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Monday, 30 July 2012


A writer should always know when to bring things to a close and never strive to keep alive for form's sake alone.

I have never done crosswords or Sudoko; I used to play a bit of chess but with no real talent. But I have been writing Compositions all my life. Now they may discharge my duty to remain Mentally Active. It is no accident that I chose to run through the Alphabet in the month which brought me my 65th birthday.

I had no advance plan; I made things up as I went along, and I hope it shows. For some letters, I had ideas in advance but always plumped on the day for something which felt as if it would write itself.

I had nothing in mind for letter X and for letter Z, I could only think of Zzzz. I did have a choice for Y.

I have often thought there is a nice essay to be written on the last lines of novels, even the last word - perhaps it's been done.

I never finished Joyce's Ulysses and probably never will, but I read Molly Bloom's soliloquy which concludes the novel and which, famously, ends with the word Yes:

and yes I said yes I will Yes.

yes yes Yes. It is life affirming and on its own ought to dispose of the idea that Joyce is merely a formalist - worse a cosmopolitan one in the purse-lipped rhetoric of F.R. Leavis.

yes yes Yes until we conclude that it is time to bring things to a close. No more.

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