Thursday, November 02, 2006
I went to a conference of therapists last weekend, designed to educate us in the latest techniques and inject us with renewed enthusiasm for our craft. Paradoxically, for me it signalled that the time is nigh to renounce the identity of therapist.
“So what are you now?” said someone. “A world-child”, I replied, the phrase arising unpremeditated, for I’d neither heard nor thought it before. It’s the truth. I’m orphaned no longer. The earth is my mother. I'm in the embrace of the world outside and the world inside, forever secure.
I’ve renounced being middle-class, not that I ever admitted to it in the first place. In fantasy I was a poet-philosopher, elite and privileged, but no more! I visited a certain estate the other day built 20 years ago, where the surroundings have mellowed in a typical British lower-class way: litter, broken fences, graffiti; bottles and cans and broken artefacts dumped in wild corners. It’s on a steep hillside with south-facing views of the town. Like a Mediterranean village, the houses and paths and creepers and shrubs and retaining walls and cats blinking in the sunshine tumble over the contours picturesquely---at least to my eyes.* It's a place of children: I found a forlorn doll dropped on one of the many paths and steps which criss-cross the estate. It's a multiracial place, a place of mischievous teenagers, of parents shamelessly yelling at their children: “I told you! Put it back!”, yelled a raucous voice from somewhere, as a child struggled with a wheeled rubbish bin taller than herself. In short a place where the pathos of human life is on view, comically and not too tragically.
Here was a community I would be happy in, and as if to herald my accession to the noble status of “working-class”, I talked with a man there washing his car. We almost swapped our life-stories and recognised we had much in common. He showed me inside his house and pointed out various other houses for sale nearby. It was a sign, methinks. I'll be back!
I’ve renounced being a full-time idler, professional cloud-gazer, pilgrim of windswept paths. I expect to be commuting into a regular job soon, like workers everywhere. And yet it’s a step forward into power!
* Photographs could not capture the savage grace of that estate, but I’ll try and produce a composite pastel which can.
Posted by Vincent at 2:36 pm