Present moment

Unlike many blogs this one has no particular theme. I’m not writing here because I have a particular passion for motorsport or collecting and so on, nor do I feel the need to comment about a particular subject, or another. It started out as a travel blog, but became what it is today, a rambling, non-specific collection of thoughts and impressions that just happen to be crossing my mind as I sit down to write. Often enough what appears in these pages is as precisely unscientific as that. Five minutes earlier I might write about something else; five minutes later something different again. In that sense this blog is entirely organic and unplanned. I like it like that. It’s what happens in people. One minute you’re pining for the sexy girl on the tram seat opposite. The next minute you’re feeling outrage over something you read in the newspaper. Five minutes later you’re wondering what you’ll do this weekend, or if you should apply for that job, or what that tune is that keeps going around in your head. I believe I’m a particularly rational man, but I don’t pretend my thoughts are neatly ordered. There are no clearly defined borders between subjects. Things bleed into each other. They blend and overlap. The outrage you experience over the latest injustice you read of in the newspaper may well be influenced by your feelings for the buxom girl opposite. Nothing, no-one, exists in a bubble. Everything is all of a piece. I don’t write with that in mind, but my writings here are the eclectic evidence of the variety of experience.

It has to be said that one of the subjects of this blog happens to be myself. That’s not intentional, and perhaps not surprising. None of what I write is reportage. Everything that appears on the page has come through me. My mind, my intellect, my sense and feeling, has exerted itself on every part of it. Like everybody else, I process – raw information comes in, and output is opinion or feeling, and sometimes just confounded uncertainty. It’s inevitable that at some point in that process that something is reflected back. You wonder at the mechanics of the process. I think there is oblique commentary on that in here. Why do you process things like this? What is the alchemy that turns raw inputs into outputs that are often fiercely and passionately held? That’s you, the person you are – but why? What makes up that? Why are you the person you are? I think the biggest mysteries in all of our lives is ourself, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. I’m not always conscious of it, but it lurks close beneath the surface always.

Of recent times the personal has come to the surface. What is being processed are the difficult facts of my life at present. For years I’ve avoided that. I’m of that old school that believes it is better to endure silently. I understand why that has changed now – because it must, because to write around it would be a fiction – but it still embarasses me. I wonder what people must think of me. I feel a wretched, though defiant figure, and am wary of others pity. I hate that I expose so much of myself to peering eyes, but take some comfort in the fact that I write, in theory, anonymously. I want to write less of these things, but won’t apologise for the fact that I can’t. These are the true events which dominate my perspective of the world right now. This is my blog. These are my words, my life. Things I write now will one day pass into the past. For now they’re fresh and urgent. Read or don’t read, that’s your choice. I hope to have cause to write of different things soon, but for now must follow where this thread leads.

That’s the interesting thing with life. Because we’re all human beings not everything is cause and effect. Gravity bends light we hear, a strange concept to comprehend. Life is like that too though. Events bend themselves to the gravity of our existence. More particularly it’s that strange amalgam of memory and doubt, fear and desire, ambition, wonder and hope, that bend the simple facts entering us into something different going out.

I sleep well these days. That seems unlikely given the state of my affairs, but I have always slept well, and in these days it is a refuge for me. I wake and sometimes I feel that dread cling to me from the start, and sometimes I free from it for an hour or two.

This morning I woke and for reasons I cannot explain I thought of the Greek islands. Perhaps that is a kind of refuge too. I imagined a simple life there. I felt wistful that I did not take the opportunity to take the bundle of money I had and decamp to one of those islands where, I imagined, I’d have lived simply and cheaply, eating good food and drinking Ouzo with the locals and perhaps in the sunny days one after another setting myself to write something beautiful or profound, or both. It was such a pretty vision I think I almost smiled. The image of all that lingered in me long after I accepted it was never really a viable option then, and much less so now.

I went about the usual tasks of my odd life. I finished a small piece of work given me. I searched for and applied for jobs. I placed ads online for services I could provide – setting up your blog with all the bells and whistles, and another for copywriting services. I expected nothing of them, but ticked them off. I walked to the station. In the city I met with a guy I worked with several years ago. We spoke about the job market, each of us relating the horror stories we’ve heard along the way – it’s truly tough for those at a senior level these days. We spoke of the people we knew, plans for the future.

I returned home. I listened to an audiobook on the train back. I got off the train in the rain. I bought a few small items of groceries. I walked back home through the rain. I spoke to the shop. I looked into another job. I thought about dinner. The clock ticked by.

Now is now. All evening it’s been tight in me. That’s what got me up from the couch to sit here and write. I had nothing in mind except that image of the Greek islands. It felt like a dream. And so I sat down and began to write, and found myself explaining it, my words in themselves proof of what I claimed.

Now is now. I say that again. Now I am safe. I’m warm, there’s a roof over my head. In the next room I hear the TV, the French Lieutenant’s Woman. There’s a lively mind, an able body still. It’s dark, the sun has set and the phone won’t ring now. In a sense I am safe for now, though the dire threat of the future is always there. This is now, me, this is my head, my brain, my mind. Do you understand that? This is what I am, still, now. What will come of me?


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