Archive for November 23rd, 2016

As a student of adversity, I’ve been stuck over the years how some people with major challenges seem to draw strength from them and I’ve heard the popular wisdom that that has to do with finding meaning and for a long time I thought the meaning was out there, some great truth waiting to be found but over time I’ve come to think that the truth is irrelevant. We call it finding meaning but we might better call it forging meaning…

Andrew Solomon

Taken from one of Manhattan’s greatest ever writers…if not the greatest, that being Andrew Solomon. The thing that distinguishes him is not just that he is so often at seminal moments in his texts and speeches unwittingly Aristotelian but rather that he is so modern, methodical and meticulous. Being an established journalist in the US and A’s top newspaper, he knows what his readers anticipate, having been drawn, collectively or otherwise, towards his literature for reasons which are both rationally informed and researched well in our modern age…I was tempted to say well-researched there but I’m neither a fan of compound adjectives nor metaphors to be honest… he is not just a man who is triumphant in the face of adversity, but surprisingly or not, also someone who has liked a complimentary tweet or two made about him by yours truly :-).

In returning to what was so long ago once ‘home’ -that being where I learnt to play chess- understanding what it once meant to be here and exactly what it means now is not easy. No longer can I consider it as home since home can no longer be ascertained geographically. If we rely upon the cliché that ‘home is where the heart is’ then home is wherever my daughter is so that I can be by her side, protect, love and educate her as every father should, then of course ascribing a location to home is thus otiose. However, life itself is perhaps more complex than chess given it is broader than our beautiful game and much more so the chess community you grew up in and have missed so dearly in more recent years, should you be overtly quixotic. Those thus tainted by the tragedy of its demise from that town you walked almost every road thereof. How do you practice when where you live is bereft of the club you spent so many evenings improving in or not improving in? It is no longer possible to find meaning within its walls, instead meaning must be forged… .

‘I am not an Athenian or a Greek. I am a citizen of the world.’

Spoken by Socrates in Plutarch’s ‘Of Banishment’.

Regarding the walls of thee old chess club I once knew so well, whilst drifting towards a draw in a league game long since significant, me and the team mate next to me had our opponents wander off together. Quietly and somewhat surreptitiously my team mate asked ‘Mark, what do you think to my position?’. I then said ‘It’s out of this world, its covered in bone, it’s out of this world, it’s covered in bone, out of this world, it’s covered in bone, out of this world, covered in bone, OUT OF THIS WWWOOORRRLLLDDDD, COVERED IN BONE AAARRGGGHHHH’. Boy did my team mate look confused, then get this, the chairman of the club came over and said ‘Oy! McCready what ya playin’ at?’ That was back when I used to listen to music during the trek across town. (Erm Mark, please don’t employ the word trek yeah. The last two of the three fatalities you somehow outplayed involve the word trek yes? Bicycle manufacturer and activity in Nepal yes?) I wonder what song such words come from?

 ‘Forging meaning and building identity does not make what was wrong right. It only makes what was wrong precious’

Andrew Solomon

God isn’t he gorgeous…oops, erm, irrespective of how badly you played or how instantly forgettable your opening repertoire once was, what you have learnt from is precious… .

‘We don’t seek the painful experiences that hue our identities but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bear a pointless torment but we can endure great pain if we believe its purposeful’ 

Andrew Solomon

It is tomorrow that I must go to Milton Keynes and it is there I must play chess to win for Luton once more…once upon a time this I once wrote about a journey across Bedfordshire.

My team mate sat next to me had not moved since we’d left Luton. We mirrored each other’s posture and sat still as he took an interest in the serenity outside. Beyond the square windows of the car, an arbitrary county line went by. Further in the distance, the shining windows of a farmhouse blazed by a creek that wove among the fields in the hills, beyond valleys sloping into an expanse of time, where day and wild orchids blew across the B-road ahead.

Me, me, me, me, me, erm ages ago… .

What a day what a day it will be. How so exciting the manner in which darkness descends will be. As chess players we gain from our game how essential it is to think ahead, so I say, the experience will outlive the result or the manner in which I win. There is supposed to be a world championship match on but for now there is no world championship match, there is only the road ahead and that which lies beyond it.

Its game on tomorrow…ghettos exist we do not profit from them…just thinking of Milton Keynes now…see below.

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