It’s very difficult to have a truly objective awareness of how ill you are. As a thinking modern man, I know all too well that woman consider most men to only really get “man ‘flu”. The problem is that moaning is very much a male characteristic – although I know men who would never moan in a million years. It does seem to characterise our gender.
The only thing I can say is that I was so ill that I didn’t stop coughing for three weeks, I felt dreadful and, most tellingly, I stopped being able to write. This doesn’t happen very often – actually being ill doesn’t do it just by itself.
This reminds me, I really agree with current poet laureate, Andrew Motion – he drinks a lemsip every morning before he starts writing because it reminds him of feeling ill which is a melancholy*, self-reflective time. He thinks this helps him write because writing is about self-absorption – something that goes along with being ill. It works for me. The only downside is when you aren’t able to take a proper break, in those cases you have to use so much of your non-existent energy on normal life that there just isn’t the energy for writing – and so I just stopped. I hope you’ll forgive me.
Anyway, I’m back. I hope you’re happy now. Most importantly “Preparation” which is the continuing story which didn’t continue because, irony of ironies, it wasn’t prepared in advance, will continue from this Friday. Happy Christmas and happy New Year.
* This reminds me of my favourite answer to the question “so how are you doing?” I’ve ever heard which was, “I feel melancholy”. It was immediately clear that the individual wasn’t English**.
** He was Italian.