The image of the troubled solitary writer, living the life of an ascetic in his stone house and stomping about the Cretan mountains, is a romantic one. However, I don’t recommend it and would add that this particular example of the kind would now like a bit less of the ‘troubled and solitary’.
So, time to socialize a bit more, which here means kafenions, bars, mezes and copious quantities of alcohol. I started to knock about with some new people and venture out of what used to be my comfort zone (and which is no longer comfortable at all). The result was less of the solitary but more of the troubled. I seem to ricochet between being mute and being a gabbling prat.
Picture from 2013. Caroline on the left.
Sometimes I want to run away and hide, sometimes I’m cringing at real or imagined faux pas. Other times I’m Mr Arrogant Confidence. And none of these is the real me. I guess, as the parlance would have it, I need to be centred, or something.
Another effect is insomnia. Over the last week I’ve been lucky to sleep more than four hours a night. I’m presently writing this at 3.40 AM. Yesterday I had a couple of beers, fell asleep on the sofa at 7.30 until 9.30, still felt incredibly weary and went to bed, then was awake at 1.00. This I consider a victory because the total is a massive 5.5 hours.
Anyway, the other day, after waking at silly o’clock, playing spider solitaire, writing in my journal and trying to memorize some more Greek, I went at about 6.00 for a 10 mile walk (pictures here). Like you do. No, let me be accurate. I set out to walk until I started to feel better, extending my usual 6.5 mile walk along routes I’d been told about and others I’d guessed at, and the total, according to my pedometer, was 9.3 miles.
At the furthest point from my house, at a road junction, I halted to mull over whether to head back or extend the walk further. Then I looked down.
It was a bit weird to see this, at this point. I am on Crete and that certainly isn’t Greek. It was also a punch in the gut because those are precisely the words Caroline used at one point while she was dying. So, a message from beyond the grave telling me to buck up my ideas and get on with what I do best? No, because I’m sure I have seen this text before, either stencilled on by the white line writers or somehow laid down mechanically. In reality, the only life after death is what might grow out of the ashes.
On that cheery note I’ll leave you. Time to do some more editing before heading off at 6.00 AM. I’ll see if I can extend the walk to the full 10 miles.
I was going to alter the start of this post to something like … all this solitary walking in the mountains might have appealed to the likes of Shelley, or Wordsworth with his ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ nonsense, but my inclination is more towards swimming the Hellespont and drinking myself into a coma. I then wondered where the hell that had come from and realised I really really need to get some decent sleep. Oh, and I haven’t gone for a walk yet because it’s really cloudy … and this is a footnote *giggle*
It might start to get weird around here.