The amazing thing to me is not that people write, and write so beautifully. No. That is just the best of the human spirit at work. What is truly astonishing is that it's done within the limitations of our written alphabets. How extraordinary it is to be able to express so many feelings, thoughts, emotions, opinions, fears, hopes, joys, sadnesses, expectations, desires, hates - all bound by the insignificant characters we call our tools.
Now, as a matter of circumstance and space, my books are mostly contained – or is that constrained? – within the digital layers of a device. But what I find more and more, as I learn how much I don’t yet know as a writer, is how much that library of childhood lives on within my memories. It is a mental repository of what I cannot leave behind me; things I desperately hold onto, which shoot up out of the old manual card carousel when least expected, at random moments of thought and time.
I have massive overdue fines to pay on the tomes of lost loves I cannot let go of. They have backed up over the years; each with their own set of particular conditions and dates identifying them, a Dewey Decimal system of loss. E.1996.DS: Death in the Garden.
And those scratched, half-waxed wooden flaws? They retain a beauty hidden deep inside the grain, which is far more precious than any cold perfect marble, slumbering for a thousand eternities, locked in an infinite sleep of incomprehension and carelessness. Once, they lived, and understood pain, and mud, sweat, blood, tears, and noise – and they accept us, boots and all.
It’s the equivalent of grabbing a shopping cart and being let loose in a Target of the Soul while we’re emotionally starving. Aisle One: the damaging ‘friendships’ we drift out of once our usefulness to the emotional vampire has ended. Aisle Two: baaaaad dates, that we end up regaling the few non-drifty friends with, over far too many martinis on a Tuesday night. Aisle Three: non-dates, who simply don’t show up, and end up filed in one of the many cardboard boxes of cautionary tales we keep carefully hidden in our psyches, under a sticker with ‘meh’ written on it. Sadly, not returnable. Usually marked down.
I need to know some things, Satan Claws. I do not understand what Christmouse Carols are. The one first, why do you sing Christmouse songs about ladies named Carol, when you could sing about cats. The one second, you sing SCARY songs at Christmouse! Why would you go away with a stranger, when they do not even have a crib (which is very comfy) for a bed??? That is just dumb. Also. This is a tip, because I like you, and your reindears are funny – do not give away to anyone presents. NO PRESENTS TO ANYONE EXCEPT OSKIES, AND MAYBE KATO. You do not need to give kings things like gold and my purr, that is just wrong! It is not frank good sense, it is frank bad sense. They have enough stuffs.
...admitting intellect is part and parcel of finding someone attractive seems to be akin to saying you love someone because they secretly wish Stalin or Kruschev was still running the USSR, and had Red Dawn-ed the world into submission.
If you find someone attractive for their butt or their boobs, why is it so wrong to find them attractive for their grey matter?
Perhaps you, my dear readers, simply by my saying the words 'marketing guru', are wiser than I, and would have known to run for the hills, screaming. Yes. Well. I didn't, and I suffered the consequences. Venetia suffered also, listening to the hideousness of my hysterical laughter, interspersed with "oh dear GOD" and brief spurts of dry retching.
Depression likes solitude, and peace, and quiet. This is the second reason it beckons to you, like a siren song. Because it's easy. It's so easy. All you see, hear, feel is a lack of glaring light, noise, touch; a big, blank hole, with a pouring darkness in it, sucking you in. Far less trouble than making conversation, than ensuring others are feeling okay, than going out, than cooking, than showering, than turning lights on in a room.
How many times did you say as a child "I hate you!" and feel sick to the stomach afterwards because you'd used the word 'hate'? Maybe it was just me, but I doubt it. Now think about how often you use it. "I hate that idea." "God, I hate this, it's vile." "I hate him so much, I hope he rots in hell."
I use it all the time. I use it about Donald Trump on a daily basis. And I can feel the shadow creeping in on me, because I have forgotten how wrong it is to say it, and by saying it, to put thought into practice.
In another galaxy, far, far, away, one hundred years ago, as the fourth of July weekend was getting ready to rumble in the 1916 jungle, innumerable young British soldiers, members of the Fourth Army, were preparing to immobilise for the Battle of the Somme. ‘Z Day’, as it was called, was supposed to be June 29, but due to poor weather it was postponed.
On a moonless but clear night, between 0200 and 0515, these young boys – these schoolboy warriors, these captains courageous – made their way along prepared lines to the Front, ready for Zero Hour at 0730, July 1.
By November 18, the total British Commonwealth toll of casualties and dead (or MIA) stood at 419,654 and 95,675 respectively. The Allied toll, including the French: 623,907, and 146, 431. German dead and casualty lists were equally horrific, at 465,000 and 164,055.
I watched today, along with the rest of the world, in stunned horror, as Great Britain decided – against all predicted outcomes – to pack her very dignified trunks and take herself off for an extremely long weekend at the country estate. As her shiny Rolls Royce (one must buy British), weighed down with the collective clutter of a nation state’s realisation of what they had just done, and Boris Johnson’s ego, made its way along Pall Mall in a semi-triumphal tooting of one’s own horn, the number plates seemed to flash and change in the twinkling of an eye: GREAT BREXIT 1.
As we face the journey onwards, we barely evolved creatures of flesh and bone, there are those amongst us who shine brightly with an honesty, a joy, and a brilliant quiet strength. They are our heat and our gravity; the outward and inner forces that balance our messiest messes, and handle our stupidity, our tantrums, and our tears with equilibrium and humour. They are celestial bodies in disguise. We turn to them when we are unable to navigate the darkness ourselves, and they provide the second star to the right, the straight on til morning our souls and hearts crave.