During the first day of the second part of my course yesterday, I was hit square between the eyes of how unfulfilled and how isolated I feel in some areas of my life. It was very disconcerting and a bit of a surprise to realise how intensely I felt this. The feeling leaked into the remainder of that day’s course and into my evening.
I felt burdened and preoccupied when I came to collect the Monkey who was unusually overjoyed to see me instead of her dad. When we got home, mrbookandbed put on the animated version of Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found, which is really lovely actually. I went and collected our popup book of the same name and author and the Monkey and I read it through: “come and read to me mummy.”
It’s a story of two lonely characters – a little boy and a penguin. The little boy who sets out on a huge, dangerous, stormy adventure in his rowing boat to take the penguin to other penguins at the South Pole so that he isn’t lonely any more. But the penguin just wants to be with the little boy. There’s a lovely picture at the end of the book of them hugging. It was a really lovely end to the day, my child wanting to be with me when I realised how little I felt valued. It gave me that lovely sense of how, to coin a Rolling Stones phrase, you can’t always get what you what but you get what you need. (Actually, I think it was Dylan who said it first.)
Interestingly, Keith Richards and I have been locked in conversation since Saturday, when I embarked upon his co-authored autobiography, Life, with some trepidation. Since then, my own life has been on pause after the high drama of last week, while I’ve allowed the Great Storm that has been Keith’s life to soak me through. I’m of a wrong generation to be a Stones fan, but in the great debate of Beatles or Stones, if I wasn’t replying “The Kinks,” I’d go for the Stones every time. Three quarters of the way through the bible according to Keith, I’m now seeing why. So powerful is this guy, I feel he’s infiltrated my very fibre, via a co-author and the medium of paper. An actual book. I’m not even reading this 630 page tome on Kindle, I’m lugging it around with me, reading it whenever I can cram in 5 minutes: surely there can be no more evidence of a great book than that. There are books from the 90s probably still sat, unread, on whatever desk I occupied that year. It may be an autobiography, but the storytelling in this book is as vivid and mythical as the Iliad. Read it.