My late friend John Forde says my blog is 'tinged with melancholy'. I'm not tingeing deliberately, although it does seem to be developing into a piecemeal autobiography of memories triggered by incidents from today. I flatter myself that's Proustian rather than requiring urgent prescription medication, but it tempts me to ask, preferably with a blinking cursor on a full screen like Carrie Bradshaw:
... in order to embrace the present, must we fall out of love with the past?
My past, particularly my childhood, does seem to me a sunlit upland but one to which I know I cannot retreat. Isn't childhood always the undiscovered country to whose bourne no traveller returns? I'm paraphrasing Hamlet but also the final toast to "The family, that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor in our innermost hearts never quite wish to" in Dodie Smith's Dear Octopus, the play in which I first appeared in a real theatre (Harrogate Opera House, October 1965) and this in itself is exemplary of the trigger mechanism, but you get the point. Nostalgia is a lovely place, but if it were a destination, EasyJet would be selling it for £9.99 plus tax.
I'm delighting in my present at the moment partly because of a young man called Sam who has entered my life and challenges me regularly with questions about my past experiences as part of our getting-to-know-you process. Talking to him seems to release a slew of anecdotes and half-remembered stories that I've not told to anyone else in years, if at all.
It's cathartic, but with his collegiate gift for generalisation he sees patterns I don't acknowledge, and maybe he's right. Perhaps by resurrecting the dusty trivia from my emotional attic, I'm also getting them out of my system.
Who knows, maybe move on?