"How can the ghost of an astronaut haunt this partially-derelict building that, until a year ago, was just a dilapidated, unwanted, lefty-leaning hippy refuge? What kind of ghost is this? How is any of this possible on the ground?"
I shouldn’t be communicating with anyone at all – that was the promise I made to myself when I moved into this house two months ago. But everything has changed. Some experiences that I’ve had in this house have crept up on me, then at times others have blasted me, stunned me, pummeled me. And now I can’t keep it all to myself. I’m not quite the same person that I was when I entered this ramshackle, windswept wreck of a place. I’m strangely firm and resolved, yet I’m curiously unsettled and at war with myself. So my promise is discarded and I find myself communicating with you. Another personal value broken and trampled on in this modern day and age! But I’m besieged, and many things can come to be lost at such times. Don’t you agree? To my mind right now, words are all I have to help me stay sane, to hold on – to try and keep the astronaut at bay.
Oh, and an internet connection, of course! To capture the words and send them on their way in the world. Digitally speaking, you understand. Well, how else could I write this web log? Sorry, compound word time: blog! I’ve no phone handset, no cell phone, no TV, no neighbours to turn to, just a slow dial-up account through this phone-line connected to a sluggish laptop computer. And, before anyone asks, no I don’t have a portable DVD player, in-car sat-nav or a PDA with me! Aside from this computer, a small CD player and Mr Dial-Up, I’m technologically naked, electronically native. But being both slow and sluggish are in keeping with where I’m living: the Scottish countryside, and far into it too. A slow pace of life, a sluggish appearance to every day. For me, speedy, in any sense, is unnecessary. And unwanted.
To be honest, I never thought I would use this internet line. Really it was just here for emergencies: hearing a bang somewhere off in the distance and checking the BBC website to see if Armageddon had occurred! That kind of thing. But now I’m using it to try and keep focused, to keep some degree of self, to prevent myself from being sucked into that space where the astronaut is intent on taking me.
"Everything inside has steadily been chilled and darkness has grown in me like tight, clambering, unstoppable ivy, its leaves black and icy"
In some ways, I need to escape from this place – and this is one way I can think of to do just that. To write this – to you, to nobody, to everyone. It’s a kind of real-life message placed in a virtual bottle. But I don’t want anyone to save me, or anything like that. Just to hear me. A voice in space. Space! Oh boy, how appropriate that metaphor is! A voice dragged out of me, or screamed out of me, and into the airless and empty darkness. Inevitably to end up within absolute nothing? Time will tell.
Oh, how dark the symbolism I'm using here! What words are these? Whose voice? I don't recognise any of this. I don't recognise me! But that’s what’s happened by degrees. Everything inside has steadily been chilled and darkness has grown in me like tight, clambering, unstoppable ivy, its leaves black and icy. He's happy to know this. The astronaut. I hear it in his breath through his visor, even when he’s not around.
But somehow this is good, this is interesting to me. I see on the screen of this laptop just how much I’ve changed and, therefore, what has been done to me. I notice how the house’s lifeless air has punctured a vein and slithered in. And it’s all his doing.
But how did he come to be here? How can the ghost of an astronaut haunt this partially-derelict building that, until a year ago, was just a dilapidated, unwanted, lefty-leaning hippy refuge? What kind of ghost is this? How is any of this possible on the ground?
But all these questions are for later. I want to recount what has happened to me and, if I get that far, to bring you up-to-date and recount what is happening to me now.
I've set the scene. The next post will tell it all from the beginning, from that bright, sunny day in September when an American girl arrived at desolate Mordan House in a remote part of the west of Scotland.