One of our first activities will be to explore how to write a column and to help you do that we will read a range of columns from NZ and around the world. First up is a column from the UK. In this column,’We’ve pulled ourselves together and decided it’s good to cry,’ the writer India Knight promotes the merits of crying. To read her complete column go to The Times website.
I love crying. It wasn’t always the case. For years — decades — my default position, when faced with something potentially tear-jerking, would be: “Ah yes, bit sad, never mind, buck up.”
In the past week alone, I have welled up at Channel 4 News every night and every article about Haiti, as well as the fact that British people have donated £42m to the Disasters Emergency Committee; Gok Wan’s television programme, How To Look Good Naked … with a Difference, which featured a woman in a wheelchair going from broken to triumphant; news reports coming out of Edlington (had to stop reading); a baby in the street whom I considered to be insufficiently warmly dressed (no socks); a friend telling me that her mum fell over, even though she was absolutely fine; an old episode of Friends in which Phoebe gives birth to triplets and gives them away (anyone giving birth guarantees total floods); my daughter reading a story about pigs without stumbling over a single word; describing the plot of the Disney-Pixar film Up … I could go on.
Possibly this was some grim leftover from school, when “do buck up” — along with “pull your socks up” and “pull your finger out” — were a constant background refrain; or perhaps it was to do with my quasi-pathological loathing of self-pity: if anything was designed to harden my heart, it would be someone wailing “poor me”.
(If I hear someone talking about their first-world problems as though they’d just lost their family in an earthquake, I want to hit them. A first-world problem is fine, in its place — we all have them — but the correct answer to, “Oh my God, did you watch the news?”, isn’t, “Yes, but why do you think he didn’t call me back?”).
Over the years, though, I have evolved into a world-class sobber. I blame having children, also age, which worries me because by the time I’m 50 I’m going to have to have extra Botox for tear tracks. I have embraced a world of weeping: there is now nothing I won’t consider crying at.