Guest blog – yesterday’s tomorrow is today

Tonight’s blog is written by Phil Shrewsday; Kate Shrewsday is otherwise engaged.

When does ambition finally die? It’s that moment in Fight Club when someone says: “we thought we we’re going to be movie stars and pop singers or racing drivers, and we aren’t, and we’re annoyed about it.” (I paraphrase).

I’m re-reading Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel Dune. It is only the second time I have read it. Β The previous occasion was exactly 30 years ago – I began it in April 1982 during an Easter break to the Algarve, the Portuguese resort on the Atlantic coast.

It was a perfect place to read it too – a lad growing up in Merseyside, I had never experienced such an exotic culture before (I’d only got as far as France previously). Our holiday apartment was thickly furnished in the heavy, dark wood of the peninsula, still influenced by Moorish occupation from over a thousand years earlier.

And while the Algarve is far more verdant than Arrakin (where isn’t?), it was still plenty hot and sandy enough for me to imagine trekking across the desiccated plains in a still-suit, Fremen-style.

I was a youngish 14 then – and the world, and the future, lay before me. I had a notion to become something or other – a rock star or a famous comedian.

Now I am reading Dune again – on the train on my commute to London or in the rare cracks that appear during an otherwise busy schedule. I never became a rock star or a famous comedian.

My copy of Dune lay undisturbed in a box in an attic while the years passed by, and now I re-tread the footsteps I left in the pages 30 years ago. My ambitions haven’t died but they are very different – important and – I hope – more achievable than those harbored at 14. I want to see the kids right through their school, continue to secure the home we live in, and forge a path to a comfortable if modest retirement.

And I know what I will do on the first day of that retirement – re-read Dune for the third time; possibly on a Portuguese beach, or perhaps among the sand-dunes of the northwestern coast where I grew up.

Yesterday’s tomorrow is today.

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17 thoughts on “Guest blog – yesterday’s tomorrow is today

  1. Oh! Phil! How nice to visit with you! I’ve been away from Kate’s blog for a bit and just when I could pop around again, poof! She’s disappeared.

    Seems a blessing that you didn’t have to be a pop star or a comedian. In the eyes of your children, you can be either – with a little convincing. But one thing for certain, you’ll be a gift to their lives right on through that comfortable, but modest retirement. Your family is such a treat to visit.

    Please, give Macaulay a scratch behind the ear. I’ve missed him and he hasn’t come for his Canadian visit yet. Hug to Kate and let her know, please, I hope she’s doing the “Write on Edge” challenge.

  2. A good set of values. It’s worked out well, and saved a lot of bloodshed, that all of us who failed to become racing drivers or famous comedians didn’t decide to kick ten bells of shit out of each other in frustration at this failure but carried on living a life full of care for those that matter most to us.

  3. I’m relativly new around here but the little I have gleaned so far of you all makes me think that the world,which has far too many racing drivers, rock stars, stand ups and what have you, is well served with you being you. I was out in the garden late with our new dog the other night and spent a great deal of time looking at the moon and planets after ‘space law’ came up – a thank you for that:)

    Enjoy Dune when you retire – I’m not sure I’ve read it since it came out, maybe I” reaquaint my self

  4. When I was young I also dreamt of some sort of extraordinary, adventurous life of fame and fortune, Phil, but in retrospect am quite happy that it never turned out that way and relish the prospect of a quiet and modest retirement, too. I could think of nothing worse than being famous (although, perhaps I fib just a little bit on the fortune front… :-D)

  5. Hi Phil. Good to hear your voice again.

    Ambition doesn’t die. It shifts and morphs with us through life.

    Isn’t it funny how retracing our steps can transport us through time?

  6. Well done, Phil; both the post and your life. There is nothing better that raising children and seeing them through, securing your home, planning for the future. I still have my dreams, though they are covered in cobwebs, and dream them anew now for the grandchildren.

    Here’s to reading Dune in retirement.

  7. “We can not choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.” ~Denis Waitley

    Here’s to modest ambitions . . . fully realized. πŸ˜€

  8. Although they seem to pudder out a bit after the initial trilogy, the Dune series has always been one of my faves. Right there next to Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide…” series. Every now and again, when I see some reference to Dune, I think about re-reading them myself. It has also been about 30 years, and I wonder how I relate and can measure myself against them now, as well. Yeah… Picking up what you’re putting down, Mr. Shrewsday.

  9. What a wonderful story of how a book can be meaningful across different periods in our lives, and stir the waters a bit. I can’t be sure what you think about when you recall the dreams of a younger age, but I think, thanks to Kate, I do know something of the Shrewsday’s, and your role as parent is creative and meaningful. Felix and Maddie got their curiosity and good minds from the two of you…good job there! Debra

  10. The 60’s generation had ambition too. And not to be “mere movie stars and pop singers or racing drivers”. There was war and injustice and racism and poverty and fascist government. What happened to us ? That’s admirable ambition to want to end those things. But you can’t do anything without having grasp of the reins of power.

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