For most people, summer ended months ago. But Barcelona only has two seasons: summer, in which the decision-making process about what to wear takes less than a minute; and winter, wherein you essentially have to put on every item of clothing you own. The change happens almost overnight, but mentally it takes a while to acclimatise.
In a sense, I’ve come full circle. Art imitates life imitates art. Back to the beginning we go—or, as Shirley Bassey once sang, it’s just a little bit of history repeating. Communication is the key to life, but sometimes you say the wrong things, and sometimes you don’t say them right. Sometimes, people just have a change of heart, and nothing you say can make them change their mind. Perhaps we all just change with the seasons.
So, I tell myself the same thing: finish what you’ve started. Stay true to the work. I was stuck for a while, but I got my groove back one glorious afternoon in late October. I went to the beach and watched the ocean. Caught a woman taking pictures of me. I smiled and turned away. The words now flow like water, down a narrow, stone street—a tiny torrent heading who knows where. The gutter or the sea, or somewhere in between. I read my first full book in Catalan, and one in Spanish, too, but the thought of speaking still fills me with dread—right up until the third beer, usually.
I thought I’d cut myself off by moving here, but we’re always connected, aren’t we? Social media, mostly. I’m trying to write my own story, but my feed is filled with others. The rise of the far right. Trump’s speeches. Neo-cons, anti-remainers, and the constant quashing of meaningful debate. Whose narrative is this? There’s so much news and almost all of it bad. You can avoid some of it, but not all, and there’s no avoiding the knowledge that some people out there are so filled with hate. It makes my heart hurt, and my mind numb, and I wonder: where do you start? How do you combat the hate without feeling the hate yourself? Small gestures? Grand ambitions? Punch a Nazi? Making art is an act of resistance, and you need to support others that do the same.
While I was writing this, I overheard someone say: “People don’t listen. That’s the thing. They do how they want to do.” I nodded in agreement, silent and sad. But I listen—or, I like to think I do. I’ve started meditating—without the aid of an app, and despite my own scepticism—and more than anything else, it led me to notice the sounds. The echo of my landlady’s voice from the stairwell, the ‘tink’ of what I thought was the iron, or another electrical device I’d left on, and a whirring noise from beyond the balcony. The urge to get up is almost overwhelming, but I guess like anything else it just takes practise.
Words written since arriving: 59,262