Here it comes: another year.
With each new year, my prayer is always that I shall be more honest than in the year gone by, that my tongue shall not say Yes when my heart says No, that I shall discard all masks, that I shall let go of obsolete things and ideas, that I shall offer to the world something real. Realer than I have ever been before.
This is the way, I feel, to do right by others and oneself. After all, it is easy to be polite, but much better to be kind.
My abiding tendency (…except where prose is concerned) is towards Simplifying Things. I want to sweep aside all purposeless items – material and spiritual. Mine is a deeply sceptical bent. Anything that is neatly packaged, presented as ‘easy’ or ‘step by step’, anything that is marketed by others rather than discovered accidentally by me, tends to make me feel paranoid. I also know myself to be fully resistant to notions of self improvement, goal setting and aspiration. (Sincerely… to what might I aspire, other than to be – to continue to be – Fabudorable?)
That means: no diets, no specific targets, no life-altering gadgets, no contracts, no joining fees. It is better that I trick myself into doing beneficial things by regarding them as indulgences that I am getting away with. For example: I shall continue to allow myself to revel in the exquisite pleasure of kitchen playtime… which will result in healthy meals aplenty and the glitzy glow of personal achievement in the field of recipe invention. You can’t get that from a meal plan or recipe book.
Similarly, one look at a fancy-schmancy pre-made daily planner makes me (a) pout and (b) insist upon an extra hour in bed, on principle. But a little pencil note before sleep, inscribed in idiosyncratic personal lingo and best handwriting in my tiny, beautiful notebook, will ensure that I do not forget to buy rat poison tomorrow.
There are few pleasures more piquant than feeling one has got one over on the twenty-first century and its vulgarities. I shall ensure that I get some exercise this year by banning Alexa et al from my sanctum. That’s right, folks: when I want to turn on the light, I get fully up off the sofa, trot over to the light switch, and press it tenderly with my very own finger. Lucky light switch!
Those Joneses and Kardashians can jolly well stay behind with themselves, for they have little hope, poor dears, of keeping up with Me.
My 2018 Wish List
- Graciousness. Not Gratitude, that is something very different. Gratitude is when someone compliments you and you cry prettily and make a moving little speech to camera. Graciousness is when someone compliments you and you say, “But of course, dear! How clever of you to notice,” and life goes gently on.
- A dog, a dog. A nice brown middle-sized sentimental one.
- Discipline. Not Motivation! Motivation is gathering together a lot of nonsense that is supposed to be inspiring but isn’t, and wishing you felt like eating kale; later, you sigh and eat cake in a sad manner. Discipline is when you use that secret masochistic tendency that underscores your best and most reckless decisions to enable you to consume just one tiny, perfect square of expensive chocolate – in a manner most tragic and elegant – you are fully alive to the delicious fleeting sensation – the transitory nature of pleasure, the cruel remorseless tyranny of desire – or it may mean paying someone to tell you off when you misbehave. Whatever turns you on, Charlie. Anyway, this works much better than Motivation.
- A real human skull. I have always wanted one. (Well, another one. Obviously I keep my actual brain in one, conventional fellow that I am.)
- The exact perfect ratio of privacy to companionship. May each of us find and sustain this, for it is the only means of achieving sanity!
- A good cold Winter, with snow.
The year just gone saw me sulk, indeed. I am very good at that. A combination of annoying life events and inward questioning resulted in a state of sabbatical from the human race. I have never been a thoroughly committed entrant in any case, but 2017 found me dragging my heels more than usual. I have been alive too long to offer heartfelt promises regarding my future conduct, but my soul is, by the standards of the Universe, young enough to be optimistic, despite all. What does this mean? Only that I hope to come here and talk to You sometimes, without worrying too much about what You think of me.
Who am I and why should you read anything I write? The answer to both questions is: Frankly Darling, I Don’t Know. Given that You Don’t Know Either, perhaps we can discover the answers together.
And what is Mauve Prose, withal? Like poetry and pornography, you know it when you see it – there can be no other practical definition. But as both poetry and pornography have their ins and outs, so does my very own stock in trade. I like to think of it as Artifice in the service of Honesty. Just as a drag artiste paints on their Realest face, poised and pointed and elaborate fiction can help a writer own up to sensitive truths.
The following lines perhaps give a flavour:
“Mauve,” I said. “What a very uncanny colour it is.”
“C’est vrai,” whispered the Archduke. Slowly, he folded his long spindly legs under him, lowering himself on to a fallen branch that was hardly visible amidst the tide of greenery. “Mauve, my dear Matelot, exists in Nature, and yet Man was forced to synthesise it – to reinvent it – in order fully to understand its mystery.”
I devoutly and sincerely wish you a very excellent 2018. May you thrive without impinging upon your neighbour, and may your neighbour do likewise without impinging upon you.
Yours very humbly,