Barry Wood by Anna Wood



Some things I’ve learned from my dad

Read books. Surround yourself with books. Life will be better, you will be better, everything will be better. Words are yours.

It is good to dance, in very short shorts, in the summertime, along the beach at Sutton-on-Sea, singing Blame It On The Boogie.

It is good to dance, in the kitchen, to Crocodile Rock. (It may never be as good, again, as when I was very little and standing on my dad’s feet, holding his hands, while he danced in the kitchen to Crocodile Rock.)

Sit at the kitchen table doing the crossword with a loved one, or read out clues while the loved one makes a mug of tea. You can do this a few times a week, for years, for decades, and it will always be a good idea.

Loyalty is a good idea. But don’t put up with wankers. Laugh at them gently, fondly, and then move away.

The main thing about living in a detached house is you can play your music louder.

Read poetry, listen to it, memorise it. Poetry pursues the human like the smitten moon above the weeping, laughing earth. I spit the pips, and feel the drunkenness of things being various. See into the life of things. “Moon!” you cry suddenly, “Moon! Moon!”

Whisky is good. Scotch, usually, with a splash of cold water. It is best late at night (or early in the morning) with friends and conversation.

And cheese, and crusty bread.

Good shoes. Cool shoes.

And jazz. You’ll realise, soon enough. Maybe even opera, one day.

You’re alright.

Other people are interesting.

Kindness is strength, not weakness.

Have a good cry if you need one. And a hug.

ImageAnna Wood is a short story writer from Bolton. She lives in Norfolk.