Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The pits and the epiphany

Went to bed in a foul, self-critical mood, grinding out a mantra: no more about ageing, no more about bloody ageing. Until Younger Daughter and I flipped through some of my recent posts, courtesy of her Iphone, I hadn’t realised how the subject had tainted the latter part of the WW year. Ageing isn’t fun, but it’s even less fun to read about. Too late Plutarch came up with the following from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book of aphorisms, The Bed of Procrustes: “Here's another, which I personally find rather close to the knuckle, and therefore all the more true as far as I am concerned: The only objective definition of ageing is when a person starts to talk about ageing."

So from now on imagine me as I was in 1975, forty years old, full of professional arrogance, just awarded my first editorship – which is how I still see myself when times are good. Not likeable but likely to say something unexpected. A constantly spiky terror to those who were in charge of me.

But I must be honest. Knowing I could purge this discovery, as I am doing now, I relaxed to a newly remembered experience. At midnight we crowded round the French window to watch the New Year fireworks. There were fewer this year but we were compensated - sky lanterns, released in dozens, elegant domes of flame floating determinedly north towards the Malverns. At first I was struck by a sense of community (the kids released one of their own) but the word is too passive. What we were seeing was a dynamic community, one on the move. An affirmative display. And on they flowed.