I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Boxes ticked and unticked

Most of the things I wanted to do, I did.

Toured much of Britain by bike and by hitch-hiking in my youth. Entered journalism. Moved from Yorkshire to London. Married and the marriage endured. Regularly and intentionally changed jobs in London. Worked in the USA. Got job back in London; acquired a house. Became magazine editor. Became francophile and bought French holiday home. Retired early, financially comfortable. Found the stamina to write novels. Discovered singing. Kept hair.

Things left undone

Rock climbing. Wish I'd been better at it.

University. Might I have profited? Unrealistic, really, like wishing I'd been handsomer. In terms of formal education I was - and am - subnormal.

Would have appreciated a girlfriend while living in Yorkshire. A few months no more, providing social reassurance there was nothing wrong with me. London proved (to me at least) there wasn't but it's as if Yorkshire defeated me.

Finishing The Brothers Karamazov. Four goes, last one foundering on page 360. Yet I've read and re-read Proust and Joyce.

Conversational intolerance. But might a cure cost too much? Might I now be quieter (=moribund)?

Introspection. An ever-present addiction?

Writing verse. Could I improve or would that be (as I fear) self-delusion? 


  1. I don't think you "went into the house of the Lord" - if you did you came out again.

  2. Sir Hugh: How about fearful prayer when young (see My Crutch); also singing in Idle Parish Church choir? However, I am changing the headline

  3. Can a person do this sort of inventory with complete honesty? Or is it the answer, "Of course not?" If you are honest here, I admire your lack of grave regrets and serious errors.

    Most people should go to university at a later age. I'm not sure that many people get out of it what we would like to imagine. And how many who went to college have read Proust multiple times? Congratulations on the genetic accident (hair) and on having a lively moving-about sort of life. It all looks interesting and pleasant from here.

    Why shouldn't you improve if you pursue? And you do pursue still, don't you?

  4. Marly: You're right of course. Complete honesty would have required more words, but do we think about ourselves in tons of words, as if we were writing a balanced learned paper? Take university: at the time I started in journalism (1951) experience, yet to be achieved, was king, nobody had a degree and the idea was pooh-poohed. Now nobody lacks a degree and I found myself as editor interviewing job applicants who'd been to Oxbridge. (And, parenthetically, being acutely irritated by their ignorance of the outside world). But the fact was I was a terrible learner at school and would never have qualified for university anyway. At this distance in time university is simply an intermittent itch and here I'm scratching it in public.

    Even more ironic was my inability, in Yorkshire, to find a young woman with shared interests and capable of taking me seriously. I suffered agonies of uncertainty. Yet this was the time of adolescence and for many young males histrionic suffering went with the territory. The irony arrived decades later when on mature reflection I realised there probably were one or two young women I knew who were sympathetic but who so over-awed me that I lapsed into incapacitating timidity. And such women are now appearing in my novels all of which have women as central characters. So here's public and private scratching.

  5. I wasn't thinking of details so much as other things--things completely left out. But if you've hit all the major elements, well, I think you have done pretty well!

  6. Marly: Not all the unticked boxes in my life are fit to be revealed. What must also be acknowledged is the conflict between being factual and the need to entertain; facetiousness, a tendency to tease, self-mockery, metaphors and non sequiturs are all strings to my bow. After all, unpredictability seems to be working for DT.

  7. I started reading Dostoyevsky's The Idiot a while ago and made the mistake of putting it down for a while. Picked it up again, to realize I'd mixed up most of the characters' names and lost the plot (all I remembered was a blur of misery and heavy drinking). I plan a second attempt at some point.

  8. HKatz: All those patronymics and diminutives, I know the problem. The first time I read War And Peace it came with a bookmark listing all the characters' names, nicknames, etc. The perfect mobile solution; much better than providing the info on a fixed page in the book.