Sunday, 14 December 2008


I'm quite tired at the moment, and am getting the usual moments of cognitive dysfunction that always overtake me in the pit of the year. (I get SAD quite badly and now have a light-box). These days I don't get depressed so much as mentally wonky, with amusing little glitches. The loss of the ability to spell is the most irritating: I go to write 'for' and find I have written 'air', aim for 'naked' and write 'quack', try for 'homeless' and get halfway through 'hovercraft'. This makes rewriting a book rather a problem.

But it also happens visually. I was looking out of a window recently into a neighbour's garden, and saw an extraordinary sight. About ten feet away, by (for which I've just written 'but') a bush, there was a little, naked black man leaning down to touch the earth between his feet with the top of his head. Having never seen a homunculus before I was extremely puzzled and kept looking, until the image resolved itself after a few seconds into - a chicken. (It was like the way that the threatening spectre that one sometimes sees when waking up in a strange room resolves itself into a dressing gown hanging on the door of the wardrobe, or a pile of clothes on the back of a chair.)

The brain is a funny thing. (Or indeed, as I just wrote, a 'finny' thing.) I'm also incredibly emotionally labile: Noel Coward's potency of cheap music gets me going instantly these days. Normally completely immune to this kind of thing, my emotional stays well-laced, at the moment I'm sobbing along to X-Factor, wailing at the new Leona Lewis single, that kind of thing. I was describing this at lunch yesterday and one of my older colleagues commented that he had no idea what I was talking about, but admitted that he did 'get a bit wobbly' when he saw 'bad things happening to dogs.'

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