This is the beginning of the rest of your life
You better start movin’ like you’re running out of time
The realization coming over your mind
That it should be a canter
If you could just find the answer
You know it could be a canter
If you were just a wee bit less of a wanker
More than half ae’ the time
— Gerry Cinnamon, Cantor
An old friend pointed me towards Gerry Cinnamon recently. Thick Scottish brogue filled with energy and clever lyrics. That friend has navigated the darkest of tragedies in his life, and I listen when he points me towards the music and writers he’s using to process his life going forward. Most of us are lucky to have easier hurdles than he’s had, but we still have hurdles. We all must find a way forward from whatever lingers.
The first thing that old friend asked me about was how the writing was going. Not the blog writing, mind you, but that other writing. Not as well, I told him. Wrestling with fiction hadn’t felt right. Maybe non-fiction would be best. Just write and let it sort itself out. And so I am.
What possible advice can you give a friend who has navigated grief you shudder to contemplate? Nothing unsolicited. Instead, we talked of finding beauty in a dark world, which prompted the Cheryl Strayed quote, which seemed like just enough in the moment:
There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it,’ said my mother. ‘Put yourself in the way of beauty.
— Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found
Life is short. We’ve wasted enough time already, and we must be deliberate and emphatic in how we spend our days. Whatever we wrestle with, demons and darkness or a tendency to idle through our time, we must break free of our inertia and get moving. It should be a cantor. But remember to find the beautiful on the journey.