You, your life



I cannot tell what you and other men
Think of this life;    (his own life, that is)
but, for my single self,
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself.

(Shakespeare : Julius Caesar)

April Fools Day was quite significant for the release of my autobiography! Its title is SO WHAT? and it takes the form of eighty four essays, each of them an episode in the story of my life to date. The vast majority of these essays saw first light on my blog, www.bryanislip.com, in the beginning at the suggestion of one of my sons who, probably tired of my blogged rantings about the world at large said, Dad, why don’t you tell us something about your early life. None of us (his siblings) know much about that. Hey, most people are curious about that kind of stuff!

I am a certified extrovert although it seems that like most extroverts I have believed myself the opposite. Therefore at first this self-examination, this probing into deep memory was not an easy thing. For sure (at least, I reckon for sure) as we grow older we succeed in forgetting or obfuscating those mean or nasty thoughts and actions, and especially our failures. On the other hand with what ease, with what pleasure are we able to recall the green fields of childhood, the hope and promise of early adulthood, the discovery of precisely and with what cleverness we sooner or later make a fit of ourselves with the world. And overall, how tempting it is to take personal credit for that which is in reality plain old good fortune; but how ready we are to attribute our historically wrong turnings to the fickle finger of fate, aka damned bad luck!

In spite of all I recommend the process of writing one’s memoirs. For myself it has been a form of catharsis in the aftermath of the death of my friend and lover, my wife, my Delia. This autobiography has in fact been a kind of irrigation of body and soul, a getting rid of the bad stuff. In my experience the bad stuff tends to rest in peace once shown the light of day.

My mantra says, ‘Writing is for Reading’. All right, but by whom and why should any he/she/they read my memoirs? Well, I think there are several reasons. The main ones: perhaps because (1) anyone’s life is a story (and we all like stories); (2) curiosity (aka the ‘nosey parker’ syndrome); (3) simply because the author is known to the reader (and the reader might be mentioned). None of these are likely to ensure a weight of readership of interest to the mainstream book publisher - unless the author be called David Beckham or similar. Ah, that modern day, media cultivated celebrity thing! Complete nonsense. Everybody mature enough and who I happen to know well enough, I know to have led or be leading a life of greater interest to me - I have to assume to others also - than the short and well cushioned life of a young man outstanding as a football star, aggressively average as a human being.

My memoir SO WHAT? contains the truth and nothing but the truth but of course it cannot contain the whole truth. Clearly it has taken me a lifetime thus far to live it and so would need to take another lifetime to write it all. There’s no book big enough. Also it must be said that one has to have regard for the feelings of those nearest and dearest to oneself. I have no wish gratuitously to hurt anyone - even myself.  

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams, wrote William Butler Yeats ... Yes, please.

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