"I had come to believe more and more in the virtues of passivity, and of living a life as unmarked by self-will as possible. One could make almost anything happen, if one tried hard enough, but the trying — it seemed to me — was almost always a sign that one was crossing the currents, was forcing events in a direction they did not naturally want to go, and though you might argue that nothing could ever be accomplished without going against nature to some extent, the artificiality of that vision and its consequences had become — to put it bluntly — anathema to me."
— Rachel Cusk, Outline
I've been trying not to want things. Not in a giving up kind of way — more in a caring about the process and not about the product kind of way. It's extremely tricky, and I'm not very good at it.
This week in media consumption: I have now completed all seven series of Ben Fogle's New Lives in the Wild. It's a show about people who start new lives in the wild. Ben goes to stay with them, dressed either in his little blue shorts (if the wild is hot) or his puffa jacket (if it's chilly) and asks the same two penetrating questions: "What will you do when you get too old to single-handedly fell pine trees for your cabin/ward off pirates/shoot and kill a bear for dinner?" and, in the likely event there is no Mr or Mrs Wild in situ: "What will you do if a beautiful man/lady comes kayaking past your island/snowshoeing through your foothills?" I too have been fantasising about starting a new life in the wild, although I fear my current life in the warm embrace of north London has softened me to the point of uselessness in any situation that doesn't feature a reliably-flushing toilet and a Little Waitrose.
My brother ran a half-marathon and I went to watch. Near the finish line, I saw four men holding hands, the outer pair dragging along the exhausted inner pair. I had a little cry about the beauty and resilience of the human spirit, and then I spent the rest of the day coveting a cute wooden medal in the shape of a leaf.