It’s been a month and a half since I moved to Maastricht.
What a month. A hot, lethargic, sweaty, heart-rending, life-affirming few weeks.
This is, it seems, where I belong. In a medieval cobblestoned city, getting merry with folks from all over the world. It reminds me in so many ways of that glorious year in Prague. But then, that’s sort of what I was trying to recreate. So… success?
Maybe. Probably. I don’t know.
Part of coming here meant giving up an incredibly loving, if hideously unstable, relationship. A necessity, but one that still aches.
And suddenly being so far from family is not the best feeling, after being so close by to them the past few years.
I guess that’s the main thing I ignored when I saddled up all my belongings and fled for the border. That it would, almost inevitably, be really fucking lonely for a while. Not that that’s anything to do with Maastricht. I’ve made some fantastic friends here so far. And spent an absurd amount of time in bars watching football. But they don’t really fill the hole I dug. There’s a fair bit of downtime in this hotel room, which feels like a luxuriously hipster prison cell. And I killed my cellmate.
That should soon change though! As of time of writing I’ve put the deposit down on a place to live. It’s a huge attic room perched atop a student house, the kind of place that has that delightful veneer of grime that still doesn’t dampen the energy within. Not that I’ve actually met any of my 6 new (masters students, one and all) housemates, but judging purely by the amount of beer bottles in the garden, I think we’ll get along.
Hopefully I will be in there by the weekend. It had better be soon anyway, I’ve only got 9 days until the hotel gives me the boot.
Let’s see, we’ve covered housing, friends, my emotional state… what else…
The job! For any who are curious, or aren’t in the mood for overly emotional exposition, here’s how it’s gone so far.
Week 1-2: Mostly training in ‘classrooms’ learning about the company. Honestly that was one month ago and I can hardly remember a thing from it. It wasn’t a bad time, we got to know our colleagues and get used to the company. But MAN do they ease you in. Slower than naked genitals into a boiling bath.
That was a weird simile. I like it though, it’s staying in.
(I don’t edit. This is all stream-of-consciousness shit. I just go back and correct typo’s when people point them out.)
Weeks 3-4: More training, but gradually working our way onto computers and starting to figure out all the different system we needed to learn. Ultimately quite useless as the version of Compass (main system used at work) we got in training was aaaaaall fucked up.
I could describe exactly what was wrong with it, but you wouldn’t understand, I’d be bored, and ‘aaaaall fucked up’ is more dramatic. So there.
Weeks 4-5: (there was some overlap. this is hardly accurate timekeeping). Then we moved into the AMG room, a sunny little corner where 4 newbies would be sat with 1-2 trainers, gradually figuring out how to do the job. To be honest we could have skipped straight to this step. In a week and a half using the proper systems and making/taking calls from actual customers and suddenly I’m there. I can do the job. Quite well too. Sorted.
Which brings us up to last week, starting proper shifts. Easy. That’s the best word for it. Sure confusing shit pops up quite regularly, but most of the time the job is a doddle. Making what they pay me to do it slightly absurd. But there you.
I guess that’s everything then. Jobs going well, should move into a permanent address by the end of the week, keeping fit and having fun. For the most part
“Il n’y a pas de hors-texte” – Jacques Derrida.
There is nothing outside the text.
I must have used that quote a good half-dozen times in various essays, back in my halcyon days as an English literature undergrad. Put simply, the context matters not, only the text matters.
Personally, I tend to disagree. Whilst it can be far to easy to attach meanings to a piece of writing based on some conceived notion of what one thinks the author will have meant, there can be some value in attempting to understand the where’s and why’s surrounding writing.
The reason I bring this up, is that as I go through my disturbingly bare folders, or even dare to flip back through countless scraps of faded notepaper, cherry-picking the best examples of my writing to post up here, I will often include a note on context at the end.
Generally just a few line on the date it was initially written, and what few details I can still recall on the events inspiring and surrounding it.
Whether or not anyone has any interest in that, I honestly don’t know. It is entirely possible that some people will think this is a bad thing, that poetry should be delivered alone, and the reader left alone to come to their own conclusions. A perfectly valid opinion, though not my own. If that is the case, feel free to ignore the contextual notes.
But for any of you few (though much appreciated) readers of mine who are at all interested in the snippets of biography that will go along with some of my posts, I hope they add something to the experience.
That’s all for now, go about your business.
That title seems somewhat ironic, seeing as I purchased the domain for this site over six months ago, but that’s procrastination for you.
So here we are. I have just finished setting up this site more or less the way I want it, ready to spew my jumbled collations of words all over the internet. Or those few unfortunate souls who stumble across it.
I thought it right, therefore, to talk about what I actually want to achieve with this website.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer. I was the best writer in primary school, and practically lived with my head in a book. To be honest, I feel like I’ve spent most of my life with my head in a book, or with my eyes being slowly dried out by whichever videogame I’m currently obsessing over.
Authors have always held a certain mystique. Those wiley crafters of tales, the mysterious shadowy figures lurking in the ink that has enraptured me since childhood. How I longed to be one of them. To while away my hours in a cosy den, each tap of the keyboard unveiling, like a sculptors chisel, a new world hidden within.
Plus, it sounds like a great way to avoid having a real job. I’m 25 now and I’ve done quite a few different jobs, and none of them have really interested me. I just wanted to write.
The problem is, all too often I don’t. After graduating with a degree in English Literature, and having become the very stereotype of a heavy drinking, drugged up layabout student, I was thrust into teaching, and more or less forgot about writing as a possibility.
There always seemed to be so many other people who were better than me. Younger, smarter people who were already having articles and novels published. I recognise this thinking now as a symptom of the anxiety that has plagued me for many years now.
So much easier to never try, than to put in the effort and risk failure.
After failing teacher training I spent the best part of two years in a smokey haze, drifting through life in no direction. But always with the idea that maybe, somehow, somewhen, I would write again. I even bought this domain, but then did nothing with it for months.
Everything finally fell apart to the point where I got myself cleaned up, and discovered to my delight that I did have a functional brain. Poems started to whizz around my synapses, I’d scribble story synopses on ragged notepaper at work. I could write. I would write. It’s been the only constant in my life, the thing I love, and want to do. Hell I don’t even know if I’m all that good, but I certainly won’t get any better by not doing it.
Which brings us back here. I want to keep writing regularly, it doesn’t matter what. And to get it out there in the public, where people can see it. And maybe, just maybe, if I am excruciatingly lucky, I’ll be able to make something out of it.
But we’ll see. For now I’ll be posting a selection of old writings from the last few years, trying to blog regularly, and just get into the rhythm of being a writer.
It’s been my dream for so long that perhaps I forgot that I’m the only one with the power to take those dreams and make them real.
As the great Albus Dumbledore said,
“It does not do dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
I’m tired of dwelling in my daydreams. Time to live.