Tuesday, 13 February 2018

AWESTRUCK AND HUMBLE


Two words, awestruck and humble, are ones that can cover so much emotion. As a woman I am awestruck by sunsets and sunrise, by lightening, by the incredibly clever design of a magnificent butterfly, by the seemingly vicious, yet essential skill, of a raptor. There are a thousand other things in Nature. Then there is the awe with which the courage of other human beings hits me. I am currently reading a collection of stories, all true stories, written or told by Indian women, living in India. The poverty, the discrimination, the violence, the near slave conditions of working, the impact of marriage and the small incomes,if any, they receive. I am both appalled and angered by the revelations. Yet upon reflection, after my grandiose responses subside, I am in awe of their ability to survive such lives. (There is also some hope for them on the horizon but this is slow arriving)  I am also humbled by all of these very same events from Nature and people.  For all our pomposity we humans are mere cogs in the wheel that rotates the earth. Yes, we do more than our share of damage, just as a tiny bolt or a wrong sized nut can bring down a gravity defying plane but there are still those who amaze and humble me for their commitment to helping others, whether at home or abroad.

Now, as a writer, I am frequently in awe of the skills of other writers. I admire the way they put together a plot, or the depth with which they create 3D write characters. I am envious of their structure ability, or the pace of the gallop towards the conclusion of a story. More frequently it is the use of their language that fills me with wonder. One such occasion was during the TV series Call the Midwife when one sentence  blew my mind for its accuracy in coming out of the mouth of  a particular character. No other character in the world could have credibly said those words. I just yelled with awe at its perfection and of course was truly humbled by the writer's skill. The character is the eldest Sister in the Priory. We see that she is senile, teetering on the edge of dementia perhaps. . We have learned that she is from a wealthy family, bordering on the aristocratic. Clearly they were very strict and although she would have been born at the end of the nineteenth century it is easy to imagine her family sticking to the 18th century rules of morality and decorum. Very strict. Very conservative. She has had a great education and is very erudite, even in her dotage.

The sentence? In the episode in question modern (1960's!) rock and roll dancing was being discussed/shown. Her response, said in serious vein, was "My family refute all charges of giration." Hope I recall it correctly. Apart from it being a lovely line it is as perfect for the character and occasion as any of my hero, William Shakespeare, could have written..
Bring on more awe and humility, I say.

Monday, 22 January 2018

TIME FLIES


Well, never a truer word spoken. Or so many people say. Of course time does pass and it does seem to fly, meaning in essence that time moves at a faster pace than we humans can move..whether walking or running. However, it is not time itself that is to to blame for this sense of life racing by. Not even debating what science has to say about time and relativity, it is humans that make time relative to what they want to fit into it. How often words are used to alleviate the guilt of not doing what should be done, for the comfort of others as well as for the well being of the self. "Ï never have time to visit Auntie Jane." Ï never have time to read novels, even the good ones my best friend writes." Ï don't have time to sit by a river and just think." It is really how we use the time we are given on earth that makes the difference to how we feel about its passage. Naturally the majority of adults have to use up a lot of their time just earning a living. The lucky ones doing work they love, or at least enjoy. Others having to fill in time doing what they hate, or at least do not prefer. This difference may be caused by how time was spent in early life, either in working hard at gaining a good education, or formulating other plans or simply by just hanging out...letting tomorrow take care of itself.

Once we are adults we are, in effect, in charge of our own time. We can plan it to give ourselves the best chance of doing what we want to do, outside of earning a crust. It is not easy and yes mistakes are allowed to be made. My mistake was in not realising early enough in life that I was a pretty good writer. I should  have spent more time not only in exercising the craft but in convincing others, publishers etc, how good I was, or at least, would become. The blame can be placed at many things but it comes down to individual choice. Those who are fortunate to have mentors or guides do get a leg up but it still boils down to how we use time ourself. 

So, I could add that I meant to write this blog two weeks ago but other stuff got in the way. I just haven't had time. But it is my fault alone that stopped me from sitting down and writing as I am now.  It has taken a is mere 40 minutes of my time, doing what I love to do and hopefully sharing it with  those who take the time to read this and my previous blogs. Probably an hour of your time. Nothing really, out of the 168 hours a week we are all blessed with.

So please red and leave a comment on this page. Put in your email address to learn more of how my next book is progressing. It will be great to read your thoughts about anything I have written ever since I set up this blog some time ago. 😚

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

IT'S ONLY WORDS AND WORDS ARE ALL I HAVE

One of my favourite Bee Gee's songs is 'It's only Words'.Not even sure if this is the actual title but the lyrics say so much. I was recently reminded of how easily only words can be misrepresented when it is only the words that are heard and not within any sort of representative context or even without  knowledge what kind of a person is delivering them.

I was at a cafe with a friend and we were bantering away as per usual without any thought to who could hear us. As usual I was doing  most of the bantering. Being known for my satirical commentary on things in particular and life  in general (some would say facetious commentary) I quite openly spoke of the long wait for coffee, of the large belly of the manager who seemed to glare at the cash register and yet grin at the coffee machine, of the vast number of greasy chips customers were being plied with and of the idiot who ordered the wrong item.It was all said tongue in cheek, my face straight, my eyes twinkling, my mind whistling.  The person I was with knows this is how I am. Nothing is meant to hurt or upset. I am careful to be respectful when it is required.

However, sitting at another table a rather sombre couple were clearly hearing every word I said and were taking it for real. They sat stony faced as they peered in my direction. Obviously to them I was little more than a noisy, grumpy, bitch, for speaking in a manner that was supposedly meant to offend. I smiled back, not fully realising until later why they were sending me their silent stares. Naturally they had no idea of my personality, of my kind of humour, of the person I am. In otherwise, they were hearing only harmless words that were totally out of context.

From a writer's point of view it is great to hear words spoken by anyone, in any manner, because words are grist for the mill. Words give the writer freedom to let the imagination fly and to conjure up a story around what is said, without requiring any accurate reference to the speaker or the context.  Yet, it dawned on me that day, how harmful words could become if misunderstood. I began to think about  how easily problems arise, how a fracas evolves, indeed, how wars can be started. Misunderstanding comes mainly from just hearing and/or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. All very illuminating.

Of course, to a degree I've comprehended this since High School. Yet now and again it is good to reassess what it is you know, what you think you know and to think perhaps more carefully before speaking,  especially in public. It is only words but words are all I have to take your heart away...or, perhaps, to sadly💗 hurt it forever.
"Think on, lass," as my grandmother used to say.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Sunsets...here they are!


I eventually recovered three of the 'lost'sunset photos, as per my last blog. Just thought I would add them as Christmas arrives and the sun warms up rather too much for comfort. But as long as I see the sun rise and the sunset it means I have lived yet another day.




HAPPY DAYS!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

SUNSETS ARE AS INEVITABLE AS WORDS


Yesterday, after taking yet another photo of yet another sunset, all of which are absolutely beautiful, it came to me that sunsets and words have a lot in common. No matter what race or culture or religion any human being belongs to, they have some form of communication, words, at least for the last fifty thousand years, as far as scientists can gather from the evidence.  Okay, so the sun has set a good many more millions of times than that, but, in our own time, as homo sapiens, words are as inevitable as is the setting of the sun, and thankfully so far, its rising each morning.

Similarly the setting sun seems to predict a good day or a bad day ahead, as far as weather patterns go. "Red sky at might, shepherds delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning." I grew up with that saying ringing in my ears. While I was uncertain as a very young girl what a shepherd had to do with it, I soon came to realise that there was some truth in it. From the beginning of human time observers of Nature have been aware that the skies forewarn us of dry or wet weather, gales or gentle breezes. Indigenous peoples all over the world learned to read the skies, just as they learned to read the earth and all the animals and plants upon it. It was a case of survival. Later they came to read and write words. Clearly homo sapiens learned their lessons well, having survived for so long. The question now is are we ignoring too many of the unwritten signs for our own good?

Endless words have been and will continue to be written and spoken on the subject. Some so ridiculous that they sting those who see the truth of what Nature is trying to tell us. Some are so overly pessimistic that they garner lethargy rather than action. Words will play an even bigger part in the future as meetings and gatherings and debates turn into written laws and regulations that may at last assist Nature to assist us to continue surviving as a species.

In the meantime I will continue to write. I love words. And take photos, many of them sunsets. I love them too. Join me in celebrating both, by commenting on this, and my other blogs.Thanks.

And wouldn't you know it. I just deleted all my sunset photos while trying to upload an image! Technology. I hate it! Now they are fearsome words. Until next time. After a few more sunsets!



Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Guy Fawkes and all that jazz

Well November 5th has come and gone and a few places have been blown up around the world this year, although more damaging in practical terms than the Gunpowder Plot in England a few centuries ago. The perpetrators were not then called terrorists but were convicted of Treason, as they were attempting to interfere and destroy with the status Quo of the English Parliament at the time. They no doubt would have called themselves Freedom Fighters and herein lies the difficulty of language. Around the world during most of humans existence there have been those who believe in something entirely different to the contemporary view of what a world order should be. Many wars have been and are still fought over them with millions of people being killed as a result. Who is right and who is wrong is always decided by those in power at the time. So, as the saying goes, one mans traitor is another man's freedom fighter. Lines have to be drawn. That goes without saying, almost. Yet in the reading of history (mostly written by the victors) it seems almost as if the words consensus, compassion and rational thought go missing. This is but a superficial interpretation because once history is delved into in greater depth there is almost always a closer relationship between making money, usually via big business and politics than should be morally acceptable. The Pirates that robbed other ships of their wealth under the auspices of Royalty is one example. The Dutch East India Company is another. The raping of other countries and their people, often followed by their cultural as well as physical conquest has been a recurring one.
Why is it that we humans cannot use the words we need to use when trying to fix problems but always raise our voices, our rhetoric and our violence when others do not agree with us.  Maybe we feel we deserve the freedom to choose words that satisfy our egos rather than our souls. Souls now that is another word that means different things to different people. A whole new world to explore.

Friday, 20 October 2017

A LITTLE BIT SAD



There are so many things in the world that make us exceedingly sad, the wars, the terrorism, the poverty, the disease, the low hosing affordability. I could go on and on. But then there are things that make us feel just a little bit sad, a sadness close to what used to be called melancholy. This word is one that can be better used to describe what makes us feel low, a bit down, one that does not drive us into the states of depression or anxiety so frequently diagnosed by the medical profession and drug companies alike.
No, the things that have recently made me feel a little bit sad are the following:

1. Hearing a designer of children's outdoor equipment state that 'We have to be more careful nowadays as with the old design children might fall a couple of metres and hurt themselves." This makes me sad that children have to be so protected. Learning about consequences was ,and should still be, a part of the growing up experience. Children need to take responsibility for their own actions. This includes not offending or hurting other people. If a risk is carelessly taken on a swing or a slide then you suffer the consequences. Simple. Risk taking and rationally assessing risk is part of  growing into a fully rounded human. We are taking away that humanity by making everything secure and safe. Imagination and the desire to challenge boundaries are being missed out by the young, as well as the absolute necessity to question and debate. Adventure is becoming an exclusive and expensive sport, whereas it used to be a natural part of growing up.
2. Next, I recently saw a person purposefully knock someone aside when they dared to query their place in a queue. Such a lack of courtesy and caring for someone else is sad.
3. When a bird flew hard against my window last week and fell to the ground I watched for a few moments as it struggled to get back to its upright position I felt more than a little sad. It died within minutes. I buried it. This creatures death was as a consequence of risk taking, flying against a glass object that was reflecting trees the bird expected to land in.  It was deceived of course by a man made structure.  Birds , while having sufficiently good brains for their own way of life,  do not have the same capacity as humans to judge risks and react accordingly.  Sad if humans become no better at learning about consequences than birds.

A very expressive word is sad.