30 April 2017

"I can't be a pessimist because I am alive."

Let me start with a bit of music from Iceland. Just because.

The word of the day is rotten. I feel rotten. Physically that is, the mix of symptoms is yuk. Could be anything. Could be nothing. Probably something. I shall not be asking dr google again. Instead, I will just continue on the endless path through the complicated maze of diagnostics reserved for people with autoimmune diseases.
I could dwell on it in detail but apparently blogging about illness is not the thing to do. In terms of clicks and readers. But that's not why I blog anyway and it doesn't stop me from rejoicing about every single comment, wonderful readers.

So, against all trends and warnings, I shall just mention that I am spending this sunny Sunday lying on the sofa, distracting myself watching British tv thrillers, reading spy novels, solving cryptic crosswords, booking expensive flights to Portugal in eight weeks time - as one does.

And yet, yesterday evening, we cycled along the river just before sunset. The air was blue and pink and still and clear, the water was moving gently. People smiled. All was well(-ish).
If I can do that I can fly to Portugal. Not?

Last Friday, I had my first day at the rehabilitation centre. This is going to be hard and great fun. In my worst dreams I see myself failing dramatically, as in passing out and exiting the place on a stretcher. In my best dreams, I am walking out of there in three weeks time like a young deer, skipping and jumping. I am already deeply in love with the staff of experts and miracle workers. Anyway. Three weeks.

A few nights ago, I watched I am not your negro (because reading James Baldwin as a teenager changed my world) and from my distant and insufficiently researched and highly opinionated vantage point, aka high horse, Baldwin's argument here (from his 1965 debate speech at Cambridge University’s Union Hall) explained to me why that trump geezer got elected after eight years of Obama.
To punish, to show all those liberal and open minded and diverse people who's boss after all.

Tell me I am wrong, tell me I am ignorant. Whatever. (But watch the film if you get the chance.)
"I remember, for example, when the ex Attorney General, Mr. Robert Kennedy, said that it was conceivable that in forty years, in America, we might have a Negro president. That sounded like a very emancipated statement, I suppose, to white people. They were not in Harlem when this statement was first heard. And they’re not here, and possibly will never hear the laughter and the bitterness, and the scorn with which this statement was greeted. From the point of view of the man in the Harlem barber shop, Bobby Kennedy only got here yesterday, and he’s already on his way to the presidency. We’ve been here for four hundred years and now he tells us that maybe in forty years, if you’re good, we may let you become president."
read the source
watch the clip 


  1. Music from Iceland is usually very good in my experience. This one's new to me. Thank you for posting it! Portugal ... I sat with a couple the other day who told me they'd just returned from Lisbon, and that now they want to visit there at least once a year and perhaps retire in that place. From what they told me, it's heaven on earth. You will go and then we'll pester you for photos and details!!

  2. Oh, I think your take on why Trump got elected is perfectly true. There's no doubt that it played a huge part in the election.
    Now. I wish you felt better. And I sure do hope you can go to Portugal.

    1. That, and because after eight years of having Obama for president the Bubbas were damned if they'd elect a woman to replace him.

  3. I can't watch it or read it right now, it's really long and I'm not feeling well but I will go back and read it when I feel better. Baldwin was an emissary of truth and vision and how I wish he had lived longer, how I wish John and Robert and Malcolm and Martin were here; there would be not Trump.

    It's hard to shine that on, that stuff with readers and commenters . I'm sorry that you have to deal with it and that it interrupts your thoughts or desire to write. It's important for you to tell the truth of your state here and I look forward to jumping on and seeing how you're doing. Up or down, doesn't matter. Get naked here, girl. Well at least as naked as you can, because it's safe. We all have to do that with each other.

    I'm holding every good thought for you in this therapy, skip and jump, Sabine. And if you can't, well, you've got us to lean on.

  4. Portugal - you can do it!!! (And I hope you can turn off the news when you get there - drowning in trump will only have you relapsing!)

  5. This is who we are. I have always wished we were better than this, more enlightened, inclusive, awakened, and whole. I am pessimistic, and things are only going to get worse. But, you will strengthen your body and hop, skip, and jump out of that rehab center, fly off to Portugal, and inhale the beauty of our planet.

  6. Thank you for this post for so many reasons. I'm 83 on a waiting list at our public library for "I am not your negro" (9 copies). In the meantime, I'm 3rd in line to read the transcript of the film. Sending love to you as the rehab process begins. Picturing you and R riding your bicycles by the river. Music. Portugal. Alive.

  7. Oh, yes. The movie was amazing -- and Baldwin is a wellspring to whom we can go back to, over and over. I am dating an African American man, am deeply in love with him and am learning to listen, eyes wide open and ears. As for 45 -- my response to literally everything he does and says is, basically, "Fuck him."

  8. If illness predominates, then it can hardly be ignored. You're entitled to mention it since it may be shaping your character and that's a big thing. Old age is shaping mine, makes me more of whinger. In any case being old is, ironically, a new state for me and I can't resist writing about newness. However ironic.

    Elsewhere someone used the word "distracted" in its primary sense. I pointed out it used to be a synonym for "mad". When I looked up "distracted" the dictionary confirmed this latter meaning is now archaic. But I had lived through a period when it was acceptable. Did that mean I, like the word, am archaic? Possibly. But not all the time. I have the wherewithal to break out. As you do and are doing. To write is a specialised form of to be. A more active form. Take heart in that.

  9. You are not wrong about what Baldwin said. As for the rest, if you can ride along the river, you can do it all. Feel better, friend.

  10. I've seen "I Am Not Your Negro" and have read many of Baldwin's books. Beautiful work, brilliant man. We have so far to go as white folk with our privilege and our delusion, including the fact that we elected a Black man president (and therefore race is no longer an issue). I listened today to the news about another white cop who has been exonerated after murdering a black boy in cold blood (and Sessions says it ain't a problem). I cried all the way home. And that shit's been happening for as long as Black folk have been on this continent. Trump and his ilk have just shaken up our white complacency and it's about time. Horrid as he is.

    Thanks for this post. I send you healing for your suffering body and I see you in Portugal with your beloved partner. The song was gorgeous.

    X Beth

  11. I've been meaning to watch that movie for a while. The last time I checked it wasn't available, so I'll check again. I loved Baldwin's book "Giovanni's Room," but I was indifferent to "Go Tell It on the Mountain." Sorry you haven't been feeling well. I think sometimes people just aren't sure how to respond to blog posts about illness. It's not that we don't want to read them -- we just don't know what to say. (I guess I'm talking about myself here.) And absolutely, I think if you feel even a slight desire to go to Portugal, you should go! Life goes on, right?

  12. My sympathies. I know that rotten feeling. But the chemo is working! I'm strong again. Hope you feel better soon.
    This might be a long shot as far as your tastes go, but my two favorite movies about African American life are *Hoop Dreams* and *Always Outnumbered.*