Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Politics, Writing

Day 82

Another self-censored fragmentary.

My mind started racing just before we went to bed, and I scribbled some words down while M was brushing her teeth (in the downstairs bathroom, the main bathroom being out of action on account of the building work that’s going on). I am looking at them now, scrawled almost indecipherably on the print-out of yesterday’s post (I print them in 6-point font to glue them into my journal as all my output – except for a poem the other day – seems to be from this keyboard), and they seem sentimental, bordering on the mawkish, so I’ll consign them to the scrapbook of memories (dustbin of history) rather than write them here.

The thought often crosses my mind, and often almost jumps over into action, that I should go through everything I’ve ever written and burn/destroy all the material I think is inferior and useless, that I should censor all my work and pare it down to only that which I think is fit for publication. However, I never do anything about it. Perhaps I lack the courage, perhaps I have too much vanity, and think that scholars of the future will pick over my meanderings and find some meaning in my words that I haven’t been able to find. Only posterity will tell. A sign of old age, perhaps, thinking of posterity as something imminent rather than something that’s a long way off. I miss the sense of immortality my youth had.

Yesterday morning I had a text from our local GP practice telling me that many of their clinical staff were off with covid-19, and that they would have to run a reduced service for the rest of this week and for next week. I looked at the UK’s covid stats published yesterday, too. Fewer cases, thousands more in hospital, 250 deaths. If anyone thinks this crisis is over, they’re deluded. Politicians continue to lie to us. Lateral flow tests will stop being free at the end of March. Mask-wearing is no longer mandatory. The Health Secretary (the previous failed Chancellor) declares that 60% of those in hospital with covid-19 would be in hospital anyway. Waiting lists lengthen. Over 5 million operations have had to be postponed already. Covid-19 is rampant. I was meant to go to meet my day job’s auditors in London on Thursday and then go to a fundraising dinner, one of the few I used to attend before covid-19. I’d been conflicted about this for over a week, debating with myself over whether or not I should go, vacillating, making a decision one moment just to throw it over the next. After that GP text and those case numbers, and on reading that over 200k UK children are off school with C19 (up from just over 50k last week), I pulled the plug on the trip. Yes, I feel like a coward. Yes, I am gutted not to go. But I have to think about setting an example of common sense, have to think about my health, and the health of those around me. Being triple-vaccinated will not stop me from being a carrier of the disease (and it is a disease, not an inconvenience) and potentially passing it on to someone more vulnerable than I am who could become very ill. I have to live in the real world, which our politicians apparently do not. And after looking at myself in the mirror and giving myself a stern talking to, I know, I do know, this is not cowardice; it’s the exact opposite.

Schoolboy error – yesterday was so warm, I shut the heating off in the garden study entirely. The temperature dropped below freezing in the night. I forgot to turn the heating back on before I went to bed. It was not pleasant walking into here at 6:20 this morning. At least it’s not an unheated bomb shelter in Ukraine, and I didn’t have to run through a maze of bombed-out buildings, dodge falling missiles and broken bodies to get here. At least I am safe, for the time being.

My sorrow…


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