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.