Textual Disease

I had an eye test this morning. The optician had to pull a test card out of my hands as I gripped it. It held passages written in different fonts and I was engrossed.

James jokes that I drive through a new town and know the opening and closing times of every store. It's true, I snatch up the contents of any sign. If I can't grab a book before running to the toilet I make do with reading the label of the toilet cleaner. I prefer baths to showers, because I can lie back and read a whole book in one soak. I loved the treadmills in American gyms, where Oprah was on silent TV screens and the text of her conversations scrolled across the bottom half of the screen. I'm fixated on text.

It's one area of clash within our relationship. James is talking and finds my attention has wandered to some random piece of teaxt in the environment. He waits and stares till my attention has returned. He's actually much more vocal than me, so where I long to scan the content of a text and store it quietly he longs to read it aloud with me as an audience.

We compromise. And I recognize my obsessions with the written word, any written word, as my 'textual disease'. I suppose it's one mark of my being a writer. (James of course is a writer too, but he quite consciously writes for the cadence of his own voice, writing in a vocal style.)

Today has seen me return to my ongoing novel, Cromozone. It's the first time I've looked at it for some months. I've been going not so much for a vocal style (it's stripped back and bare) but using dialogue wherever possible. On returning to this, as to other pieces, I find myself expanding it from within. The dialogue needs more physical context. And once placed in its fuller physical context, the dialogue itself grows juicier. It was a relief to be working on it again ... nothing but my own text in front of my eyes!