In 2004 I ordered a CD from Amazon, and was sent the wrong one, but as it’s music (AND free), there clearly would have been something wrong with me had I not listened to it.
‘The way we are’ is the album, by a sort of grungey/alt rock duo called ‘Fleming and John’, and it’s definitely intrinsically linked to most memories I have of my first crack at ‘adulting’. My favourite track (apart from ‘Ugly girl’ for its superb lyrics: “Is she so nice it makes up for her face?”) is ‘The Pearl’. Fleming wrote this after reading a book by John Steinbeck with the same title, and 14 years ago I thought “I’ll read that “. Last week I ordered it, and today I finished it.
The Pearl is one of those sorts of books that you would read in an English Lit class, and want to annotate. It really is so packed with meaning it takes a few a goes to really get everything that is trying to be said, but when you do get there, you are deeply in awe.
The story is set in Bolivia, and the main characters are from a fishing village who don’t have two pennies to rub together, but one day, discover great wealth. The rest of the story unfolds around how this ‘wealth’ literally changes everything, turning the world upside-down. Given a chance, I don’t think many people would be able to finish this book without being made to re-evaluate at least something going on in their life. It is actually that good. You would want to sing about it.
Love really is responsible for some pretty cool things.
Pictured is Wilder’s Folly, or ‘Pigeon Tower’ as it’s also known locally (which is far too utilitarian a name in my view, given its romantic intentions), and was built by Rev Henry Wilder when he fell in love with Joan Thoyts, a local girl from Sulhamstead. The intention of the folly was that Henry and Joan could each see it from their respective dwellings, and would serve as a physical representation of their affections until they could be together. They married in 1768.
The folly is no Taj Mahal, but on my walk this morning when I saw it, it just made me think about how much I love that love can drive people to do extraordinary things. Like, it’s such a powerful emotion, and creates such energy, it feels like it can’t always be contained in your being; it drives you, propels you to ‘act’ in some way.
And then heartbreak can have a similar effect. In the same way that falling in love can make you feel like a Duracell bunny, no longer experiencing the return of your affections can sometimes create a new type of momentum, keeping you running for fear of falling flat on your face. It’s not always a bad thing. It’s a chance for introspection, and wisdom, and the fact you have all this energy to channel into finding balance again means that happiness becomes rather a cause for action, not merely an ambition. Elizabeth Gilbert I think would probably agree.
I wonder if love past and/or present for someone, or something is actually the cause of most action? Other than that carried out through obligation…
Perhaps time for another walk.
Except the watershed for my ‘reveal all’ seems to happen at roughly 11pm. For some reason, this is when my brain ponders the wonders of the universe, and I end up having my most deep and meaningful conversations. It’s something to do with night and the dark, which I think almost gives you the cover to open up. Maybe more conversations should be had in the later hours. Thus also supporting my fervent belief too in siestas.
Annoyingly, I have always been allergic to whichever metal it is they use to make the backs of watches. My skin swells up in red, nobbly, itchy, bumps which are very unpleasant, as am I (I imagine), until the irritation passes. So I largely gave up on the exercise of wearing a timepiece, which again, was probably an unpleasant experience for those around me as they became my time keepers; until I got my first phone, and then had the inconvenience of having to keep it on my person constantly so I wasn’t late. That was until…
THEY STARTED MAKING WATCHES OUT OF WOOD!
I know! Seriously cool! Not only can I wear these, but I LOVE them. Wood in general to be fair. It is my ambition one day to live in a house made entirely from wood. It’s a beautiful material, and comforting, and cosy and just, it has so much soul! Anyway, so I asked for a wooden watch for my Christmas present, and there are loads to choose from, but the one (pictured) had my name on it, and is made somewhere totally random like Outer-Mongolia or something, and cost £8, but I genuinely love it. And I don’t really have prized possessions. What’s more, I have accidentally washed and tumble-dried this watch twice now. And it’s still going. And you just rub a bit of olive oil into the wood and the leather strap, and it comes up just like new. What an awesome thing. And I’m rather inclined to think the best things in life really don’t cost much. I don’t think I need to say any more….