Today, setting a fire, dead wood things from the garage, I was taken with a very strong urge to burn all my notebooks. The shoeboxesful in the cupboard. The A6s, the 9x7s, the Moleskines, the fauxlskines, the ring-bound reporter’s pads. All of them.

“It’s either that or carry this shite around for the rest of our lives. Anyway,” (I imagined the scene vividly, talking to J in my head, throwing another handful into the garden incinerator,) “there was nothing of note before now.” (I saw her eyes roll, and her swift comeback. Well, a nice idea, I thought, and started writing it down…)

…she arrived mid-note. The family slept inside. I relayed the scenario. A micro-beat.

‘So… have you burned them?’

I had not. But, the actual factual act of doing so was sealed. It was a done deal, the spark in my head, the slightest of prods all that was needed to stoke the blaze. I scampered upstairs, and down again, clutching a fairly heavy wine box… more volumes than I thought.

20 years of notebooks consigned to the memory hole with glee. Tedious lists of train names… lost in-jokes, forgotten transcendence, unrecoverable glories, confusion, bitterness and drunken scribbles, all gone to a series of blazes. A bright-eyed lightening of the load, a fiery shedding of the shite, a bonfire of the bollocks. Arson is addictive, I alliterated happily to myself, toasting the flames with Grolsch and Glenlivet.

The smell, the temperature, every good feeling I remember from festivals, from camping trips, from other times I’ve enjoyed a ritual purge. All marked with sincere libations to the heavenly hosts, to all our patrons and matrons.

Lighter, reader. Lighter.

Advertisements