January the first, two thousand and fucking thirteen. Somehow, against all conceivable odds mankind has yet again managed to drag itself through a whole 365 and a quarter days without wiping itself from existence. If that alone is not cause for some small measure of celebration then I sure as hell don’t know what is.
While you all rise, sleepy and rheumy-eyed from the fug of a hangover for which you have no one else to blame but yourself, I am not with you. By means of ancient and secret manipulations of technology and time itself, I, your benevolent and gracious blogger, am still mired in the last plaintive death rattles of two thousand and fucking twelve. I’m drinking single malt whisky from a cracked glass tumbler that I bought from Marks and Spencer’s 5 years ago. I’m thinking, wondering and generally pondering upon the nature of things. I am, as ever, alone. My sole company is my own thoughts, both my best friend and my greatest nemesis. By rights I have probably had too much to drink, and so do I sidle down into the dark and foetid recesses of sentience while gazing into a fluid the colour of gold. There’s probably a metaphor for avarice and rampant consumerism in there somewhere.
As with the end of any year I find myself looking backward to what has gone before, it’s only natural at such a calendrical milestone. A stock check if you will. In my case I find, once again, that some one’s smashed the big glass window at the front of the store, piled half the stock into a rusty old shopping trolley and done a runner. There are so many things that remain unfinished and incomplete. It’s the nature of things, nothing is ever quite finished, something always slips through the cracks. There’s things which you just never quite manage to sort out completely and/or to the best of your abilities. Things which you’ve left unsaid or opportunities that have been left untaken, things which leave a big yawning hole somewhere deep inside, a hole that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite manage to fill. It’s always like this, this is how all years end. Northing is ever finished, not even at the very end of all things, that is just a stop, a big black line under everything. It’s not a finish; finish implies completion. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we gird ourselves, put on our war-face, arm ourselves to the teeth and threaten to fuck life up something proper there will always be things left undone. All years are a war, the months are campaigns, the weeks are battles and the days are bloody skirmishes. We are nought if not the sum of our mistakes, alloyed with our regrets.
What matters is how a man (or a woman, or non-gender specific entity. Let’s not discriminate here) weathers the assault of the years, how they traverse all the myriad of pitfalls, spike traps, trip-wires and shit-flinging monkeys that life puts in front of us. How against all the odds, no matter how battered and broken we get, we manage to muster up enough strength to raise one single, solitary middle-finger to the world. What matters is how we manage to keep ourselves going, how we keep Plodding On.
As shocking as it may sound I’ve not exactly been in the finest of fettles for the last couple of hours. As Dumbledore said “It does not do to dwell on dreams…” I’m not going to argue. You don’t argue with a bloke with a beard like that, never mind the fact he’s a fucking wizard. What he neglected to provide was a nice pamphlet detailing the simple 5 point plan on how to avoid dwelling on your fucking dreams. Wizards eh?
Last January I was all about the mystic wonder of the unknown, how a new year could throw up all manner of crazy and/or unexpected shit. This time it’s all grim introspection and dark reflection. I am suffused with an aching sorrow, the precise cause of which I do not know, nor can I fathom. Although the cynic in me wishes to lay blame squarely at the foot of “the human condition.” I wanted an image that captured the purposeless sorrow I’m feeling. Something that just felt like the essence of the meaningless slog from point to point. I wanted to get a feel of a relentless and stubborn defiance, an urge to keep on going despite what horrors your mind might send to prey upon you. I found myself once again drawing upon the works of Jean Giraud (aka Moebius.) It just ticked all of the boxes.
I’ll trouble you no more with my meanderings. I hope it hasn’t all been too bleak, but January is a bleak month it always has been and always will be. Unless of course you’re in the southern hemisphere, then it’s high-summer. But that’s neither here nor there.
Just remember: When life closes a door it opens a window. You just need to find the window. And then hope that it’s on the ground floor.
Short story, 1000 words, 1 month. Hop to it.