That last fax came in a couple of weeks ago, but I've only just read it because I've been busy typing onto disk everything that's come in so far. But of course, more has come in whilst I've been reading this last one. I'd really like to know how much more there is to come?
It's been so cold the last ten days. Ground so hard even an axe wouldn't penetrate the surface. By chopping logs I've found that out. The fire is burning very slow and I know it means I've got to burn out the soot in the chimney. That means letting the fire go out, which I don't relish in this sub-zero temperature. When I open the door of the green Norwegian stove to put a log in, billows of thick smoke belch out and fill the cabin. On the other hand, because the chimney is sooted up, the wood burns very, very slowly, so my pile lasts probably as much as three times as long.
At the moment I'm burning very old oak. There's a patch of forest which used to be totally oak up until 1910...then all the trees were ringed...around the base of every oak the bark was cut away, leaving the poor tree to die...standing up...leaving an atmosphere akin to a ward in a mental hospital...where all the patients are asleep standing up...after having had lobotomies. It's like burning stiffs...slowly. The oaks were killed to make way for pine...for mines and the war trenches. So now all the mountain slopes are covered with battalions of regimented pines on parade. Well, not all the mountain slopes...yet! The mountain above my hut is still pine-less. Instead there's frozen, crisp snow covering over the fawn heather, the sweet smelling bog myrtle and the small green leaves of the dormant bilberry plants and flattened rusty bracken. Where the snow is patchy on the lower slopes, there's clumps of asphodel waiting for the thaw.
I'm getting the sense that humanity is going to THE BALL, to which I'm not going. In lots of ways I'm missing out I know. And yes I feel sad. Even grief...but the parting of the ways has been on the cards for a very, very long time. From the point of view of the migrating `conned-senses-mind', (thank you Tim), I've definitely been left behind. I don't want to travel on any juggernaut, regardless of where it says it's going. So although I feel grief when imagining the future of all those billions of souls cramped inside the noise of their justifications...I feel relieved to be left behind on the earth. And that's the real score.
Apart from my telephone, fax machine and word processor, I'm out of the technological whirld.(Thanks again Tim). It's the product of unrecognised imbalance. The trajectory of a mass of bullet heads. Viewpoint cancer. Maybe Simon's notion of this universe being invaded by an anti-life virus is true. I just want the cure which works.
I wrote that four days ago without any idea of what was in store for me. PAIN!!! Like I've been SHOT through the left shoulder blade. It's like an intense toothache, transmitting a steady beam of sharp, staccato....indecipherable instructions through my arm to my jarred fingertips. Being on my own in the midst of acute pain is a very sobering ordeal. Now I'm going to make some coffee and read the very latest fax.
"I wish we all could have sat still...in silence...for five minutes...when you said you'd had enough."
Simon nodded and sipped his rose-hip tea. Dawn, the magnetic blonde woman, had collected Simon's tea and digestive biscuits from the huge oval table and was now standing beside him near the old oak door. (Simon and Cesar had divided the warehouse into three separate areas).
"You should have made it known what was on your mind."
"I missed the moment."
Simon stared at his old brogue shoes for a longish pause...then, looking into Dawn's clear blue eyes...he said very quietly, "Truly, I feel caught."
"Caught?" Dawn looked...startled. (She was in fact disappointed).
"What have you got to do...throw a six?"
It wasn't exactly a party atmosphere. It wasn't exactly noisy in the high ceiling room. Everything was wood. The floor polished pine. It was a launching get together. She seems roughly the same age as me, thought Simon. But why am I considering her age? I can feel I'm being magnetised. Shanti sought me out the same way at Brockwood...and what did that lead to? MORE Karma. Sarah Jenkins. And now this feels like a continuation of the old movie.
"I'm Dawn Sangster...and I'd like to get to know you. I'm a short story writer...about to try my hand at a science fiction novel exploring time travel."
Dawn...her name pulled on all his connections to the self-deceptive whirld of romance. This was not going to be a short story. He could feel the encroaching atmosphere of an unmistakable high drama. Bait. Yet Simon didn't want Dawn to feel rejected...but how could she know that he'd learnt to let female vibrations pass through him...as if they were Harry Manic's thoughts? And was he really letting Dawn's vibrations pass through him? And what if she's already understood the Harry Manic situation...and is indicating her insight by telling me about her interest in time travel?
"Dilemma," said Simon very softly and closed his eyes.
Dawn looked hurt...perplexed...concerned by Simon's blindness. She knew she was on the level...and not out to eat him.
"You think I'm throwing myself at you like a spy in a cold war movie?"
She felt she was taking a big risk...since it looked quite likely that Simon couldn't see further than the surface of his fish-bowl...but she also knew that she could be completely wrong.
Simon in fact was deeply struck by the fact that he'd never met anyone so apparently guile-less before. Dawn's open-ness was not a performance. Her sincerity unnerved him...and edged him towards thinking that she was an emissary for The Goddess. This was not an opportunity for being an agent for negativity. Not if he wished to stay spiritually alive and not become a dead manipulator.
No, there was no going back. He'd already been born of the Spirit...so this was his opportunity to live inside Love's realm...with his feet on the ground. Dawn was not a vision...like the magical episode in his Edinburgh flat...yet she was flying very close to his potential wobble. His equilibrium was being challenged. The equilibrium he had maintained by balancing his rampant thoughts with a controlled heart...a dying heart...a dead soul. Harold! Suddenly he remembered the story lines he'd never written out. Of course! Dawn is Karen's daughter...who has leapt from paradise to Earth. No, that's off the wall. Madness! Madness! Or is it?
Annie was laughing in the background. People were milling around. Some were leaving...the architect was waiting to talk to Simon...who tried to let every impression be what it is. He knew he could only do this by remaining in the Moment...the gap between the worlds in which he'd been blessed by the Goddess. This Divine locus to which he felt his life was now aligned...eliminated choice when it came to whirldly behaviour. That true vibration dissolved any temptation to rejoin the ring-a-ring a rosies game. He opened his eyes and said...just above a whisper, "I feel blessed...do you?"
Simon felt a wave of compassion. Dawn's probably begun her new novel with me already imagined. He pictured her stalking along the rocky narrow ledge which led to the outskirts of his sacred castle. His sacred blessed castle surrounded by a storm of ghosts intent on using Dawn as a Trojan horse to gain entrance to his keep. He knew that this raucous...chaotic parliament of ghouls were united by a single goal:- to suck the warm Spirit out of his soul. They know every move that had ever been taken when a man and woman meet. Like knowing all the possible chess moves. If he now acted on any suggestion...he would be...meat...and as always...he knew the ghosts are always ravenously hungry. Hungry to suck and replace the virgin gap between two souls with their scenarios. Simon was in no doubt that these horrible spirits aimed to turn his soul into a component extending their ancient grid.
There were only a few people left now. The architect was helping Annie clear up...and still intent on reading Simon's mind. Yes, Dawn did feel blessed. Blessed to be able to stay in that extraordinary Moment...and not be pulled off into sentimental speculation. (She had blushed because Simon had said he felt blessed whilst she was working out how badly she needed a pee). She noticed Annie in the distance make a strange gesture...to Simon? Simon didn't want a massage. He shook his dark mop...and after a pause said quietly to Dawn, "That gesture wasn't meant for you."
Standing outside the glass doors of Eden Court...Simon rang the bell for the second floor flat. A 1930's grey concrete building with metal windows in Belsize Park, Hampstead, North London. For two weeks he'd kept the ghouls at bay. Simon felt it was now possible to meet Dawn in the `courtyard'. A courtyard exorcised of whirldly fears. She had phoned and said she was very interested in working for the Greg Riley Institute...so Cesar thought it would be a good idea for Simon to discuss the idea of `free will' with Dawn.
It was about 11.30 on a chilly Saturday morning. All the pavements in Belsize Park were thick with golden leaves. He'd really enjoyed shuffling his way through the thickest piles...something his mother had never allowed. He began to realise that actually he had not outgrown...or outflanked the reverberating curses from where else...but the past. Attempting to break the dark pull into self-pity, he turned abruptly towards the source of an unidentifiable sound. With his back to Eden Court, he viewed a decrepid old organ grinder on the other side of the road. Seeing Simon looking at him, the old man seemed to immediately look younger. There was no monkey. Listening intently, Simon became convinced that the strange tune emanated from a spiritual tradition.
Simon immediately started to fiddle inside the pocket of his dark blue corduroy jacket for some coins. Crossing the road he decided he'd give the old man the entire handful without checking to see the amount. Before reaching the old man, he realised the tune belonged to the Mevlevi Sufi tradition. And now it was obvious the old bearded swarthy figure wearing a fez-like hat was either an Afghani...or a Turk.
As Simon handed over the pile of coins he said, "Good music." The Sufi gave him a knowing look as he pocketed the bread and replied in a very strong accent,
" Yes...good music. Sacred music." As he spoke he kept his penetrating eyes on Simon and seemed to be saying `how deeply are you committed to living inside the Sacred?'
"My soul is committed to the sacred," mumbled Simon as he crossed the road...out of earshot of the Sufi. Dawn, dressed in a white bathrobe, her hair hidden under a white towel, was standing in the open doorway of Eden Court.
"Dawn! Come here!" Without any hesitation she immediately put an empty milk bottle in the doorway to keep the door open, and ran down the path to join Simon now walking back to the bedraggled Sufi.
As they got within a few feet the Sufi said, "This music...only food for those who love Allah. Your wife?" Dawn burst out laughing.
Simon said, "No, just business friends."
The Sufi stared at Simon and said," Wake up!" Then very softly, "Good day lady. Allah be praised."
Not knowing how to respond Simon said, "Dawn, did you hear this man's music?"
"No I've been singing in the bath...and I'm getting cold."
"Not my music, sir. I servant of music. Slave of God. Allah be praised! Tomorrow when lady warm I play for lady and you. Allah be praised!" He then placed his palms together and slowly walked away whilst producing the most penetrating lament Dawn had ever heard.
After saying their joint goodbyes, Dawn said she was freezing and ran across the road and up the scruffy path followed by Simon.
Suddenly a very sharp gust of frenzied wind tore past Simon...then Dawn...blew the glass door wide open against its spring....which then flung the door back...so kicking the milkbottle aside to explode into pieces as the door slammed shut!
"Fuck it!" shouted Dawn. "I haven't got my keys!" They looked at each other...and avoided the cliches. Five minutes later...after trying unsuccessfully to call down one of Dawn's neighbours...Simon offered to climb up the drainpipe and get in through Dawn's slightly open bathroom window.
Although he had a poor head for heights...Dawn looked desperately cold...so it wasn't too difficult to persuade her to let him get on with it. It didn't look that difficult.
A bottle-green painted iron balcony protruded from the first floor...and from there he reckoned he could just about reach the drainpipe...which looked sturdy and well fixed to the stained concrete wall.
"I'm not going to watch!" Dawn yelled as Simon began hoisting himself over the balcony rail. ( He had already taken off his white bowling shoes and white socks...out of respect for Dawn's bathrobe...and her shoulders which were used to get him up onto this first floor balcony).
"I'm off to jog round the garden...to try to keep warm."
Simon halted his urge to ruminate on how he'd got into this situation...knowing he was scared of the next part of the operation. Suddenly he caught a trace of a different Mevlevi melody. The Sufi's face was startingly vivid in his mind. Men like that...like Mr Gurdjieff appear...like omens...at significant intersection points. Intersections of what? Mechanical `life' and real meaning. The horizontal and the vertical. Habit and a spiritual overview. I'm not going to fall. I don't want to fall. I wish I knew how to really pray. The Sufi is going to play for us BOTH tomorrow. Is he a seer and knows we're going to be together tomorrow?
He clutched the recently painted green drainpipe with one hand and wondered if he should have shinned up from the ground? He didn't like the way he had to lean over from the balcony...to grab the pipe with his left hand...but he jumped...and held on. Only ten feet to shin. He caught sight of Dawn...not jogging...but spinning with her arms spread wide. There were heaps of dead flies incorporated into the new coat of cheap green paint. A couple of black teenagers wearing baseball caps, heavy trainers and gaudy jerkins sauntered below not noticing Simon's predicament...but an old age pensioner...pushing her battered pram stopped and looked feverish. Simon went to wave to calm her down but instead inched his way...six inches at a time...up the drainpipe.
He'd never done this before and kept grazing his knuckles on the rough cast wall. At last his head was level with the bathroom window. It was frosted...and a little open at the top...through which thin whisps of steam emerged in pulses. Avoiding looking down, he grabbed the top of the damp window frame...pulled himself across...and stood panting on the cold ledge. How many times had he seen window cleaners in Edinburgh in this position...and thought he could never do it? After managing to push the sash window down he was confronted with a pale blue plastic curtain. There was only one way to do it. Head first!...followed by shoulders...then arms inside...then hard push with his bare feet...and next thing he's helplessly sliding...hands first...head...shoulders into Dawn's still hot bubble bath. Completely under!
Every stitch of clothes saturated. What would mother say? He pulled the plug...stood up...burst out laughing and threw all his sodden clothes in a pile beside Dawn's. He averted his eyes from inspecting her underwear...and dried himself with a large damp towel which was laid out on the cork floor. Now what? What could he wear? Completely naked he searched the well organised flat till he found the airing cupboard...and inside another white towel. Wrapping it around him like an Indian lunghi...he hurried through the narrow corridor...made sure her flat door couldn't lock by mistake...jammed it open with her bicycle...and then ran down the two flights of icy cold stone steps to the front door.
"My God!," exclaimed Dawn...looking distressed...seeing Simon racing down the stairs baring his dark hairy torso.
"I've just been baptised in your bubble bath," Simon said grinning as he opened the main glass door and let the shivering woman inside the carpeted entrance hall.
"Try that!" she called, throwing him a navy-blue polo neck fisherman's sweater. "I don't think I've got anything else that would fit you." He couldn't help noticing her very shapely rear as she searched through her clothes.
"This is fine," said Simon pulling the bottom of the sweater over the top of the white towel lunghi. It was tight and itchy...but warm. Dawn's flat big and light.
Turning from the pine chest of drawers, she said, "I'll turn up the heating. What about your wet clothes? I've got an airing cupboard."
"I know." Simon pointed to the white towel wrapped around his waist. "I'll wring them out...so they'll dry quicker."
"I'll make some tea while you're doing it. What sort would you like?"
"Mu...if you've got it."
"No...sorry...but loads of other herb teas."
"I don't mind. A red one. Thanks."
Whilst he was squeezing the last drops out of his Survival International tee-shirt...Dawn came into the white tiled bathroom and gave him a pile of wooden clothes hangers...and told him the tea was ready. He felt a sense of relief. Why, because the hangers weren't made of wire? Because she didn't say more than was necessary? Maybe. Would she manipulate him? MAN-I-PULL-LATE. Yes we only see the trap when we're already in it. Too late!
He wondered if the echo of her smile in his mind was accurate? Actually he knew he was at sea. He couldn't decipher her wavelength. No wonder...since I'm so anxious of becoming ensnared. Talk about distorted perception. There must be a way of proceeding from here which doesn't end up in the same old trap. No wonder he felt, if not idiotic, very awkward as he slowly walked into the main room. The whole open-plan flat seemed intent on scrutinising his psychic condition. He knew what he was. Not a beginner...but a refugee from the whirld of theory.
Dawn instantly turned towards Simon as he entered her carefully cultivated space. This meant he had to stop...and let their gaze...meet. He lacked any inner conviction...to take another step. Why did he feel on trial?
Still in her bathrobe Dawn crossed the distance to where Simon stood in the centre of the room...and gave him his rose-hip tea. He was sweating...inside. Was he entering a catatonic closed circuit?
"Dawn...I'm capable of far reaching doubt."
She turned and moved behind him to her clothes area...pine wardrobe, chest of drawers...dresses and skirts...hung up behind a dark wood bead curtain. "Doubt's my teacher who keeps me awake." She thought about what she'd just said and with a warm smile added, "are you complaining?"
Simon hadn't moved...but he could now see Dawn behind him...reflected in the glass of the framed watercolour above the black painted Victorian cast iron fireplace. She was about to disrobe...having selected what she intended to wear. The picture was extremely difficult to comprehend. It not only reflected Dawn...but caught the light from one of the two large windows to Simon's left.
"I have the distinct sense," said Simon very slowly, "that we've been through a version of this...before."
"What happened...last time?" As she spoke she turned round so that Simon could now distinguish her beautiful features inside the reflecting picure frame.
"You took off your bathrobe...not realising that I could see your magnetic body reflected in the glass above the fireplace."
"Well I'm not sure about your idea of previous lives...but right NOW...does the thought of sex keep your soul at bay?"
Simon closed his eyes and tried to imagine what he did last time? "I'm lost," he said very quietly. "I think last time I ignored my soul. Yes I kept it at bay. I'm sure animal lust took me over."
"So what's happening to you now?"
"I've closed my eyes...and I'm walking away...to the window. I think last time you killed me...after we'd been swept along by that mindless river. Actually I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I've just realised I've been reading off one of Riley's novels."
Dawn, now fully dressed, walked past him and said, "Danger's past. Which novel?"
"The Crystal of Ambiguity. Have you read it?" He watched her walk back to her clothes area and start to brush her long blond hair. Sitting on a stool it almost touched the polished pine floorboards as she bent forwards and backbrushed vigorously. He liked that she had two rings in each ear...one gold...one silver. To Simon her body now seemed very quiet. The stillness of a sleeping swan. The sudden memory of a perfect friendship.
"I've only read `The Garden of Lights' and `Against the Odds'. What happens in `The Crystal of Ambiguity?"
Simon steered his attention away from the surge of her breasts beneath her floral dress, sipped the hot red tea and guided his eyes over her newly made pine bookcase. he was delighted to see that she seemed to have the complete set of Jung's work...and Erik Neumann's `History of Consciousness'. When Cesar gave Simon Neumann's book for a birthday present...when they'd first met...Cesar had inscribed `Without Neumann I would have been eaten alive...may you discover what it means to be protected by awareness'.
Simon turned to see Dawn looking puzzled. "I'm sorry...I was dreaming. The Crystal of Ambiguity. The book is split in two. On the left side Bob Keller is overcome by Gina's pornographic vibrations...and they both become seriously deranged through becoming obsessively fixated in their sado-masochistic sex activities. He's a journalist working for `Strange Times'. At the time he met Gina he was engaged in writing an article based on asking people the question `If you suddenly had the flash that unless you're completely true to your Self...you will immediately drop dead...would you have to change your life to survive?' He asks people in the streets, art galleries, pubs, outside churches, in banks and rings on Gina's bell...and guess what? Same situation! Yes, she's in the bath...but he doesn't fall in...because she operates an electric door-opening device...and he lets himself in. The flat's in a terrible mess. She's a call girl and an alcoholic. He becomes captivated by the way she presents her emotional/mental negativity...her death trip as an exciting, glamorous, mysterious adventure into the unknown."