Today I was not in my office but spent every minute of free time, and there was very little of it, firming up and finishing the Global Poetry System article for The
Times. Finished it on time, three thirty pm, then sent it to the press office at The
Southbank. It is scheduled to go in on Saturday but who knows.
I’d like to tell you something. I documented in my blog in late July when I met my foster mother. It is the first time we’d met in twenty years. She found me on facebook. Not that I am hiding. Each documentary I have made about my life I have directed the documentary makers towards her and my late foster father in the hope they may explain what they did. And each time they refused. I make such documentary because there is no one to confirm what happened to me which is after all a central role of family – a group of people (rightly or wrongly)
contextualising each other over a lifetime. So documentary is important to me
in the purest sense of the word.
Before meeting her I felt confident and while meeting her I felt confident. But afterwards in the two weeks following I sensed myself slowly crumble, inside, to dust. First it was a hairline crack inside me: a little question of confidence and then there were more of them. Then so many that within weeks I was
struggling to keep myself together. It was like watching the twin towers
crumble and tumble under the stress. A moment came when what was who I am fell in slow motion, each floor colliding onto the top of the other, each problem compounding, a concertina of collapsing consciousness until one morning I awoke and all was dust.
All was dust or fog: a fog that I was lost in. I couldn’t go to the Southbank Centre. I could barely walk into a crowded room. My head was full of fog and I felt myself groping through each day on the ground picking up mounds of grey dust, each time I tried to make it back in to me it wouldn’t, it couldn’t hold together. And so I woke each day worrying and I fell asleep at night worrying about waking the next day.
In the fog the acoustics change. What is far away seems close and what is close seems far away. Friends and colleagues become a confusing malaise of footprints. I was surrounded by hundreds of clicking feet but couldn’t identify them nor where I was in context with them. It’s a frightening thing.
From time to time a face would reveal through the fog at the end of its sentence and startled I would try to answer and then clicking footprints again. With arms in front of me I found a wall and touched it then sat on the floor – back to it. A phone rings. I hear the voice in the phone asking where I am. Another phone rings and another voice where am I. The sound is tinny, distant. I don’t as much stick my head in the sand as the dust. “there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
Recently it lifted, the fog. . And whereas October and winter and Christmas are normally when the fog descends as stated it’s evaporated, gone. The skies are clear, horizon attainable, morning beautiful. It lifted in the first week of November after months in all. Sometimes I feel invincible, especially at the moment of lift-ation. But this meeting (which didn’t need to happen) has taught me a lesson.
Click and Read this blog to see what it was like in the fog then to appear on
live TV, interviewed by Clive Anderson.