This is a short biography of a man I know quite well. Before I was unsure if our friendship was a wise thing. Now I am much less uncertain.
Now I see it is good we know each other.
I was born in a hospital in Oxford, England. This happened more than fifty years ago.
I was born on Bloomsday. I didn’t know the importance of this day until I was well into my late forties; perhaps, even, my early fifties. My parents never told me how important a day it is for the literary and artistic world. So it meant nothing to me. Actually, really nothing. Not just that I didn’t care. Much more, I had simply no idea.
Mebbe my parents never knew. The society around me, the one in which I grew up, and in which I became an adult, and in which I left my childhood well behind me, never informed me of Bloomsday either. Mebbe it didn’t know. Mebbe nobody I knew, mebbe nowhere I was to exist, had any idea of the beautiful significance of that beautiful date.
And talking of dates, I never had a date – I mean with a woman in the sense you understand – since all of those moments of not being told. And neither have I ever managed to make love, in all my life, in all that Bloomsday-free life, to a woman who actually loved me back as much as I was sure I loved her.
I partnered into loneliness.
The solitude of the two.
My life has been like that, all the way through.
I lived for the first few years in a small village called Ducklington, next to an American airbase whose wonderful aeroplanes I am sure I was initially enchanted by, but around which a parent, terrified of planes as a result of wartime experiences, successfully terrified me into fearing so very much that I was unable to fly happily until the age of 54.
The day I flew happily was the 15th of June, 2016. The day before Bloomsday. The day before my 54th birthday.
I flew into Dublin, Ireland. Everyone there, the society too, knows about the importance of Bloomsday.
I was finally home.
At least for three days.
In the intervening period, I failed a lot of times: I failed as a husband and partner; I failed as a father; I failed as a businessperson; I failed as a judge of character; I failed to stay out of a medical prison, and then a wider medical imprisonment, when – actually – everything I was put away for seeing … well, actually I was right. And even though, on so many occasions in my life, I was right about so many other things, where the wrongest in my life I was wrong all along was in believing it was enough to be right.
It’s good to be right, but we really, really, really have to do right, too.
But we can only do right when someone loves us right. And that is why, to date, in my Bloomsday-free life, in part at least, at least in part, I never did want to do more than be. I never did feel capable of making change happen to stuff.
2018 is going to be a different year for me, however.
2018 is the year I will do as well as be.
2018 is when I will realise a lifetime of suppressed dreams, because dreams suppressed for so very long deserve to be released – one day – onto the stage of life.
So. A bio, kinda. And why I think I think the way I think.
I believe in deep and long relationships.
I believe in collaboration over competition.
I believe in vulnerability as a tool for bettering society, business, love and life.
I open up when others have closed down; and I do this over and over – even though I was imprisoned for doing it once.
I believe in ethics above all, although my own ethics – especially this last year – have not hit the bar I would have preferred them to hit.
I am infinitely convinced of the capacity all human beings have, to:
- radically increase their intelligence;
- radically improve their utility;
- radically better their positions on this rock without trampling on others.
I also believe in the importance of our emotional sides. I know, now, that I have not achieved everything I should have done by this time – and if not should have, then could have for sure – precisely because my emotional side has simply not been allowed to flower. After a long two years of probing and writing and struggling and giving into strange impulses, I realise, of course, there are limits to what we can do.
But I also realise there are limits which no person has the right to place another soul under.
If I have thought the way I have thought up to this day, then it is because I have never been kissed with the love I have felt for another; I have never hugged and embraced with a woman who had no agenda; I have never felt in close contact with the compassion I yearn for; I have never been able to make love to the beautiful as I perceive them; and I have never been touched fulsomely by a kindly and gentle humanity.
People have been suspicious of my soul.
People have feared what I am.
People have resisted my kindnesses.
People have never understood my life’s role.
And yet in all the above, in all the good I describe above I mean, I still firmly believe it to be our civilisation’s broader destiny.
So if you want to understand me better, and if you care to reach out to my strangeness, and if my curious approach to thriving puzzles you, and if you think I care little for your world, and if you wonder what on earth might make me tick, tick I mean as a clock which marks our time, not tick as a bomb whose irascibility will break our rhyme, then think back to the beginning of this bio and realise the depth of my unhappiness: once dragged cruelly from horrible whipping post to horrible whipping post, and from cruel pillar of society to cruel pillar of society.
2018, then, will be when I no longer demand that you change. But neither will I – not exactly anyhow. What I am trying to say, imperfectly it is true, is that this year is the year I finally realise it is time I looked forwards. As I wrote in a recent poem, I am convinced I shall spend the rest of my life with the woman I want to share the rest of my work with. I am also convinced I have not yet met this person. And suddenly the opportunity this offers me to acquire a patience I never ever manifested makes me feel a different man: a man of different talent.
At last I can forget my past so that it is properly, truly passed.
At last the passed of a life of real hurts no longer can attract me back into its past.
And at last I shall build a business life, a job, a thing of utility and good, which will allow me to gently, slowly, gradually, finely, one day achieve my Bloomsday of grand.