I have a window in my schedule.
Time for a little calm reflection after 58-and-a-half years of seemingly frantic activity, 21 years of parenting and a very busy week.
Inspired by a dream last night I dug out a dusty box from at the back of a cupboard in my office and found these.
The box contains my diaries from 1970 to the late 1990’s. After that I started keeping a diary on computers.
These 27 books of varying size are all crammed to the covers with handwriting.
They don’t all relate to a specific calendar year, some periods are sparsely recorded in contrast to the occasional 20 or 30 pages describing one day.
Unlike the diaries of say, Tony Benn or Peter Ustinov, they are not full of wonderful anecdotes about famous or powerful people, revealing insights into our political history or anything resembling great literature.
Okay, there’s the odd reference to someone you may have heard of, but they are mostly miserable self-obsessed scribblings about how rubbish I am, how incapable I am of finding love, how I’ve failed at everything I’ve ever attempted to do, how poor I am, stressed, tired and forlorn.
Thankfully, every now and then, even I am surprised by the insights I had into my own personal politics, my hypocrisy, embarrassment and social awkwardness.
Some of that is quite poetic and brutally honest.
I knew then and I know now nothing in these diaries was ever written to be published if for no other reason than they would make very dull reading.
There are screeds of pages where I try and work out stories, where I have arguments with myself about what it is I’m trying to say and the best way to say it.
There are half written plays, sketches and songs dating back to the late 1970’s,
There are rants about homophobia, racism, sexism and the brutality of the ever-growing corporate controlled globalized free-market economy.
So in a rather ungainly and self-obsessed fashion they do record how the world has changed in my lifetime.
It’s not all for the worse even though things seem fairly shitty at the moment.
The easiest thing to do, the lazy UKIP reaction is to trick yourself into imagining it was ‘better in the old days.’
As someone who was around in the old days, let me make one thing perfectly clear. It was shit in the old days.
It’s a teeny tiny bit better today than yesterday, and tomorrow will be fractionally, infinitesimally better than today.