Pausing for thoughts

February 2015: I began these reminiscences at the suggestion of my son Stuart. Writing them has now become a habit, and quite a therapeutic one. In remembering (disinterring) things long consigned to the furthest recesses of my mind I have not wanted deliberately to obfuscate the facts. There's really no point in doing this thing without truth. However I have found that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is near impossible. In speaking or writing of oneself, spreading self-imagery, there are lies by omission as well as by distortion of truth, and furthermore that 'truth' believed by oneself may not always be the truth as known or believed by you or by others. Also, like love, truth can hurt and, as I have said before, nobody wants to be hurt, especially me!

Having  in this blog reached almost half way through the days of my unremarkable life I am, (at least I have now), determined to carry on. That said, the only question is; should I 'publish' the ongoing memorabilia here, as previously, or should I leave these chapters from age thirty seven to eighty on my PC for someone else, some time in the future, to make that decision? (Or, more likely, leave them to disappear into cyber space and/or the waste disposal when this hard drive of mine goes the way of all things?) Obviously I am talking real life and real people. Not only will many of those real people be with us still, but they have a perfect as well as a perfectly legal right not to have someone like me raking over the ashes of their lives along with his own. Don't misunderstand me, this is not to assume that more than a handful of folk have or will ever get to read my thoughts and these words, however marvellously infinite is the internet.

Having elected to carry on, I shall not consider publishing what I write until after an interval of time. And whether I publish here, or not, I will not over-sanitise my best memory of historical reality - i.e. the facts - not even where there is obvious failure of character or failure of achievement. Such there is in all of our lives, leaving aside the lives of the saints! Those like me not saintly are taught from birth that failure of character, short of criminality, should best be gloss-painted over and forgotten and that failure of achievement is somehow shameful, therefore to be avoided in healthy communication. Bollocks that may be but it is the unhealthy reality.

In between now and when / if I carry on with the chronology I'm planning, here and for some succeeding blogs, to put myself back into the mind and experience of that 36 year old sitting on the night-time shingle beach outside the Bellevue Hotel in Lee-on-Solent, 1970. What, at that point had he concluded about life in general and his own  in particular? And what at that point did he actually want out of the future?

So I shall here be detailing his thoughts (my thoughts) on such as ambition and money, on love and sex and marriage, on one's last and one's next generation, on fairness and justice, on pleasures and tribulation, of history and race, of war and peace, of the spiritual v the material v the arts - and of what he wanted engraved on his headstone. I'll begin with the latter.

I had once sat up at a bar in a public house with some business friends when one of them out of the blue asked each of us to write down on a paper napkin the words he wished to have engraved on his headstone. I wrote ...

HERE LIES
DEAD
A MAN
WHO LIVED
NOT IN THE SHADOWS

Even though I now wish to be cremated rather than buried, and therefore a headstone is inapplicable, I'll stand by that. Good enough for me because, for me, it says most of everything ... But watch this space ...











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