We just got back from the Remembrance Day Parade in town. There was a biting wind. In previous years we’ve attended the church service, but today it was enough to watch the march-past, the saluting of and by the senior officers; to see the Mayor, aldermen, bigwigs, old soldiers and uniformed youth. We were dressed soberly, wore poppies on our lapels; consciously commemorated those who died defending our country from real or imagined threats; listened to the Last Post played on the bugle; observed a two-minute silence; glimpsed the laying of wreaths; heard and and felt the gusts of wind through the streets, a weird roaring and moaning which shook the trees and reminded us that for all our fancy dress and posturing, untamed nature still rules. The only human sounds were restless babies. It was worth going for the dignified silence, the sense of unity, the respect, the lack of discordant incident. While hurrying home to warmth and comfort, we reassured ourselves and one another that it was worthwhile coming. We’ll go on doing it while we can. The year before last, an elderly woman laid her wreath at the war memorial in the churchyard, along with all the others. Immediately afterwards, she collapsed and died. I don’t know who she was, but it was as if she’d stayed alive by willpower for this one last deeply personal thing. Thus we construct our own meanings, in life and in death. Like those who fell, in every war.
Till yesterday I thought I’d done with blogging. The idea was to edit these writings into a series of books. It became clear that they would have to be e-books, because the colour pictures, some of them at least, were important to their author. I did at least complete the task of saving every post, and some of the comments, in a single Word document of half a million megabytes*, which I’ve called omnibus.docx. Unfortunately, it crashes quite often when edited. Even when divided into twelve parts, Kindle Direct Publishing refuses to accept it as a manuscript. Smashwords, my fallback option for e-book submission, won’t accept manuscripts more than 10mb each.
I conclude that these writings are in the right place where they are, in a WordPress blog. In any case it’s been a kind of deprivation not writing any new posts for so long. Or, to see it more positively, a fruitful retreat or sabbatical. Watch this space as more old posts appear higgledy-piggledy, spruced up with edits and fresh categories.
* erm, half a gigabyte, thanks Bryan for spotting the error (see comments)