All we need, when we come it, is a gap between the sliding doors, a hiccup in life’s incessant cries, one open beat before the next call to march. Just one moment in which we can rest and reach, not just for renewal, but for rebirth. Because a break, properly used, leaves not one bit of us the same. A break, properly used, is transformative and destructive; by obliterating the tired, careworn creatures we may feel we have become, a break can render us new creations, ready for the next thing, the better thing, or even just better prepared for more of the same thing. A break, properly used, is all we need to get back to who we were before we looked forward to breaks, before we longed for naps, before we learned to look forward to the end of the day. Today, clock-watchers, is Friday and right there on the horizon is a break – here are three little birds to help you get into it.
- This perfect song, Breathing, by Hamzaa. I saw it on Stormzy’s Instagram just before 2018 curled itself up into its final ball and, as a consequence, it became my 2019 anthem. Good, isn’t it? All her stuff is.
- This excerpt from Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy, because I am incapable of reading it without laughing, and, when I’m trying to write funny things, it’s the first bit of dialogue I hold up in my head as precisely the kind of funny I want to be. I’ve been writing again, and will write more this weekend. I hope you spend your weekend doing whatever the “you” equivalent of writing is, too.
- This 1973 letter from E. B. White (of Charlotte’s Web fame) to some fellow who sounds like he’d be the worst to sit next to at a dinner party. I read it to my office mate the other day and we both agreed it’s never been more timely, on account of the current state of political affairs on both sides of the pond. It’s on the list because it inspired me to open the door to doing this again, (“a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly”), and I’m grateful to it, and to all of you.
Dear Mr. Nadeau:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather; they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society – things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this plant. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
Go forth and frolic. x