I was on a community enterprise scheme, getting an extra £10 a week on top of my dole money, having my expenses paid for non-existent research trips to the British Museum, and qualifying for a cash bonus upon successful completion of the programme. I thought the works I produced at this time were literary masterpieces but I came to view them as almost unreadable (an opinion shared by the publishers I sent them to).
When the scheme came to an end, I started to publish extracts from this body of work in a series of heavily illustrated A5 size pamphlets. I left these art objects in libraries, churches, Rudolf Steiner centres and other resonant locations, adopting a similar strategy to that deployed around 10 years earlier, when I abandoned handwritten manuscripts in telephone boxes around Stoke-on-Trent. They were offered up as a sacrifice for the enlightenment and liberation of the people. Upon reflection, I don’t think the documents I distributed (or abandoned) were fit for purpose…
In May 2013, I discovered a computer disc containing extracts from the A5 pamphlets, which were produced in October and December 2001 from material originally published in 1991. The following selections are taken from this rediscovered archive.
* * *
There is nothing but now at any time, and a mind existing in that now. It is a question of being aware of this ever-present reality.
All things that know a beginning must come to know an end. This is one of the laws of time, to which all things that make their being in time are subject. The beginning and the end are one. This is the work of a mind that encompasses the whole span of time in its workings.
Everything that happens endures forever. Past events can be returned to through exertion of will. The journey from now into past times is achieved in the presently existing mind.
Hail the mind! Fertile ground of possibility! Curse the mind! Creator of all folly and pain! Worthy of condemnation and praise. The all achieving, the doing nothing. The impenetrable, the soft yielding. The never exhausted. The easily left. The returning.
* * *
I see fear shining from face to face. I see confederacies joined, to stave off the fear of the faces. I lead a perfect half-moon from its station above a tall and ugly building through dense woods, to rest upon the surface of a lake. It dissolves through the movement of water. Crowds are gathering in anticipation of the spectacle to come. They will have to make their own excitement, for none will arise of its own volition.
The beauty of the frost enlivens the land. The beauty of warmth allows us to appreciate the beauty of frost. Graceful crows flap and glide. They are omens, they are birds in flight, life manifest in the skies above us, the clear blue heavens, they are shining. The fog of last night has lifted, the mysterious shroud, creator of shades and roads become rivers, with ghostly ships sailing to the isles of the dead and the young, beyond the limits of our vision, sacrificed that this day might come.
I pass through the gateway separating two ancient kingdoms. The high wood’s resplendent bird life gives way to dark tunnels and the woods come again, through a straight line’s turning. Across the dividing spine of the nation, foothills rising to colourful mountains, dwarfed by other structures, real and imagined, but not of this world. To climb the mountains and behold scenes from the past, the mysterious centuries of a false dark age, for the people of that time looked to the stars and saw the light beyond them.
Pausing on the journey, signalling my presence in space and time, escaping the snares of space and time, entering peace, entering the stillness and drifting, full of purpose, with sure aim. Investing time and space with meaning.
Their corruption is unfathomable, and so is mine. They are lacking in wisdom, and so am I. Some claim possession of truth and set themselves apart through subtle falsehood. Some pace swiftly with inelegant tread. Some conjure wild rhymes or the suggestion of time in the passing. The eye casts forth its own sights for delectation, for sorrow, and the mind images thought through the world, fills the void with itself and searches out others. Like invokes like and disregards the rest. Dreams fade, are rendered invisible, and are given new life through returning. Much is left unsaid when all has been said, lost in the shifting, ignoring the now.
The greatest wisdom in the world is the knowledge of perfect liberty. But liberty doesn’t exist.
* * *
The world is full of falsehood masquerading as truth. The world is full of painful truths suppressed for a multitude of reasons. The world is full of confusion, bewilderment, doubt and invention. Where is freedom? It lies beyond these things; it upholds and leads through them.
The living die. The living and the dead are close kindred. Forgive the dead their inability to turn lamentation into the quarrel quit. Forgive the living their lusts and vanity, looming to haunt the works of their making, flung into the void of brick praising the sky.
We are what we come to. The living walk in the valley of the shadow of death. The unborn possess the ability to generate. The dead continue in more than one place. Let us cast our eyes upon the beauty of the land. Let us perform the fitting act as far as we are able to. Let us know what is fitting.
* * *
They are waiting for me
with their shadows.
They are wearing lifeless masks.
They say: I love you, I hate you,
and seem distressingly inescapable.
And I wait for you
with my shadow.
Lip and tongue become uncertain.
infiltrates all nostrils.
People are sick in the graveyard,
leaving patterns in the snow
which defy interpretation.