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Shreds of Nothingness

By: Carl Halling

Page 1, The Memoirs of Carl Halling

Introduction

"Shreds of Nothingness" centres on my brief stay at Homerton, a teaching training college contained within the University of Cambridge, with its campus at Hills Road just outside the city centre. First published at the Faithwriters.com website in August 2007 in definitive form, it is a fusion of two previously published works. These are the original "Shreds of N." as published at the Blogster.com website on the 6th January 2007, but now modified and consisting of "In Such a State as This" and "A Cambridge Narrative" 1 & 2; and "Final Flight from Hills Road", formerly "A Cantabrian Lament", this first published at Blogster on the 10th of June 2006.

A Cambridge Narrative 1

"In Such a State as This" was adapted either from a page of diary notes, or an unfinished and unsent letter, written just before Christmas 1986 during my brief stay at Homerton. I created it by extracting selected sentences from the original script, and then joining them together, before subjecting the result to thorough editing and versification. It conveys the pathological restlessness, romantic and otherwise, to which I was subject in the mid 1980s, and which resulted in my quitting Homerton after a single term. However, quite why I was so determined to put a final flight from Hills Road into practice remains a quandary to me more than two decades later. After all, I had every reason to relish my time there, given that I’d been made to feel most welcome and appreciated, not just by my tutors and fellow students, but others, including a student director, renowned throughout the university for the high quality of his theatrical productions, who singled me out to feature in a play he intended putting on during the Lent Term. He did so after seeing me interpret the leading role of Tom in Tennessee Williams'“The Glass Menagerie" soon after the end of the Michaelmas Term. Furthermore, the then president of the world famous Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club had gone out of his way to ask myself and a friend to appear in a Footlights production he was preparing as part of his year-long presidency. It was as if I was convinced that life's most precious opportunities constitute an inexhaustible suppy, which of course they don't, as I know all too well today, all too well.

In Such a State as This

In such
a state as this
I could fall
In love
With anyone.
The night
before last
I went
to the ball
Couples
filing out
I wanted to be
one half
of ev'ry one
But I didn't want
to lose her.
I’ve done
little today
Except mope
Dolefully around
I’ll get over
how
I feel now,
And very soon.
Gradually
I’ll freeze again,
Even assuming
An extra layer
of snow.
I have
I have
I have
To get out of here...

A Cambridge Narrative 2

It will be obvious to any half-way sensible reader of the following piece that had I remained at Cambridge for the brief three terms required of me by the dictates of my course, which included teaching practise at the Manor Community College in Arbury, a deprived London overspill area north of the River Cam, I would have been primed for success in an area in which I excelled, namely comedic character acting with a satirical edge. Not only that, but I would have passed my Post Graduate Certificate in Education through Cambridge University, as part of a course intended to produce something of a pedagogic elite. As if all this weren't enought to keep me at Homerton, when I made my first appearance at the Manor, the pupils reacted to me as if I was some kind of visiting movie or Rock star. Why in the name of precious reason itself was I so determined to put such a blatant act of self-sabotage into practise? As a born again Christian, my faith helps me to withstand the pain of not knowing why, and yet knowing all too well what I lost. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that without it I would find my memories almost too painful to bear. My faith protects me from the full furious ferocity of my follies past, and without it, I would be at their mercy, and they would rend me to shreds of utter nothingness.
Unless I'm mistaken, "Final Flight from Hills Road" was forged from the same source material as "In Such a State as This" before being subjected to a similar editing process, and then published at the Blogster.com website on the 10th of June 2006.

Final Flight from Hills Road

Homerton's always a little lonely
at the weekends...
no noise and life,
I like solitude,
but not in places
where's there's recently been
a lot of people.
Reclusiveness protects you
from nostalgia,
and you can be as nostalgic
in relation
to what happened half an hour ago
as half a century ago,
in fact more so.
I met Marie and Paul
at 11.30 am,
and they took me out to lunch.
We went to Evensong
at Kings,
and it was beautiful;
the choral music, haunting.
I went to the PGCE
Xmas party. I danced,
and generally lived it up.
I went to bed sad though.
Discos exacerbate
my sense of solitude.
My capacity
for social warmth,
excessive social dependance
and romantic zeal
can be practically
deranging;
it's no wonder
I feel the need
to escape.
I feel trapped here,
there's no outlet for my talents.

© Copyright 2014Carl Halling All rights reserved. Carl Halling has granted theNextBigWriter, LLC non-exclusive rights to display this work on Booksie.com.

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