Thursday, 8 September 2011

Almost on the eve of my television programme

The cursor is madly shaking as I write this, and my hatred of the world of modern computers is almost uncontrollable, and the Chinese woman at the screen near me in the Salerno Mailboxes seems to be going mad as well, but I have to go on writing my wretched blog because the television programme about me and my mother is soon to be shown:  on Crime and Investigation Network, at 9p.m. next Tuesday, 13th September 2011.

Oddly enough, that date is the ninth anniversary of my mother's death, which seems appropriate, because this programme, which is called "The Last Will of Maria Hills", is about her almost as much as it is about me. How strange that, after so many postponements, they have fixed it for her death day.

And it may be my death day as well if I have to stay much longer in this modern hell of an internet and phone agency. The Chinese woman is alternately shouting and crying to someone over her headphones, someone has just sat down unpleasantly close to me, a vast multiracial crowd was only recently at the counter waiting hopelessly to be served. Italy is a beautiful country, but in its modern incarnation it is among the most crowded and pressurised of European states.

Nevertheless, it can be so beautiful. This morning I went to Paestum where the three Greek temples rise from the ruins of the ancient city. Once you pass through the sunny walls you are in a different world, and the calm and serenity are unbelievable.

Most moving of all are the ancient paintings from the Tomb of the Diver, which are unique Greek pictorial art of the fifth century BC. One shows young men making love to each other at a symposium and another them following a flute girl, but the most significant of all is of the diver himself aiming for the pool of death. We cannot doubt as we look at this wonderful work of art that he will come up to the surface with a fuller understanding of things and a new life in union with the infinite.

But before I myself aim for the pool of death, I am going to be a television star. It is with great hope and only a little fear that I contemplate seeing and hearing myself on the screen. Millions of others will also be able to watch in HD and perhaps they will see every chance stain on the colourful shirt and smart trousers I acquired in Otranto on the day of the filming to face the camera. What will they think of me? More important, will it encourage them to want to read the things I write, which are the most important things in my life to me?

As previous readers of this blog will know, my little book, "The Olinda Angel", extracts from which are read by my friend Bill Hicks on the programme, is available as a download from at the cheap price of £4.95. A few blog posts back, there is a blob you can press to go straight to the site.

This unfinished book is a bit of a mess, but it is interesting as a rare record of murderous obsession. Most other of my writings are more pulled together artistically. I have written two novels, one realistic and the other an allegory, as well as a very strange novella, called "The Track". All are pretty good, I think, and all unpublished.

But I am probably best in my autobiographical shorter pieces, a proportion of which have seen the light of day, and I believe I write particularly well at around 1000 words. However, one of the short stories that I published in Quadrant, called "To the Edge of Her World", an  work of about 8000 words and with no direct autobiographical reference, was described by Les Murray, the magazine's literary editor, as "a chilling masterpiece".

That ends my short plug about my work, and I hope you will forgive it. And if watching the programme stimulates you to explore what I have published as C.A.R. Hills, or to accept further works for publication, it will have more than fulfilled the hopes I repose in it.

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