Getting Lost with Jacky Charles
November 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
One of my many ideas that have come to nothing was to write a novel about a maze. My hero, Jacky Charles, worked as a groundsman for a big estate, a bit like Lower Loxley in The Archers. He had some deep, dark secret and then a woman turned up from his earlier life who knew that deep, dark secret. In the meantime, she had become a born again Christian. She blackmailed Jacky Charles into building a maze in the grounds of the estate, as a kind of homage to the great medieval cathedral labyrinths. It would have ended with Jacky going mad and setting fire to himself in the centre of the maze.
As a result of this nonsense, I have a slight interest in mazes and labyrinths. As you may know, there is a difference. A maze gives you a choice of pathways. Go this way or that. In a labyrinth, on the other hand, there is only one, unambiguous path. The walker follows it to the centre and then out again. There are no decisions to be made.
I was reminded about all this today, walking passed St Martin in the Fields. In the courtyard, people were chalking a labyrinth onto the ground. When it was ready, walkers started following its path, only really, really slowly. It was part of an event called Just this Day, about being silent.
I’m not particularly in favour of silence. I know many wise voices speak up on behalf of quiet reflection, but stepping out of the usual to celebrate silence and stillness – mmm, I’m not sure. I probably should be doing that more, thinking about life, the future, things in general but I’m not, not really. Partly, it’s because my brain feels like it’s wrapped in clingfilm, but partly it seems like tempting fate to even begin that kind of contemplation. Hence, I find myself watching reruns of Desperate Housewives and embarking on the box set of Murder One instead of thinking how I can carve a better, more worthy life from this experience. To be honest, just being here seems quite ambitious.
So here’s the rather lame, bringing this all together finale.
It’s a bit like I’m in a labyrinth right now – one path, get to the middle, get to the end. There aren’t a lot of choices really. Which is why I’ve always preferred mazes. More human, more like I can make my own mistakes rather than living by some preordained genetic slight of hand.
That didn’t really work, did it? Ah well. Here’s a nice picture of a maze.