Monday, 30 December 2013

Bye Bye 2013

Not with a bang, but a whimper.  Who was that now?  Must look it up. 

My first thought in this likely to be very disorganised post is to give a totally random (in the proper old fashioned sense) piece of parenting advice to anyone who might be a parent or think of procreating: expose children to music of Mike Oldfield while tiny and still wriggly, and keep at it.  Early Mike Oldfield in particular, but nothing wrong with those later singles either.  Ability to fly in the head will result, simply taught, from a remarkably early age.  Also encourage to pay attention to music on TV and in film.  What seems to be background is running your consciousness, so be familiar.  Learn what you like and what presses your buttons, so you control it and not the other way round.  (And don’t only get addicted to sad or angry music.)

That’s completely aside from anything else I might say.  Which will be remarkably little.  I don’t have any resolutions this year.  I don’t have any thoughts on Christmas, or my unfashionable liking of it (which is starting to be more and more a thing of the past, a thing in my head, a bit of history).  I usually look on the approach of a New Year as a very spacious mental event.  I start to see a whole new segment appear.  Something curls round me and says: possibility.  All warm and furry.  This year, what I have is…none of that, or else it’s a dead cat, and its wet, and it’s starting to smell.  I will bury it, respectfully, as I love cats.

(Have never understood the whole thing about being a cat OR dog person.  I definitely enjoy cats a thousand times more; but dogs are fine, also good.  They are friendly – as a rule – they love with a seething bouncing loyal passion.  Nothing wrong with that.  And I get cross when people say they are stupid.  Any cat lover will have to admit for every time their cat is spectacularly intelligent suddenly, it will fall off a TV while licking its arse the next minute…I’m a cat person.  But dogs are fine too.  And both are quite possibly better than most people, eh?)

Myself and The Prince both have New Year funerals to attend.  Which could be seen as sort of an underlining of what’s gone and a greeting of the rest of the year, once you get home and loosen the tie, kick off the shoes etc.  I’m seeing mine as ill timed and depressing, but then I do tend to view things in this way.  Sometimes.  I’m in one of those times.

A friend on facebook put up an interesting status this morning.  She said usually she can look back on a year and…sort of quantify it; give it some adjectives, a flavour.  And this year she couldn’t.  She found this intriguing (which I read as thought provoking, rather than bothersome).  I can’t do mine either.  And I am bothered at that.  It feels chaotic in hindsight.  I remember a mad quest for TIME TO MYSELF that was vaguely successful only.  I remember a very successful reading of sequences of books; watchings of sequences of DVD film or TV series.  Themed music listening.  That was me desperate for order and control (and getting it, in those cases).  I feel there were constant interruptions, All Damn Year, to any time Stanley and I tried to have together.  We mourned the fact we were so short on personal time that when we had some, we mostly took it singly not together almost as a survival strategy, as we needed so badly to regroup and recharge – it became almost more precious than hugging time.  We have been running on fumes; we know it, we seem to be getting by; we’re surprised at this (being veterans of love lost for less and more than this).  We monitor.  This was the year we found little Fluffhead has difficulties.  You have to adjust your dreams and expectations when you find your child is developing differently.  That is fucking painful.  As is the fear you feel for them.

Fry has been travelling his own road.  His road worries me.  But it’s his road, so I’m not talking of it here, right now, anyway.  Nothing can cause you pain like your children can.  He said an interesting thing the other day, about your thirties being when you lose your hopes and dreams (this from a man in his early 20s).  I thought that a strange age to cite.  I feel like my 40s is me realising that I believe in very little indeed, realising just how much of what I used to take for granted, or chose to subscribe to, is redundant for me now.  Notice I don’t say its bullshit.  It just doesn’t fit me anymore.  Very little does.  I’m hoping this is a case of growing out of one thing and into another, a variety of others.  I haven’t lost everything: my love of green things, trees and nature and wanting to hug flowers and such is still very much with me; its grown and changed and is definitely different to its earlier naiver form – hence I liked that poem last post…there was mess and pain in there with the beauty: much more realistic to life.

I read in a very unlikely book the other day some weird and unexpected psychology of control, that I know to be at least partially true: “indifference is power”, “the secret to controlling any situation is manipulation of everyone involved, but successful manipulation of others begins with self-control”…i.e. not caring.  If you don’t care you can’t be hurt or controlled.  Something I’ve been after for a very long time, and have given up any hope of attaining. I care, therefore highs or contentment; I care, therefore lows or abysses.  No high without low, it seems.  So if I didn’t care, I might as well be dead, as I’d lose my sense of beauty and love.  Now, you wouldn’t expect a Charmed tie-in book to get me thinking along these lines would you?  Even one about troubled teens, foster homes and correctional facilities that turn out to be Darklighter training grounds[1]

I’ve read some most interesting and possibly helpful work recently, for my ‘mentalisms’ (as my favourite other blogger Aethelread[2], calls his own issues; it tweaked my humour, so I’ve adopted it), and so you may yet see a more adjusted me sometime soon.  I never stop trying to be a calmer Blackberry Juniper.  Might even review the book/s maybe.  Best things I’ve read since Existentialism, which is tough tough tough (the way doing Zen Buddhism properly is like being slapped round the face by a real proper utterly dead wet fish…or cat, to stay with the earlier disturbing analogy – its hard stuff, not easy at all).  But…worth doing.  (And easier to deal with than hangovers, since your brain is actually with you as you try.)

And since this post had no direction whatsoever and is not developing any as we move along, I am going to go now…the next post will have more direction.  Once I decide what it’s about.  I just wanted to say goodbye to this year.  Even if in a rather confused, definitely depressed, fuffly way.  Not sure I’m quite up to welcoming the next one yet…but I have hope.  I live. Forlornly, in the bottom of Pandora’s Box.  I’m probably hiding, or trying to have a nap. 

I’m going to leave you with a tune that’s been in my head all day, and I’m finding it comforting, hypnotic and helpful. (One of the gifts of Stanley.  People who give music are always precious.  And coffee.  That last comment aimed at both Troubadour and Time Traveller.)

[1] Mist and Stone, by Diana G. Gallagher, 2003, Simon & Schuster, NY.  Charmed TV tie-in book.  Unexpectedly profound in places.
[2] See my blogroll.  If you haven’t read him, READ him. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Words of Someone Else...had to share...

This is an unusual one for me, but I loved this poem that a friend found on the web just now, so had to share it with you.  Its by Tom Hirons, his blog is here, go find more of him:

Its called:


Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine.
 When the wild god arrives at the door,
You will probably fear him.
He reminds you of something dark
That you might have dreamt,
Or the secret you do not wish to be shared.

He will not ring the doorbell;
Instead he scrapes with his fingers
Leaving blood on the paintwork,
Though primroses grow
In circles round his feet.

You do not want to let him in.
You are very busy.
It is late, or early, and besides…
You cannot look at him straight
Because he makes you want to cry.

The dog barks.
The wild god smiles,
Holds out his hand.
The dog licks his wounds
And leads him inside.

The wild god stands in your kitchen.
Ivy is taking over your sideboard;
Mistletoe has moved into the lampshades
And wrens have begun to sing
An old song in the mouth of your kettle.

‘I haven’t much,’ you say
And give him the worst of your food.
He sits at the table, bleeding.
He coughs up foxes.
There are otters in his eyes.

When your wife calls down,
You close the door and
Tell her it’s fine.
You will not let her see
The strange guest at your table.

The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.

Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.

You cough again,
Expectorate the snakes and
Water down the whiskey,
Wondering how you got so old
And where your passion went.

The wild god reaches into a bag
Made of moles and nightingale-skin.
He pulls out a two-reeded pipe,
Raises an eyebrow
And all the birds begin to sing.

The fox leaps into your eyes.
Otters rush from the darkness.
The snakes pour through your body.
Your dog howls and upstairs
Your wife both exhalts and weeps at once.

The wild god dances with your dog.
You dance with the sparrows.
A white stag pulls up a stool
And bellows hymns to enchantments.
A pelican leaps from chair to chair.

In the distance, warriors pour from their tombs.
Ancient gold grows like grass in the fields.
Everyone dreams the words to long-forgotten songs.
The hills echo and the grey stones ring
With laughter and madness and pain.

In the middle of the dance,
The house takes off from the ground.
Clouds climb through the windows;
Lightning pounds its fists on the table.
The moon leans in through the window.

The wild god points to your side.
You are bleeding heavily.
You have been bleeding for a long time,
Possibly since you were born.
There is a bear in the wound.

‘Why did you leave me to die?’
Asks the wild god and you say:
‘I was busy surviving.
The shops were all closed;
I didn’t know how. I’m sorry.’

Listen to them:
The fox in your neck and
The snakes in your arms and
The wren and the sparrow and the deer…
The great un-nameable beasts
In your liver and your kidneys and your heart…

There is a symphony of howling.
A cacophony of dissent.
The wild god nods his head and
You wake on the floor holding a knife,
A bottle and a handful of black fur.

Your dog is asleep on the table.
Your wife is stirring, far above.
Your cheeks are wet with tears;
Your mouth aches from laughter or shouting.
A black bear is sitting by the fire.

Sometimes a wild god comes to the table.
He is awkward and does not know the ways
Of porcelain, of fork and mustard and silver.
His voice makes vinegar from wine
And brings the dead to life.