TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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I stay in a house in Walthamstow, a northeastern suburb of London, full of Victorian houses built for artisan workers: brick, two-storied, with narrow steep staircases and decorative pediments. Architectural flourishes abound, such as acid yellow doors and zoological knockers. A recent community initiative highlights the lives of those Victorian occupants, materialised by blue discs in the windows, bearing names and occupations and dates, micro-histories illuminated in silver letters.
On trips between house and Tube, I snatch glimpses of the neighbourhood: bare trees everywhere; bushes crowned in lush pink flowers, startling in late winter's gloom; the gate or yard where foxes lurk.
Anna, my host, had just bought her house. It is semi-finished, scarred by traces of past living, and casting hopeful gestures with its paint chips and unassembled furniture. Paula tells me how unsettled she has been for the last year, travelling and working, never in one place for long. I can't sleep here. Instead I lie in a trance, attentive to every sound and movement, as the stairs creak from the footfall of occupants present and past, as Paula and Anna chat, murmuring about their longings for the future.
Later, a week after returning to Galway, I find out that Anna's mother has suddenly passed away. Time flies, soaring away in a great arc that we try to trace in silver letters or digital text, in reminiscences of March's pink flowers and urban foxes.
I posted a version of this material on FB. But then I realised that I was omitting details and trying to explain myself. It became an intimate censorship.
An ex of mine once wrote to me, passive-aggressively, that he didn't know if I was saying something deep or anything at all. I suppose my writing does that, it accumulates details and appears to say nothing, when it is trying to say something, not necessarily deep, just... something. And it's this something I circle around again and again, this thing I might call time. The shivering of tenses, from one to the other, to yet another, maybe one that has yet to be invented, or named.
So, I think I should limit my posts on FB to short ones—despite the desire to publish and make public what the spirit wants to express—and leave this stuff brewing here, trying to make sense of itself, over time.
Nevertheless, I should wonder if this doubt is a second-guessing of myself. If so, I should overcome it.