Conversations with girls in trees

AUGUST 14 03

There is no finer order in the world than a heap of random sweepings – Heraclitus

Sometimes you just have to put aside the burden of not starting, and begin. There is no point forcing it, but then again perhaps you are only distracted, other things consuming your time, scattering your mind, taking you away from the focus you need to look where you're going and begin, one foot in front of the other, until you arrive somewhere.

And I never know where that will be, if I knew that, if I could make that journey solely in my head without committing words to paper, there would be no need to make the journey. Certain triggers come to mind. Feeling quite tired early evening I fell asleep and had a dream about a little girl standing on my wall wailing, but ever remaining out of my vision on turning my head, turning with my eyes like a floater to recede into peripheral vision. There was much more to the dream that escapes me, but that was the image I awoke with. Then walking into the kitchen I saw a box of dried oregano cuttings on the kitchen table that I had still not crumbled the leaves from and bottled, just another thing not yet done, and the burden of all things not done made me uneasy once again.

Because I correspond with some people who read this journal some think I write things aimed at them. Yet all that this writing represents is a collage of random thoughts that have their own unique collocation and meaning, that arise from many stimuli during a day or days. New things arise from old things. New meanings are born from old meanings, thoughts are started from one thing but end up with no resemblance or relevance to their spark. Some people derive personal meaning from a kind of kaleidoscope of choice and ambiguity I sometimes seek to impregnate into the writing, that will indeed allow them to do this, such that people take away messages that I may or may not intend.


What is it with girls who send you stone toads? Like anyone, I enjoy surprises in the morning's post, and a stone toad in a bubble-wrap envelope adds a moment of bemused drifting to the day, so I'm not complaining. I was most amused one day when my postman told me he reads Fortean Times, although I didn't tell him I occasionally write for it. I wondered whether he had done a kind of postman's divination, happening to notice that my mail was different to the rest and I was the only guy in the street who always went to the door in his dressing gown with a bleary look in his eyes and unkempt hair, no matter whether it was second post or first. Then I realised he would have pushed the magazine through my letterbox many times and had obviously marked me down as one of the clan.

I also have a Zen street cleaner, I watch him brushing leaves everso slowly and meticulously into tiny piles. Then he just disappears, leaving these leaves in little piles all down the street, incredibly neat piles, but I think what's the point of that, the wind will just blow them around again. At first I thought he must be a bit lazy, he moves like a sloth with that brush, attending to the leaves and litter like arranging gravel in a Zen stone garden. But then when I go out in the late afternoon and walk up the long street it is immaculate, not a tiny sweet wrapper to be seen, not a single leaf by a car tyre. Once or twice at lunchtime I have seen him sitting on a wall with his head in his hands, apparently weeping. One day I plan to write a little message for him on a piece of paper and drop it in the street, just to say that I recognise the marvellous street cleaning he is doing.

Once a girl sent me an envelope of red heart sequins that burst all over the floor on ripping it open, like a false bulrush cigar ripely exploding into seed. I brushed them up but those red heart sequins I kept finding for months, on my bare feet, sometimes even out in the garden transported like nasturtium seeds in a blackbird's claw. Oh, the symbolic content of my writing is really flaring up now, those who read things into my work will be asking themselves what do I really mean by that. That man is an oracle, his words float up to the surface like a Delphic whore breathing in the fumes of inspiration from the deep well of forgotten mysteries.

So you see, I really have no idea what will come. There is a lost treasure in moments that at the time were deemed virtually inconsequential. One of the best conversations I ever had with a girl I had just met happened to take place sitting in a tree. For some reason I said:

'Why don't we talk in the tree?'

I gave her a lift up, passed up her guitar, and then clambered up myself. She was a star-child in purple pantaloons. Soon another girl came along and called up:

'Mind if I join you?'

She was a biker chick with a stash. She skinned up a joint sitting with us in the tree.

For ages afterwards I only wanted to have conversations with girls in trees.

You can identify, right?