Tuesday, 1 August 2017


During my childhood my mother said to me several times that she liked the idea of me growing up to become a doctor. When I was around fourteen, however, and expressed the desire to extend my education, go to university, and enter a profession, she became much more cautious and said that I would be much better off going to a local factory to do an apprenticeship. ‘You’re never out of a job if you’ve got a trade,’ she said. I tried to explain that I didn’t want a job, I wanted a life, but the attitude of a cautious mother is a difficult draft animal to shift.

Maybe she didn’t think of doctoring as a profession; maybe she thought you just grew up to be one. I wouldn’t know, and in the end I didn’t do either (not unless you regard being a deviant riding a rollercoaster as some sort of profession, which I don’t suppose you do.)

And I would never have made the grade as a doctor anyway because I really don’t like bodies very much. I read somewhere once that a body is a thin membrane of skin containing a bag of filth, and that’s pretty much how I see it. Especially when it comes to excretions. Oh my giddy aunt, the excretions! Be they planned or unplanned, voluntary or involuntary, healthy or unhealthy, any hint of excretions in the vicinity has my consciousness screaming to escape the body it’s trapped in. Doctors deal in excretions. Not for me.

And that reminds me that the word ‘diarrhoea’ is the most difficult word in the English language to remember how to spell. I haven’t got there yet; I had to use the spell checker to write it in this post. Not that I have much occasion to write it generally, of course, but writing fiction can sometimes lead you to the sort of places you’d rather avoid. I remember the word being used once in Satre’s novel The Age of Reason. It’s my most abiding memory of the book. Descriptions of the Parisian landscape and the man who was going to drown his cats in the Seine (but didn’t) take second place.

This evening I spent ages watching two moths feeding on the sweet pea flowers. Wholesome fare. No excretions, just hints of Titania and her entourage. It was twilight, of course…

No comments: