It’s a year ago today that I landed in LA and wrote the Facebook post that kicked off this blog. I didn’t think at the time that I’d do it for a year, but sometimes we take ourselves by surprise. I’ve written 244,413 words. That’s a couple of novels-worth. And I didn’t miss a day. Which is remarkable considering both how drunk and how distracted I’m capable of getting.
Now I’ve got a habit, fully formed. Around 7pm if I haven’t blown out some kind of wordthing I get anxious – distracted. Like in a bar when you’re not drinking. I start trying to manipulate a bit of downtime. If it gets to midnight and it’s not written I extract myself temporarily from whatever company I’m in to get it done. Occasionally I’ve got swept up and then I guiltily write multiple consecutive loosely linked sentences in bed at 3am while the screen swims in my vision. Then I click “publish” if my finger can find it, and then I instantaneously pass out as if I’ve been tasered.
It’s 11pm right now. I’m sitting on a sofa with a cat. This writing habit might perhaps be put to better use than a blog. But I needed to engender the habit first. I’ve been skimming over my last year and it’s a helpful thing to be able to quantify the difference between last year and now. The days go by and we learn things. People (and animals) come to the front or momentarily retreat into the shadows. What is life but the day to day? I’ve had a changing year since I’ve been living in your face. Even though it’s been the usual disjointed rollercoaster, a lot has happened and most of it has been conducive to better quality aliveness. I met a cat, got a tan and a manager, saw myself on screen at BAFTA, discovered my heart still works, trained kids, played broken artists, was a broken artist, played a llama enthusiast, William Burroughs, King Mark, Scrooge, a green monster, the fool. I’ve been to LA on a crazy jaunt and Amsterdam and Milan for work. I’ve done Cosmic Trigger, worked with the KLF exactly 23 years after they burnt the money, eaten some mushrooms, worked on Dodgems and filmed at Dreamland. I’ve volunteered at Grenfell, got my motorbike certificate, and received gohonzon. I’ve consumed remarkable steaks, months of vegan food, powerful psychedelics, great theatre, too much wine. All these things have stuck to me in little ways, now they’ve been filed in the “done” box. I might not constantly think of them, but every little action effects our journey. And still I’m living every day present, although perhaps with a little bit more of an eye to the future than I was managing this time last year.
On which subject, for now I’m going to keep this blog up. Year 2. Let’s see how quickly I get bored of myself. But it’s useful to keep the pressure on to be accountable to you – oh constant reader.
Thank you those of you who have been dipping in and out of my journey – and any of you bonkers enough to have read the lot. It often surprises and pleases me to find that people I rarely see have a handle on my existence, my preoccupations and all the conflicting interior monologues. Relative strangers have expressed relief that I “finally got that boiler fixed.” Friends are pleased when they meet Pickle at last.
I hope for a changing, positive, interesting and challenging year. There’s already some auspices in place. But let’s see what time brings.
Last year I wandered the streets of a bad area, and stumbled into a church. This year, I walked a dog. Woof.