Adjusting to Brexile

My colleague and prolific writer Allison was kind enough this week to call me a fellow blogger, so I thought it was about time I actually, you know, blogged.

It’s not entirely my fault that I haven’t written anything here recently. I’ve totally run out of inspiration for comments on the lunacy that is Brexit, and have taken to only getting my political news from the wonderful Ian Dunt on Twitter. If he hasn’t said something, or knows someone who’s said it, the chances are I don’t want to hear it. After all, I can’t do anything about the whole insane mess, and because both I and my partner are now – thank you Sweden! – safely out of the danger zone, I’m trying hard to see only the comical aspects, of which there are many. Many many many many.

I’ve also been really busy professionally, translating two books, umpteen thousand words of mindfulness meditation voice-overs and vast quantities of technical specifications for major Stockholm infrastructure projects (once again, thank you Sweden!)

One thing I haven’t done much of is writing, despite the fact that I’m meant to be doing a bit every week, with the invaluable Tim Clare. Here’s a link to his free Couchto80K writing course; the speed he talks during the 123 second pitch alone would have convinced me to sign up for this if I wasn’t already (ostensibly) doing the weekly writing workout.

Anyway, to my shame I haven’t done many of these workouts so far, but in a rare spare 10 minutes a couple of weeks back, I scribbled out something not entirely unpleasing that kind of captures my whole Brexit/exile attitude.

Here it is. And I’ll try to post more often in the future (sorry Allison).

It’s Sunday, and she’s sipping Earl Grey tea on a blocky, utilitarian balcony in a blocky, utilitarian town in a blocky, utilitarian country and wondering how she got here… and where she goes next. The balcony is not her own. The country is, now, by a kind of forced adoption.

When she left her own country she never intended not to go back, much in the same way that she never intended not to go home again when she set off to go to university at the age of 18. But she’s discovered over time that the goalposts shift when you aren’t looking. So her parents split up and sold the house and sent her belongings to her university digs, and the country she was born in effectively did the same, suddenly deciding it didn’t want to be European any more. And she – who’d always thought of herself as European first and foremost – was faced with making herself a country of one, renegotiating her treaties, setting up her own defence budget, adopting environmental targets… creating a unique new member state.

So here she is, watching the seagulls fly past and wondering how so many people can live squeezed together into such a small area and whether one day she’ll ever want to become one of them – or whether that decision too will be forced on her by outside circumstances.

And that makes her feel, momentarily, like a victim – which she never wanted to be and dislikes as a role adopted by others. But it is just a role, she reminds herself, and one she can refuse or find a path around – or through, if necessary. She knows she can do that. She’s done it before. And after a while it’s not even all that scary any more.

She picks up her tea cup again and smiles. On the whole, life isn’t too bad at all.

5 thoughts on “Adjusting to Brexile

  1. Excellent piece of writing. And quite mindful, as it happens. How felicitous in this case that your gainful employment is influencing you in small ways.
    As to prolific, I think we all have misgivings. For instance, I could write more if I did not insist on keeping up to date with the news via various comedy and talk show programmes. But then, what would I have to write about in twenty years’ time?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reflection is a good thing. Excepting those who reflect only on their mirror of success (Boris Johnson for instance), it often leaves one with anxieties. Wider and deeper reflection leads further and deeper into profound doubt about existence and meaning and purpose. I think that a reasonable purpose of writing, fiction or not, might be to set bounds around these levels of examination and tell the tale about your own or imagined experiences of this element.

    It’s a privileged life to be able to do this – another similar question – Should people in privileged situations be criticized if they don’t do something worthy with that reality? If a person ccan’t cope well with their existence is it irrelevant?

    Many things to write about.

    fondly and in appreciation


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Zaph – I don’t think people in privileged situations should be criticised if they don’t do something worthy with it. At least, they shouldn’t necessarily be criticised. I’m still thinking about this.

      But they should definitely be criticised if they think they deserve that privileged situation simply by being born into it! (Not that I’m thinking of Boris and his Tory chums at all, honest).


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