“A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling, or teaching, or ordering. Rather, he seeks to establish a relationship with meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all our lives trying to be less lonesome. And one of our ancient methods is to tell a story, begging the listener to say, and to feel, "Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought." To finish is sadness to a writer, a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.”
― John Steinbeck
Hands on the wall.
We shall never meet those people.
They are so far away now.
We can see still their hands.
They are stretched out across time.
Those absent hands touch us still.
A hand in the book.
On opening the well-thumbed Delia Smith, the handwritten recipe is still there.
It conjures presence.
It confirms absence.
It has become a relic.
The absent hand touches me still.
I turn a page.
I close the book...
It has been a memorable week.
On Monday I had another birthday.
I am becoming rather more aware of birthdays now.
When I was younger I took far less notice.
Then, I could count the years on only the fingers of my two hands.
Time stretched out indefinitely.
It seems more counted now... that others are absent.
A heart written note.
It didn't look much.
It was a DM.
It appeared on my tablet in the morning.
It was a birthday card or perhaps a present.
There were seven words, three twitter handles, and a link.
It was special for me.
Perhaps we are brought closer by the distance which separates us?
We stretch out.
We feel absence.
We feel presence.
We are as if felt together on this page.
We can never count alone.
We don't have enough fingers.
These absent hands touch me still.
For Terry, Kevin, Susan, Maha, and all those who count for me absent and present.