Trying (too hard) to grow old disgracefully
Two weeks ago, my alarm went after I’d got three hours of sleep after getting into JFK at 23:00 EST, getting a ride back to where I was staying, and settling in my room with a couple of bottles of Guinness and an easy route to the back door to indulge my need for nicotine as well. I set my alarm for 5:30 EST because my first meeting was before 8, and my body needs time to wake up.
|Silver birches in Connecticut, the night I arrive|
Thanks for your healing thoughts for my back which gave me no particular trouble while I was out there. It’s just very odd to have been back for 10 days and still to be feeling totally and utterly exhausted. Even two 3-mile runs at 11 minutes a mile don’t seem to have shaken off the cobwebs. But maybe there’s more to it than that anyway. Suffice to say that this is the longest M and I have been apart since I went on book tour to the US in 2012, and before that when I went to the Antarctic in January 2008.
The more than just that I’m referring to is this – time is passing so very very quickly, and yet to me it feels like this winter is dragging on forever, that the dark nights are getting no lighter, that the days aren’t getting any longer, that the optimistic taste of spring isn’t in the air yet, that the world instead is holding its breath for something bad yet to happen this season. I hope I’m wrong, but meltdowns are happening everywhere. And in the US I somehow felt even more keenly this clash, this conflict between absolute wealth and absolute poverty sitting there side by side, just waiting for something incendiary to happen. And then the whole world will be blown sky high. I hope I’m wrong, and we’ll all find some better way of creating equality and peace than violent conflict. Because any such conflict creates martyrs on either side, and that just perpetuates everything. Montagues and Capulets all over again, and on and on.
Anyway, I didn’t set out to be maudlin in this second letter bashed out straight to screen without my brain and hand having time to think and stop. I wanted to say I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write back (the backlog of work was huge when I got back, plus the symptoms above). I’m lucky to have been able to travel, when so many others have not, for want of funds, for want of understanding nations, etc etc. You see, there I go again. This has been a long winter of the soul – been going on since 24th June for those of us who don’t want Brexit to happen, I guess.
What I was going to say is that I’m convinced you’ll age much more gracefully than me – and I’m almost seven years ahead of you on that road, so I must be the expert. Much more graceful in thought and looks than me. I am that Dylan Thomas poem to the extreme