Words and wisdom (maybe just words).

Diary of a Booker Winner (in waiting) – 15

Staying Alert and Staying at Home

May 10th 2020


Current Official UK Covid Reproduction Rate: Somewhere between 0.5 and 0.9

75th Anniversary VE Day Commemorative Celebrations Cancelled: Numerous

Professors Caught in Lockdown Pants Down Scandal: 1

Slide Updates Watched: A daily morbid fascination

Sage Statements Scrutinised: 1

Laps of the Local Park: 14

Phrase of the week: “We’re moving toward getting certainty on what we can get certainty on.”

Firstly, apologies for any potential confusion – the ‘sage’ statement referenced above was nothing to do with the SAGE advisory group we’ve heard so much about recently (the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) but rather it was a sentence delivered by a wise man facilitating an online creative writing workshop on the topic of editing. He assured his congregation (in all their various stages of new technology meltdown) that – “Life is always more important than writing.”

It got me thinking. I initially supposed it was a somewhat ironic proclamation akin to the famous Bill Shankly uttering:

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”

Then I realised it wasn’t at all like that. Maybe if he’d said:

“Some people think writing is a matter of life and death, I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”

But of course, his actual statement is contradictory to that and no doubt truer –

“Life is always more important than writing.”

He was right. I guess. We know that now – we’ve realised a lot during lockdown. We’ve all been acutely considering our mortality for the last 2 months. We’ve newly come to appreciate it.  To recognise its profound potential and its frail fragility. We’ve recognised the value of the gift. And I think it’s fair to say we’ve concluded that we wouldn’t agree to swap it. Even for a leather bound first edition of all the greatest works in the literary canon. Unless perhaps we were a full-on hardcore no-holds barred myopically intense somewhat misguided passionately-committed yet borderline delusional bibliophile. With a desperately dubious death wish.

I suppose in a nutshell what I was thinking was that we are a lot less life-trivial at present. We realise it’s a wonderful thing. Life is something to be cherished and enjoyed. It is more important than writing. (Just about.)

We’ve become a lot more appreciative of our surrounds lately too. We’re allowed out once a day (maybe more often by the time you read this) to wander lonely and look at cloud. To appreciate nature on a local and cosmic scale.

“Gosh! Number 64’s grass needs cutting.”

“Wow! What a beautiful climbing clematis!”

“Hey! Look at how blue the non-polluted sky is!”

“The sunset through the trees Dude…”

I’ve been doing a few laps of my local park every evening. And I’ve enjoyed it. The air is Spring fresh. With occasional waft of cannabis. And the paths have been garishly graffiti’d. Not overly originally scrawlings but very indicative of our age – mostly colourful rainbow crescents doming a bold-lettered ‘Thank You NHS’.

They weren’t all of the same ilk however – one less on-trend but rather marvellous message stated:

Anyone interested in time travel meet me back here at 2pm last Tuesday

Humour lives on. We smile on. We stride on. We fight on. We write on. Life goes on. It’s important.

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