Forget the blog and get on with your book! That’s what my reader says – note the use of the singular. Yes, despite having two children, only one of them likes to err on the side of caution keeping up-to-date with my musings. The other? Life on the edge or, more likely, bored by it all. As for the book? The introduction is perfect! I have gone back over the three thousand or so words which follow with a critical eye and made a few tweaks, here and there, but I think, perhaps, that is a bad idea. I have stumbled and broken my rhythm and now I’m just delaying! How I would love to be in a little log cabin somewhere, perhaps in the wilds of Montana, with a view of nobody for miles, just the majestic mountains in the distance; or be sitting on my balcony, overlooking the lake in St Wolfgang? Perhaps a yurt in Wyoming! That’s definitely my problem: location. Nothing to do with the fact that I keep finding other things to do; keep stalling. I can only write, though, when my mind is clear; when I have completed everything I have to do, first, and that’s just silly. Willpower! Perhaps, however, the real problem is that I am scared of failure? Yes, I have several books in my head but, when the words are, actually, committed to paper, will anybody want to read them? Writer? Author? Is that just a pipe dream? So, I keep writing my blog, talking to myself, content in the familiar.
What happened this week, then? Look, I am struggling with the seasons, let alone days of the week! Losing all benchmarks, including my beloved Wimbledon, has thrown me. It seems that summer came early, in April/May, as Nature rejoiced in its freedom, at once our saviour and impossible to ignore. The world, as we knew it, stopped and we were forced to re-evaluate all that we had come to take for granted. Home became our sanctuary and time of little consequence. Now, as we are called upon to step back onto the moving treadmill, once more, and succumb to the daily stress and strain of life, it is scary. Nothing is the same and, yet, it is. Nobody is the same and, yet, we have to be. We have to go back. That taster of enforced confinement may have been hard to accept, at first, but that same pause offered the gift of time and, in the end, that is all we have. Who wants to spend it in front of a computer screen, clocking in and out of an office, wearing black with the obligatory identity tag hanging on a lanyard round one’s neck? For what? Reducing one’s life to a bank account, that’s what it amounts to. Debits and credits, the balancing of. Why? Is it worth it?
So much has changed in my life over the past eight years; actually, fifteen years. I wouldn’t have predicted any of it but I have learned so much – about myself, other people and the concept of time. Divorced, I can’t afford the house I would like – yet – but that’s fine. I rent while I write and help my children. Adults, now, everybody needs backup! Everybody needs memories, too, lots of them. They’re what’s important. When I have shuffled off this mortal coil, penniless, my kids will remember the fun we had, together, at Wimbledon; my Birthdays spent drinking prosecco at the top of the Spanish Steps; riding down the ancient Appian Way; Christmases in St Wolfgang with Romeo, the obligatory Horseradish foam and mugs of Gluhwein in the village square courtesy of Sepp; champagne in the Ritz … No house, no pension, no security but, then, living for the future is the chain which binds; a prison of the soul. What is the future? Impossible to measure, nobody knows what lies ahead – and for that, we are very grateful – so live for today; take one day at a time and make incredible memories! Don’t forget the photographs, either. What about tomorrow? Well, it is only yesterday’s today …
Monday was the funeral of my friend’s mother – the one I have written about; the family which played such a prominent role in my childhood. I had dreaded it and the accompanying emotions and I was right to do so. A burial at the grave side with restrictions of 20 family members, Becca and I stood back and bore witness to my friend, shaking and oh, so frail but supported by her two children. She was beside her older and younger brother – now reconciled – while the youngest did his best to carry off the role of distraught son who had pulled it all together, greeting and thanking those who had come. He dared come nowhere near me, whether through guilt or fear – or both. Instead, he must have contented himself with a job well done, beguiling his 92 year-old mother into changing her Will in favour of her grandchildren, all the while contravening the wishes of his father. How sad that he values money above all else. I pity him and wish him luck living with the guilt.
Meanwhile, those that matter stick together and, in the name of closure, we left the churchyard and drove back to Foodie Farm, the scene of so many childhood memories. Walking up the drive, we passed the old familiar fields in which we used to ride; the walls and gates we used to jump; the farm steading, scene of so many parties and the house which shared so much laughter – so many hopes. We continued up the hill as the sun shone and the view stretched before us, unchanged and magnificent. We, each, took our own photograph – in our minds – as we toasted the beloved past, those no longer with us and the shared memories we shall carry with us for all time. As we glimpsed our ghosts in all the old, familiar places, in our silence, we knew we may never be back. Closure? In a way but none of us will ever forget.
‘Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget.
So, it’s the laughter, we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.’
‘The Way We Were’, Barbra Streisand – again!
Captured in a lyric …
This is Trish, signing off.