It’s weirdly arbitrary and sort of stupid to think about what makes an impression on us sometimes. I read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies and listen to a fair bit of music but most of it doesn’t really make a significant impact. I meet a lot of people but forget most of them or blur them to grey faces in my mind long after the fact. Then every so often a line in a book jumps out at you or a song latches onto your mind or someone says something to you that makes you think and your reaction and response to the book/song/person is not necessarily in proportion to their significance.
I say this not because I’m going anywhere deep with this crap but merely to justify a self-indulgent post. You see very recently someone told me I should write a novel. I’ve heard this before because it’s what I always tell people I want to do (thus cornering them into a reluctant “oh you should um, like, totally do that” response) but in this case it was slightly unexpected. I blushed, I demurred. Seriously, he said, do it. I do realise I sound like an arrogant twat reliving past compliments here but the strange part is that this person has never actually seen anything I’ve written so it wasn’t as though he was saying my stuff was good - he was just… telling me to do it. And it’s off that slightly shaky springboard that I’ve been working my little fingers to the bone in recent weeks - writing, writing and writing. The story in question will probably die a little death soon enough and join the other baby corpses of would-be novels that line my desk drawers but for now I’m having a great time.
Anyway in a pathetically transparent attempt to draw together the strings of this poorly structured and egocentric post I say we should all remember we have the ability to make this sort of a dent other people’s lives. I don’t mean a Mother Theresa sort of a difference but the easy kind. I’m sure most people still remember random praise or criticism from past friends and strangers, the odd compliment here or the harsh word there. I can think of more than a couple of you, dear blog-readers, who have said things to me over the years that have had a real effect on me, or come at the right time or helped me make a really hard decision - even if you've all long forgotten what you said or did. I’m sure I’ve inadvertently hurt people with a flippant word here just as I know I’ve been hurt by people who probably didn’t realise it at the time. I wish I could remember, sometimes, not to take everything people say so personally and try to be a bit nicer to people around me in the hope that it might make an impact.
Anyway, next time: something not quite so kumbaya. I hope.