Monday, 24 May 2010

The Fall Before the Miracle

I know what it is to feel the blood drain from one's face. Today I felt real fear. A quiet moment at work had resulted in a few moments of online dalliance. I had decided to investigate my bolus of Internet links, checking they still functioned appropriately and led to no dead ends. Whilst performing this idle act of distraction I came across, unsurprisingly, the website of the Whitstable Biennale. At first I was very excited as the site had been renewed, reborn in it's 2010 plummage. But then fear overcame me, an irrational primal fear. I feared firstly that I had been excised from the whole event, lanced, expunged. Then upon discovering that was not the case another fear quickly overtook me, fear of inadequacy, fear that my offerings would not stand up to scrutiny. Perhaps I should gave sone more, perhaps I could have done it better. I felt cold, dizzy, sick to my stomach as I abruptly turned off the computer and went in search of consolation. The reader might assume at this point that I am looking for reassurance, fishing for compliments but in point of fact all I am hoping to express is that utter terror of being found wanting. In my current reading "False Testimonies" Paul Becker presents a series of "Miracles" micro-stories in which things are brought back to life. In one tale (of the redemption of a tortured man) he uses a device of narrative reversal which brings the protagonist (and reader) from terror to a state of happiness. We first encounter the man shackled in a cell in agonising pain but soon his saviours enter, take him down and place him on a machine which relocates his shoulders and ankles. Then they remove his bruises and unbreak his limbs with magical batons. Finally he is driven back to his home where his family welcome his return. For a while this morning I too craved this miracle, to be returned to that toiletless café in London's East End. But now I am in my cups and little matters so much as stroking Mr Pig and drinking a companionly cup of tea.

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