Funny, isn’t it, how things seldom turn out the way we planned? How a piece that simply starts off as silly can, oh so quickly become sombre if we don’t keep an eye on it. How an intentionally downbeat article can somehow hit the screen sounding joyous. Sometimes I begin a post with something to say and end it by finding that I have said something quite different. I suppose I should plan more, but over-planning, I have discovered completely smothers joy, and when these posts do anything other than just follow their own path, they die. So I let them go where they will and if they occasionally stumble into a blind alley (Occasionally? Who am I kidding?) well, they’ll just have to stumble out again. Mostly they lurch to some kind of conclusion, although seldom the one that I was intending. When they do not, well then, it is perhaps fitting that you reach your own.
Perhaps the one thing that the last few weeks have brought to everyone is an acute awareness of the fragility of life – something with which we over sixties are already well-acquainted, thank you very much. It is a fear which we are all used to pushing away, and one that this blog has always attempted, in one or another, to confront.
Death is the one certain consequence of life: it is the inevitable and inescapable conclusion, but worrying about it does nothing but bring it closer. Anyway, this blog is not about death, it is about life, it has never been about death. It is about cheating it. Or at least blowing a raspberry at it. It is about putting a bat up its nightie, a fart-cushion on its chair and itching powder in its cloak. It is about facing up to its ever closer proximity and laughing at it none-the-less. It is intended to be life affirming. I hope that it makes you smile now and then.
Because, if I’m honest, that’s all I ever try to do. I am not a man with anything particularly profound to say. I have arguments to make here and there, but generally I can only give them any impetus if they make you smile first. I really don’t think that I can tell you anything that a thousand better bloggers cannot tell you much more clearly. Erudition is not my strong point – at least, I don’t think it is. I’ll look it up and come back to you.
Throughout my younger life, all I really wanted to be was a comedian. I can write jokes, I can tell jokes and, given half the chance, I will perform in front of anyone I know, anywhere – ask my kids: until they were old enough to go to Uni, all they ever seemed to say to me in public was, ‘Daaaddddd!’ Yet I would not, could not, stand up in front of a group of people I do not know, who might just possibly hate me, and try to make them laugh. Nah, I am incredibly thin-skinned. I have a tissue-paper wrapped, egg-shell self esteem which hangs by a thread and for which one more failure might just be one too many. Every single setback, no matter how small, is a map-pin to my sagging ego’s balloon. I fear that all I have ever done is look for a way out. If it worked, yes I wrote it, thank you very much. If it fell on its arse well, the writing was ok, obviously it was the delivery that cocked it up. It seems that I can forgive myself for not trying, but not for failing.
In this little community we share, we are all writers. Ultimately we write for the same reason – in the hope that others will like what we have to say and (even better) take a little time to tell us so. We write what we know, and what I know about is growing old. I am an old git and so I write Old Git Lit – a genre I have invented, with much, I think, to recommend it, although I’m buggered if I can remember what it is at the moment. It is generally a little baggy, a little faded around the edges. It has a tendency towards the repetitive and it is not nearly as engaging as I would like to think it is. It is also repetitive. The plot lines have a tendency towards the iffy, often wandering off on their own if I’m not careful, seldom ending up anywhere near where I intended them to go, but then, even in these trapped-in days, that’s exactly what life is all about, isn’t it?
Today’s practical task was to re-seal around the bath. It is done. It looks as if it might have been done by a one-armed maniac with a hangover. It meanders around the bath like a country bridle-path. It will almost certainly leak, but I will only be certain when the kitchen ceiling starts to comes down…
When all else fails, there’s always self-delusion – Conan O’Brien