I am working on a new writing project which has the word ‘fuck’ in its title. This, it transpires, might be problematic, because although societally speaking, we are open to the use of the word when written, it’s still not part of appropriate conversation in some quarters. I know this because if my children say it, I admonish them. And when I described the project to my Mum, I winced a bit when I said it. Although to type it, whilst mildly anarchic, I find a pleasing completeness to the word. As a word, it does what no other word will do. So there you go. Fuck. Let’s just say it out loud; Fuck. See? Deserves a capital letter.
Meanwhile on the London writing course, which is now punctuating my week like a well-placed semicolon, we discussed the ethics of truth and whether my memory of an event is the same as anyone else’s. This is what I love about learning; it opens the mind and makes the brain ache a bit, in a good way. I walked back across Waterloo Bridge, which has become my new favourite bridge because the Thames is always in tumult beneath it, churning, and on the one side Parliament and the London Eye, and on the other the towering city. Two young women were talking, I was eavesdropping as I walked slightly behind them, then we fell into a unified stride. One said;
‘If we’d have known a year ago what today would look like, we’d be, like, what the fuck. What the actual fuck is this shit?’
The other agreed in earnest.
And I thought yes, my sentiments exactly.
The world opens up after change, when the future is not clear, and when it is your turn for hardship. I feel like hardship waits on everyone’s doorstep, mostly unseen, but then it knocks on the door and barges its way in, and there is no way to avoid it. It makes its way around the houses.
There is good and bad. The good is exponential and I cling to it because it will, in the end bear fruit. There are books and thoughts, and early morning yomps across the South Downs with an old friend who also has hardship knocking at her door. There are opportune meetings with people you haven’t thought about in thirty years. There’s the kindness of others, and a ‘man who can’ who unblocked my kitchen drain. Turns out I had a fat berg. I felt this was symbolic. Blocked drains the postscript to the decomposing rat. It’s glamorous in the country. There’s knowing that this too shall pass. There’s the leafy, apple strewn lawn of my house, at sunrise, and the knowledge that the seasons come and go. There’s family. And dogs. And roast chicken and cauliflower cheese and other beige foods which nurture and sustain.
I hear myself say that you have to be open to the cosmic universe, and what I mean is, you never know. You think you do, but actually all sorts of stuff happens and you don’t know how you’ll react. I think the answer is to be open. Not closed. To be open-hearted and to try to wait it out. I never did find out what the conversation on Waterloo Bridge was about, they crossed the road and I carried on and they were swallowed into the masses. Let’s hope they find contentment again.