Friday 25 September 2009

The limitations of peace

Reading Our Longest Days: a people's history of World War II, by Sandra Koa Wing (2008) which is escapist in comparison with the other stuff, but full of the detail necessary for the writing about every day life in Britain during WWII. It does not grip me enough. It is based on the diaries kept by British people during the war, within a scheme called Mass Observation, which sounds Orwellian, but is only mildly so. The ruthlessness is in the writers' note-taking of what they witness, which is what any writer does.

I've reached the proof stage for the newsletter without needing the intense labour that has been associated with it in the past. Less than 30 hours for this issue, reasonably good. Not sure if it is because I now understand some of the software's formatting shortcuts, less time spent fiddling, or for some other reason.

This week was the memorial service for an old friend. I was asked by the family if I would speak. They said afterwards that I "stole the show". I'm not sure they were entirely happy about that.

I put in a brief plug for the Holocaust Centre, and in support of refugees, anywhere, any time. This is a safe country: its people have no idea what it can be like elsewhere.

Why does one feel superior? "They have no idea!" - dismissiveness. Isn't it a situation we want for our children and our loved ones - that they may lead lives of peace.

Old soldiers often remember war as the time of their lives. Do most of us need to experience ourselves on the brink of death in order to truly live? Happiness is not what we want, but to live on the cusp, in support of an ideal...

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