jeudi 14 mai 2009

On not going to the Priory

By July 2007 I was feeling thoroughly bad-tempered. My sense of humour had failed. Various adventures had left their scars. I doubted my commitment to a considerable vocation. At least I was in need of a sabbatical. Some time off to reflect. I entered the faculty in October 1983. That would be 24 years man and boy. For the last 5 years I can't say anything I've read or seen professionally had truly given me joy or inspiration.

I had to make a move, simply for the sake of making a move. I wanted to move out of the war zone, set myself at one remove from Babylon. Count the ways it displeased me. But I was also, truly, a Babylonian. Exile is never easy. I had few local allies, perhaps enough, to survive a bit longer at least.

So I sold my house in London, and moved to France. "It's not a bad time to have cash," said my solicitor, pocketing her cut, a cheque for a flat fee of about five hundred pounds.

"I don't know why this transaction didn't cost me 50 pence on the internet," I replied. Perhaps not an entirely just remark (leasehold transactions can be complicated) but heartfelt. Anyway, the thing was sold, and the mortgage repaid, and the liquidation of almost entirely complete. Along the way I had discovered all the cons of the internet, and some of the pros. If I did not suffer personally, I had had at least felt the joy of my initial liberty of expression dulled by both fear and boredom, the attendent need for "security." I nevertheless persisted, as much to goad colleagues as for any narcissistic gains. I do have an urge to perform, it's true, and the internet does offer many creative attractions.

And so, richer than I'd ever been, I packed my affairs into 9 cubic metres of cardboard cartons, and hoped they would survive on the truck to France.

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