MONDAY 27th SEPTEMBER

 

Although it is Monday today I feel relatively encouraged, not to say relieved; I am able to write again.  Not since last Tuesday, following the completion of the above entry in this journal, have I so much as written a word.  I have spent most of the intervening time in bed, unable to sleep, unable to read, and virtually unable to think.  Not only did I swindle myself out of a trip to Surrey at the weekend, I swindled myself out of a week's literary endeavour to boot!  In short, I overdid it.  My cerebral limits rose up against me and chastised me for concentrating too steadily during the previous week.  I was obliged to accept the fact that, beyond a hitherto unspecified point, my brain would break under pressure of too much intellectual strain.  If it didn't literally break it evidently suffered some sort of breakdown, as the following five days were to confirm.  I even began to wonder, at one point, whether I would ever be able to write again.

     On Tuesday afternoon I felt fine or, more precisely, I had no premonition of an impending calamity.  If there had been a friend or two with whom to talk, some wine to drink, or a woman to fuck after finishing my stint of writing that afternoon, none of this would probably have happened, and I would have continued recording ideas and impressions in my journal on Wednesday afternoon. 

     With no immediate or even prospective recourse to such relaxing diversions, however, it soon became clear to me that I would either have to pass the time in my usual solitary fashion or, if the prospect of that proved somewhat daunting (as it evidently did on this occasion), persevere with my writing for an extra hour or two.  I had passed literally hundreds of evenings in exactly the same fashion, without ever talking to anyone, without ever seeing anyone, without ever making love to anyone, and so I had little doubt that I would somehow manage to get through this one as well, even if it did mean a little extra work for once.  The last thing you wanted, in such circumstances, were doubts about anything!  It was of the utmost importance to stay relatively cool, to pass the time in as sensible a fashion as possible, to adjust to your circumstances with the minimum of friction, because if you didn't, if you began to worry about the possibility of overtaxing your brain, the apparent narrowness of things, the extent of your sexual frustrations, or the absence of companionship, wine, and laughter, you were already on the way to a lunatic asylum or, failing that, to a church congregation!  The one imperative rule of life demanded that you adjust to your circumstances whatever they happened to be, and I, for one, knew exactly what mine were. 

     What I didn't know, however, I was soon to learn as, driving myself beyond my cerebral limits, I sustained a head-on collision with my will and subsequently wound-up on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  If it wasn't for the fact that I don't normally worry too much or look the breakdown type, I might have gone completely over the brink and plunged into an abyss of self-destruction.  But it seems that, for the time being, I have been spared such a catastrophe.  My cerebral horizon is now clearly mapped out and all it requires of me is to remain within its boundaries and not go dotty, like an overworked pointillist.  Be thyself, by all means.  But know thyself as well!  This is also required of us.

     Well, now that I can actually think again without fear that my brain will blow apart, that it is too heavy to carry, that a hideous pain will dart through it at the slightest intellectual provocation, or that the clicking noises which accompanied my crisis for a few days will return to click louder and more intensively than before, I consider it expedient, for the sake of a little self-respect, to continue from more or less where I left off last Tuesday.  At least I shall be slightly wiser now.  I shall have learnt something else about the fixity of my limits!

 

 

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