tragedy, mirth


scorpions and worm-infested eye sockets, etcGood things happen and bad things happen and sometimes the two are indivisible, or remarkably similar looking once you get right down to turning them inside out. Or you can’t just draw a line between them and say that is that.

All quiet on the katyink front for a bit. A lot of feather flapping on the life front. Or maybe I only say that to tie in with the feather-shedding bird motif in the picture, and to get myself off the hook (albeit a hook of my own making).

Some snakes crawled through my eyes, and then a rabid eagle swooped down… I could say anything, and it may or may not be true. I wouldn’t do that, though, being as sweet and honest as I am, honestly. No such roadkillish fate befell me, since last time I wrote.

Tonight (Matthew) I am talking about tragedy and mirth. Specifically (and only) in the same breath. Not tragedy in its own right, or mirth in her own glory. Together, in [unlikely] harmony.

I may be building this up to a height I don’t have the stomach for, so I will keep it conversational. Partly because I don’t always remember why I started writing this, partly because I don’t do heights, and partly because I have other things to be moving on with. But that is a boring thing to say. And the fact that I pointed out it was boring is also boring. We have all got things to be moving on with. That is, of course, unless we are roadkill.

We saw Parky (aka Michael Parkinson) last Friday. He is a man with a craggy, genteel, measured turn of phrase and a tendency to gentle understatement, which I could probably learn a lot from.

Parky said something about tragedy and mirth often being one and the same, or the distance between them microscopic or marginal, or whatever the word is. I didn’t get it down verbatim, what Parky said, since I wasn’t the one with the  notebook on hand.

I did, however, make a fuggy mental note, and this is me making stabs at transcribing it. I often think about tragedy and mirth in the same sentence.

When I was little I used to think that tragedy = death. Death, and only death. Sometimes I still do.

Just like when I was little I thought that to elope = having sex.

Jo Thomas (my best friend in primary school), aged seven or so:

“Do you think you would ever elope?”

(She was/is pretty smart.)

Me, aged seven but two months and nine days older than her (and not so smart):

“I think so, but not before I get married.”

Total diversion there. Tragedy and mirth.

People often tell me my writing is dark. And I agree with them. Most often they say it like it’s an offputting thing, and it probably is, to some. But the thing I think, and want to ask them (although I don’t always, judging by the giant furrow in their brow), is: But didn’t you find it funny, at the same time?

I find it funny as all hell, not that I often have the stomach to read it back to myself (having moved on by then). Sometimes the saddest things are the funniest. Sometimes the funniest things are the saddest.

crashbomb mirth











So, whilst Google Imaging mirth, this image came up. Lord knows what it means but I traced its origins back to here. I love it. What the hell is happening with the bike/cyclist/pylon combo? It may be mirth and it may be something else but I’m pleased I stumbled upon it (quite unlike the cyclist stumbing upon the pylon, no doubt).

Also, while we were at Parky I wrenched the notebook from Si’s grasp and found my own shaky writing inscribed there, which came as a fond surprise to me, given I didn’t really remember writing it.

It being:

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Fortunately I live with a human encyclopaedia on hand, who informed me I had written this at the Leonard Cohen concert earlier in the year, from his song, Anthem.

It doesn’t really need much explanation.

It’s kinda like the Virginia Woolf quote from Orlando:

Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.

I always used to think that was a pretty depressing observation, and now I think it is hugely uplifting. Riddle me that.


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