How to be happy (Part 2)

In the last part we looked at what it might be like to take the path of Personal Responsibility, as described by Marshall Rosenburg. It’s a hard road because on it, in a very real sense, we’re left with “no-one else to blame” but ourselves. In fact, during my struggle with exactly this fact, I began to understand that thinking in terms of “fault” and “blame” is not only inaccurate, as Rosenburg suggests, but also really unhelpful in the pursuit of happiness.

Unlucky for me, there was a big old mountain to climb before I could see it:

2. Acknowledge Your Past

If you’re anything like me, pretty soon after you start trying to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions, one of two things will happen.

  1. You’ll become angry and try extra hard to blame or find fault with people and things outside you.
  2. You’ll become depressed, anxious and unhappy because you start to blame or find fault with yourself.

If you’re really lucky, you’ll get both at the same time!

We’re all carrying pain in our past. If nothing else, the violence of being born is something. But for most of us, painful memories and experiences from later in our lives are there as well.

Image Credit: NeedPix

As children we learn to deal with the insults and beat-downs we receive, the times when we’re ignored or half listened-to, the injustices we face. Some of them are small, others much larger. In all cases, the flexibility of our brains allows us to develop strategies to cope without needing to think about it.

As I child I learned these four things:

  1. Intellectualisation – I read as much as I could about human motivation and behaviour, trying to understand why the people around me were doing things that hurt so much.
  2. Distraction – I kept myself as busy as I could, no matter how. This had the bonus that, when things I did were judged by others to be “worthwhile” I could get a self-esteem boost from their approval.
  3. False Humour – when people would call me names at school, I’d go along with it, agreeing with them and laughing, for example. Later I invented an extroverted, upbeat “camp” persona. Later still, I acted cool, happy and relaxed, even when I was dying inside.
  4. Externalisation – I made it my mission to root out injustice, finding elements of culture, politics or public life that I didn’t like, and constructing violent arguments against them.

These reflexes of thought and action really work! That’s why they exist in the first place: Encoded in the synapses of the brain, a pattern gets stronger each time it helps us to avoid pain or find pleasure. If a strategy doesn’t work, it’s soon replaced by one that does. By the time we reach adulthood, we’ve “got it figured out” and in time our strategies get so ingrained, so automatic that we think of them as “just the way I am”.

Simple explanation of synaptic growth and pruning from Harvard University

When we try and unravel the past, and to be accurate about what’s driving our thoughts, feelings and actions in the present, massive alarm bells start to ring. As far as our brains are concerned, nothing much has changed: We’re still vulnerable children in a confusing, possibly hostile world, and we need these defenses there to keep us safe.

For me it was definitely like this: each time I’d try to look at a painful memory or experience, it was as if I was hanging from a crane 50m in the air by a single thread, and some kind of gremlin was approaching with a pair of scissors. Very frightening, very hard to think rationally, and even harder to remain there, given any choice at all.

And what’s the point? You might well ask. Why dig up the past in the first place?

“…it was as if I was hanging from a crane 50m in the air by a single thread, and some kind of gremlin was approaching with a pair of scissors.”

The only answer I can really give is that “I had to”: Once I stopped blaming others and gave space to personal responsibility, I realised that these old patterns of behaviour were so powerful, so pervasive, that it was “them”, not “me”, if you like, that was running the show. I saw that I had no idea at all who I was or what I really wanted, and I needed to find out.

It wasn’t, and still isn’t easy. In many ways, the hardest thing to do is the simplest: to observe without judgement.

So often, after something had gone wrong, perhaps, I’d ask myself the question: “What am I feeling?”, “Why did I just say that?”, “What am I bringing to the table”, and a flood of judgement, criticism, blame, anger, fear, boredom or fatigue would bury me. I started crying all the time, became needy, paranoid and volatile, as if the last thing on earth I should do was carry on…

Part 3: Connect

If you’re touched by any of this, have gone through or are going through anything that feels similar, I’d really love to hear from you, especially if you’re a guy. Click below to tweet at me, leave a comment, or DM me here, I promise to get back to you.

Cover image via PxHere under creative commons license.

How to be happy (Part 1)

Three years ago, I took the first step on a journey which has been more difficult, and at the same time more rewarding, than I imagined anything could ever be. The end is still nowhere in sight, but today I can say for certain that I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I want to show you where I’ve gone so far.

A Story

A woman is walking beside a river. She sees an old man sitting on the bank and wailing as if in terrible pain. “What’s wrong?” she asks, “Are you alright?”

“No no!” He sobs, “I’m so unhappy! I’ve been sitting here beside this river all my life, and I’m so very tired! If only the other bank would come to me I would feel at peace!”
“The other side of the river?” The woman asks, amazed. “You want the other side of the river to come to you?”

“Yes! Yes!” Cries the man, “So many people have passed this way and told me how beautiful it is on the other side of the river, I must see it! It’s the only thing I need before I die!”
“Well can’t you swim?” She asks.
“No no! I’m too old to swim, the current would carry me away!”
“And what about the bridge? It’s just a few miles down…”
“Oh no! I couldn’t go there!” Cries the man, “I have such pain in my knees!”
“The ferry, then, I’ll go and ask the ferryman to come and carry you across.”

“No! No! NO!” He howls, “I’m terrified of water! Please kind lady, if you really want to help me, come, sit down beside me here and pray. I’m sure in time the other bank will come.”

(adapted from a talk by SN Goenka)

1. Take Responsibility

In the beginning, just like the man by the river, I was waiting for something to happen. Just like him I felt awful, and at the same time powerless to do anything about it; crippled, if you like, by problems that were “out of my control”.

The first real decision I took was that I had to change something. Whatever I thought I was doing to help myself, it wasn’t working. The evidence was right in front of me: I was miserable, and I didn’t know what to do about it.

“Whatever I was doing or thought I was doing to help myself, it wasn’t working.”

A few months later, I came across the writing of Marshall Rosenberg. In his book, Nonviolent Communication, he talks about denial of responsibility, and says that our lives become complicated when we attribute to external causes, the things that actually happen inside us.

Let’s say you’ve left your children in the car for a couple of minutes, you’re waiting at the checkout in the supermarket and someone cuts in front of you. How true is it to say “I feel angry because that idiot jumped the queue”?

Well, in fact there are a lot of other factors at play:

  • Are you in a hurry? If you weren’t worried about the kids, would you mind it less?
  • Why do you think he did it? Would you feel differently if he was buying something sugary for his diabetic wife who was half dead in a coma outside?
  • How do you interpret what he did? Do you see it as a sign that he thinks he’s better than everyone else, perhaps? Are there other guesses you could make?
  • What else are you bringing to the table? Do you feel annoyed that you’re sticking to the rules and he isn’t? Does it feel unfair to you? Do you feel guilty for leaving the kids?

This isn’t about fault or blame. No-one’s denying that you feel angry. No-one’s saying you shouldn’t. It’s just more accurate, if you will, to say something like: “I feel angry seeing that guy jump the queue because now my wait will be longer and I really need to get back to my children.”

Seems benign enough, but there’s a real difficulty here. Think about it: by explaining my anger in relation to my own needs, rather than the actions of “that idiot”, I invite the idea that my own choices might have more to do with my anger than I thought. I’ve acknowledged, after all, that I feel angry, at least in part because I’m anxious about the kids, who I decided to leave in the car. This, in turn, automatically brings other, also inaccurate, also emotive thoughts: I left the kids in the car because

  • I didn’t want the hassle of dragging them around the shop. (I’m so lazy)
  • I thought I would be much quicker than this. (I’m so stupid)
  • I always find it difficult to say no to them when they ask for sweets. (I’m such a bad parent)
  • I wanted to say yes when they asked if they could stay. (I’ll feel so guilty if they get abducted)

Whoa! That escalated fast!

And it’s true; at pretty much the moment that I dipped my toe in this water, everything got much, much worse.

Part 2: Acknowledge Your Past

If you’re touched by any of this, have gone through or are going through anything that feels similar, I’d really love to hear from you, especially if you’re a guy. Click below to tweet at me, leave a comment, or DM me here, I promise to get back to you.

Cover image via PxHere under creative commons license.

What’s going on?!

A lot has changed in the world since I was writing about the Maidan revolution, Putin’s Invasion of Crimea and hadn’t heard of George Soros. From where I’m standing, everything looks very very different now, so I thought I’d say a word about some of the biggest things to come out of the last 5 years.

Fake News

Politicians, as we all know, have been lying since the dawn of time. Blair and Bush both knew there were no WMDs in Iraq, Clinton definitely did “have sexual relations with that woman” and Hitler’s Lieutenant Göring probably burned the Riechstag.

Believe it or not, although it’s an easy segue, I’m not just talking about Trump. The list of lies he’s told isn’t getting any shorter, but there’s plenty of alternative facts flying around from elsewhere too. Here’s an example of NBC News apparently doing a bit of “sexing up” of their own; framing George Zimmerman (who shot an unarmed black man) as racially motivated. Later they claimed it was a “mistake” or, as the Washington Post – themselves no strangers to a bit of post-hoc editing – called it, a “screw up“. Come on guys, no-one believes you.

To be honest, I don’t really know what to make of it. On the one hand, the mess we’re in is a great incentive for people like you and me to start taking deep, personal responsibility for what we believe, and what we say about it. On the other, does anyone actually know what’s real anymore? Is anything ‘actually real’?! Even science’s peer review process is apparently corrupt. Are we descending into some kind of relativistic hell where I can not only identify as a cat, but also force people to let me pee in their gardens?

Speaking of which:

Identity Politics

Identity is a complex issue

I feel like in 2014, people knew how to disagree with each other without it getting cringy. Today, though, you only have to mention something like “maybe too much immigration isn’t such a great thing” or “maybe we should treat paedophilia as an illness not a crime” and, depending on who you roll with, all hell breaks loose.

In the wake of #meToo it’s become somehow personal and I now get accused of “speaking from privilege” when I talk about subjects like feminism, gender, race and equality. I get it: In the Global North, white men have occupied positions of power for a long long time. Many aspects of the culture are very difficult for people who are not white, male or straight. But let me put it like this:

The world we’re living in right now is tough for everyone. You think all those white, male CEOs are happy? Tell that to Martin Senn, former boss of Zurich Insurance who shot himself at his family home after leaving a note addressed “to Whom it May Concern”. Or any of the hundreds of others each year who do the same. Yes there are difficulties that affect one group more than another: each group, each person, in fact, has a story.

To all the people out there already formulating objections, let me ask you a question: Are you saying that certain groups of people have it worse than others? If yes, how do you know that it’s worse for your chosen group(s)?

I can’t put it better than Georgia Democrat and 2020 Vice-Presidential hopeful Stacey Abrams when she says:

…what we often refer to as “identity politics” simply acknowledges that people who do not share that ‘normative’ identity of white maleness have entered the political fray and have brought with them the complexity of their experiences…

I’m a straight woman who believes in the identity politics of the LGBTQ community because they have different experiences than I do… my responsibility is to say “I understand the constraints that you face…”

If you’re not doing this, even for someone you perceive as “privileged”, I think you’re part of the problem.


You know, maybe it started with Obama. He was someone we could relate to… True, in the end he dropped more bombs than Bush, oversaw the biggest assault on privacy the world has ever known (much of it illegal), broke his promise to close Guantanamo Bay and carried out thousands of extra-judicial killings (yes, thousands). But he spoke so beautifully

In the UK – a little earlier in fact, we had New Labour, then… well… a gap… then Brexit, and now… err… this:

In the rest of Europe there was Pim Fortuyn, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Unidas Podemos in Spain and AfD in Germany. Then, suddenly, it was everywhere. Yes this is populism alright, albeit racist, charismatic, radical and/or speaking latin depending on your preference. Welcome to the future.

What I don’t really understand is why the bureaucrats, technocrats, neocons etc, don’t get it. All of this is coming from the same place: we’re fed up with numbers, targets, trickle-down economics and all. We want to talk to a human!

People on the Move

In 2017 the number of people estimated to be living outside their country of birth was 258 million, with 40 million more internally displaced. These are record highs.

Migration and immigration are facts of life for all of us in Europe now, and a key political issue almost everywhere in the Global North. It’s a complex situation. There are a lot of ‘push’ factors: Climate change, poverty, persecution, injustice, war; and pull factors too, mostly around hope for a better life. In a lot of cases, traffickers are involved: the global economy profits some $150 billion a year from forced labour, and privately funded NGOs are now wading in as well.

Resistance to immigration sits on a continuum from the outright racist, to more nuanced arguments about values, culture and economy, which won’t go away unless they’re acknowledged and addressed directly.

In a different way, and for different, but related reasons, people are getting out on to the streets in protest, too, even in England. In most places, they’re not getting a warm reception:

Have a look at the second video if you want a shock…

…often to the extent that the police themselves are breaking the law. This is the first time I’ve seen mobilisation of so many people all over the world for so many disparate reasons. Climate change, too, has never looked like such an important issue as it does now.

The Rise of AI

In October 2015, AlphaGo, a computer program created by DeepMind beat a world-class human player at the board game Go. It marked a turning point in the history of AI technology, showing that software might be able to perform better than humans, even in areas where we use intuition. It was the first major triumph of an emerging technology known as deep learning.

Since then, there’s been a deluge of speculation along the lines of WHAT IF MACHINES TAKE OVER THE WORLD!! Which usually ends in discussions about the “technological singularity” – the point where we lose control of our machine creations:

Robot abuse is not cool guys. Machines have feelings too.

The signs are it’s a not that close, but then again, that’s probably what we would think, even if it was just around the corner.

Ok that’s it for now. See you next time!

Cover image by Ilovetheeu 1896 via Wikipedia


An important article, an important blog and an important and insidious trend in modern living.

Stop The Cyborgs

Great blog post by Mark Carrigan of

He starts off with personal experiance of using a tracking device:

Earlier this week I finally bought the Jawbone Up24 after weeks of deliberation. I’d got bored with the Nike Fuel Band, losing interest in the opaque ‘fuel points’ measurement and increasingly finding it to be an unwelcome presence on my wrist. I’d also been ever more aware of how weird my sleep patterns have become in the past couple of years, cycling between rising early and staying up late, with little discernible rhyme or reason. The idea of tracking my sleep in a reasonably accurate fashion, using degree of bodily movement as a cypher for the depth of sleep, appealed to me on a reflexive level.

This experiance of being nudged by wearable tech makes him consider how intrusive wearable tech be if were made manditory and used to enforce behaviour.

I set…

View original post 350 more words

The World According to George Soros

Alright, I confess, I had to look George Soros up on Wikipedia and after having read this amazingly intelligent, candid and forthright article to be published in the New York Review in April I expected to discover that he’s a former Middle Eastern envoy from somewhere or another, or an Eastern European diplomant, but no. He’s a Hungarian billionaire.

What strikes me about this article is not so much its neatness – he clearly has a bird’s eye view of European and US politics, and I suppose that’s to be expected from ‘The man who broke the bank of England’ – but rather its candour. One of my favourite quotes from it was this:

“[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, for instance, is dead set against a deal with Iran because peace with Palestine would end his political career in Israel”

It was a huge relief to hear someone speaking so frankly. Most of the coverage and analysis of world events that I come across is full of mealy-mouthed allusions to the personal interest of politicians, and the effects that this has on global politics. We take for granted, for example, that the Conservative party in the UK has recently identified pensioners as a group it needs to canvass for support at the next general election, and has designed a budget to support that. Why have they done this? Because they have a personal interest in returning to power first, and for all other reasons second. Whether or not supporting pensioners is absoutely the best thing that they could have done at this time almost doesn’t come into it. We’ll never get to the truth of all that because of the rhetoric they’ve planned in advance to support it. This is universally accepted. We talk about a party ‘winning votes’, as if politics were a game in which the interests of the country, and on a larger scale, the world, come second. The conservative party and their supporters will argue, of course, as I’m sure will Benjamin Netanyahu, that they are the best party to run the country, that their survival in power is in the best interests of us all… But frankly, everyone knows that this is horse-shit, don’t they?

I liked his treatment of George Bush (a man whom Soros spent millions trying to remove from power in the run-up to the 2004 election), too, and his description of US foreign policy since the cold war. To paraphrase: After the fall of the Berlin wall, the US emerged as the single greatest power in the world but George Bush failed to understand how to use this power in the best interests of America. He didn’t grasp that soft power, the power of attraction is what sustains empires. He went on a crusade after the ‘Bad Guys’ and demonstrated that America was no longer fit to be in charge. This is why, to get to the heart of the matter, the current situation in the Ukraine is so important.

Such is the opinion of George Soros. I won’t paraphrase the entire article, he puts it much better than me, but I don’t care so much about the content, it’s his delivery that I like, his frankness.

Should politicians not be like this? Should we not demand from them a disinterested, bird’s eye view of the political landscape. Should we not be demanding that the steps of the geopolitical dance be made more obvious to us? At least then we could tell them apart. Should we not be supporting ‘conviction politicians’ like the late Tony Benn even, dare I say it, the late Margaret Thatcher purely because they speak a truth that they believe in, regardless of the nature of that truth? Thin ice I know, but I’d like to hear what you think. Personally I’d rather be lead astray by conviction than kept in the dark and fed lies.

Murmurs in the Sky

Thought you might like to see this, recently tweeted (no pun intended) by writer Margaret Atwood. Clearly she’s a fan of ShoalBehaviour too.

For me, the most amazing thing about this, apart from the sheer mind-blowing beauty of it is, as Dylan Winter asks in the film, how do the birds avoid crashing, and how are messages transmitted so quickly between one bird and the next? It really does seem that they’re part of one giant organism. 

One person with a view about this is Rupert Sheldrake,  Perrott-Warrick Professor (2005–2010) at Trinity College Cambridge. His controversial views concerning what he calls Morphic Fields are interesting because they offer us an alternative to a simple ‘rule-based’ understanding of our world and instead suggest that our actions, our thoughts, even the shape of our bodies might be part of something much much larger.

The House-Sitters

For Samuel and I, buying our first house together was what you might call a Big Move; the last, as we saw it then, of the tentative steps we had taken in the years beforehand into adulthood, and into each other’s lives. When we returned from a weekend mini-break in Bucharest to find the house unaccountably occupied by the ghostly Mr and Mrs Grey therefore, we were very much confused.

The strangest thing about it, as we remarked in hushed whispers to each other during those first few minutes, shivering in the cold on our own doorstep, was that the surname ‘Grey’ was Samuel’s own. They were no relation of his, he said, and I had to agree that I couldn’t believe they were either. They seemed insubstantial as they stood there in the hallway, he bending low over his curious black cane and scowling at her back; she standing tall and defiantly staring. Not that they weren’t there exactly, not that you could exactly see through them… but they were…tenuous somehow, if you follow my meaning.

She slammed the door in our faces, as indeed she had opened it at our arrival. They were substantial enough for that, it seemed and, as we soon found, considerably more besides. We hadn’t been standing there long before an upstairs window flew open and the head of Mrs Grey emerged over the sill.
“Get lost or I’ll call the police!” She cried, her hair flying about her in the wind. “Go on! Off with you!” She waved a bony hand at us, as if she might be shooing away a fly. Samuel, normally a mild and placid sort of man lost his temper completely.

“It’s our bloody house!” He yelled upwards. I felt a rush of pride. The head of Mrs Grey disappeared and was replaced rather suddenly by a bucket on the end of a skinny arm -wearing, now I think about it, my own nightdress. The arm and the bucket which it held were swiftly inverted. A deluge of malodorous water poured down towards us and we were lucky, on account of our both looking that way at the time, to only narrowly avoid it. We retreated to the top of the driveway and, as if satisfied, the face and the body of Mrs Grey turned away from the window and receded into the darkness of the room behind it.

Huddled on the pavement in the gathering dark we tried to regroup, but already the cracks in our defences were beginning to show. It had not, if I’m honest, been an easy few weeks for us, nor had the museums and the palaces of Bucharest done anything whatsoever to help. I was all for risking another deluge (or worse) in a full frontal assault – after all, I reminded Samuel, dangling them in his face – we have the keys. He brushed them away. It was the neighbours he wanted. In the heat of it all I think I tossed my head and called him a coward which probably didn’t help, but in any case, when I stamped up to the door in my new brogues and rattled the door, the key no longer fitted the lock. Samuel crowed. There was no more sign of the Greys. The house stood gloomy and deserted.

It was all very mysterious. At length, we went over to the Greenes’ house next door. We could count on them said Samuel, surely. It was Mrs Greene who answered; the veteran of countless teas and coffees and cakes and biscuits in our kitchen already. We were becoming friends. But when she came to the door that day, peering about short-sighted in her usual fashion, she didn’t seem to know us at all. In fact I’m not sure she even saw us, but sank instead into a sort of trance on the threshold, staring blankly at the house across the road. No amount of shouting nor coaxing, no hand waved in her face, nor even the firm shove that Samuel gave (he was, after all, at his wit’s end) could rouse her. As we turned away to go, however, she shuffled back inside as if re-animated, and closed the door behind her.

The police arrived. We certainly hadn’t called them, the events we’d suffered already seemed too unreal in our minds to warrant their attention. But they came nonetheless. When I saw the panda car crawl slowly up alongside us with its strobes turning, instead of relief, I felt a strange and creeping sense of dread. Sam, however was effulgent.

“Thank God you’ve come!” He practically pulled the officer, a sweating, piggish man in bulging stab vest and tide-marked shirt, out of the car. Whatever pride I had in him evaporated like morning mist. He was hopping around on the pavement like a child. I stood some distance away from them with my arms folded in silence. The policeman looked him up and down.

“We’ve had reports of a break-in.” He sighed, looking away from us towards the house. They never introduce themselves do they? The police. Identities subsumed into a higher cause. This man was a bar-code. An agent only of the law.
“Yes yes!” Cried Samuel, pointing. “Two of them. Over there! It’s our bloody house!”
“Your house, is it? Right…” He narrowed his eyes. “So you called us then did you, Sir?”
“Err… no, actually.” His face fell.
“I see.” There was a pause while the officer flipped open his notebook and took out a pen. Although the pen remained poised over the page for the rest of the exchange between them, I noticed that he wrote nothing.
“And what’s your name then?”
“Samuel Grey.”
“And you?” He jerked his chin in my direction, turning black eyes squeezed by veined and ruddy cheeks towards me. I told him. “And you’re…married… are you?” He asked, with distaste. I shook my head, looked away across the street.

There were more questions. How long had we lived there, what did we do for a living, how long had we been away. Sam answered them all with a kind of anxious enthusiasm. I could see where it was going.
“So… Let’s look at the house then shall we?” He said in the end. My heart sank. “You’ll have the keys I imagine?”

He let us off with a caution. Wasting police time, hoax calls, whatever it was. No-one, of course, had answered the door. The house, our house, Samuel reminded me, remained a closed mouth, sealed up and dark. We checked into a hotel and spent the night there arguing over nothing.

Morning came, creeping in through curtains that I hadn’t hung. We had to go to work. I dressed as smartly as I could from my weekend bags and caught the train. Everything seemed normal. The carriage was eerie, wordless; full of the tinny whisper of headphones like the chirping of crickets, and the smashing of the wheels against the track. But I was nervous. I tried not to think that I had no home to go to, denied, in fact, that it was true.

Most days, as I exit through the barrier at the station I have a view of the revolving doors of the office across the road. When I did so that morning, as I almost knew I would, I saw her. She was hurrying upright, head bowed in an overcoat and black hat that I hadn’t worn in years. As she entered the building, the very building where I work, she turned and flashed a look so potent, so deliberate towards me with eyes that burned in triumph. The unmistakable Mrs Grey. Feeling that I had no other choice, I followed her inside.

It should, I suppose, have come as no surprise to me. My first thought, the one thing I had somehow known for certain when I saw them in the hallway of our house, and afterwards suppressed as brutally as I could, resurfaced then as I saw her from the other end of the office sitting blithely at my desk and chatting over the top of her computer my computer!- to Janice from accounts. That Mr and Mrs Grey shared the same name as Samuel seemed more than coincidence. That she was trying to replace me in the present, once so full of possibility, was abundantly clear. What I saw, though, when I looked at her, forty years my senior in the same clothes, the same shoes at the same desk at which I had sat so many times already, when I thought of her in the hallway with a man who despised her, who was weak and bitter with age, what I really saw, the thing that made my courage fail me, was a vision of my own torpid, stifled future.

Perhaps I should have stood my ground, but couldn’t. I ran out of the office into the street. It was Janice who scared me the most. Nowhere on her face had I seen a sign that anything was wrong. I tried to call my mother but she didn’t answer. In desperation I called Samuel.
“What do you mean you’re being replaced?” He snapped, irritated. “It’s US, Erin, We’re being replaced, TOGETHER! It’s our bloody house! What’s the matter with you?” I tried to tell him, but he couldn’t understand and got angry. I hung up. Mr Grey, he told me had been at his office too.

For the rest of the day I wandered the streets like a ghost, too angry with Samuel to meet him, though I saw him once, sitting dejected and alone at a bus-stop. At five o’clock I found myself crouched on the pavement outside the station, compulsively watching my erstwhile colleagues as they left the office. Already I felt like an outsider. It grew dark. At length, at the centre of a gaggle of my closest friends, she came out through the revolving door. They turned left, a clatter of heels, and shoaled their way, giggling, through the puddles of street-light towards the centre of town. Softly, it began to rain. Some hours later, numb with the cold, I stirred myself and followed in their wake, knowing exactly where they would be.

The restaurant was shimmering with golden light. It spilled out through the windows onto the pavement, wet with rain. There was music and laughter. Voices that I knew. I looked in. It was easy to see them, twelve or so, at a long table in the centre. To the right of Mrs Grey, raising a glass to drink with someone I didn’t know, was Samuel. He looked haggard, I saw, beneath the veneer of his smile. For a moment I pressed my right hand to the glass, as if willing it to open like a door; then I turned and walked away from them, back up the street towards the station.

Gaia Bites Back

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fanatic when it comes to climate change, I don’t even necessarily believe in ‘saving the planet’ but I’m not stupid either. And you’d have to be, to think that rising global temperatures, the melting of sea-ice and the extinction of marine and terrestrial life are not going to have serious consequences for us, the human race. Here’s a new twist to the tale so far:

30,000-year-old virus is revived

I can almost see Hollywood’s take on it now.

Fishfood for Thought

Musings From a Ragged Soul

Seeking happiness one step at a time

Fish Thinkers

Aquatic Research | Sustainable Fishing | Conservation | Natural History | SciComm |

Among Us

A collaborative twitter fiction

Attenti al Lupo

The Soul of Matter

About literature and the ressurection of spirit in the world

Damantigui's Blog

Ethics and aesthetics are one

Stop The Cyborgs

Only the unmeasured is free.

London-In-Sight Blog

Just another site

L.M. Sacasas

Technology, Culture, and Ethics