What do you do when you run out of ideas? I used to go to the pub, or try to talk it out with someone. These days, with a driving job, limited finances, and having not been in Bristol long enough to have developed an accessible support network I tend to go for a walk. In fact, to get these very words out, I went for a walk into town to find the pace of prose I was looking for.
Recently, myself and my ever-suffering editor entered the Bristol Short Story Competition. We failed to make the long-list. The news came in the form of a tweet from the BSSC twitter feed publishing the long-list via a link. I kept scrolling over the list looking for my name. How could I not be on there?
It’s likely that I would have gone for a walk had I had the chance. I couldn’t, I was waiting for a client outside of a prestigious London hotel, The Rosewood, and I had a four-hour drive back to Wells to look forward to. Upon dropping the client and their family home I discovered that my Mum had been admitted into hospital. It had not been a good day.
Eventually, as I got around to preparing this blog, almost two weeks later I was able to relive the pleasure of dipping in and out of The Consolations Of Philosophy by Alain De Botton. I still find this book a significant comfort when things get difficult.
I’ll probably start to shy away from the ‘five reasons’ format as I seem to be saying the same things over and over. Maybe I’ll attempt to say something a bit more worth while. Maybe.
Finally, it’s been highlighted to me that I should publish a transcript for the those with hearing needs. I can’t exactly do this as although I do actually produce a script, it’s mostly there as a guide to what I’m going to say. I’m getting better at it, but I tend to stray away from the exact wording I’ve set for myself. I guess by reading the script it may give you a slightly different angle. As a guide, each bullet point represents a cut, and as a treat, Ive included pictures of what a total mess that script is upon writing it.
To my deaf readers/watchers, I apologise. If you have any better suggestions, I’m open to them.
The full vlog is below, with the transcript below that.
#7 The Consolations Of Philosophy
- So we entered.
- Myself and my managing editor.
- We entered The Bristol Short Story Prize.
- And after weeks of nervous anticipation.
- We didn’t even make the long-list.
- So, you know what? I’m going for a walk.
-Cutaway of walking into Bristol-
- Success, an acquisition list.
- That flat up there.
- Or that one.
- Or at the very least a warehouse where I can store many, many cool machines, with a mezzanine above where I have my living space, guest bedrooms and a bathroom with a huge bath.
- One of these (pointing at a car).
- One of these (pointing at a car).
- One of these (pointing at a bike).
- And one of these (pointing at a car).
- Probably not one of these (pointing at a car).
- Money sufficient to travel widely, to be able to take friends/relatives without charging them.
- The ability to rent whole museums or restaurants with expert tour guides like David Attenborough for the Natural History Museum or Brian Cox for the Science Museum to help deliver the perfect date with;
- Scarlett Johansson.
- Emma Stone.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal.
- Jennifer Lawrence.
- Or all of you beautiful Tinder or Happn people.
- The Nobel Prize for literature.
- The Man Booker Prize.
- A Pulitzer.
- Winning The Bristol Short Story Prize.
-Cutaway of walking towards the Avon Gorge-
- This week’s vlog is this, The Consolations Of Philosophy by Alain de Botton.
- Alain is a writer of pop-philosophy and tends to be looked down upon by academics and overlooked by anyone who maybe intimidated by the word ‘philosophy’.
- Last week I talked about the power of pop to get across complicated ideas.
- Well philosophy isn’t generally complicated, it’s just presented in a complicated manner.
- This is Levinas’ ‘Totality And Infinity’.
- A book where he essentially says ‘don’t judge people on your own standards’
- So, here’s five reasons why should go get yourself a copy of The Consolations Of Philosophy.
- Reason Number One.
- It’s fun to read.
- It’s laid out using numbered paragraphs, and pictures. There’s nothing wrong with this. Pictures aren’t only for children, and neither are short bites of information.
- Remember, philosophy is sometimes seemingly willfully obtuse. This is the opposite.
- Reason Number Two.
- This book is humanist and what I mean by that is that it never seeks to patronise or confuse. It is always reassuring us, the readers that our problems, our insecurities and issues are common to all of us.
- We are not weird or extra or uncommonly selfish, we are us.
- Reason Number Three.
- It is good for you.
- I believe strongly that not only is philosophy the study of the world around us that it is the study of the world within us. If you know yourself that will definitely lead to a happier life. This is the original and best own human-brand self-help.
- Reason Number Four.
- It comes from a rich body of work.
- Alain De Botton has his own company called The School Of Life. You can find hundreds of videos here on YouTube explaining many more interesting and nourishing subjects for free.
- Or you can buy another one of his books.
- Or you can go on a course. It’s up to you, it’s all out there.
- Reason Number Five.
- It’s well written, with an attention to detail, concrete nouns and verbs and real life, relatable situations.
- So success, an acquisition list:
- A roof over ones head.
- Meaningful Friendship.
- Time to myself away from superiors, patronisation, infighting and competition.
- Time to think.
- Good food.