Sunday, July 08, 2012

Just anger

Last week I had a number of things in my head but lacked the time to blog so I'm going to catch up now. Beware, this could get lengthy. (I made notes to remind myself of everything - all the vital must-blog that moments that I know you've been missing and longing for. (Anyone coming to this blog for the first time would get an odd impression of me.)

Where to begin? Find notebook first is a good idea. Righto, here goes.

Getting into the car in the pouring rain I sing, 'Summertime and the living is easy,' in my best sultry jazz singer voice. I sigh and say to husband, 'My voice in my head sounds better. No, I mean, my voice sounds better in my head.'
'Maybe you should keep your voice in your head then,' Husband says, less than encouragingly.
'But I won't be able to hear it then.'

I start again, 'Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine, tra la la la la la, la.' I can't remember the rest of it, can you?'
'I've never heard it,' Husband says. 
'You must have done! It's famous.'
'Gosh, perhaps I just made it up. Perhaps I am a late developer song-writer. Perhaps I am the next Lennon and McCartney. Or one of them at least.'
Do you know the song? Disillusion me and tell me you do otherwise I'll be heading off to the recording studio.

* * * * * * * * *
You see though, don't you, the difference between 'my voice in my head sounds better' and 'my voice sounds better in my head'?

Which is why grammar and punctuation are important. To make others understand what we're saying. 

When I speak I talk too fast, get my words muddled and sound like an idiot. If I make the effort to think about what I want to say and speak slowly, I sound like an idiot. So I don't talk much; I'm better at writing because I can think, amend, correct, completely change what I'm writing before I press publish. Even so I still get it wrong sometimes. 

On occasion I'll do it deliberately to make a point or for effect and because I know what I'm doing that's okay. But I've often completely rewritten a sentence using different phraseology just because I can't work out the correct grammar for it. And other times I'll just get it wrong.

But a word I've been thinking about a lot recently is hopefully. Now there's an oft misused word. Because it's an adverb it should describe the verb and very often it doesn't e.g. they will arrive, hopefully, at 6. Can you arrive hopefully? I suppose you could but i don't think that's the intended meaning. We're hoping they will arrive at 6 - that's better. And so on. 

If I am spending a lot of time thinking about words does it mean I have too much time on my hands? I don't think so; I barely have time to breathe. It's my brain; it's peculiar. But words and brains leads me to my next topic.

* * * * * * * * * *
I've recently read Starter for Ten by David Nicholls, having acquired it in a second-hand bookshop in Devon. It's the story of a young man setting off for university and his first year there. Set in 1985 the story revolves mostly around his passion for a girl he meets in his first week and how they come to be on a University Challenge team. He is the archetypal spotty nerd and I spent a lot of time cringing and thinking, 'Oh no, he's not going to do/say that, is he?' And of course he does.

But right at the beginning, before he sets off for university, he describes what he thinks a university education will give him e.g. a taste for and knowledge of fine wines, opera, great art, as well as an incisive wit and the ability - and time - to sit up into the night discussing philosophy, politics and ethics. Which basically is what I hoped I'd get out of university too.

Sadly, one doesn't end up as Stephen Fry unless one starts out as Stephen Fry or, at least, has some inherent qualities such as great intelligence, wit, assurance and more interest in philosophy than pop music.

All I left university with was a degree and an inflated idea of my own cleverness.

* * * * * * * * * *
But back to talking proper. When I titled this post, Just anger, I didn't mean simply/solely anger; I meant justified anger. See how I'm cunningly bringing myself back to the beginning? Or going in circles, if you prefer.

A rough sleeper died on the streets of Swansea a week or so ago. According to Kay, there's a lot of bad heroin on the streets, 'there's all sorts mixed in with it.' I didn't know him although I'd seen him in Zac's a couple of times, most recently only 3 weeks ago. 

There are frequent deaths on the streets and they hardly warrant a mention. But this one made me suddenly angry. It's such a mess. We see so many lives being wasted and I look at the people and look at their situations and think, 'What can we do to change this?'

Sometimes it goes back to family, upbringing, circumstances; others times it's what they've lived through or seen; sometimes it's rebellion that went too far. It's not a case of simply changing one thing or another; it's far more complex than that. And it just seems impossible.

But then I think of one man. Whose sacrifice saved us all but who dealt - and deals - with individuals, who healed and comforted and helped on a one-to-one basis. So maybe that's all we - I - can do. Take his example. (Not the dying on a cross bit. Preferably.) My best for one person at a time. 


katney said...

Yes, Jeremiah WAS a bullfrog! You can also find it sung on YouTube. I didn't link you there because I wasn't sure which one to link.

No matter whether your voice sound better in your head or your voice in your head sounds better, it sounds better than my other half's voice. I promise you. There are several people who from time to time have sat in front of him in church who have mentioned it.

We can stress out on grammar. It's easy to do. You do it because you are a writer. I do it because I taught English for a bit. I think, though, that we should put a limit on how long we worry a word and then just use it if it makes sense.

Sorry about the street person's death. It is hard to know what to do. We can only do so much. You DO do much. The rest is in HIS hands.

katney said...

Oh, my. I am listening to a story read on radio, and a character just said "Jo to the world, Jeremiah was a bulldog and all that."
Strange coincidence.

katney said...

Joy to the world, though in the accent maybe it sounded like jo.

Liz said...

Next time we meet Ranney and I will sing a duet, katney!

katney said...

I look forward to it.

The meeting, not the song.

You could sing Jeremiah was a bullfrog, though--that mostly needs volume, not key.

Furtheron said...

Re university and all that...

I never went, wasn't really the done thing for us - I was from a very working class background. At the time I could have gone, I firstly screwed up my A levels a bit by not choosing the right subjects and playing in too many bands! Secondly my Dad was losing his job in the yard and I thought I ought to get a job to help out etc. I ended up at a local company but still went to college to do an HND. I now work at one of the top universities in the country - if not the world - I often feel a total fraud in that environment.

However the cleverest man I've ever worked with left school with A levels (only boy ever at his school to pass 3) and never went near a college - but he ended up a VP in one of the largest company's in the world and then briefly top manager in a venerable institution in the City of London before telling them they had no idea and walked away into a semi-retirement.