“Thinking in pictures,” Sigmund Freud wrote, “stands nearer to unconscious processes than does thinking in words, and is unquestionably older than the latter both ontogenetically and phylogenetically.” I agree. Perhaps visual art and music are sometimes felt to be 'purer' or less reducible than literature because of this same proximity to 'unconscious processes'.

     Sometimes I want to stop thinking so badly but even if I manage it for moment I'm tormented by images - also snatches of song. Anything that possesses form anchors us to the material world and perhaps this is why it can be painful. I try to visualise the insides of my eyelids when haunted by images - usually senseless ones; for instance, the top of Hampstead High Street, always looking downhill (I realised recently I usually always see a place mentally from the same vantage point), from the right side of the road, where the tube station is. But I don't want to see Hampstead High Street. So then I try to focus on the darkness and non-colour of the insides of my eyes. Or I gently press my closed eyelids and watch the kaleidescopic patterns appear and disappear.

     All these are still forms, however. And I want to be without any form at all.


  Note 4:



stories and things



leaving the text alone

Beckett and mysticism

why real directors are writers

Dr Seuss and Tom McCarthy

why the novelist's job is harder than God's

the thing about autobiographical fiction

how to write a successful novel

George Herbert and Judith McPherson

the value of not doing

thoughts on TLOD

don't judge a book

things I was thinking when writing TLOD

time, words, are the enemy

the master's voice


why I didn't want to write anymore

the value of not knowing

when do you give up on a book?


what makes a book great

divine fancy

time, identity and fiction