Julian Barnes is a writer I’ve long admired, but boy, is he depressing. At least I find him so.
I didn’t think this was the case until very recently. As recent as this morning actually.
I was listening to a CD of his short stories on my drive to work. (Courtesy of County Library – wonderful place). The sun was shining and the sky was that kind of ice cold crystal blue that bespoke of pureness.
His stories are of the middle classes, in England, but could be anywhere I guess. The pettiness of our concerns and how couples engage in point scoring at the other’s expense. Sometimes, most times, unaware that they are doing so.
Julian Barnes is aware and he’s made a whole career out of his observations.
Listening to the stories – life seemed suddenly small. I seemed small.
When I got out of the car I could feel my shoulder’s hunched slightly.
People I would normally address by their first name and a crack of a smile received a simple ‘Hi’.
I blame Barnes.
That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
It took a good ten minutes of flicking through my collection of Picasso’s still lives before I could feel my mood begin to lighten again.
Such is art, such is life.
I hope my own art is restorative. It restores me at least and I suspect others as well.
For that resource I’m very grateful.
I’m still going to listen to the rest of the short stories. Barnes is just too good an artist to ignore.
This time with a little more self awareness.
To happy Wednesdays!