June 13, 2018

And then you wake up the next morning and realise that it’s all over.

Another poor night’s sleep. Sections of the ‘Blind’ suite looped in my head. As I rolled from the left to the right of the bed, I remembered the dream poem ‘O Jericho‘. ‘Why this again?’, I questioned. With the recollection came a fearful determination to built the ‘wall’ higher and deeper. At my desk in the morning, I reviewed the account of the poem, which I’d written about in this Diary. Here’s the oddest thing: the moment that I typed the word ‘Jericho’ into the Diary’s search engine, I heard (what I thought was) several trumpets sounding in unison. They came unannounced, and were clear and very present. (A mildly alarming experience.) The music appeared to emanate from within the studio, where I was working, and more particularly out of the monitor speakers in front of me (which were switched off). No equipment other than my laptop was powered. The melodic line comprised two tones, ‘G’ and ‘C’ (an octave below), in two pairs of quavers (‘G’), followed by a crochet (‘C’) and, finally, another crotchet (‘G’). Stranger still, about the same time, one family member was awoken by a loud ‘boom’. But I’d heard nothing of the sort:

James Tissot, The Seven Trumpets of Jericho (c.1896–92)

How does one interpret such a phenomenon? While I have a supernaturalist outlook on life, I’m not so naïve as to believe that all such anomalies (however biblical their allusive credentials) have a divine origin and purpose. I’d fabricated the sound of Old Testament trumpets for ‘The Decalogue’ section of the ‘Image and Inscription‘ suite. So my brain was already adept at imagining both the sonorities of the instrument and a simple melodic line. But why had I heard it just at the moment of typing the name of the city that was most famously associated with the instrument? Was ‘Jericho’ a mental trigger, perhaps? And why did it come to me on this most ‘auspicious’ day? Talk about an unexpected gift.

Let’s assume, for argument sake, that the trumpets’ sound was God given. What, then, was its significance? Surely not to encourage me to take down the ‘wall’. That would make no sense in relation to either the enterprise in itself (I’m persuaded that the ‘wall’ had to be set up) or my waking impetus to make it more secure. God doesn’t send mixed or confusing messages. My conclusion: this was either a delusion, or an illusion, or a confusion. An intriguing and inexplicable coincidence. Nothing more.

9.00 am: My PhD student had solved last week’s Skype debacle. We we able to talk and secure a (hopefully) helpful tutorial:

10.00 am: I convened a postgraduate committee meeting to ratify the submissions for the PhD monitoring round. Thank goodness that’s over for another year. 11.00 am: The final board meeting, at which all third year and MA mark were discussed and confirmed. Business was completed by noon. Afterwards, we toasted and said the first of our farewells to Professor Cruise, who’ll be retiring next month. He’ll be missed, dearly:

12.15 pm: I completed my final administrations for the assessment period before returning home.

2.00 pm: I’d determined to take the afternoon at a more leisurely pace (a treat to myself), and the whole evening off (unthinkable). I watched Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941). Remarkable!

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