the misery and the ick.

I’ve managed to get some writing done, at least. Writing through pain is … well. It’s interesting. I’m looking back over what I’ve done and it’s peculiarly, intriguingly frothy. It needs a lot of polish and it’s mainly scaffolding but I’m surprised. I’d have expected something less focused and significantly less bubbly. Maybe we self-distract on instinct. I am weirdly reminded of Cole Porter – I think he wrote Kiss Me Kate (which is one of his most unremittingly awesome works) while laid up and in agony from a wrecked leg following a riding accident. Not that I’m comparing myself to Cole Porter. He had an ulcerous leg of doom which later had to be amputated. I have a nasty burn. He was a genius. I am, well, me.

There’s a Nick Cave song I like very much called There She Goes My Beautiful Man. There are lots of reasons to love this song (among them, a sly mention of my beloved Rochester) but it draws quite explicitly the connection between creation and destruction, inspiration and loss.

John Wilmot penned his poetry
riddled with the pox
Nabakov wrote on index cards,
at a lectem, in his socks
St. John of the Cross did his best stuff
imprisoned in a box
And Johnny Thunders was half alive
when he wrote Chinese Rocks

Karl Marx squeezed his carbuncles
while writing Das Kapital
And Gaugin, he buggered off, man,
and went all tropical
While Philip Larkin stuck it out
in a library in Hull
And Dylan Thomas died drunk in
St. Vincent’s hospital

And Alexis Hall wrote some mediocre urban fantasy while having a slightly sore leg.

Although my favourite lines from the song are these:

I look at you and you look at me and
deep in our hearts know it
That you weren’t much of a muse,
but then I weren’t much of a poet

I just love that. Love it. It’s so exquisitely deconstructive, beautiful and painful.


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