Tuesday, 24 April 2012

bridges, graffiti, port meadow, puny, tarkovsky

Had a great walk on Saturday, which I've not had time to write about since.

I had to work in Oxford on Saturday, starting at 10 but because there is no 8 am bus from Bampton, I had to get the 7, so had plenty of time in hand when I got to the top of the Woodstock Road before 8.

Loved walking down the canal then along Aristotle Lane and over the railway onto Port Meadow.

Funny doing this walk because it follows the melancholy path that the Oxford don Gerald takes when things are unravelling for him in my first novel The Lock. His walk in turn echoes one that his wife Elizabeth took when she was puzzling over his strange behaviour--he was having an affair with one of his graduate students. Graffiti features on the steel bridges over the railway line in the novel and the real ones are still covered with spray paint even now, over a decade on. Yet the images are new and refreshed.

Port Meadow remains its wonderful huge romantic, tragic, uplifting, louring self. On this occasion, quite wonderfully spacious and lit up.

As I walked I contemplated the 20k word piece I've written recently about what I went through between 1988 and the present within the family. I wrote this during the week I had off after Easter and had completed the revisions the night before my walk. My head was still buzzing that morning--trying to comprehend the enormity of the suffering that had passed during those many years and which was suddenly being made more-or-less portable through the writing of it. Suddenly made puny through the writing of it. The cruelty of others suddenly rendered in its proper proportion for the first time in over two decades.

It was a beautiful and strange walk that Saturday morning.

Finished off with the Tarkovsky-like underworld beneath the last bridge before the station that I crossed through on my way back to the city.

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