THE SWIFTS OF BRENSTON: I AM ELLIS SWIFT
Now, where was I? Oh, yes, I had just told you about the epiphany I had experienced, and how that was about to lead me from Britain to Brenston, hadn’t I? It all happened with astonishing quicksilver rapidity, one moment I was merely visiting my parents with only the dimmest, murkiest view of what seemed to be a flatly uninspiring immediate future, then, the next, everything had changed and I was reinvigorated as if had taken some kind of elixir for the soul, or, if you prefer a little vulgarity, a hit of spiritual Viagra.
I was familiar with the States having lived there for a couple of years, off and on, but I had never been anywhere near Brenston or knew all that much about it, yet here I was with that world promising to open to me in an almost seductive fashion. I felt invigorated, full of life, tingling with anticipation, though, of what, I had only the vaguest notion, it was enough that this mysterious and intriguing new vista lay before me, a million possibilities suggested in misty outline. Perhaps it would give you a better idea of what I was thinking if you consider how writers (I’m not claiming to be a particularly *good* one you understand) sometimes see the world, there are things that we experience that we don’t appreciate merely in the moment or for their experiential qualities but for inspiration they may give us, it isn’t that we consciously decide to use such things as material for fiction (okay, I will admit, occasionally it *is*) but that our imaginations process situations and emotions, recording them in order to fashion – some of – them into literary forms or transfigure them into fictional incarnations. The promise of Brenston and the Swifts seemed like the promise of *inspiration*, the coming of moisture, of rain, to a parched and arid landscape. As my mind did this I had little conception that the various people I would meet, pieces of knowledge I would acquire, and unexpected *love* I would experience would have the profoundest effect not merely on my imaginative world but on my, I realize now, previously rather callow and relatively hollow self.
I really don’t need to go into the conversations and the weeks of arrangements that followed, they seem beside the point; as it was, everything took on a dreamlike texture or a fantasylike tinge, it was like falling in love with someone whom you *know* to be perfectly *right* for you (or so I imagine) even the difficult things had a peculiar and contradictory *ease* to them, my life was about to totally change but I was curiously free of anxiety, hell, I was thriving on, energised by, receiving an *electric charge* from this transformation. It was like a New Ellis Swift was being born! When I now say “I am Ellis Swift” I take pleasure in knowing that coming to Brenston, meeting the Swifts and their friends, and discovering a myriad things I had never conceived of before, altered me almost entirely from the person I was before. Although the strange thing is that elements of that alteration came not from events I went through *myself*, but that I learnt of at second- or third-hand or in some oblique, *obscure* fashion, it didn’t matter, even in those circumstances I felt changed, transfigured, and *enriched* by the knowledge and the effect it had on my heart and my view of the world. All that was in the future, yet even in the weeks of preparation I felt myself to be barely connected to my old life, as if I were floating in some pleasurable limbo awaiting arrival in some other world. It wasn’t just some ethereal sensation either, as I said, I felt invigorated, the anticipation had a physical aspect, a jittery caffeinated quality, it was truly weird but I felt myself possessed by a semi-erotic feeling of impendingness. It was likely simply the freedom of knowing I finally was *moving on*, that I had something new and mysterious waiting for me, perhaps the anxiety I should have been feeling was manifesting itself in other ways which would explain why I occasionally felt as if I was lost in that moment just before orgasm when you feel the most *intense, delirious, frustrating, wonderful, almost painful sensation* one that requires *completion, climax* but it is also so warm, powerful, and all-encompassing, that you almost wish it would *never end*…
Like I said, it was *weird*. And, maybe, I’ve just given you far too intimate and potentially scary an insight into my psyche. The mind of Ellis Swift can be an “fascinating” place, though we should probably strike that “fascinating” and replace it with *strange*…
The weeks passed until finally came the day of leaving, all of my “stuff” had been sent on ahead of me, everything that I could reasonably take, of course, the rest was sent into storage, I’d even persuaded my parents to allow me to leave some things in their garage and attic. So, that was *it*, I was leaving merrie England behind, and I didn’t know how long for as Aunt Elisa and Jeremy (who I never called “Uncle”) had been pleased for my stay to be open-ended, usually this would have sent me into fits of neurotic discomfort so it was wholly surprising that I felt wholly unbothered by this vagueness, after all I had the control I wanted, that is, I was entirely free to concentrate on my writing and allow it to take me where it would. For no reason I could adequately articulate I *knew* that Brenston and the Swifts would provide inspiration, and I could hardly wait to enter this new world.
As I climbed onto the plane at a major metropolitan airport I took one last look at England on an untypically bright and warm autumn day and felt a twinge of uncertainty, but this was soon replaced by a *thrill* of excitement in my mind, my spine, and my belly. I was about to make my way into that longed for new world. The world of the Swifts of Brenston.