Sunday, 12 May 2019

BEWITCHED,BOTHERED AND BEWILDERED.

 Those three words are from a great song from a few decades ago but they are still relevant to a few of us today when it comes to technology. The changes Google informs as having made mean absolutely nothing to me. It's all in the language of course and new languages can be difficult to learn.
I was reminded of this recently after visiting a couple of refugees to assist in teaching them English. They are enthusiastic and try really hard to learn the correct use of the language. Yet here am I, a native English speaker, not able to fully comprehend what technology giants are telling me is changing in their applications and/or software. My English speaking passenger laughed a little at my frustration about this but then made the announcement "It's ok left, so go right." Such a simple statement which most of us would immediately understand but from the point of view of a person whose English is the second, third or fourth language, how bewildering would that command be? 
We are all prone to misunderstandings and more so with the advent of texting. Somehow the subtlety and depth of meaning is rarely transmitted in the brief messages sent via such technologically advanced portals. Even emails often lose the  ideas and feeling behind a sentence. Worse they are often misunderstood. Maybe humans will never return to 'live' letter writing and sadly 'face to face' conversations seem to be growing less in time taken and subject matters discussed but I hope I am wrong. 
Long may the word reign, whether in print form, in verbal communication or via the various forms of technology. This is, after all, what makes us human. 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

TECHNOLOGY OR BUST


Having recently read yet another change by Google and not understanding what I am to do with the new information I will carry on as normal. Ignorance can be bliss...well, it is by passing the need to spend hours filtering information and links I guess. I do not feel the need to bust up my mind by trying to comprehend yet another rule change.
It is something to do with buttons this time...Well, be it buttons, or keys, or keyboards or changes or implications or whatever, I trust to anyone who follows these brief blogs of mine to discover what they are supposed to do if they wish to push a button and comment! Or whatever. What's in a word. Technology means that a rose by any other name is not necessarily a rose. That is what I loathe most about technology. It can change totally the meaning and even the concept of a word. Where I was bought up, a spade was a spade and if it was given any other name it remained  a spade. It was up to the individual if they used the spade to dig with, to hammer posts in, to hit someone over the head with, or whatever. It still remained irrevocably and infinitely, a spade. Along with technology has come people who use it to change words and to spin what is a downright lie. In many such situations though the word lie seems to be bypassed by all as a permissable description of what is being said.  As if to use it means being spun off to the next High Court for daring to suggest a lie is being promoted as truth. To do so seems to be too hard. Terms such as fake news, half truths, made up stories, misguided words, reconstructed facts, are all  different words to cover what they are, a lie.
So what does all this mean? It means, I am lost for words when it comes to the way this form of technology, that is, social media, has brought about a world in which anyone, be it an individual, or a corporation, or a government,  can tell a lie and for the most part can get away with it not being pronounced as a lie.
Do you believe what I am saying? Is it the truth, half truth, fake or a lie? If you know me personally, then maybe you know the truth but if not, you could bust a gut trying to fathom it out. More likely though, as with the vast majority of people, you will not bother. Life is far too short. That is what the people who use technology to spread a lie reply upon. It is all too much bother. Hmm. Food for thought.
Ah, happy days when a spade as a spade and a lie was a lie.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A million dollars?


Another month flown by.

Oh, how the time flies. If I had a dollar for every time I've said that in my life I am sure I would now have one million of them at least. But it is true. So many things to do in and with, life that sometimes we pass over what is not so urgent or demanding for the more trivial. Not that pruning a fruit tree is trivial or connecting with friends is trivial yet somehow this only serves to delay the things that are most important to our inner self.  There lies the difference. Daily life demands us to start and complete the outer things, the concrete things that make life comfortable or survivable, the physical things that reveal a result fairly quickly and so make us feel satisfied. Yet, it is our inner needs, the ones we neglect far too often, that sustains as as human beings.  Creativity, whether forming words to create a story, or using oils to paint a picture, or whatever form it takes, supplies the inner energy and balance we all certainly need. This is what gives the  balance to the trinity: body, mind and soul, whatever you understand from the word, soul. 

Often it is good to sit down and contemplate on what is truly important and how to spread the balance around. Is cleaning my house, eating breakfast, hanging out washing, necessary? Of course it can be and yet the impulse to write burns within me so strongly that i have to do it. And yet, this is what I do after I have finished the physically demanding jobs around the house and garden, when I consider I have the time to invest in what is not a well paid job but an instinctive desire to share stories. 
Ah,if only I had the million dollars to spare. Would I pay someone to do the trivial stuff and just sit and write? Who can tell. Maybe I have brainwashed myself for to long to change now.   

Perhaps the idea of a writer,or artist,living in an ivory tower,separate form the rest of humanity is the only way to go!

Sunday, 2 December 2018

HOLIDAY =CONTEMPLATION TIME


A holiday should provide time for contemplation. It is a break from the normal, the times of work and actions and monotony and responsibility and so on. Yes, it can be a holiday with lots of time spent in action, either surfing or swimming or partying or shopping or whatever butt the very act that it is different means it is a contemplation of something we do not often do. So when a person walks across sand, or climbs a mountain or visits family or friends seen only during a break then that allows the brain to ponder on other things, other people, other situations. This in essence is what happens when a person reads a price of literature, or views a piece of theatre, or a movie. They are exposed to seeing and hearing different points of view, other ways of living are revealed to them, other ways of thinking of doing, of pondering on what is important in life, of what makes us human. This is so important because in being exposed to other lives compassion is aroused and hopefully understanding.  Actions plus reactions can be viewed in a different life. This is good physically and psychologically. I am sure much research has been done in academia on the subject but it is really  common sense, a faculty left out of so much discussion on any topic in today's mad cap 24 hour news cycle.

Thinking and feeling are parts of what it is to be human and this should never be forgotten. These are two of the most important components in any creative work.  Any good writer wants to make the person their story speaks to, to think and to feel what the characters are thinking and feeling, if only for the short period of time they are involved in the reading and/or viewing. For, with any luck, the recipient of the story will take a break from their own opinions, belief systems, prejudices and whatever it is has formed their view of the world. By seeing the world in a different light it makes us all the more human.

So on this festive month, based on religious belief, it is up to everyone to enjoy the break and use it to advance their humanism. Buy as many books and Movie DVD's as possible for yourself or for gifts.

Contemplate. Happy days.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

I'VE BEEN AWAY!



I have certainly been away. Hence the big gap between my talking to you. In my instance it's been a happy 'away'. I was on a holiday where I vowed not to use technology unless it was absolutely, unquestioningly, desperately, needed, as opposed to wanted. So, no facebook, blogsite or other time consuming social media, for a whole four months. This could be considered as  social media suicide but I needed to test it. I needed the clear space in my head to think of nothing more than my own new daily experiences.. Using my smart phone only for important phone calls or bookings of space I found much more time to do other things. Things like visiting family, viewing landscapes frequently simply whizzed past in a vehicle. Things like strolling over fields, staring up at massive ancient trees, sometimes flinging my arms around them, or as far as I could reach and remembering that I am a part of Nature. Time to climb hills and view the vast array of natural wonders, whether in the rain or in the warming sunshine. Things like struggling up the dozens of  stone steps worn away by thousands of feet over centuries, steps leading to towers, battlements and lookouts. Treading the stone floors of aristocratic mansions, of Bishop Palaces, of Cathedrals, of University Halls, of centuries old libraries and old churches and fortresses and castles. Yes,you got it. I've been away in the UK. Travelling to places not visited before. Walking up the couple of dozen winding steps up to my wooden seat in The Globe, was an absolute highlight. Watching a fabulous performance of Othello, one of Shakespeare's best plays, I think, in the same kind of space that patrons would have seen it in Shakespeare's time. Amazing to consider! We all laughed or sobbed or groaned at the famous words, just as people did four hundred years ago. Probably in the exact same places too. My brain was certainly away  into the realm of awe and wonder. I could easily have been described as being away with the fairies! The skill of such a playwright makes me gulp with astonishment. What a psychologist William Shakespeare was. His assessment of human nature is totally relevant today.

Thinking of having been away makes me recall when as a young girl I would hear adults whispering about someone who had been away. I was ten before I understood that this meant the person had been in prison. As I grew older some people who had been away were spoken of with envy.  This meant they were lucky enough to travel overseas,which in the late nineteen fifties/early sixties was a new thing for the English working class. How things change. Ensuring people are away from stress and depression is now what is needed to be worked on. Perhaps if we all occasionally spent time away from our daily work and worries and even away from the constant demands of family and friends to simply contemplate the wonders of this earth, or the pleasure of creative activities, this would aid in this health problem. Being away from our normal lives for just a short time can sometimes be as refreshing as a long trip away.

Anyway, now that I am back I trust you will continue to read what I write. Love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

HEROES



We all need heroes to look up to and to do our best to emulate. My main man is William Shakespeare. Not only because he used words in a way like no other writer before, or, I would suggest, since, but he also created hundreds of new words. Now that is imagination at its best. Not only this but he formed the words into plays that spoke of the human condition and of human nature in a way that any modern day psychologist should envy. His observation skills must have been fantastic. It's as if he understood people to their very core and recognised how their joys and pain were best expressed. He  was able to turn any situation into comedy or tragedy, or both and often in the same play. Being the consumate playwright, who needed to make a living for himself and his actors, he  knew he had to please his audience, most of whom were the ordinary people who stood and watched and probably laughed and cried and hassled as loudly as any modern audience at a concert or a stand - up comedy gig. Throughout it all he managed to make serious comments about social and cultural issues of the past and of his own era. These well tested comments have travelled so well that his works have been performed in each decade down each century. (with a few exceptions) What better judgement of quality and skill and relevance is there than that.

While I admire the words written by Paul Simon, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen, each saying very profound things about people and life in their songs, I doubt if they will be performed in four hundred years time. But then this is not certain. It is good to think they might be. Words that describe how people think and feel at any given moment have a power of their own.  All power to words and thank you William!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Coincidences



A discussion that involved the use of coincidence in a story written by me made me check more accurately the use other writers and other media make of them. Having checked out books and TV series it appears that coincidence is clearly used a great deal to push the storyline. Plots in Crime particularly need such coincidences to further enhance the pace of a story. How many times do the criminals, chased by the police, find themselves down an alleyway at the end of which is a massively high wire fence? How many times does a character come across their lover in the arms of someone else, when they arrive on the scene totally unexpected? How many times is a train or bus missed by seconds, only to turn the story in a barely credulous direction? There are hundreds of instances where the coincidence of people meeting in a certain place makes the suspension of disbelief compulsory. That is fine by me.  In my book, Riding The Fate Train, I push the point further, questioning whether it is Fate that makes certain events occur and is therefor a greater impulse than mere coincidence.

Life is full of coincidences, whether man made or driven by Fate. A book I am reading about a Jew caught up in the life of a concentration camp during WW2 could be said to have been saved by Fate, by the coincidence of meeting another prisoner who helped him to work safely for the Nazis' rather than be killed immediately or slowly by over work and under nourishment. Many others did not have this trick of Fate to save them.

SO the question then is not the use of coincidence in a story but the number of incidents directly impacted by it. This can only be discussed within the context of a particular piece of work. So no space here but it is interesting to contemplate. If, by coincidence, someone of great importance reads my blogs and admires the writing as well as the philosophy, then maybe I will be rewarded with a publication in some mainstream magazine or paper. Ah, such are the dreams of the imagination.  Coincidence? Fate? Who can say? Hope reigns eternal even if coincidence does not.