This blog post is not going to win me any friends.
I don’t care.
I don’t care.
Even as a kid, I never really got money. I mean, I had pocket money, I understand money, I even like money to the extent that it can buy me things and offer opportunities and experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have, but at the same time, I never got money. I still don’t. I mean, bits of extravagantly printed paper or stamped chunks of metal that we pass around to one another and for what? What’s their real purpose? To be able to pass it to someone else in exchange for other things, who will then do exactly the same. Bits of stuff we just…move around. It seems pointless, doesn’t it? It something we all accept with ease because it’s part of our everyday lives and has been forever but if you really think about, it seems banal and bizarre and peculiar. It’s not like warmth or food or skill. It’s not something that actually provides value to our lives other than as something to exchange. It has no function. Money is, in essence, useless.
I’ve never really seen the appeal of audiobooks. Why sit and listen to something when you could be reading instead? It didn’t make any sense to me, but then neither do other hobbies like…you know…anything that involves moving or going out or talking to real-live people. What’s more, I’d get even more pickled when people say that they’ve ‘read’ so-and-so book as an audiobook. You didn’t read it then, did you? I’d quietly ask (more than quietly – I’d ask in silence). I never thought there was anything wrong with audiobooks of course. If you enjoy listening to books, go for it – why not? But it’s not reading is it? It’s listening. Saying you’ve ‘read’ an audiobook is like saying you ‘read’ the movie version, right?
So it was book club again this week. I love book club. Even when everyone enjoyed the book, the discussion always reduces to a bitch-fest of which characters we didn’t like and who did something stupid. It’s fun. Even without the bitch-fest, it’s always satisfying to talk to people who agree with us and interesting to talk to those who don’t. The best book club meetings are those when there is a range of opinions on a book – lovers and haters. That can really get a debate going.
See How They Run by Tom Bale didn’t quite manage that level of debate, but it did get the conversation flowing. There were some who absolutely loved the book while others thought it was okay, but there were no out-and-out haters this month. Certainly, as it proclaims on its cover, it’s a fast-paced novel. Right from the outset, the action gets your heart pumping and your curiosity jumping. It gets your eyes running across the words and stumbling as you try to take the story in too soon. You need to know what’s going to happen next.
When I was a kid, mum and dad said that to me a lot – a good, strong, positive idea to spur me on to greater things. Motivational advice designed to keep me going, to keep me confident, to keep me working hard, and to make sure I make something of myself. It worked and, perhaps because it was so drummed into me or perhaps because it’s true, I still adhere to this guiding principle – work hard and believe in yourself and you’ll achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. It’s pretty powerful for one little sentence.
Even as a child, though, I could see the flaw in this proposition – not so much in real terms, but in abstract terms. No matter how hard I work or how much I believe in myself, I’ll never be able to fly to the sun (the story of Icarus, which I was also told as a child, is proof enough of that). No matter how hard I work or how much I believe in myself, I can’t just point at a frog and turn him into a prince – not that I’d need to, I’ve already found my prince (altogether now…d’aaawww – or blurgh – equally acceptable reactions). So the proposition, no matter how motivational or powerful or functional, is simply not true. But what if it was?
Do you know what I’ve realised? Time is a big thing for me. It’s an issue, and not just in the I-don’t-have-enough-of-it sense (although without a doubt, I don’t have enough of it). Time, where it comes from and where it goes, how we waste it and how to make the most of it, efficiency, procrastination, life, death, and immortality. They’re things I think about a lot – and I know I’ve done a fair few blog posts on the topic too – but time genuinely does affect our everyday lives in ways that sometimes we don’t even realise.
I recently read a blog post by fellow author Tanya Jones. It was all about immortality and whether it’s a good thing. It got me thinking. In fact, I read it over a week ago and since then, the concept of immortality has been swirling around and around in my over-stuffed brain, trying to wedge it’s way between thoughts of what we’re having for tea, the ever-increasing to-do list for the bar, and the importance of putting commas in the correct places. After all, immortality is a big deal, right?