Some memories come unbidden ... was thinking yesterday of the first writing I ever did that was just ... writing. Had no (other) purpose. It was this time of year, many years ago. I'd just turned 18. 401 Ferguson Drive, Heretaunga. That's Upper Hutt, a satellite of the capital, Wellington. We lived in a pluty neighbourhood then, surrounded by bankers and doctors and diplomats and so forth. My father was principal of one of the two local colleges, he was not yet, though soon to be, consumed by alcoholism. My mother was embarking on an independent existence, a literary life, she was having affairs. I had left school but was not yet enrolled at University. So it was my last summer at home and I half knew the turmoil that was around us, me and my sisters, but not in any way I could have explained. I had a job that summer, I worked at General Motors in Trentham, on the assembly line. First I used to buff up the weld spots where the car bodies were stuck together, using a motorised wire brush. Later I tested petrol tanks, filling them with compressed air and dunking them in a pool of water to look for bubbles along the seams where top and bottom had been heat sealed together. It was shift work, with compulsory overtime three nights a week. Maybe I'd finished the job at the time I did the writing? Or maybe I was on a break? Can't remember. What I do recall is lying full length, face down on the white shag-pile carpet in the sitting room, pencil in hand, filling pages and pages of blank typing paper with words. What about? Well, I'd been reading Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, in a Penguin paperback and the writing was directly influenced by that book (which I read all of, with great enthusiasm, and have never been able to look at since.) But what, exactly? Don't know ... I suspect it was all about my own becoming, that it was dreams of power, some kind of word flow that was barely coherent even to me, perhaps a sort of automatic writing. I seem to remember images, green mountains, white rivers ... I don't know what happened to those pages. I certainly never showed them to anyone and don't recall taking them with me to Auckland not so very long afterwards ... nor do I remember destroying them. They just seem to disappear, unlamented, almost unread, since I don't think I ever looked back over them after they were written. It was, perhaps, one of those rare times when the writing itself is enough and, once accomplished, is finished. The other memory that is associated with this one is an argument I had with my mother around the same time. She was concerned at my idleness and took me to task for it. She said I never did anything and it was time I started to occupy myself fruitfully. I was outraged and told her I was doing something, I was thinking and that thinking was an activity. She said it wasn't, it was just ... a cover for idleness I guess. It's strange that I didn't say I'd been writing for, if I had, she would instantly have forgiven my indolence. But the truth is, for me, then, thinking and writing were more or less the same thing, or perhaps one was a random and not particularly significant product of the other. I wonder now about those pages ... what they said ... how they said it ... where they went ...

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