I always imagined I’d end my days in a booktower and lo and behold, here I am. Well, not exactly a tower so much as a shabby house bursting at the seams with paperbacks, cats and not a lot else. Picture me if you choose as an old, old lady with long, long white hair – the way Rapunzel might have looked if the prince had taken a wrong turning in the magic forest and never actually got round to standing at the foot of the tower and calling up:
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair
So here I am in my fantasy tower, my crabby old fingers scribbling and scrabbling far in to the night with a goose-feather pen. Of course there is the problem of what to do with all the scribbled and scrabbled stuff once scribbled and scrabbled. I thought it over and the answer came to me – blog. After all
Those who can, do/Those who can’t, blog
In this recurring dream or fantasy of mine the tower is made of monstrous blocks of stone, smooth and perfectly cylindrical, and on the inside all the way round it are narrow shelves. The tower is lined with books. Stone stairs go up and up – and up and up – and the top is open to the sky.
Sometimes in my dreams – and this is where it does begin to take on a nightmarish aspect – I carry on climbing and climbing, further and further away from the earth, from everything. In the upper reaches there begin to be windows hewn from the stone, but they have no glass in them and the cold wind rushes in. Outside now it is snowing and all I can see is a night sky full of stars. Both stars and stairs keep multiplying, and I never reach the top. And what if I do? What then? Am I to jump?
If you’ve ever seen the 1946 David Niven film A Matter of Life and Death (US: Stairway to Heaven) with its escalator between life and the after-life, and that creepy mingle-mangle music – that’s approximately the feeling.
There are, as far as I can tell, no other people in the universe/alternative reality that contains my booktower. I could always see how lonely this was scenario going to be, but it also seemed inevitable. And, to be honest, something of a relief. No other people. Yay!
You may think I’m a bit on the autistic side, but I would say not. I think I’m just somewhat specialised. I’ve been here such a long time – it feels like lifetime after lifetime. This time around perhaps I’m taking a lifetime out. Dreaming of Rabbits, like Old Rufus.
(More of Old Rufus to come, no doubt.)
And then there’s the Prince of Aquitaine à la tour abolie… but time’s wingèd chariot and all that. He and Gérard de Nerval, his poet, will need to be the subject of another post.