collisions make us (beautiful)

I spent most of my life asking why.

I spent most of my life not enjoying my life because I always asked why.

I asked why when a person wanted to get close.

I asked why when a person left me.

I asked why I shouldn’t ask why.

But today, after yesterday, I know only that beauty – however fleeting – needs no why.  In fact, more than needs no why it is inevitably damaged, hurt, broken, cracked, weeped, sadded, dismembered and – ultimately – lost, when we ask a person who loves us why they do.

After yesterday, it may be too late for the latest person who crossed my path – who, in the nicest possible terms and with the most honourable and outreaching of sentiments, went so far as to actually seek it out, engineer its crossing and desire its walking – to forgive me my having asked why in the destructive ways I used to.

I used to until yesterday.

But yesterday, from yesterday, no longer.

In the morning, I went to FACT Liverpool and enjoyed the collisions of art, science, humanity and reality that the latest exhibition, “No Such Thing As Gravity”, is currently teaching us and leading us to appreciate & engage with, as it aims to love our intellects, and serves to regale our emotions.


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In the evening, I wandered the streets of Liverpool and Liverpool One, in my by now habitual and standard auto-ethnographic way – in the misunderstood why which has occupied me for so long.  I got caught in the crowds at the big Christmas switch-on, and discovered – in that moment – in both my relationships with place and my relationships with people, that no whys are needed – nor, even, desirable.  So if it’s too late, Claire, then it’s too late.  But the lesson you have helped teach me has been so welcome and right, I cannot complain of the outcome.  And if one day we might share a table and a meal once or twice more, then life would indeed be righter than right.

And if not, then it will still – for me, and I hope for everyone who has tried to get close to me over the years and even so, gone and failed – be righter than right.


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This morning, meantime, over coffee in Joe & The Juice in John Lewis, Liverpool One, I have had time to reflect further on the good things in life.  I am a lucky man, a lucky man indeed; and I have only just realised my good fortune.  And bad things have happened.  And I caused some of them, it is clear – on occasions without realising; on others I am now truly ashamed of, because I should obviously have known far better – and (maybe) chose not to do so.

But I have survived, and am blessed, and I continue to try and help others to feel as I now manage to.  And if that will be my legacy, then let it be so.  And if nothing else is to happen in my life but this auto-ethnography and the joy it brings me, and I hope begins to bring yous too, I will be more than content with my impact on a world which needs good people like no other time – and more than that, needs good people to step up and show their compatriots we exist.

And to all the women, people, and indeed men and children who have encountered me over the years, I’m sorry if I hurt you.  I was hurting too.  And beyond that pain I was unable to perceive any future of any nature.

Not now.


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