The mind of fantasists and the authors of cheap paperback novels

  • Saturday, February 15, 2020
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You laugh together. You dance together. You gape at the hotdog eaters on Coney Island

There are spaces like brief flashes of light between the times I spend metaphorically rocking back and forth and gazing at a horizon that exists only in the mind of fantasists and the authors of cheap paperback novels that nobody ever reads. In these spaces I have been asking myself questions.
What defines my life?
Where am I?
Where do I want to be?
I'm struggling to answer these but I know my only hope lies in running and my friends. I know that I need both.
Kurt Vonnegut asked his adult son what he thought the meaning of life was, and his son replied: “We are here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”
I'm not easy so my friendships stand with wild eyes on the edge of the abyss and take commitment and effort, my friends require grace and unconditional love to keep them alive.
Anyone who knows me understands that unless I run I become diminished and jagged so I make sure that I shoulder past the shadows, their sharp edges blunted by the rays of the rising sun, running minimilist and unburdened by the commitments of materialism, time or other peoples expectations. This is not selfish because it is in the recharging of ourselves that we can give of all the beauty that we contain to others, it is discharging the responsibility of grace towards ourselves so that we can do the same for the people that our lives contain.
Grace is everything.
Much of my thinking at the moment centres around running and friendship which are set against the backdrop of this unending depression that has gripped me with the sticky residue of a spiders web. It seems that the more I struggle and thrash the more it entangles me. I needed a challenge this year to focus on, draw me out and give definition to my life and somehow one found me.
Annie is my friend and she has watched me struggle like a lot of my friends knowing that they can't fix me. She runs with a motley group called Fourdaysrunning who I briefly ran with a few years ago. They were formed by a man called Ivor Reveley. Ivor, who has an Autistic son was chairman of trustees at Children on the Autistic Spectrum Parents Association (CASPA) and hit upon the idea of running for Four days over the bank holiday weekend in May to raise funds for the charity. Over the last decade the group has done various runs over the UK from the Isle of Wight, Hadrians Wall and The Thames Path. Ivor sadly died in 2018 but his spirit very much lives on through running.
This year the run is from Hunstanton to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and I am going.
I can't wait.
So I'm running every Monday night with the group and doing a longer Saturday run, either out on the trails or catching a train and running back, for instance we will catch a train to London Victoria and run to Bromley for a pub lunch.
The beautiful Zolani Mahola, who has done much to cross the divides that separate people put friendship like this; we are all connected and have so much in common, our stories are all unique and we have to be curious about our own and each other’s stories, to find the reason we were put on this planet and to be our full expression.
Sarah who is my friend teaches me to look for rainbows.
Ivor would have loved this, he was a man who was always challenging people to be better and find their full expression through relationship. He died to soon but left this legacy which he still lives through. He understood, I think, the importance of connection and shared experience. He loved story.
So, what defines my life? It's friendship and running. And my children.
Where am I? Still lost for the time being but now I have guides and a destination.
Where do I want to be? At peace, whole and someone who bestows love.
Working life out is not easy and takes work. I love the Southern Cross but I know that you have to cross the Equator to see it, there is a journey and a cost involved but I believe it is worth it.
Finally, I've borrowed this from The Guardian Newspaper: David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, said about the ending of the final episode:
“Well, what Tony should have been thinking, I guess, and what we all should be thinking – although we can’t live that way – is that life is really short. And there are good times in it and there are bad times in it. And that we don’t know why we’re here, but we do know that 20 miles up it’s freezing cold, it’s a freezing cold universe, but here we have this thing called love, which is our only defense, really, against all that cold, and that it’s a very brief interval and that, when it’s over, I think you’re probably always blindsided by it.”
Twenty miles up, it’s a freezing cold universe, we only have the human connections we make here, nothing is permanent, and love is our only defense. I suggest we all vote accordingly, and try to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.

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