Friday, 12 October 2018

A child of my age

Ann says my blog is of my age, revealing me as a child of the 40's to anyone reading it. Well, yes - I was born in the blackouts and played as a child among the bombed ruins of Leicester and Coventry. I played in the street, walked alone across the fields to primary school from age 5, and my early memories are of austerity and rationing, but it all seemed normal then. We are each a child of our age, and must build on the past as best we may.

I have been reading Mary Renault The Praise Singer for the last two weeks. It is ideal escape literature, and easy reading, but I am a slow reader with many distractions. I loved her literature when I was young, and read her avidly in the 50's and 60's. The Praise Singer tells of an ancient Greek musician. It was published in 1978, soon before her death, and passed me by. She was all woman, and lesbian before it became a fashion. Now she is published by Virago Classics, but is an unlikely icon for feminism. She doesn't write of women's issues, or even of female heroes. Per contra, her women are slaves, ill-treated wives, or hetairas. And of men, she writes with understanding: "He was learning more about the management of his javelin than he'd ever known...." "Well it is all gone by. Aphrodite herself could not raise my old spear now." Simonides is definitely of my age.

Today came the summons to attend hospital again next week to meet the mighty Mr Sengupta, perhaps to reveal the cancer's stage and discuss best treatments. Now I must build what is left as best I may, and move into a new future.

Ann continues to write her incisive brutal poetry, like a window into a hidden mind. trouble reminds me how valuable MA has been - one phone call, and she is round to help, in anyway she can. So many good wishes from so many people, often even through their own sorrows. Of the others, "whom to curse, who is unnecessary, and who is worse" sums them up.

Learning who your friends are
is valuable,
but learning who is selfish, useless, of little point,
is an indispensable guide to how to conduct the future –
who to bless
and who to curse
who is unnecessary
and who is worse.

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