One Of The Banned

Whenever I see something that I think will interest Jim these days I can’t think of any other way to try to get it to him than to just….post it here. As if he would visit here! But…how else am I meant to do it? There’s no point posting anything via SM social media – he’s never there. Those days are gone.

For fear of sounding like the continual scratched record – I miss being able to easily get to share these things with him. Just to highlight something that I’d think would intrigue him and it might have invoked a ‘conversation’ (commas needed, as it would be a written thing rather than an oral dialogue).

Anyway, I digress.

This is from Reason magazine. I was only looking through it for the first time ever today and their main feature in the magazine was looking at books that had been banned. The Master and Margarita was one of the books they covered. I thought the piece might be of interest to Jim, and/or Charlie. It made me wonder whether Charlie ever got my version of Behemoth that I painted for him – and whether he actually kept it if he did?

I may actually have to revisit the book, seeing how much I have been enjoying the religious studies element of my study so far.

Jim Kerr – The Belief Academy

I’ve come up with an idea. For wanting to be able to interview Jim and knowing that as much as I would like for it to happen this blog is NEVER going to be seen as ‘professional’ enough to get the chance to interview him, then…let’s examine, dissect and discuss things he has said in other interviews, either past or recent. 

To begin with, two recent interviews come to mind. One is from 1989 and the release of Street Fighting Years. There is a part of this interview I found most surprising! One, for the Jim Kerr of 1989 to say such a thing, and for the feeling that the Jim of 2022 most likely not being in agreement with the Jim of 1989 in the present day. I’ll come to the second interview in a moment, but for now, let’s discuss the first.

The piece of footage should automatically play from the correct point but if it doesn’t, play it from 06:55 to hear what he says.

I’ve never heard him be quite so… I’m not even sure what words to use here? Humble…dismissive…doubtful…offhand…. Yeah, I’m not really sure what the right word to put here is. My point is, it seems a statement very unlike Jim to make in terms of his songwriting, “I don’t think I do a very good job, but it’s the best I can do.” I was genuinely astounded by that. 

I guess one could argue he’s not talking about his songwriting, his lyric writing, per se but more his overall contribution to the band dynamic. Perhaps he is trying to talk in broader terms as he seems to suggest that what he feels is his contribution to the art, the ‘product’ of Simple Minds is to ‘package’ the music in the best way possible. That still makes that statement one that I would have never expected to hear from him. Its tone and its sense of doubt. Its modesty and … humility.

It’s not something that feels very forthcoming from the Jim Kerr of 2022, and I don’t think the Jim Kerr of 1979 had it. The Kerr of 1979 had nothing to lose though. The Kerr of 2022 has an Ivor Novello, 60 million album sales, a 20 album back catalogue and countless successful chart hits and tours to counter any of the doubt that would ever creep in. So, the Kerr of 1989 should fall somewhere in between, right? So, why does he not seem to? Why would he say something like that in 1989? They’ve just had their first UK Number 1 single with Belfast Child…let alone what has come before it – some dozen other UK Top 40 hit singles (EveryHit.com). Was it purely an exercise in humility? To stay grounded? Perhaps. Who needs to show modesty now with the wealth of accolades to one’s name, right? 

The second piece of conversation I saw that piqued my interest came from a video clip from 1998. Jim is doing this piece to camera about the recording of Neapolis and talking about Glitterball and what it’s about (interesting to hear how he described what the song was about – made me hear the track with fresh ears it has). He then talks about … inspiration and guidance I guess one would view it. He says, “I would love to put together some place where people are taught – not really taught how to do things but maybe helped to believe in themselves more. I think belief is everything.”

The clip should (again) play from the right point but if it doesn’t, view it from 03:05 to narrow out the piece. 

I felt that this is what Jim tried to do with me back in the mists of time. He … I was going to say ‘obviously’ but it was never obvious to me… I’ve never really been able to accept it…but there must have been something in why he gave such … credence to my art…to me? I have always dismissed it as he was ‘just being nice.’ I’ve never understood it. I’ve never felt worthy of it. And because of these things I feel as though I have made him feel so very tired of me. Because I just kept on trying to prove my worth. To feel justified, vindicated…accepting of it. And it absolutely made me fall in love with him. That part of it has never, ever gone away. I don’t think it ever will. 

So, these two statements almost cancel each other out in my interpretation of things. To say that “belief is everything” and then to say of your own artistic ability “I don’t think I do a very good job…” I guess it’s the “…but it’s the best I can do”, that is the key. I never ever feel like the things I do ARE the best things I can do. I always feel utterly inept and am always questioning my ability to do anything. If I enjoy doing things, it’s half the battle won. It’s usually the enjoyment I derive from it that spurs me on with things rather than any real sense I am any good at it. Like now, for example, with uni – it’s the enjoyment I derive from the discovery of things – learning new things every day that spurs me on. Am I actually any good at learning? Do I truly have any academic ability? Will I ever get to be anywhere near where I aspire to be? Probably not. In all real likelihood? No. So, this is where I need to learn from Jim. It shouldn’t matter to me. I keep having to remind myself ALL THE TIME that ‘the race is the prize’. That the growth comes from the learning – not the university degree at the end.

Theorised name for Jim’s proposed ‘school’.

I feel rather sad that instead of some kind of ‘academy’ that Jim was pondering wanting to put together in that video clip from 1998, what he actually ended up doing was establishing a hotel. I think Taormina probably had enough of those to be fair. I like the idea of a Socrates style academy. SocKERRtes – yeah. Lol. Doesn’t really work as well as ArKERRmedes. It could have easily been the ArKERRmedes Academy – or even better, the ArtKERRmedes Academy! Lol. I’ll get my coat.

On a serious note, that academy would have been grand. And on a personal note, I need to keep reminding myself to hold fast, to stay positive, to back my ability, to BELIEVE in my potential. To have faith in myself! I can’t keep expecting people to show faith in me if I have none of it myself! And if I keep believing that I CAN’T do it, or I won’t be any good at it, then I’ll just compound that belief won’t I? 

So, there are two questions I’d ask Jim: Where do you think the line between self-belief and complete delusion of one’s own ability lies? And, what happened to the ‘belief academy’ idea? Answers on a postcard some day? I wish!

The ‘Pretty Sleeper’ Has ‘Wakened Up’…

Reading today’s post on SM FB, it sounds as if the days of rest have done Mr Kerr a wealth of good. It sounds as if he is in positively rude health in fact. Which is all good.

I’ll stay here in my bunker feeling completely “damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” I don’t feel as though I can make a single right move right now. Everything feels a ‘faux pas’.

I feel like I can’t even talk about things on my own FB feed anymore for fear of being judged. My own fucking feed! I shouldn’t care…but I do.

I don’t feel I should write here either…not about the more personal side of things – like I say, everything feels like a ‘faux pas’. I guess the only person I should be wanting to keep happy is me! Do what makes ME happy and fuck everyone else. And there’s the chicken and egg. One thing that makes me happy is making others happy and if I feel as if I am not making them happy…? Round the cycle goes.

One thing I will mention here is my latest assignment result. I wasn’t going to mention it here because I keep thinking that I shouldn’t talk about my study here. It’s meant to be a Simple Minds and more generalised music blog here. It’s not meant to be as personal as I make it – will I ever get the balance right?

Re: Uni – Latest assignment result was – a 70 mark. Not at all what I was expecting. I thought I’d barely scrape through with a pass. Instead I just scraped into the ‘Good’ mark category. I knew I wouldn’t do as well as I did with my previous assignment (no one was more flabbergasted than me to get 83 on the previous grade) but I am pretty stunned by 70 to be honest. I personally felt nowhere NEAR 70. Obviously my love of music just put me in good stead. Had I chosen any other subject…? Perhaps I would have actually done as badly as I felt.

Next time there is no music to fall back on – the subjects are; philosophy (which I have avoided so far), history and art history (can be a strong subject for me), religious studies and art history (no one is more surprised than me by how much a enjoy religious studies!), and finally – architecture, history and art history – quite a bit of art history spread through the subjects but only lightly touched upon in the assignment topics they’re in.

We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m off to study the architecture, history and art history topic now.

I’ll keep plugging away, every day questioning why I am putting myself through this…

Consitently Persistent?

The one thing I took away from the talk between John Dingwall and Graeme Thomson at the Mitchell Library during the Aye Write festival was Graeme talking about persistence.

“You need to be persistent,” he said. He did mean it in a rather specific context. (How to get Jim to move away from anecdotal tales and into actual rarely discussed facts – or at least his version of the facts – when interviewing him. Pfft! Chance would be a fine thing with that happening! Me interviewing him, I mean.) It can apply to many other things, like my study, for example.

When it comes to people and my asking them for interviews, I find the persistence thing hard. Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to me. I feel like I am badgering or being a pest. I only dare to be moderately persistent, if such a measure exists.

I’ve approached someone for an interview and I am trying to be positive about it happening. Just this morning I am reminding myself that I’ve yet to be turned down for an interview (one exception, actually…but it was genuinely ‘pie in the sky’ wishful thinking on that one anyway. It’s subsequently happened, albeit one question at a time and only about three questions in. Lol). Jaine Henderson initially did turn me down. I had nothing to show for it then. No history of interviews to show to her. She took a big gamble with me and I am ssooo grateful that she reconsidered and allowed me to interview her. 

Every potential interviewee I approach I am apprehensive to do so. It takes me a heck of a lot of gallus to ask. Asking Graeme at the beginning of the year? I was still so nervous to ask. I fear that ‘going out on a limb’ impulse it takes to ask.

A few times I have had to be a bit persistent. I guess I needed to be a little with Jaine. When she declined though, I thought that it would be no good to be persistent. It was a no and that was that. No one was more surprised than me when she contacted me to say she’d reconsidered and would like to do it. I was gobsmacked! 

I guess you also need to weigh up the situation and the person. When it came to Bruce Findlay I felt he’d be more…accepting of some persistence. That he’s spent a lot of time being around pushy people that he’d be used to it. Almost expectant of it. 

I think I end up using my persistence for things where I expect the rejection and can try and have fun with it – asking Jim out on dates, for example. (Not that I’ve done THAT for a long while. Lol. Asking him for an interview though…?)

Trying to use persistence for interviews? That just eats away at my fear and feeds the angst and guilt I feel. I am always starting on the backfoot. The rank amatuer with no right to be asking ANYONE for an interview! For me to ask in the first place takes such daring. 

I am going to be hopeful that my success rate of those I’ve asked agreeing continues and that another “Priptona Talks…” interview will be on the blog shortly.

In the meantime, Graeme’s advice on persistence did get me through my most recent assignment and will hopefully help me in other ways. I just need to work out how I tell when persistence becomes badgering or pestering. I hope I know the tipping point.

LITCOL At 35

You know how lately I have talked about being a part from things, rather than feeling a part of things when relating to the Simple Minds fandom?

Well, today is an absolute case in point. Fans waxing lyrical about LITCOL as Jim posts about the 35th Anniversary of its release. It’s not an album I am likely to celebrate an anniversary of – certainly not in the way I dedicated to with the amount of work I undertook researching, analysing and posting about Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call for its 40th Anniversary last year – nor what I will hope I get to do for New Gold Dream this year (at the moment still at ‘wishful thoughts’ stage as I can’t really take the time away from study that I’d need to dedicate to the task).

I mean geez, I’ve only just fully come round to liking that particular arrangement of Book Of Brilliant Things! (And there are still a few ‘conditional clauses’ attached to that!) Lol

Today’s celebrations confirm this feeling of mine of being … ‘on the outer’. But that’s okay. I’m starting to learn and accept that I can’t have everyone like me and I am not prepared to alter my opinion of something just for the sake of feeling included or liked. I will stand by my feeling on the album – as its my own personal perspective. It’s not the right opinion. It’s not the wrong opinion. It’s just a differing opinion to the majority.

Do I wish the album was as significant to me as it is for many other fans? Only inasmuch as I’d feel a little more ‘included’ but…I hold other things about Simple Minds, their music and the fans in different esteem. And I would rather have the absolute LOVE I have of seeing them live right now as I would, say, wishing they still sounded like they did on LITCOL and wielding that old ‘bring back Derek/Mick/Mel’ piece of crap around.

And I still feel that …. If you haven’t got anything nice to say…

So…all that’s left to say is…Happy Anniversary LITCOL.

Five Years…

“My brain hurts a lot…that’s all we’ve got.”

May 25th has such a special significance to me now – because it’s the anniversary of this…


2017 is when it happened – and I was hopeful but not expectant. Just hopeful. Never believing I would get greeted in the way I did. I know we shouldn’t succumb to nostalgia and it’s bad to live in the past but…I was in such a good place – and Jim was just sooo welcoming and I felt like – like…GOLD! It was just this beautiful, joyous moment and I wish I could live it over and over again. And I keep trying to get it and reach for it and obtain it again and again…and…

It’s just not there. I feel like I have overstayed my welcome. The door is open and Jim is holding out his arm and saying “Off you go. The exit’s this way, Larrrrrelllllle. Your time’s up.”

That’s why I always seem to live in the past. It has the most beautiful memories.

Thank you, Jim – for having ever made me feel welcome in the first place. I’m sorry if I overstayed my welcome.

What Does Bob Know About Art Anyway?

“You don’t learn how to be an artist by going to school. It’s something you’re born with. It’s about observing the world – but laying down your own truth.” 

The quote above was at the end of Jim’s post today, credited to Bob Lefsetz. Before I continue on about Lefsetz I want to say that I could clearly see what Jim was trying to achieve with his post but by heck did he go about it the wrong way!

I believe it was Jim’s response to a ‘fan’ on SMOG having a bitch about Berenice’s ‘inability’ (in their eyes) to play the keyboard parts to Simple Minds songs correctly or fluently. The criticism was harsh and quite frankly unjust. All a guise for another “please can we have Mick, Derek and Mel back” endless fucking moan. I’m not going to get onto that topic – been there, done that…sssoooo fucking over it it hurts! 

Rightfully Jim highlighted that by listing her talents, Berenice is a more than capable musician and musical artist. Her parents are musicians, her brother, etc. She’s worked with countless others and produces work used on scores for television series, and collaborates with Glenn Gregory on the project Afterhere, among other things. If I listed all her work and credentials, this part of the post would go on for some time.

What brought it all crashing down for me (Jim’s post) and got my hackles up was the fucking Lefsetz quote! To me, it instantly sabotaged the whole reason why Jim was highlighting Berenice in the post in the first place. 

Let’s break this down. I believe someone can have a natural aptitude for something – especially when it is something that’s creative. Those that have it can find their development of their creativity ‘easier’ – ie: less strenuous, less methodical, less complex (perhaps), less developmentally difficult to achieve than those with seemingly no natural aptitude for the creative arts. But to say we’re ‘born with it’? Like an elusive “ta daaa” – just magicked up to you from…God…? No! It just isn’t true. 

I AM GOING TO LEARN HOW TO ARGUE THIS POINT IF IT KILLS ME! I want to put my counter argument across effectively and coherently, so the outcome is that Jim reconsiders ever quoting Bob fucking Lefsetz ever again! 

I feel let down on Berenice’s behalf with that quote because it takes away the hours of learning. The hours and hours of artistic development that has happened to get her where she is now. It takes away Jim’s counter argument to Mr Bring-back-Mick-Derek-Mel that Berenice has a rightful place in the band right now as the keyboard player as she is more than qualified to be there. 

Bob Lefsetz – a man who studied Art History at Middlebury College in Vermont (Wikipedia, 2022), really should know better from that education of his that artist development is LEARNED and you are NOT ‘born with it’.

You can develop art without schooling, yes, granted. But you are not born with these skills. Much like you’re not born already walking, talking, being able to use a toilet, knowing how to feed yourself, or cook, do mathematical equations, or write words down on a page, or draw a cat. 

My last week of study was REALLY hard. What I write here on my blog comes (mostly) naturally to me. It’s lovely when people tell me that I write well and I have a good way of expressing myself but I want to build on that. That is why I am doing this diploma at the OU. I want to progress. I want to GROW. I want to develop artistically. Because TRUE artists DEVELOP – THEY ARE NOT BORN WITH IT – THEY LEARN IT AND MAKE IT HAPPEN! 

What I was learning with my study this week – none of that comes naturally to me and it never has: creating characters, scenes, imagery, developing plots, etc, etc. I ended the study week feeling that it was something, with time, that I could develop and possibly end up having some grasp of and maybe even be good at…with a lot of practice. 

I was ssooo scared of this week of study. Scared and, to be honest, somewhat cynical. Because we have this wonderful, romantic notion that writers just spew forth their work. That it’s already all just there on their heads and they write it down. NO! The most incredible thing I learned this week was just what an incredibly hard graft it can be for some writers to get a novel produced. The many, many hours it takes, especially with redrafting and editing.

Towards the end of the week of study we were invited to (as we are during every week of coursework) take some optional further study. I generally always work through some if not all of the optional further study each week as I have the luxury of time on my side that a lot of my fellow students don’t. This week there were some audio clips to listen to with writers talking about the creative writing process and how they go about character development, genre of writing, narrative and structure (plot and story arcs), and lastly about redrafting and editing. One of the writers speaking was Tim Pears and he spoke about there being two types of writer; those who were good at redrafting and editing their own work, and those that needed help from an editor. Initially he felt that he fell under the first category and that he was quite adept at editing his own work. After a time he realised this was NOT the case and produced much better work with an editor helping him. Before we listened to the final audio clip, we were asked to think about how long we would think the writing of a novel would take on average. I thought I read somewhere some time back that it took about four months. For a first draft at least anyway. Some tweaks, etc…maybe six months, possibly eight. Published within a year, right? Well…Tim Pears said it would take him EIGHT MONTHS to get a first draft together and the redrafting and editing would take another TWO YEARS!!!!!

Lastly, I just want to mention Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000 hours rule’, playing Devil’s advocate as I do so because Gladwell’s theory has by and large been debunked, but – the fundamental piece of it is  – that it takes MANY HOURS of practice to develop skills is the key. Okay, we can also bring in the thing about giving chimps typewriters and after X amount of time they’ll produce the works of Shakespeare, ya da ya da – but the point of it all is – NO ONE IS BORN WITH IT!

If you’re born with it, why would you need to practice? Why would you have to hone your craft? Why would you produce some great work and some not-so-great work? 

And Bob Lefsetz can kiss my ass! (What is it they say about opinions and arseholes? 🤔😜)

And…I should reference this all properly, get my referencing skills honed…but this is for my blog and I cannae be arsed. Having said that, the Wiki reference to Lefsetz’s schooling is a clickable link.

A Kerr – I Care…

A curious thing happened yesterday.

Jim posted a photo of himself and Gordy – looking for all the world like a coupla Glesga gangstas – a great image, really, esp. as it was given more menace by Jim’s face being obscured by shade. Despite it feeling much like “pissing in the wind” these days, I left a comment. These days my comments tend to be off-the-cuff things I give very little thought to because…I don’t see much point. It’s not as if there are replies that happen these days so…you know…one has to get on with one’s life and suchlike.

Having said all of that, no one was more surprised than me to later on in the day get a ‘like’ for my comment. Well, more to the point – a ‘care’ emoji.

I thought “How very odd!” The comment I left was this…


“Would you trust these men if you met them in a dark alley?”
Glesga gangstas! 😂😂😂


Now THAT is an odd reaction emoji for such a comment, don’t you think? So then I go into “over analyse” mode – because despite what I just said above, all of this shit still means more to me than I feel comfortable admitting to (esp. on here!). Now, this said emoji is called ‘care’. And so I was thinking about how that word sounds and how Jim…who “doesn’t have an accent” says his own surname…

Yes…this is the kind of over analysing crap I do! Care = Kerr??

Before I got ahead of myself I went and checked this comment reaction out. Was it actually left by the official SM FB page? Well, it seemed to. I’m sure I clicked on it and double checked that it actually went to the band page – ie: that it wasn’t some bogus duplicate account and I was pinning so much on something so … stupid.

I even saved the bloody notification I got because at the end of it, this is still all what it means to me!

But this is where it then has me second-guessing. Later last night, I went back to the post and then I could still see the reaction emoji but it was no longer showing as left by the SM page…

So now I am thinking that, despite my checking, I was taken in by some bogus duplicate account and all my “Care – Kerr” pondering and hopefulness was just me clutching at ever increasing intangible and desperate straws!

Ah, well. There we go. This is a rather sad, ridiculous and pointless post, eh?

And to top it all off, I couldn’t go queuing for 14 hours to get myself a copy of the 5×5 Live vinyl – so I am feeling particularly sorry for myself today.

At least I have Creative Writing study to look forward to again today…yay! 😒☹️ (So far, it is feeling like everything I was dreading. Nothing has changed for me AT ALL about how I would feel when tasked with “writing a story” at school to 40 years down the track…)

EMBRACE THE SUCK!

What Dreams May Come

Where do I start?

Perhaps with this morning’s dream. It was a sluggish start for me. I kept on hitting the “snooze” button on my phone. Most days I wake up just before the alarm first goes off. I did this morning as well, but was just only conscious enough to grab my phone off the floor beside my bed and place it on the pillow near my head to be within finger placement for tapping “snooze”. This happened several times (my tapping “snooze” I mean). There is a five minute gap between snooze alerts. When I am particularly sluggish in the morning, that five minutes is more than enough time for me to drift back off to sleep. The snooze will trigger only so many times before it stops completely.

On my penultimate snooze, I drifted into a sleep and a dream. And who should be in this dream but…Mr Kerr. It’s been quite a while since I had a dream featuring him. And it seemed to be a complete happenstance that I was where I was and he was where he was in this dream. A rather nondescript locale that I didn’t recognise. An amalgam of various places.

Jim was sitting on a bench, by a roadside. There was a free seat next to him on his right. I can’t really remember now if he saw or noticed me approaching or not. Perhaps he did. If he did, I’m not sure he let on much that he had done so. 

I sit down. He looks over at me. “Hello”, I say, “how are you?” With a broadening smile he says “Great. I’m just great.” I’m sure there was a little more to the conversation after that. Not much. And nothing I actually recall. Jim was all the time smiling – that content slightly smug look he gets sometimes – looking wistfully ahead of him. Now and then he’d look back at me (no doubt thinking, “are you STILL here, wumman?” Lol) and smile more broadly.

He was wearing a lightweight long sleeve jacket, and he had his hands inside the opposite sleeve, using the sleeves of the jacket as a “muff”, if you will (bites tongue til it bleeds! Lol). I didn’t think I was sitting quite that close to him, but at one point the right sleeve with his left hand inside of it brushed against me. Brushed? I’m not sure. I think he might have deliberately reached out for my arm. Anyway, I was a little startled and a little electrified by the “accidental brush” in equal measure. He saw my visible reaction to it and feigned mild shock and was then slightly apologetic in mannerism. He then made a joke of it by reaching out at the guy sitting next to him on his left, which in turn startled that guy. Jim and I looked at each other and giggled and then ….. SNOOZE ALARM!

I never try to analyse or interpret dreams too much. I just see dreams as the mind’s television. It’s all full of folly. I never go all Freud and Jung on them. They are what they are. Who knows what machinations the subconscious is up to? But if I were to try and decipher it? Well…it had a warmth to it. It felt lovely. For a change I actually felt liked. So do I take it that I have this whole “Jim hates me and can’t stand to be near me” hang-up all wrong? Is it my subconscious saying to me “You’ve got it all wrong, girl! He likes you. STOP WORRYING!” Or, are my dreams and subconscious as deluded as I am?

Deeper analysis aside – it was a lovely yet rather fleeting dream.

And I still have yesterday to talk about yet. More to come on that, but first I must get some study done!

More

In reply to James Clear (and James Kerr, for the matter. Lol).

Jim’s post today. I do miss those kinds of posts! These would be the kinds of posts we’d get from him fairly regularly “back in the day”. Posts with a philosophical slant. 

“All good things come to an end.” 

“Nothing lasts forever.”

“You can have too much of a good thing.”

“The past is a forgien country.”

All that guff.

I miss the philosophical debate. I just miss feeling like I could talk to him…in general…in greater detail. And that he was listening. And mercy me if he replied. 

I STILL MISS IT! I always will. 

Today’s topic had me pondering – and that’s what I like about it most. I went and had a look at the linked article. 

I want to respond to James Clear’s piece here:

THREE: IDEAS FROM ME (James Clear)

  1. “Define yourself by your effort, not your suffering.”

Given the subject matter I had been studying the past week, that seems timely. Van Gogh. To me it seems as though he tried incredibly hard to be measured by the amount of work he put into his art. He did not want to be seen as the “suffering artist” in any way, shape or form. I know that sounds ridiculous, given he painted a self-portrait of himself with a bandaged ear but his reasoning behind that, I think, has been greatly misinterpreted. There is definite evidence to show that he suffered greatly in spite of his art, not because of it. He used it as an outlet to heal, not as a vessel for continued and sustained suffering. 

I really like this statement and it is something that I want to adhere to myself. It is very much a learning curve and it is why I am doing what I’m doing now. 

  1. “Marrying well makes everything easier.” 

Pfffft! Good luck with that! I’d say “never marry”. I never wanted to. It was a necessity. It was a means to an end. I have nothing else to say on that. I think it is an INCREDIBLY simplistic statement on a very complex issue. How does one “marry well”? What an absurd notion. If you feel you’ve “married well”, you’re bloody lucky. Or deluded. 

  1. “Charity can be a lifestyle, not merely a gift. 

Read charitably. Give the author your most favourable interpretation.

Listen charitably. Donate your undivided attention.

Work charitably. Be generous with your expertise. 

In this way, you make charity a daily habit.”

Well, that’s quite profound. When it comes to reading, I need to be charitable whether I like it or not. It’s the nature of my ability to read that defines that. 

I think a LOT of people these days could do with a lesson in listening charitably. This is why when I am out and about, unless I am on my own, you won’t hear from me on social media. When I am in company, I DO NOT take my phone out! It is, in my book, common courtesy to do that. I just don’t do it. And it is one way in which I feel I listen charitably. 

Working charitably? I’m not sure what I can say there. If I felt I had ANY expertise on ANYTHING…well….

TWO: QUOTES FROM OTHERS

  1. Mathematician Paul Halmos on what distinguishes the best from the rest:

“I read once that the true mark of a pro – at anything – is that he understands, loves and is good at even the drudgery of his profession.”

That reminds me of the question I posed to Graeme Thomson in my interview with him. I asked him how he was able to write about subject matter he wasn’t particularly interested in. The crux of his answer was “you just find a way”, and that if you are doing something that you love, the way through it will be easy. 

  1. Writer Doris Lessing on how to choose what to read:

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag – and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty-and vise versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you.”

Doris obviously did not take English Literature at university then! Lol. There are definitely books one has to read during it that one is not interested in. Again, it’s about what you want and what the end result will be. 

I only just read Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol for my study. Reading it in March made it feel out of context…especially before I started reading it, with the preconceived ideas I had about it. I had to wash those away and I had to remove the driving Christmas theme of it and pick up and concentrate on the heart of the story. I came away with views on it I was surprised by. I wish we’d have had the time to have read something else of Dickens, but I guess had we read something else of his, it’s out of time anyway so what would it matter?

“…and never, never read anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement…” 

Isn’t that just making you contrary? Contrary for contrary’s sake? Why do we bother to have “best sellers” lists, and book prizes and the like if that should be the case? 

What is required for study aside, I don’t think I’ve ever chosen to read a book because I felt I ought to. Then again, having said that…would I have read The Master And Margarita? Or, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea? Most likely not. And I certainly derived great pleasure from reading the latter. The former was tougher going, I won’t lie. But I enjoyed certain elements of it. And I believe the elements that didn’t stick with me would make more sense with a second reading. But that second reading I am not ready for right now. 

ONE: QUESTION FOR YOU

“Nearly everything in life has a useful zone, a desired dose. Ten minutes in the sun can energize you. Ten hours in the sun can burn you. This concept applies to many things: work, relationships, hobbies, exercise, food.

What is your desired dose? What do you need right now? A little more or a little less?”

Well, James. Firstly that is THREE questions you asked, not one. Lol

To quote Gina G, “oooh-ah just a little bit, oooh-ah a little bit more”. I need more sun – and thankfully that is on the way.

“What is your desired dose?” That is such a broad question! It has to be quantified. I’ll let Iggy Pop answer on my behalf.