Thursday, November 30, 2006 Sometimes I look up and I see the most wonderful things
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 Things I did at school today
I was late.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 Goodbye and thank you, dear Class 5
Second day of school experience, and I find myself falling in love with the class, hopelessly. (I am already thinking I’m going to miss them at the end of the two weeks.) They’re the sweetest bunch of 10-to-12-year-olds you could come across, I promise. And it helps that at the end of the day their teacher has them say this, all together, in an awesome rhythm:
“Brave and true
And you’d be amazed at how great eight 10-to-12-year-olds can make it sound. Even though I know for a fact that some of them don’t even realise what they’re saying. And then she has them say that:
“Goodbye and thank you, dear Dimitra.”
And I tell you. It made me melt yesterday. It made me melt today. And it’s going to make me melt each and every one of the eight days I have with them. I promise.
Monday, November 27, 2006 Raindrops and rainbows
Sunday, November 26, 2006 Long lost tape III
I wonder if I’ve been making this sound like a bigger deal than what it is. There’s not much suspense to it: Rachel convinced me to write Joe an email telling him how much I missed the tape and asking him for a new copy of it, and I did just that, even though it took a fair bit of courage and a couple of hours. Once I had done it I wondered whatever had been holding me back from doing so all this time. It wasn’t that hard. Joe wrote back, and so did I, with another story; he sent a tap complete with sleevenotes, and that made me very happy; then he sent another one, which I wasn’t expecting, and that made me even happier. I listened to the first one nearly all the time until I got the second one, and I’ve been listening to that ever since I got it, three days ago. I’m listening to it now, for that matter: singing along, wondering what it is that makes these song speak to my heart in a way very few others do, and – dare I say it?– feeling blessed to own a copy of these recordings again.
Needless to say, I’ve broken off the write-protection tabs already.
Saturday, November 25, 2006 Advent Fair
Today we went to the South Devon Steiner School‘s Advent Fair, where we saw and did some wonderful things. We got a bit lost on the way, and saw a bit of Newton Abbot. We took a long time finding a place to park because there were so many people there. We wandered around the grounds a lot. We chased the two toddlers around a lot, too. We admired the lovely and expensive things at sale in the classrooms. We bought a book, and roast chestnuts. We had Indian food. We got rained on (again). We admired some more things on sale. We saw a rainbow. We had coffee and wheat-free, sugar-free apple buns. (They were lovely. No, really.) We bought two raffle tickets. (I had a feeling. I don’t usually buy raffle tickets.) We took some photos. We wandered around the grounds a bit more. We sat down for a while. We met so many people we knew that we started to feel at home. We had more apple buns. (I told you they were nice.) We chased the toddlers a bit more. We got a bit more wet, and also cold. And then I went and won what could be desribed as the second prize: a basketful of organic chocolate and art supplies, complete with a voucher from a toy shop, a mandarin bath fizz-ball, a handmade honey-tangerine-and-calendula soap, a candle, and a teddy-bear. (I told you I had a feeling! I had two tickets out of four thousand, and there were thirty prizes. I was seventeenth, just as I was beginning to lose faith.) I walked away rubbing my eyes in disbelief, handing out chocolate. (It’s not sugar-free.) On the way back we stopped at the aforementioned toy-shop (where I exchanged my vouchers for sixteen beeswax crayons), the toddler fell asleep clutching the teddy bear and we didn’t get lost. It was great.
Friday, November 24, 2006 Long lost tape II
In the months that followed I played that tape a lot. (They were rather happy, intense, creative months, while also being long and dark, and they changed my life.) And then, one crazy April night while it was snowing and I was talking to a friend who had suddenly rang my doorbell after months of not being in touch, I accidentally taped over it.
Oh, the sense of loss when I realised. I got over it, of course, over time I even forgot about it; but every now and again I thought back of that night and quietly cursed myself. Damn. Damn. Of all the tapes in my bedroom, why did I have to pick that one? I had asked David to make me another copy, of course, and he had said yes, but then he never quite got round to it and then we lost touch, and that was the end of that. I gave up on the idea of getting hold of those songs again and I started telling this story instead, and the tape acquired legendary status in the story of my life.
And every now and again a phrase or a picture from these songs would come back to me, like a flashback from a different life, and I would feel haunted for a minute or a day, and long to listen to them again. Three and a half years and the intensity of that feeling still surprised me. It was clear that I had to do something.
Thursday, November 23, 2006 A reason to be thankful
I thought of using “You should all be murdered” as the title of this post, but I just couldn’t bring myself to it, even though I know they didn’t mean it literally. (I can’t quite imagine Harvey Williams planning to murder people.) Even so, I don’t like the sound of it. I do like the song, though. I love its indiepop-angst-ness and the guitars and the drumbeat and the fact that it was probably recorded in a shed, or something. And I love the lyrics:
The people who were cruel to those that don’t deserve.
There’s something so right about them, in all their wrongness. And here’s mine (even though it doesn’t rhyme):
The people who have no faith.
I’m not sure what got me thinking of that, though I do have my suspicions; what I do know is that it is not because I came across one of these people recently. In fact thinking about it made me realise that I am surrounded by people who think there is a reason for this madness — and how great that is!
The people who think that we come from somewhere, and we are on our way to somewhere.
The people I like.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006 Three weeks in November
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 Updside-down
Monday, November 20, 2006 Long lost tape I
David and I walk down a dark street in Dorking singing “we’ll never be cool, we’ll never hang around in the right place / we’ll never be cool, not with your mind, and my face”. Even though, to be honest, we thought we were quite cool, in our own, uncool way.
That was the autumn of 2002: on retrospect, one of the happiest times in my life. (One of the very few trouble-free times in my life.) David was my boyfriend, and he was sweet. Dorking was, and still is to the best of my knowledge, a town in Surrey (and not something English people do). The song was (surprisingly enough) called ‘We’ll never be cool’. David had it on tape, a tape given to him by someone, possibly the person who wrote the song or perhaps a friend of his? I can’t remember. What I do remember is that after he played me that tape once, he had to play it again and again because I fell in love with it. We made a copy of it before I left for Greece, on flight with a long layover in Prague. Back then I had a walkman, which explains why I ended up listening to the Foxgloves on a bus though Czech suburbs. The bus was supposed to take me to a metro station, from where I could catch a train to the centre, where I would walk around for an hour or so. Except the whole town had been flooded just a few days before, the metro wasn’t running, I couldn’t find the replacement bus service, I was tired, and I decided to go back to the airport and wait. Thus, these are my only memories of Prague: the grey, run down buildings in the twilight, how poor everyone looked, the songs.
My other memory of that night is of the plane flying low over Thessaloniki at 2 am. The streets were empty, the streetlights were flickering in the mist and the whole thing looked gorgeous. We nearly flew over my flat. I took a taxi from the empty, deserted airport back into town and crept into my room, then crept out to carry the stereo back in. I set it up on some cardboard boxes, connected the speakers hastily and went to bed, the images from the songs moulding into my dreams.
Saturday, November 18, 2006 Meaning vs fate
I’m not quite done answering Dawn’s question (of sorts).
We held a dinner party last Saturday. It was nice to see our house filled with lovely people. I took the chance to show some photos from our wedding, and answered some questions about how we met (on the indiepop list); which of course was followed by more questions. To most people meeting your husband on the internet still sounds like an outrageous idea. We explained that we had been moving in the same (indiepop) circles, and we had common friends, we’d been to the same festival twice, in fact we’re pretty sure we once stood on either side of the same person (Ally Cook of Dot to Dot fame) who, however, neglected to introduce us to each other. Not wanting to sound like I regretted not having met Martijn earlier (I don’t) I quickly added that it was best this way. Had we met earlier we would, most likely, have become friends and never thought to fall in love with each other.
That made someone comment that “it was meant to be”. Which made me stop for a moment, and think to myself. “Hmmmmm”. (A particularly deep thought, as I am sure you will agree.)
Perhaps I would be fine with saying that (in fact I used to say it myself) had we lived happily ever after the day we met in London, as we thought we would. Except it didn’t work out that way. A couple of months later Martijn came to Athens, stayed for a week, and got absolutely terrified of the future before he left; while I got a flu I never quite got over for a year and a half. Martijn was stressed, unsure of himself, scared and breaking down more and more often while I felt vaguely or not-so-vaguely sick for months on end. There were terrible arguments. The screaming of ugly things. Sleepless night trying to make up (often on the phone). Endless one-sided conversations trying to understand. And more breaking down. The throwing of objects. More breaking down. The shouting of even worse things. And more breaking down. (I am not exaggerating one bit.) Sometimes it seemed as soon as we made up Martijn would start sulking again, closing the world off, pushing me away. The two months following our wedding contained some of the worst moments of my life (and there is considerable competition). It often looked like it was never going to end, and the breaks between the bad spells became shorter and shorter, almost non-existent. And then, miracle of miracles, we moved to England and it suddenly, surprisingly, got a lot better. It hasn’t stopped, and it still needs to get a ]better, but it is decidedly, unarguably, very much better.
But was it meant to be? Was Martijn meant to shout at me that I should go away and die because I deserved it? To throw soy milk all over the kitchen floor? To hit his head with the iron and come to me with blood running down his face? (It was only a tiny scratch, by the way.) Were we destined to a year and a half of intense unhappiness following a short spell of profound happiness? Were our hopes meant to be dashed, our faith in each other and ourselves and the world tried through and through?*
I don’t think so. What I do think is that people confuse “meaningful” with “meant to be”. Meeting Martijn was meaningful in very many ways, and the events that led up to it only made it even more so. The way we met, the way we got closer and closer, what we felt for each other, how it made the world look, the things that it made happen, even the dismal ones I have described above: they are all fraught with meaning. They contain beauty waiting to be seen and lessons waiting to be learned and messages waiting to be carried off into the future. They say a lot about me, him, and the world. Each one of them happened for a reason. But they were not meant to be. Either one of us could have made a different choice somewhere along the way.
*(Most stupid thing I have heard as a reply to a description of this situation: “it keeps you appreciating what you have”. To be fair, it was a well-meaning comment by a nice person who just happened to be having a momentary lapse in brain functioning. There’s no other explanation, is there?)
Friday, November 17, 2006 Archetype, universal, personal interpretation, living, impossible, feeling life
We have been exploring the concept of an image at school lately. (As you may, or may not, know Steiner education has a lot to do with imagination and teaching through pictures.) Trevor asked us to resist the urge to groan while he unveiled the question he wanted us to think about.
“What are the essential ingredients of a picture?”
It takes a good teacher to know what you will want to do before you want to do it. I was impressed, and I did my best not to groan to honestly it was rather hard. It was made easier from the fact that he was groaning himself. A good sense of humour is also rather essential, don’t you think?
Neither not groaning nor laughing made the question any easier to answer, however. I spent some very frustrating twenty minutes trying to come up with some way of approaching something that looked like an answer. Did I say it wasn’t easy? A picture is such a basic thing you can’t quite define it. Can you define a thought? Can you define a thought without thinking? Can you define a picture without using a picture? Doesn’t that half-defeat the point?
In the end me and the girl I was discussing it with ended up with this: A picture is something you can perceive, something that you can retain in your memory, something that you can pass along, something that appeals to feelings rather than the intellect, and, finally, something that has a life of its own. It was pretty good even if I say so myself. Other people seemed to have approached it from a different perspective so in the end we ended up with a very interesting list of words.
Sometimes lessons make me want to cry, like songs do.
Thursday, November 16, 2006 The door to the alley next door
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 On singing again
Thanks you to all the kind readers (three in total) who took the time to tell me that I can, and should, sing. I really appreciate it. Except I think you might have got the wrong idea here: I never said I don’t sing! Never! Ask anyone who knows me, I sing all bloody day long! I sing at concerts! And I sing at school, because everyone does! It is great! And I love it!
What I was saying is that I’m not particularly good at it –sometimes my voice does what I want it to do and sometimes it falters– and I sound like a ten-year-old quite a lot. Which is sweet, I grant you that, but it’s not quite me. I’m not ten any more, in fact I haven’t been ten for quite some time now. And it might be interesting (especially indiepop-interesting: “whoever said you’ve got to sing well / has never heard Stephen Pastel”) but when it comes to this I don’t want to be interesting, I want to be good. And that might sound terrible (I feel like I have got 26 out of 30 for an essay, and I’m sulking cause I wanted a 27); but it is not. It is not, because what Marc said is true, there’s more there –more of me– and it has been forced to go into hiding and that wasn’t good, it wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right, I want it back. I want it back now.
On a different note, some people seem to be having a mid-NaBloPoMo crisis. I am not. Quite the opposite: writing has been getting easier, it feels natural again, I don’t have to think about it very much! This thing is working!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 On singing
There’s one thing I have to say today, and that is that writing about something that depresses you is very hard. I’m still working on that damned music biography (and I’m not done yet, either) and it is sucking my energy away. Even something so seemingly innocent as why I never learned to play an instrument can bring up thoughts about the special way in which my family was messed up, and the feelings that go with it are surprisingly deep. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why that is. Anyway here’s an excerpt:
Do you see? Do you? (It’s okay if you don’t.) The thing is that I can sing, and I can’t, at the same time. Marc, our teacher (who, however, has only been down here for one day so far) seems to think “there is more there”, which is an upsetting and a comforting thought at the same time. Comforting because I know it will be better, and upsetting because I wish it was better already. I used to be rather good as a child, I’m pretty certain of that, and I hate the fact that it went away. I’m not one to blame other people for what happens to me, but when it comes to this I feel like something was taken from me unfairly, and I wish I didn’t have to put up with this sort of thing, or its consequences. At least not any more. Enough! I have had enough! I want the good stuff, and I want it now!
On a more cheerful note, here’s more Nixon, live in Athens. It is rather brilliant, if you like that sort of thing. And you can hear me sing in the background.
Monday, November 13, 2006 A passing shower or two
I’ve been trying to do homework today. (Monday is a non-contact day at my course, which we should, apparently, use either as day to visit schools, or as a ‘welcome study period.’ I seem to use it to lengthen my weekends and retain my sanity, except for the times when deadlines loom close and a study period does indeed seem welcome.)
Can you can tell from my tense of choice how well it went? I have to write ‘my music biography’, which is, I’m sure you’d agree, a lovely idea (as is the teacher who asked us to do this); except an appropriate title for mine would be ‘A not-so-short history of disappointments: why I can’t play any instrument whatsoever and I can’t sing all that well, either’. It has been surprisingly hard to write, and working on it has proved to be rather depressing. It’s a necessary step to get to a better place, I know, but combined with yesterday’s post, the composition of which had similar effects on me, it has left me wishing for a day out. Oh, how I long to go shopping in Totnes! (Exeter would do just fine too.) Or walk along the Thames, watching the leaves twirl in the autumn wind! (Except that involves four hours on the train either way, which is a bit too much.) Or have a fun day at school, that would do too: a bit of school experience, art, a long talk on something interesting, a sunny lunch break…
Instead, it seems that it will be cloudy tomorrow, with “a passing shower or two” (doesn’t that sound nice?) and we have double anthroposophy. I need to think of something nice, and fast. And drink a lot of coffee tomorrow.
Sunday, November 12, 2006 Here before
Last Sunday Dawn wrote a post on adoption, faith and the concept of something being ‘meant to be’ that made a lot of things fall into place for me. An awful lot of things, which is why I don’t know where to start from. And Dawn always throws the ball back at the reader at the end (a quality I don’t come across often enough in this world) which got me wanting to write about it, even though, obviously, I have not been involved in any adoption whatsoever. I just think that, when you get down to the essence of things, it doesn’t really make a difference whether it is adoption you are talking about or something else. (In this case, of course — not in general.)
Now that I’ve made a start, let’s get two awkward facts out of the way. One, my dad is a bastard who has been emotionally abusing the whole family in general, and me in particular, since he first got the chance to. And two, I have always had some issues with the concept of reincarnation. Not the idea itself, mind you: it seems (feels) reasonable enough, that is to say it makes sense, and I’m pretty sure the fact that a lot of religions point in that direction is not accidental either. All in all I am rather convinced that we do go through multiple incarnations on this planet, as much as I think one can be convinced of such things. (Which is quite a lot, but not entirely, as I will, I hope, make clear.)
Are you with me so far? Okay. Let’s complicate things a little more.
While living in Athens I spent time with the people I called the crazy psychologists, who seemed to believe that there probably is no such thing as reincarnation; or, at least, that believing that you chose the circumstances in which you were born “weakens you”. That is a little hard to explain; let’s just say they consider your strength in life to be directly proportionate to the respect you have for those to whom respect is due. By thinking that you chose your parents you put yourself in a position “above them”, which, according to them, is one of the worst things you can do. (It goes without saying that saying that your father is a bastard wasn’t considered a very good idea, either. Let’s say I didn’t quite agree with everything said there. Too many things to respect, not enough thinking, I thought.)
While living in Exmouth, on the other hand, I spend a lot of time with Steiner people. Who, as you may know, hold the idea of reincarnation pretty close to their hearts, or at least to the centre of the world view. They talk not only of life after death but of life before birth too (an idea often neglected in the rest of the world, it seems); of choosing the people we are born to and the school we go to and the people we meet in later life. (And, somehow, I don’t quite agree with that either. Too much thinking, not enough respect for those things that are beyond and above us.)
While in Cornwall (for the course’s “residential induction”, or whatever staying in a farm in the middle of nowhere with the people you are going to spend three years with was called) the course tutor mentioned reincarnation as linked to the fact that everything is meaningful. I protested. (I protest a lot.) I am more than sure that there is a reason behind most things, if not everything, but I don’t think this has to be linked with reincarnation. He tried to explain, but he only made it worse:
“So if I, as a teacher, am I a pain to you, it may be because you have been a pain to me in a previous life”.
Which is precisely the part I have issues with. I think that if, as a teacher, you are a pain to me, it is because you’re not trying hard enough to be a good teacher. And if you are an abusive father, then, well — then you are a bastard in my book. It may be true that I chose to come to this family (in fact, I think it probably is) but I didn’t chose other people’s actions, and neither did God: they chose them themselves. Also, these choices weren’t all made and set in stone when I was born: they were made day after day after day (those days that make up twenty-five-and-a-half years). They could have been changed at any given point in time.
And the reason why I heart Dawn is because she managed to put all this into place with a handful of words, like this:
[Note: Madison is her daughter, and she is adopted; Jessica is Madison’s birth mother.]
So there you go, it’s all clear now! We make choices. They are not directly, linearly linked to what happens to us in this life. They do not constitute an excuse, or –dare I say– even a reason for anybody else’s actions. Most importantly: whatever happens before or after this life is better left alone, or, at least, approached with great humbleness. That’s not to say we shouldn’t think of it. It just means I wouldn’t –I don’t– use it as a compass on how to live my life. While we’re here, our task is to concentrate on being here and doing our best at it: being true to ourselves, loving those who touch our hearts, being kind to those who don’t, and trying to make our little corner of the world a better place.
And for everything else, well — there will be a season.
[The soundtrack to this: Vashti Bunyan and, near the end, the Byrds.]
Saturday, November 11, 2006 There’s more to life than popsongs, but…
Who is Sally Shapiro, and
I never thought I’d see the words ‘Pitchfork media’ and ‘Nixon’ in the same sentence — it just had never crossed my mind, but there you go. This morning I did, courtesy of the indiepop list. It felt really strange. In a way I am very happy that such a great tune will get a wider audience, but in another, my inner
It doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t. But
Friday, November 10, 2006 O is for the Hardware Shop
Thursday, November 9, 2006 “And/ even if there really is no place/ where dreams come true/ my heart is still with you”
Because there’s water dripping down our kitchen ceiling, and it makes the smoke alarm go off (update: the water has just stopped, but the alarm won’t shut up). Because my head is spinning from a busy –and lovely– day. Because my camera ran out of batteries so I couldn’t take the photo I’ve been wanting to take since Tuesday. Because I came to truly love Rose Melberg this summer. Because ‘Cast away the clouds’ did exactly that, help cast away the clouds. Because ‘Each new day’ is priceless, and I spent he first two weeks of living in Exmouth singing it to myself. And just because it sounds lovely and it’s a nice something to have:
(Also, because Martijn wants the laptop so he can email Alistair and I need to play my recorder and empty my head before going to bed — but somehow those don’t quite have the same ring to them, do they?)
Wednesday, November 8, 2006 The sort of thing I once called ‘the living equivelant to a poem’
We stand in a circle in a room that can be described as a cross between a shed and a dance studio. There are seventeen of us, the circle is perfectly sized. There are trees outside the window, and grass, and falling leaves; there’s filtered light inside, grey skies above. We’ve sung a song, played around with a poem and we are about to sit down at the other end of the room and discuss the meaning of authority; but for the moment we’re standing in that circle, throwing balls around.
There is a strange pattern to this madness — you throw to the person standing on the right of the person who threw to you. The description is enough to throw havoc in my mind –telling right from left is not my strongest point– but somehow it is a little easier than it sounds. It’s the second time we’re doing this which means there’s something akin to a flow, and not much hysterical laughing, and I’m starting to get a feeling for how this thing works. (It involves watching the people on either side of you and being ready to take a turn after them, and something else that I haven’t quite figured out yet — figuring out patterns in space is not my strongest point either.)
And for a while it is all rather perfect. No, wait, scratch that: it is perfect. I’m happy to be here.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 A very nice wall indeed
Oh. And do you know when you know the whole NaBloPoMo thing is worth it?
(Because, let’s face it, it did cross my mind that it was silly, especially when it took me three hours to write a three hundred word entry that three people would read. I know I only have myself to blame for this predicament for starting this blog and never really sticking with it, but still. It made me long for my Friends of the Heroes days when I knew I had an audience. Not that it was all that big, mind you, but at least I didn’t feel like I was scribbling on my own on a wall in a dead-end street that no one uses apart from the people who live there. And I felt that I have driven myself in that corner, too. But never mind — because today I decided it is worth it.)
When you get such a lovely comment from a lovely reader. When you hear that it means something to someone, even if it is only for a moment.
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 Public Service Announcement: Not cheating!
To K., and anyone else who might be interested: I am not not cheating. I just wouldn’t do that sort of thing. Honest. (Ask Martijn!)
There are two reasons why it might have appeared that I was. One, because the (photo) post I posted on Saturday had been, mistakenly, marked ‘private’ until last night, and therefore didn’t appear until then. And two, because on November 3rd I realised two things: my blog was still on Greek time, two hours ahead of Greenwich, and so the post I had posted at 10:03 the night before appeared to have been posted on (shock, horror!) 00:03 of the next day. So I changed the time settings and edited the time-stamp of all existing entries to make them reflect the actual time of posting.
I hope that
Monday, November 6, 2006 British-ness too
And one very talented 13-year-old, it seems… I think Google looks very pretty today!
Monday, November 6, 2006 English-ness
My first thought when I first set foot on England, in the summer of 2001, was “it’s just like in the books!”. It was so much like the books, actually, that I felt I had stepped into one. It’s a funny thing, visiting a country whose culture you have been studying while growing up. The feeling faded with time as I got used to things, and I had in fact completely forgotten about it. (These days, when people ask me how I find moving to England, I don’t know what to say because it all seems so natural, exactly like what we were expecting it to be.) I remembered it yesterday for a moment when I caught myself thinking “so this is what a Bonfire Night is like!”, comparing descriptions from books to my own experience.
After the fireworks, we went to a beach party.
Sunday, November 5, 2006 Cooking and thinking
It seems that we don’t get on well with weekends. They tend to go wrong a lot in our house. I have to say I’m not very fond of them just now: they’re too full of bad moods and not full enough of all the things we have to be doing. (Homework, cleaning the house, emailing people — that sort of thing.) Apart from sulking, arguing, and being upset, I seem to have done only two things: cooking, and lying in bed looking back at the week.
That last one is definitely my favourite. I love having the time to go over what happened — rethink a thing or two, focus on a detail I have missed, dwell on the happy moments, figure out what was important and hold on it, get rid of what doesn’t matter any more. I don’t think I can get enough of this sort of time. That is how I grow up, how I get to know myself, how I find my way through life — it’s priceless. (Perhaps I do like weekends a bit after all.)
As for cooking, well, since Saturday afternoon, in attempt to get through as many vegetables from the box as possible, I have made: cauliflower soup, beetroot leaf salad, beetroot pasta, pancakes, a no-name-in-particular salad, sesame and pumpkin seed bars, and cabbage with bacon and onion sauce. Out of these I had only tried the pancakes before. No wonder I feel like I’ve spent the weekend in a kitchen!
Saturday, November 4, 2006 Another thing I love about Exmouth
Friday, November 3, 2006 The essence of certain things
The last thing I want is to turn this into a month of diary entries. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing whatsoever against (good) diary entries; this site is (supposed to be) a sort of diary anyway. It’s just that I think that telling you that today I got up at six forty five even though I didn’t have to be in at university before ten or that I had a lovely conversation with one of my classmates during lunch break is hardly the point of this months project. Even though that conversation was really lovely –a calm, quiet, fleeting moment of togetherness, dappled in sunshine– and the memory of it brings a smile to my face. Even though it is one of the reasons why tonight I think I like my new life. So I’m not going to tell you much about the early mornings or the sunshine and the mist, the vegetable box, the missed buses, the boring sandwiches, the puppetry workshop, the toddler, the walk home, the ring around the moon or the stories about fireworks.
Because I’ve just told you all there is to say about them, haven’t I?
Thursday, November 2, 2006 The best thing about England is the weather
Nobody had warned me about it. Really. They all talked about rain and the wind and the humidity, and did I mention the rain? Somebody said it rained every day for a month after they moved to Exeter. It wasn’t the most exhilarating of concepts. I was prepared for a lot of greyness, for being miserable and missing the sunshine and do you know what I got instead? I got the loveliest autumn of my life. Not that it doesn’t rain, it does, and sometimes, like last week (and the week before, and part of the week before that too) it rains a lot; but when it doesn’t the air is crisp, the sunshine bright and the colours on the leaves brighter. The sea glistens and the chill in the air makes me feel alive in places I had forgotten I owned. I thought only spring could do this to me; and yet the realisation that autumn can do it too feels more like remembering than like a discovery. For years I’ve said that we used to get autumn in Greece when I was young (back when we had four seasons instead of the two and a half
I nearly cried tonight, walking home from university in the last light of the day. There was a fine mist in the air and the way the shapes of the houses seemed so clearly defined against it and the sky made my my over-tired, over-excited and vaguely frustrated soul turn somersaults in delight and amazement. Somehow, it felt like a miracle. A quiet, understated, yet utterly remarkable miracle.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006 Funny time
It’s been a funny day. I’ve been feeling slightly out of place for most of it. A funny feeling, a sense of something not being quite right. To be honest it makes me want to cry but then again I think I’m just a little too tired. My days are so full of thoughts and impressions and people and impressions and words and did I say impressions? From the morning walk to university, full of sunshine, to the three lessons (they are too hands-on to be called lectures) full of ideas and things to think of and things to feel and things to work on and from the two breaks full of people I care more about every day, to the walk home, cold and full of swirling yellow leaves, my head is full of pictures, conversation fragments, and impressions — did I say impressions? I have to admit I’m more than a little overwhelmed.
Such a strange thing to be me, really. I’m overwhelmed by things most people don’t even seem to notice, and the things that linger in my head, the things that come out of my mouth — they always seem to be that little bit out of place, not quite aligned with what everybody else seems to be thinking of or talking about. And, sometimes, that gets me down, and I start wondering what I am doing wrong. And then I to sit and stare at a screen for hours on end while I try to make sense of my thoughts and play the same song over and over again when really it would be best if I just went to bed and closed my eyes and told myself stories until I fell asleep. Which is what I am about to do.
(This is not exactly the tone on which I had intened to start this series of posts, of course, but it’s okay. I’ll be back soon, and I have a lot more to say.)