The stupid back laid me flat and, apparently, drained me of typing skills. I think I thought it too dull to bore you with the details. Also: everyone has a bad back. Everyone knows about the swearing and the socks.
In the midst of the groaning, two lovely things did happen. I picked the winner of both the Oaks and the Derby. One was the favourite, but one I took at 12-1 so I felt both happy and clever. I was shouting so much that I lost my voice.
And then I got knocked back again, not by anything physical this time, by something which also happens to everyone, which happens all the time, which everyone knows about.
It’s that thing when someone does not ask you one single question. I mean: not one. Years ago, when I went out and about, I used sometimes to sit next to people at dinner who spoke only of themselves. They would get up at the end of the evening not knowing if I were a plumber or a politician. I used to find this vastly amusing. I would take bets in my head. I would pretend I was an anthropologist, studying a hitherto unperceived tribe. I now discover that when someone you love does it, and you are a little bit vulnerable, it can make you feel as if you do not exist.
The strict voice is very stern on this. The strict voice thinks I am being a weedy weed. Why should anyone ask about you? says that martinet. They have their own frets and troubles and worries. And what does it matter, anyway? Butch up, and think about the people who don’t have shoes.
All the same, it took two days for me to listen to that voice. (The strict voice is hard core, but it is also right, quite a lot of the time.) And I did not want to bore you with that either.
I read something brilliant on the internet the other day. It said:
Decide what it is you want.
Write that shit down.
Make a fucking plan.
And work on it
I love this because it is so the opposite of all those cheesy welcome the abundance mantras. I love that it has swearing in it. I love that it is slightly impatient.
I thought, when I read it: what do I want?
The answer is slightly tragic. This is what came into my head, quite instinctively, without thought. I want to make people happy and I want a field full of thoroughbreds.
So, that is my plan. It is not exactly an Oscar-winning, Nobel-worthy plan. I feel slightly embarrassed about the making people happy part. The only way I know how to do this is to write the odd decent sentence and put up adorable pictures of my animals on Facebook. I suppose if I worked and worked and worked and frowned and squinted and thought I could one day write a really, really good book and that would make people happy. Then perhaps the happy people would tell their friends and it would sell lots of copies and then I could get the field full of thoroughbreds.
So, my plan, it turns out, is the same plan that I do every day, which is: write and write and write and write. It’s the only plan I know.
I was faintly interested that the things I want are so simple. I don’t, it turns out, want a prize or a castle in Spain or a Dior dress or fame or adoration. I just want to add something to the sum total of human happiness and be surrounded by thoroughbreds. I am even more of an old hippy than I thought. Quite soon, I shall discover that I want to teach the world to sing, and then I shall have to have a plan for that. I'll have to get my voice back first.