Monthly Archives: April 2018

Breaking Down Another Barrier

I firmly believe that most people have some sort of talent. Unfortunately for many of them, it remains undeveloped as life gets in the way. So it has been with me. Indeed, it wasn’t until my early 40’s that I started to realise some of my abilities although, even those were the just tip of the iceberg. So, as I often say, at an age when many of my peers have taken to cardigan and slippers, I have an urge to keep going. I need, you see, to dig deeper to see if there is more to come. And how do I know this? Well the answer is that I don’t but I do know that I believe that there is. The problem has long been, do I have what it takes it to realise what I might be capable of?

As evidence of this, although I’m quite good at what I actually do as an author and speaker, I do that within boundaries that seem set within me. While, at the same time, experience small episodes during which, some of those things that I want to do, come to the surface. An example of this is that I now realise that I’m quite a good writer, albeit of nonfiction. Yet even within that genre, I know that, using words, I can paint the pictures that portray what I want them to. Indeed, it’s something I thoroughly enjoy.


The further evidence is that when I read the type of book, “Lincoln in the Bardo”, a novel that I’ve recently finished, I’m amazed at the author’s ability to create a world out of words; the latter   unfettered by anything other than ability and imagination. Concepts that are unfamiliar yet real, half formed sentences whose meanings you have to guess at and an overriding belief in the world that is being set out before you. I would love to be able to do that.


Now, a few months ago my youngest a daughter, Ellie, who has a MA in Creative Writing, gave me a notebook so that I could write down some of the things that went through my head. So I did. Well, yesterday, I read through one of them and discovered that, albeit in snippets, I have actually started to do what that author did. So, I’m going to keep going just to see what happens. Maybe the last pieces of this particular jigsaw might just fit together in a novel. And, if I don’t succeed, well, at least I’ll have tried and, more importantly, broken down another personal barrier.

When Stubbornness Can Be A Virtue

My friends know me as somewhat of a self starter, someone who tends not to let the grass grow under his feet as well as someone to whom “age is just a number”. And, if the truth be told, those qualities have defined me for as long as I can remember. Furthermore, I rather like that defining. It also needs to be said that I never had to make any effort to be that sort of person, it came rather naturally; something that also pleased me. However that naturalness itself may have been a problem, reflected in the fact that, much as the description is, I hope, still accurate, I actually have to work at it more these days. I now have to push myself when, in the past, something inside pushed me. Unfortunately for me, this situation is compounded by the workings of the modern world and its all pervading technology. At which point, perhaps I should explain.

Now if you are, shall we say, of a younger generation, the workings of that technology come naturally to you. After all, you have grown up with it whereas those of my generation have had to adapt to its workings. Don’t get me wrong, I relish learning (what my lovely wife calls my “insatiable quest for knowledge” and another of those defining qualities). However, difficulties arise when you’ve just mastered the latest “whatever” only to find that it’s been replaced by an even newer one. This one, although not necessarily making the previous one obsolete, certainly making it the one that those you wish to influence then use; at least until the next one comes along, next week.

Now this in itself, although a nuisance, is surmountable. However the immediacy of the technology, allied to its replacement of human beings as a direct contact, further complicates matters. Practically, it adds to, rather than subtracts from, my working day. Contact telephone numbers, for example, are often buried deep in websites and, when finally responded to, merely have another computer generated message designed to further complicate matters. Moreover the sheer volume of e mails that people receive leads, it seems, to there being ignored. And, as if that wasn’t enough, cutbacks in staff mean that those who remain are busier than ever, working longer hours for a, not exorbitant, wage. Consequently they get swamped within a system that is less amenable to personal human intervention. Indeed, when I do get a personal and prompt response, it comes as quite a surprise. There’s a PhD in there about “The unforeseen consequences of a technology which, while purporting to make things easier, is actually having the opposite effect”!

So, for me, the past year has been one during which I’ve had to push myself harder to get results. Fortunately I can be one very stubborn bugger, which is why I’m still here plugging away. Long may it continue.