I am not happy.
Not exactly sad either. I am more dissatisfied. That ill-felt sense of not-rightness that sometimes irritates and leaves you with an unsettled approach to life.
So, at times like this I do what comes naturally to me: I write things down and then read what I have written to see what I think! I know that this sounds depressingly like the actions of the Blond Buffoon who was rumoured to have written two versions of a piece for the Spectator concerning his approach to Brexit – one in favour of staying in the EU and the other for leaving. He read both and then made up his mind, as ‘any fule no’ to do what was best for his career and to show himself up as a brave champion of the worst dregs of the xenophobic Conservative party and go down fighting as, in spite of his most loquacious efforts, the pro-remain camp wins. His face the day after the Brexit ‘victory’ as he realized what he had helped to do was indeed a picture of oh-god-what-have-I-done-ness.
To be fair to me, I am just trying to find the source of a nagging discomfort, not destroy the financial, cultural and political future of a country, so writing things down can be seen as something helpful and innocent rather than, well, how should one describe Boris’s asserted actions?
Accepting for the moment that the story of the two versions is true, rather than an elegant fabrication, it is obviously significant that Boris would be influenced by his own literary style rather than content. After all, the most obvious way of helping yourself come to a decision is to list elements of an argument for and against rather than write them out as a polished essay. For a reasoned approach, you need to strip away excrescence and get to simple, fundamental points. That is the sort of basic ‘summary’ approach that used to be taught in the early years of secondary education to allow the discriminating reader and writer to get to the nub of the argument.
Following my own advice, I made a stark list of those elements that I am finding negative and then read them through while, of course, sipping my post-swim cup of tea in the sun.
They made sobering reading.
The points that I made were not so much disasters as ‘slants’, more of a way of seeing than actual negative fact. Many of my grumbles were subjective assessments rather than facts, and my judgements were relative rather than absolute. And trivial. Lots of the points that I made I hesitate to share as their sheer irrelevance to personal happiness would be too stark to tolerate. I will illustrate the sheer unfairness of the points that I made to justify my feelings by citing just one: the non-arrival of a yet to be published book. Once you read something like this, in black and white, then the absurdity of the thing strikes you – or more precisely, me!
Some of the things that I noted can be dealt with by more efficient use of my time, though I also have to admit that some of them will only be dealt with by a radical change in my character – and that ain’t going to happen any time soon! But I have shown myself that by the simple act of writing niggles down their essential triviality can be emphasised. In this case and at this time.
Let’s face it, I can easily imagine an approach where writing things down will starkly illustrate the real horror of a situation rather than contain it. One only has to think of Brexit, or the continuing idiocy of 45 to imagine a rather different list of points that, having been read through would leave you even more depressed than when you started writing! This however is not the case with me. At the moment.
And having written this, I feel better. The sun is still shining and we are about to go out to lunch. And in spite of the political programme that is playing on the television at the moment showing smiling faces of corrupt politicians escaping the condemnation that they richly deserve, and the graphs showing just how unjust the distribution of wealth is in this country, I prefer to concentrate more on the jolly ballet music that is playing through my headphones.
It may be escapism and my writing may be deflection, but it is getting a smile back on my face.