. . . at least there is good news in the music charts! If you haven’t listened to Boris Johnson is a Fu**ng C**t, it’s . . . emotional. Even the band are called The K**nts, so I’m not sure how radio or television are even reporting it. It can’t exactly be ignored – it’s at number eight! Just when you give up on a country . . .
Needless to say, it’s been one of those ‘one in a hundred’ years: it’s December, and last January seemed like a hundred years ago. I’ve spent a few days in the country on my motorbike, staying at a friend’s place, very much feeling the serenity. It’s odd that after five months of solitude living in Melbourne during COVID, the first thing I did was be solitary again, just somewhere else. I've included some photos below.
Trying to take positives from the year, being flat-ridden let me progress through an exceptional amount of literature. One book a week, I think. My index finger is worn to the nub! Most of the books centre around improvement and mental health, which this year seems particularly prevalent. Retaining even a few things from each book helps me weather the storms a little better. To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius, your soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts. I love that.
If I could pick just a single book this year, I’d pick Philosophy For Life by Jules Evans. I’ve always been inspired by Kipling’s ‘if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs’ and Henley’s Invictus ‘I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul’, but actually getting there is a different matter, which ignited my interest in philosophy. Drawing on the collective thoughts of thousands of years, getting advice from the finest brains to ever grace the earth, is truly wonderful. This author distils classic philosophy into a single understandable tome, cycling through the basics and introducing people from all walks of life that found certain philosophical aspects helpful to them at different times. This from Marcus Aurelius again:
“Vex not thy spirit at the course of things; they heed not thy vexation. How ludicrous and outlandish is astonishment at anything that may happen in life." The only thing we can control is our own beliefs; the robber of your free will doesn't exist. I take great solace from this, and hope you can too during a tough winter for many. Alternatively, you can eat twenty mince pies, knock back a quart of whisky and get into a punch-on with a snowman, that might work too.
With many people enjoying a slightly different than usual festive period, it may be tough without family this year, or bloody delightful, depending on your point/pint of view. Either way, I wish you and yours a very safe, warm and happy Christmas. I shall be spending the day with friends, but will endeavour to have my annual swim regardless of temperature. It looks cloudy and cold outside, but hopefully a smattering of heating is running through the outdoor pool. One year the heating was completely off, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen snowballs inside my shorts. Jingle balls, indeed.
Much love for Christmas,
Writing and writing...