A Journal of the Plague Year Day 10

Friday 27th March 2020

Italy today recorded it’s highest death toll, over 900. While the US is now the epicentre of global spread, with the most verified infections. Trump continues to make his frankly sociopathic gestures towards reopening within a couple of weeks, regardless of the skyrocketing cases, the swamped hospitals and healthcare workers succumbing alongside. The UK Prime Minister tested positive today, as did the Health Minister and Chief Medical officer.

I’ve been inside, gloomed and doomed, writing. Cowed with doubt.

10 hours on the same arm-clawing application, correcting the same chapter, rewriting the same damned passages while my spider’s mind changes and changes back again, changes and changes back again. The technical web of the English language with its four flowing versions of present tense, operative word: tense. Present indefinite, present perfect, present progressive, present perfect progressive/ continuous. I feel a box, tightly wound. In my PJs, in bed, everything I said I wouldn’t be.

Smelly, lethargic yet brain hammering, a drop-out from society. Watching telly makes me feel slovenly, the comedies empty farce and lurid, of a different time. Reading an unwelcome reminder.

And outside still it rages, despite the normality of it all, the new normal of windswept sunshine and disparate shadows, where culture comes from a screen, a scroll, a supermarket aisle. Life feels plasticised and time drifts fucking unendingly.

There are good days and bad days, dark souvenirs of one’s past and a clouded future that absorb into skin and anoint the air, not dissimilar from our everyday gauntlet outside. My clothes have started to smell today, having not changed the jumper since ever, while outside a strong, unending wind buffets the window frames, like a reminder of a raging outside.

But then something that’s just made me smile. Some crazee laydee’s just started whooping and clapping. It’s 8pm and I’m thinking she got the day wrong, or believes it a daily thing we get to cheer the healthcare workers and frontliners. No one joined in, and she ended as if slow clapping a bad act. Into the dark, like a lone light on an empty train, going into the mists of mystery, on the mountain of solitude, in an atmosphere of yearning, in a pool of pooling. And a shooting star falls. And a child cries. And a loon calls. In the rain. As a tear makes a shining path. And a whale fucking flippers.

I am not a writer. Will never be one.

Britain is dour, winningly so. It’s not America’s Got Talent. It’s not a stadium filled for a one-man show and a 30 minute build up. It’s not an MV with a pompous 5 minute intro. It’s a bunch of people with a glass of wine and a telly. And tells it how it is. We are far too realistic, which they claim is pessimism.

s

27th March 2020.

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