Write a Sentence…

Write a sentence, Ken, see where it leads you…

This Sunday morning, sitting here at my desk, the temptation to write nothing at all is considerable. 

I mean, what should I write? Should I recall some happy event from times gone by? Should I tell a funny little story about something that happened during the week, preferably against myself? These are all options but it’s hard to find the focus or the motivation to do any of that.

Similarly, I suppose, I could attempt to write some grand diatribe about what we  should all do and what we should all not do. How we should ‘be’ in this challenging moment. But, hey, what do I know? I read the advice and the news like everybody else and I’m trying to do my very best with it. Trying to do no harm to anyone else with my actions. But that’s the story of my life anyway. It’s what I always do, just heightened in every possible way. So, no, there’s no point in me telling you what to do and what not to do. You can read just like I can. Well, you’re here so I’m assuming that you can.

All I can type about is me.

To type about anyone else I know, or even to include them peripherally in this typing seems intrusive and poorly advised. We’ve all got our own stuff, it’s not for me to be hanging any of it out here to dry.

So, as ever, as always, all I have got to work with here is ‘me’.

So, what’s with me?

I’m okay. A bit worried about where we are and where we’re going. Making a lot of attempts at planning and thinking-forward and such, which is kind of counter-productive as the data available about what comes next is ever-evolving and hard to work with.

The four of us are all here, which is lovely. It feels reassuring too, to have us all under the one roof. We are lucky to live in a place where it is not difficult to respect the space between another person and where most things can be accessed without needing public transport. I don’t work in a big crowded office so, for now at least, I think I can slip from home to office desk without touching or troubling anyone else. The advice might change, of course, and I will change with it.

Everything’s a little bit ‘heightened’. The sunshine outside my window right now seems brighter and more spring-like. The birdsong seems louder. The anxieties are heightened too, as I am sure they are for most every other person. Am I doing the right things? Have I made some kind of a mistake somewhere? What will happen next?

I get the news every day, but I try to take time away from it too. A constant stream of repeating updates, particularly at this moment, tends to mess with my equilibrium a little. If I give myself too much of it, it gets to be like a ping pong ball bouncing around inside my brain pan. Even typing that, just now, has set the ricochet off again. Have I done this? Should I do that?

I need to stay out of people’s way whilst also trying to help as much as I can. I’m being nicer than nice, such that some people are looking at me funny. Who is this guy?

This could be a lovely time together here in the house, if we all avoid the virus or only get a lick of it, but it’s not that simple. What happens from here will inevitably be hard to watch and, obviously, even harder to be wrapped up in. The chart-curve, that I am told to aspire to, will doubtless play out. The big questions being how steep the curve will continue on before it declines and whether there will be another curve to follow that one.

I don’t know, I just don’t know.

But that’s life, isn’t it? I never know. On any given day there could be a bus coming up the road with my name on it, a tree destined to fall on my head. It’s just that, these days, the bus seems clearer, I feel that much closer to the tree.

I just have to keep on, doing the best I can, taking the advice, doing what I am told to do or what I tell myself I have to do.

It’s life, Jim, just bigger than we usually know it.


Brid Q said...

Thanks Ken.

Fles said...

I understand exactly what you mean: the world feels odd at the moment. On the one hand, this virus seems trivial and over-blown; on the other, it feels as though the world may be on the cusp of something. Certainly, I think it would be ill-advised for us to disregard it. Everything suddenly feels - I don't know - fragile.

marty47 said...

trying times indeed Ken.I'm doing what you're doing, what they're telling us to do.I think they should add'keep of social media too. There's lots of scaremongering going on, God knows what thrill people get out of it. Here in town Gardai called to shops because of fighting over food, pubs teaming out on to streets,that scares me more than the virus.It's a fair bet most of us will come thru it if the figures are right, maybe a few more if we do as asked, but I wouldn't be surprised if all but essential services are allowed open after St Patricks Day. I read today a diary of a recovering covid 19 sufferer, it made me think. 5 years ago I missed flu shot because of chest infection ,ironic or what?I got a really bad flu type illness, it lasted 4 weeks, fluctuating temp, hard to breathe, knocked myself out twice with severity of coughing.
It wasn't just the flu because my brother & mother who had the jab got it too, only nowhere near as severe as mine.As you say if we flatten the curve & take pressure off Health Services ,more people will have a chance. Stay well Ken & keep your family safe too, take care

Pam Nash said...

Ah, Ken, the calm, gentle voice of sanity.
Go well... x

Emily Suess said...

Your thoughts are a lot like mine after being diagnosed with cancer. The bus had always been there, my view of it just got a little clearer, is all. Some might think it odd or uncomfortable to think of things that way, but I think it's reassuring. You just keep on doing the least harm and the most good you know how.

Karen Redman said...

I don't say these things often enough these days, Ken - so please accept my apologies and know that I always look forward to reading your blog posts. I seem to have lost the ability to write anything more coherent than a shopping list but, one day, I hope to surprise myself by stringing together several cohesive sentences.

Jim Murdoch said...

Selfishness is wrong, self-centredness is frowned on but self-awareness is generally considered not such a bad thing. I am the centre of my own wee universe but I’m still a part of the universe; there’s no dodging that. The news has, as always, proven interesting and once again I’m surprised by and disappointed in my fellow man. People have, it seems, been proudly posting photos on social media of their cupboards jam-packed with food and I really don’t see these as any different to the pictures uploaded by big game hunters of their kills. Nothing to be proud about. That doesn’t mean Carrie didn’t add a packet of toilet rolls to our grocery list even though we have two already and would normally have skipped a week but that was the limit of our panic buying.

I guess we’re luckier than most. Carrie never has to leave the house, I hardly ever need go further than the kerb outside our flat and as long as Tesco’s willing to deliver the basics I don’t see us being in too much danger. I’ll skip lunch with my daughter next month. As much as I miss her there’s no pressing reason to put either of us at risk. As you say there could be a bus out there with my name on so why play in the road?

We still have a faded leaflet stuck on the white board in our kitchen talking about swine flu. That was worrying but no one was in this much of a tizzy about it. It came, did its worse (which wasn’t as bad as expected) and went away. Who’s to say how the present threat will play out? If it brings down Trump it might not be such a bad thing when you consider the loss of life and misery that will ultimately be able to traced back to his administration.

Marc Paterson said...

It feels like I'm sitting at the beach, knowing a tsunami is coming, but right now there's calm waters. In the UK there's very few official restrictions but some events and businesses are taking their own initiative and cancelling, postponing, closing. I take the kids to school, feeling like I really shouldn't, I walk the dog, the sun shines, the wind blows... everything seems so normal.

Then I read the news and it's like armageddon, supermarket shelves empty, global lockdowns. Norfolk, I think was one of the few places where it hadn't reached but over the weekend we learned of its arrival. The first ripple on the water. We have an elderly relative living with us and I really don't want her getting it. I've been taking all the advice, what else can we do?

Jim Murdoch said...

What’s you poison? No idea when it was I heard that for the first time but I probably needed is explaining to me. Now, naturally, it seems obvious, blindingly so. Although prone to long periods of depression the one thing I’ve never contemplated, at least not seriously, was how I might want to commit suicide because no matter how bad life’s been—and it has reached depths I would never have imaged—I’ve never actually wanted to end it all. Curiosity’s kept me alive—I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s been—because even when I’ve been at my most miserable I’ve found being miserable interesting. I’m the same now. I hardly ever go out the front door and so it’s business as usual only now a third party’s telling me I can’t go out and that irks because even though I never go out going out is always an option. I could stay at home and die of boredom—might take a while but I suppose it’s possible—or I could head out into the unknown and risk infection. As you say, the bus or the tree. Of course never leaving the house means I’m one step removed from everything going on. I’ve not had to face the bog-roll-hungry mob outside Asda or stand alone gazing at empty shelves hoping some photographer catches me and I become the poster child for COVID-19. I wonder how that kid who confronted the tank in Tiananmen Square felt when he was his image plaster all over the newspapers. Or that naked South Vietnamese girl running away from Trang Bang. (Actually I know exactly how she felt; she was embarrassed to be seen naked.) The old (supposedly) Chinese curse comes to mind: May you live in interesting times. And I can’t pretend I don’t find what’s going on right now interesting. I just wish I had it in me to write a political poem which would make everyone see sense. So much good this facility with words does, eh? It’s shite, Ken, but shittier than we ever imagined possible.