Better in the dark


Some things are better just left. Sometimes, those things – or indeed people – are best left in the dark. In the dark is how I prefer my current accommodation: it just looks better that way. In the glow of the naked, red light bulbs hanging from my ceilings, once the sun sets, this place looks better than it does in the cold light of day. The tinted light puts a veneer on the imperfections. This place is nocturnal; like me.

I like the dark. I like dark things. I’ve always been like that. I like to explore darkness and the things which may lurk within. If I can’t find those things, I simply make them up, such is the art of the writer. My mind just inhabits a dark place. Or perhaps my mind is a dark place in its own right. I certainly find things there. I’ve written about them. A case in point would be COGS.

I was uncomfortable in writing that particular story, not only because of the content but because it might have lost me friends, some of whom are young. I knew that it was a good story which could be written well in the right hands but I ran the risk of alienating some of my younger friends – who are also readers – because I feared they may think that what I wrote about might be indicative of the kind of thoughts I have as a person, as opposed to the writer. I am no more likely to re-enact the events I write about than a film director is to act out a video nasty. I’m both pleased and proud that both of my adopted daughters and my best young mate have read COGS and although they all say that it is grim / morally wrong / disturbing and more, they also note that it is well written and will stay with the reader long after ingesting. Writers – like film directors and others in the arts – have to take themselves out of their own comfort zones sometimes to produce something which is disturbing but affecting. With COGS, I’ve done that: I’m good at my job.

This little place where I’ve chosen to live the impoverished life of an alcoholic writer is just the kind of place one would expect to find an impoverished, troubled writer. And I’m here to stay because a weight which was weighing upon my shoulders has been lifted. No-one need know how that was achieved because certain things and people are best left in the dark.

There is much home improvement still to be done but it is now truly home. There’s the small matter of plumbing in a cooker, so that we have more than a microwave oven here and a toaster would be handy but we have a kettle. Coffee in the mornings – black, because someone has used the Coffee Mate – would be nicer with a slice of burnt toast with Marmite: breakfast has taken on a dark hue.

Now, I’d rather be writing, so I’m off to a dark place. Would the last one in please turn on the lights; the red ones.

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