When I lie on our bed to do my back stretches (worth adding here that I will start doing them in the study once we’ve finished the building work and can commission our library; I have a yoga mat ready and waiting), I can see two small irregularities in the plaster on the ceiling, and tend to focus on them while I do the first part of my stretches (bringing my knees up onto my chest). I often lose count of how many I’ve done (the plan is to do 10 30-second stretches), and sometimes I wonder what would happen if I lose count to such an extent that I got stuck in an eternal loop thinking over and over again I was on my 6th or 6th or 8th repetition. Of course, it couldn’t happen in reality – the light would change, M would come and look for me and rip me out of the loop (as she has often done when I’ve got caught in other loops in my life), or I’d drop back into the proper count. It’s an interesting thought, nonetheless, because those loops do exist.
Talking, as I was, of loops and minute decisions that change lives and send alternate lives off in different directions, A, M, and I went to see Everything Everywhere All At Once in the cinema yesterday. A had already seen it once, and thought it would be a good idea to get her elderly parents out of the house for once, so we walked down there (and back up again, 6 miles in all). What a brilliantly weird, what a weirdly brilliant, film. It’s all about those connected universes that spring off when we make certain decisions, and a part of us goes off in a different direction (think Sliding Doors, but with more than two options, and with much more real-life absurdity, and therefore much more reality, about it), and what might happen if we could jump between those universes, and what might become of us if we had the ability to see, and live in, all those universes simultaneously. I was absorbed from start to finish (despite raising my eyebrows more than twice), and once again reinforced in my view that life is absurd, that we live in an abstract painting, that nothing can be predicted, and that it is actually pointless worrying about things we can’t predict or control. The ultimate message is that, however much we doubt it right now, kindness will prevail.
While I was broadcasting on Radio Stradbroke yesterday, I got an email from Marina Florance letting me know she’d just written a new tune and asking if I could write some lyrics. She sent me a draft verse, and I started scribbling thoughts down while I was on air (hence sounded very distracted I should think). In the end, I sent one set of lyrics which went off in a direction she hadn’t envisaged, and then another set of lyrics which were possibly more in line with what she had been thinking. Just as I was about to turn off my phone before the film, already in my seat, I got an email from her saying how much she loved the first set of lyrics. We will see how all that turns out – the gestation period from draft tune and draft lyrics to finished song can always take a while (as it should). I just feel blessed that she asks me to write lyrics for her beautiful voice.
In yet another serendipitous moment of my life, just before I went on air yesterday, and just after I’d finished writing about my great friend L, M handed me an envelope addressed to me, and sent from California. A hand-written letter from said L which moved me deeply. I will put pen to paper later today – I have quite a few letters I want to write.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 97
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