Not a fan of the video, but the chorus is kind of beautiful, and for better or worse, I woke up singing it this morning without quite knowing what it was.
This show has been through many iterations, some performed and some not. As it turns out, there were a lot of things that were not the future. Here’s one of them that never made it out of my laptop. Ten points if you know which poem this is. And twenty if you can figure out what I’ve done to it. Sorry it’s formatting so strangely. Wordpress, be my friend!
Till human voices wake us, and we drown
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea.
When the wind blows the water white and black
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves.
I do not think that they will sing to me.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each
I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
I grow old… I grow old…
Almost at times, the Fool.
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous –
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
Politic, cautious and meticulous;
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Am an attendant lord, one that will do.
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be.
That is not what I meant at all
That is not it at all.
And turning toward the window, should say
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl
“Would it have been worthwhile?”
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
And this, and so much more?
After the novels, after the teacups, after skirts that trail along the floor
After the sunsets and the dooryards, and the sprinkled streets,
Would it have been worthwhile,
And would it have been worth it, after all?
That is not it at all.
Should say, That is not what I meant at all.
If one, settling a pillow by her head
Come back to tell you all, “I shall tell you all” –
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead.”
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
Would it have been worth while,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea
And would it have been worth it, after all?
And in short I was afraid.
I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat and snicker,
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker
I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter;
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter
Though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me
Asleep… tired… or I malinger
Smoothed by long fingers
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas
I should have been a pair of ragged claws.
Lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows
Watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets?
And how should I begin?
And should I then presume?
Is it arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl
That make me so digress?
Is it perfume from a dress?
In the lamplight, downed with light brown hair,
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
And I have known the arms already, known them all.
And how should I presume
To spit out the butt-ends of days and ways?
Then how should I begin?
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall
When I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase
And I have known the eyes already, known them all –
So how should I presume?
Beneath the music from a farther room.
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
For I have known them all already, known them all.
Decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse
In a minute there is time.
Do I dare disturb the universe?
(They will say: But how his arms and legs are thin!)
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin –
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
(They will say: How his hair is growing thin!)
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair –
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and “Do I dare?”
And indeed there will be time.
In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
A hundred visions and revisions,
Time yet for a hundred indecisions
Time for you and time for me
To lift and drop a question on your plate
And time for all the works and days of hands.
There will be time to murder and create,
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet.
There will be time, there will be time
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
The yellow smoke that slides along the street.
And indeed there will be time
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Licking its tongue into the corners of the evening
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window panes.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
Let us go and make our visit,
Oh, do not ask: “What is it?”
To lead you to an overwhelming question….
Of insidious intent
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
The muttering retreats.
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
Like a patient etherized upon a table
When the evening is spread out against the sky.
Let us go then, you and I.
I will walk through that door and I will walk into that room. Some of you will wonder what I am doing behind that door and some of you will not wonder at all. You will walk down those steps and you will all walk out of that door and then out of another door into a lobby that looks like it has been decorated for a picnic. One of you will not want to go home and will offer to buy your friend a drink. Your will be glad when your friend will say they’d love one, and you will walk down the stairs, briefly noticing the signs that say “Start a Revolution.” You will queue at the makeshift bar that is new since the last time you were here. You will stand behind a man with dreadlocks and glasses and you will think that this man is pulling off his dreadlocks. You will look up and you will see me, standing at the top of the stairs next to the ladies’ washroom. You will wonder how I got there so quickly. We will make eye contact and I will smile and nod at you, like I did to the others before, and then I will walk into the washroom. Your friend will come up behind you and say “Boo.” You will jump a little.
I will be standing in the washroom and I will be pulling my hands in and out of the Dyson hand dryer although my hands will not be wet. I will look in the mirror and I will notice some blue make up smudged on my forehead that I will worry that this happened during the performance. I will walk out of the washroom and I will stand at the top of the stairs. I will look at the “Start a Revolution” signs that I will have described every night. I will think, wouldn’t it be crazy if I jumped? Wouldn’t it just totally recontextualise this show, but obviously I will not jump. As I will be holding onto the rail and looking at the signs I will hear someone say “Excuse me, Excuse me” from underneath where I am standing, and I will see one of you, sitting at the same carpetted booth beneath the railing. You will be sitting at the same booth from last night and the night before. You will say, “I’ve been here every night.” And I will say “I know.” You will say, “On Thursday and Friday night you stood on the landing, why didn’t you stand on the landing tonight?” and I will say, “I was trying to shake it up a bit.” And then you will say “I’ve got a surprise for you.” And you will reach under the table and I will see that you are getting something from your bag. I will remember last night when you let a pigeon go and it flew into the lobby. I will remember a few months ago when you showed me a bat in your coat pocket. I will remember the time you showed me a dead pheasant at Sticky Mike’s in Brighton. You will reach into your bag and you will motion for me to reach down to the booth, and then you will hand me flowers wrapped in thin blue paper. And you will say, “I bet you didn’t predict that.” As you always do. And then we will both remember the moment where I did predict that, as we always do, and we will stare at eachother. I will look at the flowers and a moth will fly out of them, into my face briefly, and then into the light. And then you will say, “but I bet you didn’t predict That.” And then we will remember that I also predicted that. I will smile at you and I will walk quickly back into the washroom, careful to not step on any of the lines on the floor, telling myself it will all be alright in a way that will come so naturally to me that it will be as though I am not telling myself anything at all. I will look in the mirror and the blue make up will be gone and I will wonder if the moth took it with him. I will wash my face and then I will dry my hands using the Dyson hand dryer, this time because I really need to. I will stick my hands in and out. I will consider whether or not to pick up the flowers, but I will, and I will walk down the steps, careful not to step on the first step or the last step, and I will not look to see if you are still at the booth. I will not look at the Start a Revolution signs. I will be running so nimbly down the stairs that I will worry I will trip and break my back, and then I will see my husband and my friend smiling at me and having a drink at the wooden bench next to the door. I will put the flowers on the table. My husband will say, “So that’s them.” And I will say yes. And then I will ask him what he thought and he will say that he liked it, but he never likes the bits where I mention him. He will ask me if I’d like a drink and I will say that I would. He will get up, and then my friend will smile at me and say, “So is it all happening exactly as you’d said it would?” And I will say, “So far, yes.”
I will only want to talk about the show and I will not want to talk about the show. I will be afraid to ask her what she thought and so I will compliment her on her shirt even though I will be relatively indifferent to her shirt. She will tell me that she saw a film last night and that it was very long. I will say that I know most of the lyrics the songs in that film and that I have actually mentioned that film in every single one of these performances so far and then she will laugh. My husband will come back with a gin and tonic which I will drink and slowly, and quietly, this performance will almost disappear. We will each have three drinks and our thoughts will become lopsided ideas that we will use as planks of wood to build a conversation shaped fort that shakes. I will ask what time the East London line stops running and we will all check tfl on our mobile phones but none of us will be able to find out. We will decide that it must be finishing soon and I will wonder out loud how much a taxi would cost. I will say that in previous shows I actually predicted I would take a taxi on Saturday night, and then we will all wonder if having another drink is worth £30 or more just to get back to East London. I will ask them if they help me carry the things in the room I’ve been staying in to the train station. We will get up, and then I will see one of you who will be drinking a beer and having a conversation near the café entrance. You will smile at me and point at the table, and I will see that I have left my flowers. I will wonder whether or not to pick them up. I will hold them in one arm while I punch the code to get into the artist hallway. I will walk down the white hallway with names painted in red and a floral carpet that is always skewed to one side, and my friend will say, “This is cool.” And then we will walk up to the welcome mat in front of the room where I have been staying and I will punch in the code of th room saying, “This is the Where the Wild Things Are room. It was designed by two artists I know while they were expecting their baby.” We will enter the room and I will turn on the overhead light which will not be the best light to show off the room, but we will also be in a hurry to get out. They will see a bed suspended about four feet from the ground from cables, in a canopy that looks like a tree. I will turn on the fairy lights that light up the den underneath the bed. My husband will have seen the bed already, but my friend will want to see the room in proper lighting and so we will turn off the overhead light, unbolt the swinging bed, and swing it back and forth. I will be able to tell that she would like to lie in the bed. I will be worried that we may be running out of time before the East London line closes. I will realise that she may never have another chance to lie in this bed. I will say, “Would you like to try lying the bed?” and she will say an emphatic, “Yes!” and then she will take off her shoes, and she will climb in and the bed will make the very loud noise that it always makes when you push it too far over to one side, and it will shake. She will lie down and say, “Is this safe?” And I will say, “I don’t know but I slept here last night.” She will close her eyes for a moment and sway. My husband will want to sit in the den beneath the bed and so I will sit in it with him for a moment. I will hear the bed swaying and I will worry that our friend will fall on us. I will push the painted white door, and I will crawl out and my friend will have her eyes closed while the bed gently sways. I will turn on the overhead light and say, “Okay, kids, time to go.” I will push back a blue curtain, reach into the cupboard that used to be used to store cables before this was a bedroom, and hand my husband a bag with sound equipment in it, which I didn’t end up using. My friend will climb off the ladder. The bed will make the loud sound and shake, and I will hand her my camera, which I also didn’t end up using. My husband will say, “Now have you got everything?” I will go to the corner and I will push my clothing into another canvas bag, along with my toothbrush, eye cream, deodorant, and I will walk to the door and I will give the bed one last rock with my hand. I will say yes, and we will leave the flowers in the room.
We will use the artist exit. While we turn the corner I will look at the sign that reads “Great Hall.” We will walk quickly down the hill, past the Foxton’s, past the Syrian café where I like to practice terrible arabic so they remember me and where this morning I sat and wrote what I’m reading to you now while drinking a cup of coffee and eating an unneccessarily large breakfast. We will walk past the party shop that was once on fire and past the pub where I once had a drink with my friend who now has a child or maybe even children, I’m not sure, it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. We will turn into what looks like a shopping centre, and we will all walk to the ticket booths to top up our oyster cards. My friend will look up at the board to see which platform it is and I will say, “It’s always 2” even though I’ve not taken this train that many times. We will walk quickly down the long hallway naming platforms, trying not to bump into anyone. I will begin to run, and then they will begin to run. We will run up the platform and we will see the train waiting. We will start walking to the train when we will hear beeping of train doors about to close. I will run and they will run. We will just make it into the train. I will have the feeling I have when I just catch a train. I will not feel lucky or happy, I will feel amazed by how close we came to not catching it. I will try not to remember the time I ran for a train in Barcelona when I was nineteen and my purse got trapped in the door. I will try not to remember that the door opened and then I tried to get in and my leg got trapped in the door. And I will try not remember how the train then started moving and how I started screaming, and how someone heard me just in time and stopped the train and I was able to take my leg out. I will try not to remember but I will quickly rub my leg.
There will not be three seats together on tonight’s train and so we will sit separately for the first three stops. I will put my headphones in and I will listen to music. Before Queensbridge, the train will suddenly stop. There will be no announcement. Fifteen minutes later we will still be stopped and I will worry that this is somewhow my fault. Five minutes later my friend will look at me from two seats away and will say “This is your fault.” The train will begin to move. People will leave and we will all sit together on the same side of the train. We will hear the announcement for Shoreditch High Street and we will hug our friend goodbye and I will give her a kiss on the cheek even though this will a tricky manoeuvre before the door closes. We will touch out with our oyster cards and then I will remember that my friend still has my camera. I will think how we were drinking and I will hope that she doesn’t forget it on the train because it’s not hers. I will wonder if I’m being ridiculous but I will not be sure how ridiculous I’m being and I will wonder whether or not I should call her and remind her. I will say, “Hang on, stop.” We will stop on a dark street in east London and I will take out my iphone. I will send a text, hoping she gets it in time.
My husband and I will walk across the street at the stop sign, past the restaurant on the corner with a stuffed tiger in the window, past the bar I was once told Madonna frequents and that I have never been to, past the coffee shop I said I would never go to when it first opened and that I now go to all the time. We will turn the corner at the community centre and I will look up to the apartment across the street that I am sure is owned by a millionaire. The light will be on in the window. I will see they have files, leaning against the glass. My husband will touch the fob to the door. He will move out of the way while I try to run up the first flight of stairs before the main door to the building slams shut. He will ask if I made it. I will say nothing. I will think – this thing I do every time I come home with the stairs is just a game, but I will be happy I made it up there in time again. We will walk up more stairs to our door and I will notice that next to the bag of recycling there are still a very nice pair of leather shoes with no laces that are definitely too small for me. I will wonder if these belong to my flatmate and why she is leaving them there. We will get in the door and I will smell the mysterious and somewhat unpleasant smell that settled near the door in our usually clean apartment about four days ago. I will make a mental note to find out tomorrow where that smell comes from, but I will not really want to know. I will take off my shoes and my husband will take off his shoes and we will put them in the shoe rack that that I am proud to have built, albeit with material and instructions from Argos. I will walk to the kitchen and I will get myself a glass of water. I will see one of my flatmates. She will ask about my night and I will say that I was performing the show and then she will say that she never got the email, and I will say I though I sent it, and she will say she’s very sorry she missed it. I will say no problem. She will ask how it went and I will say it’s hard to tell with these things. I will walk to our bedroom, I will put my bag down on the couch, I will not be able to believe that for now the show is over, and I will take out my toothbrush, and go to brush my teeth.
In the mirror I will notice this wrinkle. I will remember how my friend’s mother had warned me that I would get a wrinkle there if I didn’t stop furrowing my brow and I will remember that I was seven years old then.
I will walk down the hallway into our bedroom where my husband will be in bed reading a book. I will take off my clothes, put on my night dress, climb into bed, and I will put my head on his shoulder and he will kiss the top of my head. Then I will turn around in bed and I will say a prayer, quietly in my head so that he can’t hear, I will say “God bless all my friends and relations thanks be to God” and I will cross myself, even though I’m not religious or anything like that. I will fall asleep while he will be reading a paragraph about people who have been walking through the desert with all of their things on their backs and on the backs of their exhausted horses. The people will see what looks like water.
I will hear a sound that is not quite a ring and not quite a melody. My husband will fumble to find the sound. The sound will stop.
I will hear a sound that is not quite a ring and not quite a melody. I will hear fumbling, I will see him holding a little screen with the time on it. The sound will stop.
I will hear a sound that is not quite a ring and not quite a melody. I will look at the screen and it will be ten minutes later. I will say, “Stop hitting snooze and just turn it off. We’ll wake up soon.”
I will open my eyes. The bed will be warm, the blue curtains will be drawn, and the blue dark and the warm will seem somehow related. I will be able to see the window lined with potted plants in the building across the street. I will wonder if Jimmy is in the window next door. The window that I can’t see. Jimmy is a cat that my husband and I have named after Jimmy Stewart because he sits in the window, behind a grey curtain, and stares at pigeons. I will start to think about last night’s show (and to clarify, by that I mean the show I’m doing right now). And then I will think about Friday’s show, and Thursday’s show. I will think about these scripts I will never use again. I will think about my next show, in March. I will realise that I will have to rewrite the bits about Vancouver and Japan because those things will have probably already happened by then. I will think this is a stupid idea for a show. I will think about how I once showed promise as a writer, and I will wonder if this project is my attempt to kill that promise once and all, to really burn myself out on something that never ends and that nobody will read that the audience may even at times find a little boring. I will worry about Saturday’s show – I will remember how I had to delete the part I did on Thursday and Friday about rewriting the show for the next day’s performance, because Saturday will have been my last performance for a while. I will think that was favourite part, and I will worry that missing out on that bit meant that the audience did not appreciate how much rewriting I do for this show. I will worry about googling myself later. I will worry about doing the show in April in Texas because I will think, I don’t know Texas that well, and I have to produce at the same time, and I have to do it more than once. I will not know how I will ever do this. And then I will think, cross that bridge when you come to it. In March. In April. There will be new things to write about. I will begin thinking about everything else I have to do and catch up on. I will think about everything that isn’t this show. I will feel busy and free and empty.
Saturday January 12th’s performance at BAC – The last of three consecutive BAC future shows
One of you will be sitting at a carpetted booth. I will hear you say “Excuse me. Excuse me.” I will turn around and you will say, “Sit down.” I will slide into the booth and sit across from you. You will lean forward and say, “You think you know about the future?” I will not respond. You will say, “If you know so much about the future, how about this?” And you will reach under the table and I will see that you are getting something from your bag. And then you will bring your arms back up and you will have your hands cupped around something that is moving. I will see that you are holding a pigeon, and the pigeon’s eyes will be very wide and moving quickly. You will let the pigeon go. Over the sound of fluttering wings I will nearly make you out saying “I bet you didn’t predict that.” And as the pigeon will be flying you and I will remember the moment in the show where I did predict that, and we will stare at each other. I will not know if anyone noticed the pigeon or how the pigeon left the buidling because you and I will be staring at each other, although I will hear a yelp that will not sound particularly urgent but that I suppose could have been caused by the pigeon. I will say, “Nice to meet you” and I will get up but I will not want to shake your hand because you will have just been holding a pigeon. You will hold out your hand. I will shake your hand.
It will be time to go back to East London and my friend will ask me if I’m going. I will tell her I’m staying here tonight and I will offer to show her my room. We will walk under the red shoes in a hoola hoop, I will punch in a code at a door, we will walk down the white hallway, through another set of doors, and I will punch in the code of my room saying, “This is the “Where the Wild Things Are” room. It was designed by two artists I know when they were expecting their baby.” We will walk into the very dark room and I will turn on the overhead light, although that is not the best lighting to show off the room. She will see the bed, which is tall, resting upon a canopy, and suspended. The bed is like a boat that rocks back and forth, suspended from tall hooks. I will show her the cubby hole underneath the bed, turning on the fairy lights that light it up. She will swing the bed back and forth and she will ask if it’s safe. I will say I don’t know, but I think it probably is. She will say it’s very cool but creepy. And I will be upset that she said it was creepy because I will be aware of the fact that I have to sleep here tonight.
I will walk her out and thank her again for coming and then she will take the East London line home. She will meet a man on the train who it will turn out is her neighbour and they will go on to be friends. I will go into my room, and I will change into my only night gown that I will worry is too short, I will call my husband and our conversation will be the kind of sweet nonsense that I will be glad nobody else can overhear. I will sit in the corner and stare at the floor which is concrete painted blue while we speak to eachother, and he will say goodnight, and then I will turn off the main light and turn on the light which hangs off of one of the suspension cords and it will sway back and forth.
I will climb the ladder up into the bed without brushing my teeth. I will stare the the hook and the suspension cords that suspend the bed. I will turn to the window and I will say a prayer, just like I do every night, quietly, in my head I will say “God bless all my friends and relations, thanks be to God,” And then I will cross myself, even though I’m not religious or anything like that. I will turn around and as I do, the bed will begin to sway gently, like waves that rock against the sky.
I will wake up in total darkness. I will be gently swaying. I will turn over.
I will wake up in total darkness to a door slamming and feet running up stairs. I will remember I am not signed in and out in case of fire because the sign out board does not have a working pencil. I will think how easy it would have been to replace that pencil. I will realise there is no fire. I will turn over and the bed will sway.
I will wake up in total darkness. A plane will be wooshing overhead. The aimless pleasant sound of birds.
I will wake up in total darkness. A piano will be playing above me. The building will be awake and I will feel guilty for not waking up earlier. The base melody of an emphatic voice speaking will be either above my room or next to my room. I will wait before stepping onto the ladder, afraid of the loud noise the bed makes when it rocks too far to one side. I will sit in the bed for a moment. I will need to pee. The bed will make a loud noise as I step onto the ladder. I will throw a shawl around my shoulders, I will consider how short my only night dress is, I will prepare myself to walk quickly and not make eye contact. I will grab my toothbrush. I will walk down the hallway, not see anyone. I will notice the floral carpet on the wooden floors, skewed over to one side. I will look in the mirror and note this wrinkle. I will remember when I had been warned by a friend’s mother that I would get a wrinkle there if I didn’t stop furrowing my brow. I will remember I was seven years old then. I will spit my toothpaste into the sink. I will come back to the very dark room. I will have trouble opening the curtains. I will pull them to one side, and I will twist a broken curtain around the string, as I figured out to do on the first day, so I will have a little sunlight. I will climb back into the bed, which will make a loud noise as it rocks to one side, and I will think about the show. I will think about this performance, and then I will think about the next performance. I will wonder how I am going to write a new script, and I will worry that this project will burn me out. I will look at my computer, glowing gently with its little light of a heart beat. I will yawn. The bed will make a loud noise and jerk violently to one side. I will step back up the ladder with my computer. I will think about my friends who made this bed and I will think about their baby and I will wonder if they will ever make their baby a bed like this one.
I will open up my computer and it will already have a document with this present script open in a document titled BAC 2 the Future Friday. I will look at the script that I have already rewritten once. I will feel warm sitting in bed with the computer, like a child who is home sick from school. I will begin rereading. I will not be able to stop thinking about Thursday’s script, gone forever. I will think this is a stupid idea for a show. I will notice the places where I re-used particularly well written sentences. I will wonder why I am doing this. I will think about how I once showed promise as a writer, and I will wonder if this project is my attempt to kill that promise once and all, to really burn myself out on a project that never ends that nobody will read that the audience may even at times find boring. I will click on file, I will write “Save As” and I will replace the word “BAC to the Future Friday” with “Saturday.” I will begin deleting. The first line will read “I will say “the length of a breath” And as soon as I say this you will clap.” I will delete the words “the length of a breath”. I will continue reading. I will see that many of the details really should be left the same, although I will take out the part about the baby gurgling because I will not be sure that there will be a baby on Saturday night. I will be sad when I get to the part about the pigeon, because I will miss the pigeons. I will replace the pigeon with an acrobat who will do back flips down the grand stairs. I will look forward to the acrobat although I will know it won’t be as funny. I will realise that I am not staying at BAC that night, and so I will begin to write about the tube ride home. I will be tired of writing about public transportation, I will have already written about it for nearly every work in progress of this show, it will be almost as tired and repetitive as when I am actually on public transportation, and the moment I will write the words, “I top up my oyster card” I will decide that I feel hungry. I will step out of the bed. I will unwrap the curtain and I will change in the dark – clothes off, underwear, trousers, shirt, sweater, I will keep my socks from last night on and I will hope that I get away with this. I will bring my laptop, climb down into a scary basement, and I will pass a hallway in the basement with a board game called “Worst Case Scenarios” and I will think, “Only in the Western World.” I will see the Portuguese family who don’t speak English cooking in the kitchen in the basement. I will want to say goodbye to them but I will not know how. I will put down my laptop on a wooden counter and I will go into the fridge and unwrap the half grapefruit I saved yesterday. I will put as much sugar as possible on this piece of fruit. I will sit at my computer and begin eating, double click on safari, and type the words “face” into the searchbar. The blue and white screen will come up, I will feel comforted and empty. I will scroll through the newsreel. I will read a witness report posted by Ramin Mahmood on the very long Iran-Iraq war, and then I will read a list posted by Janet Stacey detailing the Walkmen’s ten best songs. I will look at my clock and an hour and a half will have gone by. I will be panicked. I will walk up stairs to the café and I will order a coffee, sit at a table and open my laptop and close facebook.
I will see I got to the part about getting on the tube. I will begin typing. I will not feel like I am writing well but I will keep writing, keep pushing through on a trip that will feel nearly as monotonous as an actual tube ride and eventually, I will get home. I will see the part in the script that reads “Music” and then I will realise that I need to rewrite the second day and that I will need to delete and rethink the very long part about rewriting the show because I will not need to rewrite the show on Sunday. I will worry that Saturday night’s audience will not appreciate all of the rewriting without this part of the show. I will wonder what I will even do on Sunday and I will realise that I will probably just go see Les Miserables. I will copy and paste all of the lyrics to the song, “One day more.” They will copy and paste awkwardly into the document and I will reformat them and change their colour and font. I will read them back –“One day more, Another day, another destiny, This never ending road to Calvary; These men who seem to know my crime Will surely come a second time, One day more…” I will hear the melody of these lyrics and I will think, “Why make art after this” and then I will realise that I risk alienating most of my audience and so I will delete these lyrics. I will decide to write about going to the market. I will write, I will wake up and I will decide that to go to the market. I will keep typing. I will remember someone from my PhD saying, “It’s like when you write a great email and then it gets lost before you send it. You can never write another email as good as that first one was.” I will not know how to make my Sunday interesting, which I will find worrying on a personal level, and then I will remember, it doesn’t need to be interesting, it only needs to sound feasible, and I will doubt that I can make it sound feasible. And then I will remember what I read about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – that sufferers have over active doubt and guilt. So I will realise what I am doing because of the way my brain is wired and I will doubt my own doubt and I will feel guilty. I will continue writing. I will get to the end of my Sunday and I will think, that actually sounds like a pretty good Sunday. I will think I should plan my Sundays more often.
I will open up my computer and a document will be open on the screen – the script I am reading from now. The document will be titled BAC 2 the Future. I will look at the script. I will feel warm sitting in bed with the computer, like a child who is home sick from school. I will begin rereading. I will not be able to stop thinking about all of the other scripts, just like this one, that I have already written. I will notice the places where I re-used particularly well written sentences. I will be very aware of the fact that I could just leave it as is. I will think of how I will also wake up at BAC on Saturday, I will think of how Friday’s audience will not know if I rewrote or not. I will think, this is a stupid idea for a show. I will go up to “file”, scroll down to “Save As” and Click, and then I will elegantly swing the arrow up to the box that will pop up and I will click the scroll that reads “BAC 2 the Future” – adding the word Friday. I will feel like I don’t know if I can do this. I will wonder why I am doing this. I will think about how I once showed promise as a writer, and I will wonder if this project is my attempt to kill that promise once and all, to really burn myself out on a project that never ends that nobody will read that the audience may even at times find boring. I will press “Save”. I will look at this script, which is now an old script and needs to be made new. I will begin deleting. I will delete the first line. I will continue reading. I will see that many of the details really should be left the same. I will remember that on Friday night I know a baby is coming and I will think, the only way to fend off its disruptive gurgling is to pre-empt its disruptive gurgling. I will write, “the gurgling baby who had obediently gurgled all through the show will now begin crying, but it will seem somehow appropriate.” I will worry that this sentence is both too long and too obvious. I will feel hungry.
Oh yes it will.
“Um, I’d like to read more. Like, to read every day. Maybe to read 50 pages of academia every day.”
We continue eating…
“Or, you know what? I’d like to work out. I’d like to become active.
But not just active. You know what, I’d like to become politically active. I’d like to find something I care about this year and become politically active about it. And not just signing petitions either. Going to protests and, I don’t know, writing letters.”
My husband helpfully replies – “Well, you could find something you want to change and try to change it. You know, pick something you care about, something manageable-”
“Yeah…” I reply. “Or you know, just become more politically active. And I’d also like to write a play this year. Or a novel maybe, or a screenplay. I’d like to write a big thing.”
We continue eating. Some chat ensues. We pay the bill. We start walking to the party.
“And I’d like to learn a new skill.”
“Any skill. Woodworking. Arabic. Sewing.”
The bridge across the river is speckled with voices celebrating, and the memory of lights shimmering on the water below. We approach the end of the bridge and wait at the light to cross.
“You know what else I’d like to do? Volunteer.”
“You’ve said a lot of things so far. Why not just pick one and stick to it?”
“Because I’m brainstorming! I don’t have to commit to anything until midnight.”
January 1st, 2013 – Around 1pm, a hangover. A Paul Simon lyric inexplicably stuck in my head. “The cool cool river, the wide wide ocean.” A list of things to do that day. In coming days. In general. And the notion that last night I nearly promised something. Is it ever too late to promise something?