Used to be a time when I’d get home late and full of the night’s electricity and at some point I’d sit in front of my bright screen in the dark and begin tapping away writing whatever came to my head.
I don’t that much now, but then my life is quite different now to what it was then. It may return, I wouldn’t rule it out. Still, life does change. You transition through it. It happens around you and somewhere in the middle of it happens to you too without really noticing it, until maybe you sit down in front of the bright screen with something in you needing to be written.
The screen is bright tonight, and it’s late, but I’ve not just returned from a night on the town. I’ve had a day away though. I put my suit on early and journeyed into town to attend the funeral of the father of a good friend of mine. As funerals go this was a good day for it. It was still and fine. The chapel was full to overflowing, so that I had to stand in the ante-chamber with another 20 odd. I had the usual sequence of reactions watching and listening. At first it seemed so formulaic and predictable, the same words, the same phrases, the same sentiments. It occurred to me first that ceremonies like these – where a life story is neatly packaged up into a few fine sounding eulogies – is a ritual that we who remain need. It’s an official closure, after which we can go on our merry way.
The second thing that came to me – as it does every funeral, and for most people I expect – is the prickly question wondering what they would say about me. When the time comes, what will my life story be reduced to? You can be cynical all you want, but it’s still a chastening consideration. I have to admit, it’s one of a number of motivating factors to me. I may die one day, but if it’s to happen I want a story of triumph to be told. There’s a fair bit of work to put in before that happens.
The final thing that occurred to me occurs to me every time, and surprises me every time nonetheless. Something happens and I’ll find myself moved. Today there was one particularly heartfelt eulogy that carried me away with its sincere emotion and feeling. It was real, and I felt it.
Later I came back in my suit feeling – not playful – but perhaps more than usually aware that I was alive. I stopped off to get some take-away for dinner and ended up having a quick Little Creatures at the only bar in town. I watched the crowd, feeling different from them, but prepared to engage. In the end I just went and ordered a pizza.
It’s later now because I’ve been sitting in front of the bigger, brighter screen to watch Birdman, the movie that won the best picture Oscar the other day. I can’t comment on the merit of that as I’ve not seen its rivals, but I can say it’s a much better movie than American Sniper.
There’s a lot I could write about it, but I don’t mean this to be a review. Suffice to say I was strangely enchanted by this. It’s an immensely creative, imaginative movie, unexpectedly quirky. It drives along, taking you along with it. In some obscure way it reminds me of All That Jazz. As in that movie there’s a protagonist under immense mental and emotional pressure trying to create an artistic work, with both featuring fantasy/quirky scenes. Direction is great, so clever, so intuitive, the script is great too. And Michael Keaton carries it. It left me feeling energised. That’s always a good sign, and the very thing tonight that leads me here to sit in front of the bright screen and pour it all out.