Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 9

I feel I've let myself down today. But at the same time I've been very tired. This morning, getting out of bed was incredibly challenging. I was so tired I woke up with a splitting headache; I then fell asleep again at the breakfast table. It was due to the fact Jenn and I were up until midnight Sunday, perhaps. Or even the long walk we took on Saturday. Combined with the fact we had to get up this morning, as usual, at 5:30 a.m.

I am aware of myself not making sense, not being as clear as I should be. And I suppose that's an excuse for not really doing anything toward my goal other than struggling greatly to rewrite a post for my motorcycle blog about electric motorcycles. I still have not finished it.

Tonight I found myself watching the second part of "Mind The Gap: London v the Rest," which was primarily about the great disparity of wealth and talent between Britain's capital city and everywhere that is not Britain's capital city. This is the sort of strange bitchy complaint that not Londoners have had for decades if not centuries and is, I feel, somewhat at the emotional heart of the Scottish independence argument. But I'm wandering.

Personally, I really like London and very much wish I lived there. But that's not the point. Or, well, maybe it is. The programme's host, Evan Davis, consistently made the argument that talent increases when it is agglomerated, when it exists in more or less the same place. And certainly that's something that gets proven over and over –– greatness rarely comes from nothing. Which, I would argue, is one of the reasons literature struggles in Wales. There is not great enough a talent pool.

It isn't that Welsh people necessarily lack the ability, but that they lack that whatever-it-is that comes from being around a load of other people with ability. And this is what I am in. I am in a dead end. 

I'll admit I'm not entirely sure of how else it could be. I'm not able to envisage a literary scene. What would it be like? How would I fit into it? What would we do? What would we say? And I think that is evidence of how dead-end I am with things, how closed is my imagination and understanding of possibility.

I have been wanting to leave Cardiff for several years now, but that is a difficult argument to make when you can't even imagine the other end –– what's at the other side of that move. All I'm able to say is that here, this, hasn't worked. I suffer a great mental weariness living in Wales that I never experienced before being here. It as if I am perpetually that person I was this morning, falling asleep with toast in my mouth. But I'm unable to say with certainty that things would be different elsewhere. I don't know. I can't see it. I can't picture it. Something within tells me that lack of picture is a sign I need to leave, but how do you sell that? How do you say: I need to go towards something because I can't see it and can't even fully imagine it is there.

I wonder where the hub is, where are the writers in this country and what are they doing? London, yes, but where in London? And are there any in, say, Bristol? A few? Enough? If so, where? And how do I connect with them? Can I be a part of their world? I am so utterly disconnected in this way. So totally ignorant and removed.

Look, here's what I'm talking about. In places like New York City and London you have such great, intense concentrations of talent that it effectively oozes out of the walls and you end up with guys like this playing at subway stations:


You would never find this in Cardiff. Never. Not because no one in South Wales knows how to play trumpet, drums or bari sax. But because the intensity of talent isn't here. There isn't that thing that causes one artist after another after another after another to build upon each other's work. Because there aren't that many artists.

I wish I were somewhere else, part of something bigger and made bigger by it, but I am so terribly removed that I don't even know where that somewhere else is. I'm not even sure I know anyone who would know. And all of it makes me incredibly depressed.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

The show 'What Do Artists Do All Day?' is interesting on this theme (even though it is about designers and fine artists rather than writers). You see the different ways successful artists work – it is weird to see them create really well-known artworks or exhibitions from often very isolated daily existences. I think it's on iPlayer! The one about the comic book artist was fascinating.