I’m in the mood for stancin’

Sorry, I got some dust in my; got distracted. That storeroom can become all encompassing…I can lose days in there. I still don’t really know how far back the storage area goes. Is it words, endless wor…Ach, there, you see, it’s got me going off-piste again. Right, stance. There is perhaps a positionality with the idea of a stance that could be problematic but let’s run with the notion for now. Let’s play the rope out and see where we get to. Forget the start (if there was one) because that will only send us off into a discussion around ground. We will start up a bit further but don’t get distracted by the view because that view does not exist—that would be over-working the metaphor. Climbing!

If you fall, remember no one will see
You tumbling lonely down. Only
I through this bad focus will see.
Why do you imagine Gravity lonely?1

We need to stop before the stance (if that is even possible). Not stop exactly, but have a good look at what is happening. We are thinking ahead, around, alert. Then the possibility cuts in. (This is what the matter is not what’s wrong.) This is a cut sharp enough to alter the rockface-surface, enough to form a small ledge on which to apply a little more weight and to give a longer pause. Now, this possibility is only there because we have attuned ourselves to its possible presence, its potentiality. To add a twist, this possibility could have been of our own making but, like a Get Out of Jail Free card, it cannot be used at any old moment…we need to know how to play it. We need to know when to play it, there is a certain moment that is not pre-announced but is formed by our decision to play. Of course, the possibility may have been more akin to chance, even so, we need to be in the right mood to spot it, to work with it…willing to follow it.

Like I sometimes follow these words. I push the spoil of my burrowing up in front of me so that the words precede me in a way (they certainly appear detached from me). Now I have muddled things, we’ve gone from climbing metaphors to speleological ones.2 They become the same though; didn’t I tell you not to look at the view? Run with the words, let their lines play out. It can be so exhilarating and when in the moment the stances become almost invisible, like so many commas in a sentence. Punctuation as climbing gear…that’s for another time…

1. W.S.Graham, “The Don Brown Route,” in New Collected Poems, ed. Matthew Francis (London: Faber & Faber, 2003), 174-76.
2. The proofread facility on this blog wishes to change “speleological” to “teleological”…
3. A note on the post title: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbAM2_6jKY0 tee hee.

Dear Johnny,

I feel bad that this blog has never written to you before…that the words over here never find their way over to you. I’m sure there are words here for you, it is just a matter of having a good look round and working out where they have put themselves. It is rather a mess over here at the moment and I can’t seem to find the things I need but maybe I will stumble upon some words for you by chance. I’m not too busy now; let’s have a look. You hold the torch. By the way, do you mind rats? The rats have been moving around in here recently and getting up to some nasty tricks. Okay. Let’s get looking. It’s going to take a while as some of these boxes are very old, they’re actually quite dusty too and it is that sort of attic dust that gets in everywhere. I do know that over in that pile is a load of punctuation but  never quite know what to do with it all. I think we should start in the middle here…it’s not much of a start though as I feel I have already been looking for quite a while. If I find anything useful I’ll throw it across to you to see what you think.

Sometimes the words seem to appear from nowhere (ex nihilo) and we all know that words can come from nowhere (viz. now here, here now, when ore, new hero…boom, boom!) No, words don’t come from nowhere, but they are nothing without themselves it seems and this is what sometimes makes it hard to find them. Maybe the faded label on the outside of the box looks promising and then there is something else entirely inside. I’m not sure yet if it is a case of my not understanding the ordering of the stock or if somebody has been in here in the past and messed up the system. Some of the words are just in tattered bags, you kind of get a sense of what is inside from the shape and they connect up to what comes after them but when they see the cold light of day they really don’t make sense. This happened with something I wrote the other day.

When I wrote “eye-doubt, no?” it made sense, I thought, but looking back at it I may as well have just pointed people into this storeroom. By the way, did I say? If you see anything that takes your interest in here you can probably have it. I won’t let you take it straight away though, unless you like the dust…Turn the torch off a moment!…Where’s that light coming from? I found another way in once before but blocked it up because I didn’t want more of those crazy rats getting in. They gnaw through the words, particularly the conjunctions…and where would we be without those? That French fella would certainly be in for a rocky ride! Ay, now you’ve spotted them. I did put as many of those Is up on a shelf out of the way but they keep getting in amongst things…I’m going to blame those troublesome rats again.

I can hear the railway line over the back, I think the wind must be coming from that way today. It’s midday and it already seems to be getting dark. It just looks drab out there. The pigeons sat in the park trees are looking most unimpressed. It really is like the day can’t be bothered.

Did that change anything? We moved from a semi-dark to a sort of light at least but did it change the…atmosphere…? Like your song did? The song that mattered changed the currency of the conversation. I wish I had listened more intently to what Mattia had said (I’ll wait for the film of the book) as I don’t think I was quite there. What happened was a puff of air, a breath, which created a shift but also opened up a temporary space from which to explore options. It is a sort of stance, in the way that a rock climber might use that word. Ignore the simple reading of a rock climb having a beginning and end but think about how for the climber a stance is a pause, maybe an opportunity to change the lead (who’s ever heard of a currency made from lead (pb)?) or at least to gather thoughts ready for the next pitch. [Spot the double meanings]

I know I was meant to send you a bulk shipment of that stuff in the storeroom today but I’m afraid it will take a bit longer. I’ll blame those meddling rats. Anyway, have this offering for now and I’ll let you get away to your work. Can you leave the torch here though please?

Nothing’s the matter,

PS A distant dream of order:


quite frightening really…