When did dreams of polymathy die and estrangements emerge on the scene?
Among unsqueamish friends, I make cautious enquiries about their histories. Might they unearth a practically-forgotten afternoon, spot some shared crop-circle pattern?
Dizzy with peregrination, I find myself back in my private mash-up of green-check shirts, a crocodile snap of a specs’ case, a stagey swirl of a school cape that the other families shunned that encompassed my blue-lipped mother’s pluck and belied our stricken household economy.
Then my hearing was whole, art held no fear, and my map of the Rhine & Rhône, imperfect but with original rolled-up twigs of crêpe paper, lurid fists of grapes humming and scaled grandly as intermediate nuclear power stations… Hang on a second, did I ever finish it?
Plum-coloured inks gleam on scraps, while the larger scene runs away from me.
First published in The Times Literary Supplement