Sunday, 4 May 2008

take a deep breath

I love this time of the year.

Katie and I walked up through Prior's Wood, overlooking the Gordano Valley, on Friday evening. The sun was low in the sky and getting lower. A pair of roe deer broke cover ahead of us and disappeared around the corner. We admired the bluebells. I asked Katie to practice walking as quietly as possible, because if you do that then you see more. I remember when I was her age, working very hard at walking silently and keeping my eyes on the ground, watching out for twigs to avoid stepping on, and so not seeing very much else... a cloud of swallows rolled past, hung over the valley for a while, and disappeared to the west as we descended the hill again.

I've been feeling odd, and almost tearful. It's a funny feeling, knowing that the book is out there and people who I don't know are reading stuff about me, and maybe judging me. It's as though I were on trial, somehow. Someone on a messageboard which I read, posted a link to my Flickr page with the walk pictures on it, saying that she'd found it when she was "hunting around, trying to ascertain whether this book was fact or fiction, or both".

There is a difference between the book, which is, after all, a book, and me, which or who is or am me. Er, if you follow me. On the other hand, the version of 'me' in the book is a pretty close approximation of the me who's writing this. I think. Am I fact or fiction, or both?

We should not seek validation in other people's assessment of us, of course.

I tell myself that, and then continue to worry a bit.

Back in the days of my Employment Tribunal against P&O Ferries, I closely monitored the Internet for references to me, to see how the reportage of the case was dealt with and understood. There was a fair bit of distortion to make the case fit the standard media tranny narrative; and the sort of people who you would expect to pick up on that to confirm their own prejudices, did indeed do so. But, though I was occasionally exasperated, I was also fairly impervious, because I knew the facts of the matter.

This is more personal...