53 and imploding – the foreword

53 and imploding

This was the third in my experimental fragmentary autobiographical novels. It was primarily concerned with death. I had reached an amazing fifty three years of age and was aware that time appeared to be flying past ever faster. I was concerned that I might not be able to fit it all in. I had been forced to give up playing football and was aware of aches, pains and unfitness.

When I approached 60 I took up a fitness campaign, lost forty pounds and now I am definitely going to live for ever.

Here is an extract. I hope you like it:


53 and Imploding


OPHER Goodwin


I am 53 years old. That astonishes me. I am growing old. Already my body aches and shows a strange inability to co-ordinate itself and a lack of suppleness that makes me almost doddery. I am overweight and unfit and have little desire to be otherwise. I am constantly tired. The wild creature of my youth is a crazy rampaging fool I envy but am detached from. I am fast becoming an old fool. Ah, that we have lived so long to see our dreams destroyed.

Seconds. Can’t you feel them ticking. Seconds.

I can’t write ends. What is an end? Nothing ends. I can only attempt to write beginnings. Even that is absurd. I can write in seconds. All of them are now. Each second is an action; a thought; an idea; a memory; an almighty beginning and an almighty end.

There is nothing in the past. Even my memories are new. They are events seen through these old eyes, thought through these old neurones. Each memory is refined and twisted. We remember the bits we want and some of the bits that we don’t want but most is tossed into the sea of forever. We have no history but the one we build for ourselves.

Seconds? How many left? A few? A few hundred? A few million? It’s not he seconds that count; it’s what you fill them with.

I love old things: rocks; buildings; trees. I love old things because they speak to me of forever.

It’s strange how we conveniently forget. We build huge cities and think they will stand forever. We excavate old cities and wonder at their splendour without realising that all our cities will burn, be toppled and forgotten. New cultures may wonder over them and marvel at our cunning – the things we have done with our seconds.

This is how we filled our seconds.

We are not forever. We are only a second in forever, a blink, a swearword, a gasp and gone. We may only ever see a few of the countless zillions of stars blink out. In time they all will run down like drained batteries and the lights will go out. They’ll be no one around to pull the cord or flick the switch.

Ha. Ha. Ha. I laugh at your vanity of forever. What a fool it makes of you. Genuflection. It takes seconds.

Sex and death – a bit too simplistic as a summary of importance. It’s the things you do with your seconds that makes the difference. Do you live your life with merit? Is each second of choice well decided? Is there purpose in your existence or do you drool and stagger round like cattle – ‘Pretty cool here. Get pissed, get stoned, fuck and dress to impress’ ?

Fine lines – there are fine lines between cool and fool, smart and fart, bright and shite.

Fun comes before the fall. Stuff your mind and stuff your heart. Yet it matters not – pleasures taken carelessly or considered – excess or moderation – purpose and pomposity. It’s all the same worms, same stars blinking, same journey, and same end.

No. It is not where you are going that matters. Religion has really fucked up there. It’s the journey. It’s the way you travel that matters. It’s what you do with all those seconds you are busy squandering. Now don’t get me wrong. At the end of a story who is to say if the hero, villain or bit player had the most worthy part to play? Who’s to judge the value of a few seconds spend watching football on the telly, reading a novel or writing.

I choose to write. I pluck these words from the holes in my brain. The novel is dead. There are no stories. There are no beginnings and ends. Reality is continuous.

There is only sharing. I am sharing some thoughts in a one way conversation for no purpose other than to stimulate response. I shall not be aware of that response as likely as not there will be no one to read this and if anyone ever does I’ll likely be already dead. That makes me smile. Still it has the same validity as you watching Brazilians juggle bladders immaculately.

That is the essence. Whatever you do with, or in those seconds we call life, make each one of them a honed jewel. They all count. Do it with all your spirit.

I am writing into a mirror. There are no pretty stories, no vignettes, no cameos and no ends. Even the very end, when the whole universe is a bunch of cold cinders and dissipated heat, will go on forever.

This is not a beginning. This is not even the middle. This is merely somewhere down the road.

8 thoughts on “53 and imploding – the foreword

  1. I love it especially in the end when you say ‘This is not a beginning. This is not even the middle. This is merely somewhere down the road.’

  2. There are some interesting ideas here, Opher – like the one quoted in the comment above. What I enjoy about your writing is that you come out with the unexpected and cause me to pause and consider the new view. I agree that the journey, the seconds lived, the decisions made – these are the significant things about life, not the final destination.

    1. I had this idea John that I would write a book that had no story. It was a pure stream of consciousness with fantasy and character manufacturing thrown in. I liked what came out. I called my ‘now book’ because I tried to write it in the now without planning or deliberation. I was waking up in the night with ideas that I had to get down. I felt that I was taking Miller to the next step.

      1. Oh I completed it. It was a statement. I do try to do different things. I have such a range of books. Some are nonfiction. Some are fiction and some are like this.

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