Monday, January 30, 2012


I remember being hugely entertained, at the age of ten or so, by a mock-history book called 1066 and All That. The only part I can remember, all these years later, is the false-friends translation from the French: voici l'anglais avec son sang froid habituel--rendered absurdly by the authors as "Here comes the Englishman with his usual bloody cold." You had to be English, I suppose...

Anyway, I mention this only because I have a bloody cold. Came down with it right after the first day of a weekend retreat with Than Geoff--sore throat, congestion, sniffles, cough, the whole deal. This is the second I've had in as many months, and I'm mightily displeased about it. Hard to think, to be mindful, to write, when the brain is swimming, as it does, in a dizzy haze.

Today we head back to Los Angeles, as is usual on a Monday. We're fortunate to have inherited a sauna in our (still relatively) new house there. I'll try to sweat this thing out of me. But I'm not very much looking forward to the drive.

Meantime, on a serious note... I have been thinking about the essential value of failure. I have a young nephew in England who, I heard yesterday, is struggling with one of his creative classes--something he's not "good at." Like the rest of us, this promising young performer likes to shine. If he hasn't yet discovered it, however, he surely will: you stand to learn much more from the failures than from the successes. What I don't like has usually more to teach me about myself than what I do. Still, I'm not quite ready myself to take that ballet class. Not at my age. Though I'd certainly learn a lot about myself if I did: mostly, I suspect, from the aches and pains, about what happens to the body as it ages!

So now I have to look upon this bloody cold as a gift? As something that can teach me more about myself? Fat chance!

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