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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

“When i was told how ill i was and i came here to seal myself for one last time, solitude began to look like my biggest single failure. A huge mistake. Making a good life, where’s the point in doing that alone?”

June Tremaine

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Books, Quotes

 

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Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

‘Everything i’ve ever done of any value i’ve had to do alone. I didn’t mind at the time. I was content – and by the way, i don’t expect to be happy. Happiness is an occasional, summer lightning thing. But i did find peace of mind, and during all those years i used to think i was all right on my own. I had family, friends, visitors. I was glad when they came, and i was glad when they left. But now…..’

June Tremaine

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Books, Quotes

 

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Why blog?

There is a process to writing a blog post.

Most of the posts i consider writing i just give up on them even before writing a single word. It might not be evident but it takes effort to write something. Even a post that is just a few hundred words long and reads like something a teenager would write.

The greatest hurdle i have to overcome when deciding whether or not to write a post is “why?”.

Why write anything that has in all probability already been written dozens, hundreds of times? Not only that, but better written as well.

This process eliminates around 70% (a percentage supported by overwhelming empirical evidence) of the possible posts i think about writing. The remaining 30% go around, not over, this hurdle without actually answering the question.

Why bother writing anything when others with more knowledge, talent and with considerably more effort have already written it?

Apart from the feeling that it helps me let some steam off i have no other answer to this. But this only explains the writing part of it and not why i am making it public.

Why does a blog post that probably contributes and means nothing to anyone but myself need to be written and published at all?

Like this one.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in About the blog, Antidote

 

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Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

“The habits of a lifetime could not instantly be erased. Somewhat to Jenny’s annoyance, i persisted in a friendship with June and Bernard. In conversations with them over several years, i discovered that the emotional void, the feeling of belonging nowhere and to no one that had afflicted me between the ages of eight and thirty-seven had an important intellectual consequence: I had not attachments, i believed in nothing. It was not that is was a doubter, or that i had armed myself with the useful scepticism of a rational curiosity, or that i saw all arguments from all sides; there was simply no good cause, no enduring principle, no fundamental idea with which i could identify, no transcendent entity whose existence i could truthfully, passionately or quietly assert.”

Jeremy

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Books, Quotes

 

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Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

“In conversations with June, i found myself thinking like Bernard; I felt stifled by her expressions of faith, and bothered by the unstated assumption of all believers that they are good because what they believe, that faith is virtue, and, by extension, unbelief is unworthy or, at best, pitiable.”

Jeremy

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2012 in Books, Quotes

 

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Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

“Much of the time i played with Sally in the big room. She had the three-year-old girl’s imperious manner. ‘Not on the chair! Come down here on the floor with me.’ “

Jeremy

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Books, Quotes

 

Friends

This has been a long period of self-examination. A reflection on the life that has already passed. An analysis of the present and a confusion, to put it mildly, of what my future holds. While useful in helping me make the necessary adjustments to get back to the things i value in life, because i have been sidetracked, it is emotionally draining. Exhausting.

A significant part of this analysis is the chapter of friends. I’ve been drawn to articles on the friends issue for this very reason. Even though we all (well, most of us) believe we have friends, we have very different ideas and definitions of what a friend is. I am not going to attempt to articulate my definition (i am already using another’s anyway) but instead have sorted my friends in 3 groups. This grouping reveals, at least i think it does, a lot about what i seek and value in friends.

The penultimate line of defence

These are the friends who know the most about me. They have intimate knowledge of what my mental and physical state is at any given time regardless of how busy their lives are. They always show an interest in what i am up to. They actively seek my company and advice. They listen as much as they talk. They watch my back. We share our successes and as well as our failures. They trust me as i trust them. This is the penultimate line of defense before my family.

Historical

These are the oldies. People i’ve known for years if not decades. With these people history is what’s keeping us together. We are friends because we used to be friends. Some of them i might not see very often anymore as our lives’ paths have diverged. Sometimes i wonder whether they think about me when i am not with them. But familiarity can be very comforting. With this group, shared history and memories outweigh the present.

Closer than they appear

As the above implies, these are the ones that based on how i often i see them and talk to them should not be counted amongst my friends. And yet they are. With some i have an explanation as to the reason why this is so while with others i honestly don’t. These are the non-regulars in my life but on the occasion that we do meet or talk  we can share almost everything that’s going on in our lives. There is trust, mutual respect and a much stronger bond than our separate daily lives would suggest.

Regardless of the groups I’ve tried to fit my friends in, the best definition of who i consider a friend in my life is this:

“To put it bluntly, a friend is someone who cares about you. Not just the fact that you exist, but the fact they contribute to your existence and the quality of your existence.”

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in About the blog, Antidote

 

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