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Hanging out with myself

 Uh-oh. Solipsism alert. This one, I warn you in advance, is likely to be be a trifle disparate, disassociated and rambling.*

I'm putting it down in part to lockdown fatigue; as I wrote recently, when the end's in sight, the tight grip that you've had on yourself can start to loosen, and it seems reasonable to assume that that's a factor here.

Also in the mix is the looming re-opening of the pub, at times like this, there's so much to sort out that it can, at times, seem impossible to know where to start. Lists help.

Another reason for my head being in bits, without wishing to get too far into it, is my horror at the events of the last week or so: the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard casting a harsh glare on the inalienable fact of male violence, the aftermath and the Met's crushing response at the vigil. But they are worthy of blogs in themselves, which I'll probably get round to when I can concentrate on anything for more than minutes at a stretch. The point being that my thought processes are all over the shop at the minute.

So, in order to try and reduce the world to a controllable and manageable bubble for a brief period, I've been spending m spare time with myself. Or, rather, with a younger version of me. I've written about it over on CB's sister blog The Armchair Dissident, which some readers may be aware is where I tend to put the poetry stuff. The one I'm currently working through stretches over the improbable time frame of ten years

(as an aside, there's probably a blog to be done one day about how it makes life easier compartmentalising things. I often wonder about how one of the disparate threads which make my life up affects the other, my twitter timeline is a curious mix of poetry, politics and cooking, and my followers likewise a fairly rum mix of chefs and writers. I do occasionally wonder how it reads to someone who isn't me. Anyway, that's by the by, told you this one was going to be rambling).

In short, I've been transcribing old writing journals, and plucking some of the poems out. A lot of it is unusable, half a line, a terrible idea going nowhere, but there's the odd bit and/ or bob in there which amuses me, I've put a few of the better ones up at TAD. All of it, good and, ah, less good, goes into a word file, occasionally with a little on the fly editing, but more often than not verbatim. As to whether or not I'll do anything with it at a later date, who knows?

The thing about this exercise is that it is a salutary reminder that we are different people at different times. Or, at least, I am. I've written references to myself which obviously at the time I thought would be perfectly obvious when I came back to them. Now, sadly, I'm clueless. I've written things I clearly thought were excellent, which I look back at and wonder what I was thinking. There are little two line ideas that I find myself wondering why I didn't pursue them, because it's clear there's something there.

Most of all, it's like having a conversation with a younger version of me, and the interesting thing to learn is that that guy was a lot more careworn than the older vintage.  The death of my brother was still raw, I was fighting hard to keep a business and marriage afloat, and never getting the balance right, they were years where there was always a baby in the house. I sound stressed in quite a lot of it.

We're supposed to wise up a bit as we age, and that is broadly true, I've found, but if one were to chart my growth as a human being, the "grievous error" line would take a sharp uptick in my early thirties. I went from thinking I had it cracked by my late twenties (I've often thought since I didn't really turn into a decent human until I was about 28) to spending 30-36ish making bad call after crappy judgement. The writing in this journal reflects this, luckily the bulk of it will never see the light of day.

However, and this is the good bit, keeping up a habit of writing, however intermittently (it looks like I wrote about 200 words total in 2013. Checking back through the Coastalblog archives I note that I didn't post anything in January or February of that year, and not much else the rest of it. Clearly 2013 was a bit of a headfuck) means that I have a pretty good overview of how my mind's been working the last ten years or so. And now, an the relatively calmer water of my mid forties I can find time to feel a bit of sympathy for that poor sod who was doing so many damaging things, both to himself and others. I can, in short, understand them, and forgive myself a little for a few truly bad calls I made at the time.

There isn't really a lesson to draw from all this self-indulgence, except maybe that if you fuck something up, it might not be as much you're fault as you think. I've found spending a little time with myself to actually be a pretty helpful and healing process, and I even got a few poems out of it. And as takeaway maxims go, that'll do, for now

*I heard that. Yes, even more than usual, you cheeky sod.


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