Andrew Miller


You must work it out for yourself

13 August , 2018

You have finished. Yes, this time you have really finished. It's done. They won't let you touch it. It's yours of course, but it's also theirs - perhaps theirs more than yours. Anyway, you hardly think about it anymore. When you do you wince. Nothing about it is quite right. You cannot love it (though you loved it, wilfully, when you made it). You are not 'proud' of it. But it's done, and that's something. You saw it through. And now? Now you are adrift. Having longed to finish you now crave the steadiness of work (though work, in truth, wasn't that steady). You are (once more, for this is hardly the first time) in a condition you do not have a proper name for. You have finished the old work, the old task, but you have not started the new because you do not know what to start. There are projects in boxes under the desk. Some of these are very dusty. You flick through them. You wonder why you thought them interesting or you remember, vaguely, but it's not enough, it's an old love. You are looking for signs and wonders. You want God to speak to you in dreams (or, as Woody Allen says in Love and Death, 'If he would just cough'). You want to hear the priestess chant her riddles. You have some idea the world will inform you if you are alert enough, that there are things you can do to prepare yourself, spiritual exercises. You go on a retreat, you take long walks. You attempt translations of Spanish poetry. You Google 'Liminal'. You sip whisky, stay up late, confer with the neighbour's cat who keeps you company while you water the vegetable beds at night. No one teaches us how to cross this space, this still, deep river, this grassland where the wind makes and unmakes paths. What did I do last time? But last time has gone, the spell, the password has changed.  

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