Last week I went to Gatsby’s party with a group of friends. New friends. We met through a writing class and, like good underwear, have been both uplifting and supportive. We had talked about The Great Gatsby in class and, by chance, a production came to our local theatre. It turned out to be an immersive experience where we were welcomed into sub plots and subterfuge around the building. Some of us were dragged deeper into the plot than others; the details of what happened at Gatsby’s party will remain at Gatsby’s party. Suffice to say, we all joined in but we were none of us totally shamed. The evening may have been fuelled by a little gin and possibly a bubble or two of prosecco; but the spirit of shared laughter was the driving force of the evening.
Then, a change of note for the weekend. I went on a retreat. To a special and sacred place in Northumberland. For a couple of years now, it’s been my habit to take trips up the A1 to a place where big questions of life can be asked and reflected upon; with answers evolving slowly rather than given upon demand. There are always friends there too; sometimes friends of old acquaintance, frequently friends newly met. It struck me that, whether at Gatsby’s theatrical party, shattered as it was by tragedy and sadness, or at a humble refectory table, laughter and tears are both best taken with friends.