When the walls fall

It’s been a strange sort of day. After an hour clearing the chaos caused by the rest of the family making breakfast, lunches and hot drinks, I settled into an endless round of on-line meetings that took up most of the day.

In-between pretending to be clever I started pulling apart somebody else’s work – trying to understand what they were doing, how they were doing it, and how I might work in the same way over the coming weeks and months.

For the last several years I’ve been something of an island at work – a black box that reads badly written requirement documents, or sits in meetings doodling, and then creates perfectly built systems for the staff of large companies to complain endlessly about. Having to share an island with somebody else (read: work together) is something of a novelty. We won’t be working on the same thing at the same time, but what we do will have to make sense in terms of what the other is doing, if that makes sense.

Anyway. Enough dancing around talking about work without talking about work.

I’m still enjoying this writing lark. I still haven’t properly started on the novel though – not on the page at least. I have some ideas though. I also realised (while washing up this morning) that trying to write early in the morning is a monumentally stupid idea. My brain really doesn’t come on-line until about midnight. My creative brain, I mean.

At midnight the world starts to make some sense. Or rather, the world becomes ever more mysterious. Story worthy. After an entire day being sensible and logical, by the late evening all the dreams, wistful memories, and yearning start to defeat the ingrained pragmatism.

The other evening I reminded myself of Gandalf’s line from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – that it doesn’t do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. I think sometimes the opposite is just as valuable though.

It doesn’t do to carry on living, and forget to dream.

Some things cannot be measured or weighed. How do we begin to value happiness? Grief? Insecurity? Loss? How much is time spent with friends worth?  How much is time itself worth? Is listening part of a cost value proposition? How about talking? Not just talking about the weather – really talking – sharing troubles, burdens, and insecurities. Dropping our walls and letting somebody in for a while.

Years ago I sat at a table in a bar late one night with a cousin I think the world of but rarely see, and an Aunt I had not seen since I was little. The aunt remarked that I had begun to come out of my shell – that I had grown up so much. While confessing that I still spent much of my time hiding behind walls of my own making, my cousin quietly leaned in, hugged me, and whispered “your walls are made of mud, and I am the rain”.

I’ve never forgotten. That was probably 25 years ago.

Here’s to the fleeting moments when the walls fall, and our world is filled with unwritten stories.

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