Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Three)
It's actually been a tough few weeks, with reasons to be tearful - although I discovered and might yet discover more about May, as a result of one of her old friends attending the funeral. Apparently, her given name was Mary and one day Mary decided that she would instead be May. This must have been late 1940s/early 1950s and I find it rather astonishing and beautiful for a young working class woman taking such ownership of her being in those paternalistic, authoritarian times. Clearly, Ma(r)y had something rather wonderfully spiky and determined about her. And I don't know (yet?) but this might have been her undoing, too. Any challenge to authority presents the danger of repercussions, this has always been true. But, then, to hear something that I didn't know, that May's friend was witness to May being dragged away one day, abducted from her home, from her entire life by two men in white coats, screaming her protest, restrained by a straitjacket... fear, panic, despair, abandon, loneliness, desolation... And those feelings likely wiped out by a combination of soporific drugs for a zombie life. Poor May. On your behalf, May, fuck those bastards, just fuck them, and fuck the lack of humanity wherever it emerges, that allows persons to have their person-hood ripped away from them.
In comparison, all pales, and yet life drives forward. So, smaller reasons to be cheerful. The snow that I like to fancy May sent us. A MOOC about classical music and another about American Education History, timed perfectly when I'm struggling with the context for Rogers' own thoughts on education. Work and travel and meeting people is always enlightening. And facilitating training and singing songs for the Green Party was rewarding. And finishing Bleak House on audiobook (while walking) - in truth I found it a bit melodramatic and had some distance to it, however, I appreciated the recurrent motif of secrets, secrets, secrets everywhere! No distance there to our own times - also particularly germane to me were those terrible caged birds - representing all of the people trapped into the nightmare cage of lawsuits that go on for years, potentially destroying all that is good in them.
And, finally, tough times not helped by having a cold that grew into a growly rattling cough which just floored me! And yet, celebrate even that feeling of wellness on waking one morning, reminding me that I really must have been in another place, body fighting stuff to get me back on course, mind shutting down all inessential operations - aren't we amazing! - it always reminds me of those nineteenth century novels where the protagonist has a period of illness which signifies also a period of change and growth, so Billy can be Pip and I might well be fully entering a time of flourishing - all is possible, all is change and growth...