Detaching, shredding and a lack of monks

I had a devastating manic episode a few days ago and I’ve been doing my hermit thing since. It’s very tempting to go on Twitter and rant about politics but politics was one of the contributory factors to this particular episode and the subsequent burn out.

I’ve been detaching from the world and tweeting once a day to say that I’m still not engaging with people. I do this because sometimes you get a bit overwhelmed with mentions and direct messages asking how you are when all you need is a quietness.

While I’ve been detaching from Twitter I’ve also been detaching from the outside world to a certain extent. I haven’t been talking to many people (which suits me well) and I haven’t been watching much television (politics again) so I’ve been sitting listening to music and rereading some of my favourite books. I’m totally submerged into Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man” as if it was the first time I’ve read it. I’ve bought a copy of Kafka’s Letters to Milena to dip into. My rats ate the last copy so I can, once again, relive his agonies and curse Milena.

Being a hardy north-easterner I put my duvet into storage about May and it stays off until about October. I’ve been shifting things around to fit it in somewhere and while I was doing that I found a pile of twenty or so greetings cards. I thought that the layers of dust were hiding a horde of memories that would spring to life in my mind and conjure up long past feelings in my heart and eyes but they didn’t. The cards were just words that could have been written to anyone by anyone. They didn’t stir memories but they did make me think why I’d clung on to them. I’m not sentimental and I think that I could have been holding on to them because I’d been convinced that when I opened them events and occasions from the past would pop out like some bizarre jack-in-the-box. I’ve just finished shredding them and have said goodbye to a pile of inked cardboard. The memories of that relationship (which are many, varied and risque) are still there they’re just in my head gathering dust instead.

This evening I’ve been talking to a friend and I noticed that the way that he uses language is quite different from the way I do. I ramble from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep and I’m lucky that my animal brood like the sound of my voice. I talk when there is often no need to talk. He is very spare with his words and I’d say the same thing in 10 times the volume and still not get to the point.

I have spent times when my words were more considered and sparse but that is way back more than half my life ago when I was living in the little house in the woods and working part of the time in a monastery. Perhaps I need monks in my life again or maybe all I need to do is read the Rule of St Benedict and get back to the values, spirituality and silence that was.

Music, memories and all that

There’s sod all on telly tonight so I’ve been playing a compulsive game on my tablet and listening to music. The playlist has been the Jackie album (which will mean nothing to non British people) and it’s been stirring a few memories.

Some of the memories are cringingly embarrassing – kissing the telly when David Cassidy was on for instance but some of them are wonderful and are the ones that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Young, Gifted and Black came on and I sang along with gusto whilst all the animals sat with their paws over their ears. I thought about the MacLennans¬† who were¬†a wonderful family we met just after we moved house in the early 70s. They were always Uncle and Auntie Mac and I suppose they had first names but I’ve never know them.

They had two (I think) sons who stayed back in Jamaica when they came to England and three daughters who were around the same age as me and my brother and sister. Beverley and Joyce were great but I adored Barbara and I still do even though I haven’t seen her for years.

I spent al lot of time at their house and loved it when Uncle Mac let me help him burn the reeds to shape for his saxophone. I’m sure I ballsed them up completely but he let me do it anyway. He gave me my first hard liquor – a tiny glass of mega strong white rum that you’d never get in a shop, if you know what I mean, with a bare dash of tonic. He was my favourite uncle.

I encountered racism for the first time when I was walking around with Barbara one day and I was devastated that people could be so full of hate just because they didn’t like the colour of her skin when I loved the person that she was.

On the day that is now known as 7/7 we were shocked and scared for our Muslim friends when we heard about the bombings in London, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer (he died 10 weeks later) and Barbara had a brain haemorrhage on her way to work. I think it’s fair to say it was right up there as one of the shittiest days in my life.

Barbara recovered and went back to work which was amazing, my dad, as I said, died later that year and one of our Muslim friends gave us the money to pay for his funeral because he didn’t want us or his Auntie Winnie (my mum) worrying about it.

Memories eh, wonderful bloody things.