The right no II


I am rebelling against this. The examples which come to mind are Alastair Hall and Jacques Mesrine, at least as he appeared in the films. I can label it weak and stupid, and at best as groping in the dark.

It is a No to returning to the CAB. At least for now. It may be a No to other things, but I am not sure.

And it feels like Me speaking. Me, my wants, my feelings, my integrity. All of me but for my inner critic, in fact.


I could make a case for it. I am trained as a lawyer, and good with words. And- I could pick a hole in any case I made.It is an emotional No, and needs no rational justification.

Mesrine is the hero of those films. Yes, he is a monster, a murderer, a thief, who produced nothing of value apart, perhaps, from his book, and bad things happened to those who approached him or befriended him-
and he has a certain tenacity, his spirit was not broken by a gaol designed to break hard men
and he refused that safe job. He came back from Algeria, which the French sought to hold, and where he first killed, and he refused to fit in to Society, with the Normal people, doing Normal things. He took what he wanted. He knew the level of respect he was entitled to- “MEY-rine”, he shouted at the judge.

That is not all, it does not work by itself, but it is part of what-

Alastair Hall had great charm when I worked for him, and a roar which terrified me. When I went to give evidence against him at the Scottish Solicitor’s Discipline Tribunal- the hearing did not proceed, as his representative successfully argued that he was unduly prejudiced by the delay in bringing the complaint- I wanted him to succeed. I did not then know he was a thief.

My choice of role-models shows how uncomfortable I am about this.


They had something I want. I am not sure what else I want, or what this might mean, or what to do with it, or what comes next, or anything, and my What will people think! still terrifies and paralyses me-

and I have my



File:El Beso (Pinacoteca de Brera, Milán, 1859).jpg

A man of twenty five
kissed a woman of forty-five
climbed into her heart
and went whistling on his way

I had little cause to like M myself, and when W told me how he had kissed her and bowled her over, I disliked him more. She wanted to go two hundred miles to see him. Eventually they met with others in a pub, and he said that he had no interest in further contact but the kiss itself was a good connection for both of them. She left the pub, but was so angry that she went back and threw his beer over him. Later I told U of this, with the intent of engendering respect for W- it is an empowering thing to assault a man who wrongs you- and she said, smiling, “Oh, I heard about the beer-throwing incident”. So perhaps W’s entanglements are a matter of common knowledge, and source of innocent merriment.

P was going to have lunch with Bjork, but she stood him up. He would have waited another two hours to see if she would turn up late, but the CIA were hunting him. So he imagined what he would have thought in his former life. In his former life, he would not have thought that Bjork would have lunch with him, or that the CIA were hunting him; and he would have thought that his employer might object to a three hour lunch break. So he acted as if his beliefs were the same as in his former life, and in that way could have all the excitement and wonder of his delusions with less of the evil consequences.

P also spent some time as a student as a Born-again Christian, and wondered what it would be like to not be one. So he got a book by Bertrand Russell, and tried to imagine what it would be like to be Atheist. After a while the pool of his Christian beliefs was shrinking, and the pool of his Atheist beliefs was growing, and he stepped from one to the other. That is  a striking way of putting it, I thought.


My No is powerful and beautiful
and I have used it to protect myself
in a way which has been necessary
and my No grew
until I said No to experience
No to my reaction to it
No to life
I still need my No to protect myself and
I will value my No, and I will not fear to use it.
And I will practise my Yes.