The wind banging across the fields straining at the sky like a tent pulling pegged ropes free. A dusty landscape smelling of dirt and jasmine, glittery at the edges. Pink Floyd bellowing in the room at the back of the mind.
Sometimes writing is like sweeping up unused fragments on a factory floor, scanning them to see what is usable, what must be thrown away.
Moral fables for celebrities. Extracts from the newly published diaries of the actor Richard Burton, purportedly about films, the lifestyles of the rich and famous and tumultuous love affairs, but really only indicating the inexorable and relentless progression of alcoholism
22 July 1969 Dorchester Hotel. I have more or less stopped drinking and the shock to my system is obviously pretty profound. The effect at the studios [where RB is filming Anne of the Thousand Days], I mean on me, is awful. I am fundamentally so bored with my job that only drink is capable of killing the pain. The thought of doing a whole day’s work with, for instance, John Colicos [fellow actor], which is my chore tomorrow, without at least half a bottle of vodka to ease back the yawns is like deliberately inciting a nightmare. [Without drink] I have been like a mad and highly articulate bull with all kinds of people I normally have great respect for. This is par for the course when I am drinking heavily, but I’m surprised that I still do it when sober. If it is still the same in a month I shall go back to old father booze and find out how long it will take him to kill me.
Experimenting with thin-crust pizza bases for a roast vegetable pizza we will have for supper and eat out in the garden at dusk, under olive trees. My friend in hospital has come out of her coma but is very weak, and I keep the phone beside me, waiting for news.
From Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet:
Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.