Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

If ain't broke don't fix it. In fact, if it's broke don't fix it either.


It is true that every
seven years we change.

Turning fourteen I started
thinking poetry.

I am now twenty-nine and
safe for six more years.

15 December 1988

A romantic notion exists which states that our bodies renew themselves every seven years. I first heard this from my father and of course everything our dads tell us is the truth. I never questioned this growing up even though I could see flaws in the logic. I've since heard that some of our body parts do exactly this only not always every seven years. I've also heard that it's bunkum.

Personally I don't care but it did start me thinking about what exactly might change every seven years. Certainly people do change as they grow older. Much of that has to do with their upbringings and experiences but I wondered if the seven year rule might affect me in ways other than refreshing my spleen. What if the change subtly altered who I was?

I cannot explain what it is like to think in poetry. There are people who suffer from a condition known as synaesthesia, they see sounds as colours. I say suffer, but I wonder if that truly is the right word for it. It's not normal, true, but since when was being normal so cool? Most normal people dream about being special in some field of endeavour whether that be football, picking up women (or men (or both)) or being able to put things into words. The thing about seeing sounds is that most people would regard that as abnormal. I've always expected most people would consider thinking in poetry the same but then I grew up in a society where simply liking poetry was odd on a good day and something never to be mentioned in public the rest of the time.

The thing was, for whatever the reason, I had this ability. I jokingly say it was because my parents dropped me on my head as a kid. It's not actually a joke. I managed to find my way from the kitchen table onto the floor when I was a baby when my mother's back was turned. Anyway, whether by accident or design, chance or circumstance, I wound up this way. And I've always been afraid that something would come along and "fix" me.

Understanding is something that's highly prized, way past mere knowledge, not perhaps as cool as insight or wisdom but well on the road there. There are lots of things in this life that I don't know and probably even more things I don't understand. I don't know how my body works. I don't need to know. It does it just fine on its own. I don't understand where babies come from despite witnessing my own daughter's birth. I know where she came from and I know how she got there. But I don't understand it. I could explain it to a kid but not to a biologist, not without him breaking into fits of laughter. And it is the same with the writing. My body does it. Not everyone's does. I have hammer-toes. Not everyone has.

So I'm not normal. It doesn't make me a bad person. And thankfully it's something I can attend to in the comfort of my own home. Perhaps I should try and get my next PC on the NHS. Or at least a decent pen.


Poet Hound said...

I like your comment on poetry, where mentioning an interest for it is deemed "odd on a good day." I agree, my co-workers have no idea that I have such an interest in poetry that I've devoted a blog to it. They would think me odd on a good day as well.

Lydia Netzer said...

I like your blog very much. Interesting idea about the seven year revision. I wonder when my cycle is up?

I only remember one earth-shaking revision, in college. That was a long time ago.

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