Thursday, February 22, 2007 Staring at the sky
Saturday, February 17, 2007 There are three kinds of people in the world, those who can follow instructions and those who can’t
Trevor started our session today by asking if anybody in the room was twenty-two. To my surprise (I thought everybody is twenty-four) two people said they were; he asked one of them to be twenty-three and the other one to be twenty-one. Then he asked all of us to write our age down. Then, to reverse the digits. Then, to take away the smaller number from the bigger number. And then to add the digits of the number we got. As you can imagine, much confusion ensued.
In the end, he went around the circle asking everybody what they have got.
Friday, February 16, 2007 True, it may seem like a stretch, but it’s thoughts like these that catch my troubled head when you’re away, when I am missing you so
One of the songs I played last Friday – goodness, is it already a week ago?! – was ‘Such great heights’ by Postal Service. Martijn turned to me and said that he would never have played it himself because he thought it is a bit of a clichÃƒÂ©, is it not? And it’s not quite indiepop either, at least not anymore. But I had shown him he was wrong, he said. “If you play it at the right moment, it still sounds perfect!” I nodded. It was all true. But my reason for playing it had been simpler, much simpler.
It’s just that sometimes I need to shout out ‘I’m thinking it’s a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images, and when we kiss they’re perfectly aligned’.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007 I’d like to come out of my shell just for a while
There are times when I love being me.
Like that moment on Friday night when I finished my set with the Pipettes ‘I love you’ and it sounded perfect, just perfect, and as I handed over the decks to Alistair I wanted to dance and bounce and clap my hands because the elation I felt was unlike anything I have felt in ages. It was like the moment when, after a lot of hard, frustrating work you manage to get your mixtape just right — except with people watching, which made it even better. (That metaphor only makes sense if you are the sort of person who spends ages trying to get their mixtapes just right. Which, as you probably know by now, I most definitely am.)
Or that other moment on Friday when I told our new (and possibly temporary, and utterly adorable) teacher that she seems to be ‘exactly what this course needs at this moment in time’ and we would be very, very sad to see her go; and she hugged me and said ‘thank you for telling me’ — and I felt great for telling her, which made a welcome change from the ‘why ever did it seem like a good idea to say that in the first place?’ feeling I usually end up with.
Or that moment on Saturday morning when Georgie sent me a new song or rather the moment I fell in love with it, the moment I felt it tag at my heartstrings, gently pulling them apart until I was a mess of Athenian memories and pride (because I
Or that moment today after lunchtime was over, when we all walked from the cafe to ‘our big shed’ in the rain and I felt unreasonably and inexplicably happy, as enchanted as a four-year-old at a funfair, and the raindrops glistened and shone.
But there are also other times: lying in bed, looking back at what my life has been like and not understanding why ever whatever it is that happened happened, struggling and failing to put it into words; being at the verge of tears, upset by something most people would have hardly noticed, unable to explain what is happening to me to anyone and therefore having to put up with all sorts of irrelevant comments; all those moments when, hopelessly misunderstood, I think that for someone who is supposed to be a good writer I am just awful at expressing myself.
There are also times when I hate it.
Disclaimer: The point I am trying to make is not that I sometimes hate myself, even though it probably sounds like it.
Saturday, February 10, 2007 Well I hope I have been able to be of some help!
Wednesday, February 7, 2007 Individuality
“And that it is also the beauty inherent the human state: no matter what comes our way, we always have a choice of what to make of it; and what we make of it will always bear the imprint of our individuality”, I found myself writing last night. And then I got a little sad, because I couldn’t quite write the next thing I wanted to say, not in the essay, anyway.
[Sign you might be getting addicted to your blog #5: you post first thing in the morning, and you fully intend to post last thing before going to bed too even though you have spend most of the time in between trying to write an essay, and it hasn't been easy. Sign you might have more common sense than you think #1: you don't post. You just go to bed. It is past midnight after all.]
What I wanted to say is that there are a thousand lines in a thousand songs that make my world go round; that there are hundreds and hundreds of little things that leave me wide-eyed and open-mouthed and make my heart beat faster; that there is a handful of people that can move me to tears just by being themselves; and that all are things that would probably passed unnoticed by the vast majority of people. And I can’t think of a single thing that talks about individuality more that this list of things.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007 I blame the essay, myself
So I read this and what was my first thought but ‘and what is a skeleton? And imprint of the spirit. And, in this case, an imprint that a spirit left behind a long, long time ago.’ Then I realised what I was doing and started laughing at myself. And I decided to announce that I give extra points to anyone who manages to have a conversation with me without me mentioning the word ‘spirit’. I can’t seem to stop thinking about it! Not that I mind that, mind you, it is fascinating and I love of the way the focus on it is transforming my life, but… I do think I might be scaring people.
Monday, February 5, 2007 Isn’t being married exciting?
It’s 8 am. Half asleep and three quarters awake (I know it doesn’t up: that’s how it felt) I stumble into the living room, where Martijn is getting ready to catch the train to Oxfordshire.
“Hey. You look cute today!”
“I’ll tell you a secret,” he whispers. “I wear them all day every Monday, too!”
Sunday, February 4, 2007 Part two
(The other day, someplace)
“I just wish I knew there was somewhere, a little crack or something, to stick my fingers in and pull and it would turn everything inside out.”
(Thessaloniki, August 2002)
I’ve just come back from one of my month-long trips around Europe, which means that everything around me looks depressing. The boy sitting opposite me looks depressed. The late summer heat makes it hard to breath, but if you look closely you can detect the first hints of autumn in the way the late afternoon light, in the way it changes. If you look more closely still you will see the marks the chair has left on my legs, or how I have been biting my straw. Or how I fidgeted and stared at my glass when, in a sudden bout of inspiration, I told him it all comes down to what we think of the world. What we really think of the world, what we think about it in our hearts. Do we think it is a good place, or a bad place? He doesn’t seem to get the importance of what I am saying — but then, did he ever? I’m not even sure if I can grasp it myself. All I know is my answer, a scary little monster staring back at me cheekily: the world is a magical place, where bad things happen all the time, to everyone I know.
(Exmouth, January 2007)
In fact, it is Friday January 19th, the last day of storytelling, and the whole class has had to go out for a twenty-minute walk and come back with a small story about something they had seen. Having done that we are now discussing which ones would be appropriate for Classes 1 and 2, and why. After listening for a while I can’t stand it anymore so I stick my hand up and ask John if what we are trying to convey is the sense that all’s right with the world. John launches on a long, somewhat disjointed story that is as moving as it is besides the point, or perhaps even more so. He is trying to explain how we can do this –how we stand in front of a class of children and tell them that all is right with the world when so many bad things happen all the time– and why we might want to do it when all I asked was whether that would be a good way of putting what he was trying to say into words. I have no problem telling small children that all is right with the world, no problem at all — in fact not doing so seems more and more cruel every day.
(Athens, March 2006)
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been reading this book, and, on page 331, it says (that Steiner said):
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This fundamental mood [being filled with the Ã¢â‚¬Å“devotion that one develops in the spiritual worldÃ¢â‚¬?, which makes the child Ã¢â‚¬Å“give himself up to his enviroment by imitating the people around himÃ¢â‚¬?] is a very beautiful, and it must be fostered in the child. It proceeds from the assumption, from the unconsious assumption, that the whole world is of a moral nature.Ã¢â‚¬?
It is hard to say, but: if you asked me Ã¢â‚¬Å“what is it like to be you?Ã¢â‚¬? (a question I like asking, though hardly ever out loud; IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not that brave) IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have to say Ã¢â‚¬Å“well, all my life has been a fight against those who wanted me to believe that it is foolish to think that Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe whole world is of a moral natureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. It has been a struggle to be allowed to believe that.Ã¢â‚¬?
If only I could go back to believing that. I think then I would be whole again.
You are sitting in front of your computer, wondering what it is I am trying to say. Well, to put it coarsely, what I am trying to say is that when the part of you that existed before you were born left the place where it was to come here –separating itself from god like a droplet separating from the ocean, as Steiner rather beautifully puts it– it was hoping for a place as beautiful, good and true as the one it left. And that, upon not finding it, it got disappointed. Disgruntled. Disenchanted.
And me? Well — I am looking for the spell that will bring the enchantment back.
Friday, February 2, 2007 That’s sorted then
It’s a beautiful, sunny afternoon; it’s been a week of good moment after good moment at school; I’m happy. And I would quite like to me be out there with my camera, drinking coffee, thinking of my friends, having things fall into place in my head and feeling ready to take over the world. But, on the other hand, it is also the beginning of a weekend and I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in over ten days now, and I would love to have a nap too. I was going to agonise over that –because I really want a nap but I would also really worry I was missing out on better things– but the weather has decided it for me. In the time it took me to have lunch and write this big grey clouds took over the sky.
Thursday, February 1, 2007 A reason why
There come moments –like that Monday a while ago when I was designing a website and I got so caught up in it so much even forgot to go to the bathroom– when I wonder to myself: why was it that I wanted to become a teacher, again? And then I worry a little, because there are also moments –a lot of moments– when this being a teacher thing seems very hard. Moments when I feel that I need to stretch and stretch myself and then stretch myself some more, and that all the stretching is almost more than I can bear.
But then there also come mornings like yesterday when something that I has been in my head for a long time suddenly makes sense like it has never before. “Imbue thyself with the power of imagination,” we have been repeating together morning after morning since September, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I realised what that power of imagination may be. That is may be a lot more than the ability to tell stories or introduce the letters of the alphabet in a particular way, which is what I –lazily– associated it with before. That it may be the force by which you reshape yourself, your life, your world. The world.
Or days like today when I realise that while other people are at work, quite probably having an XML overdose (exciting as that may be), I am standing in a big shed surrounded by trees and squirrels and grey light seeping through the windows, singing that winter calls a clear horizon like the sea calls to the port –which is pretty hard to get right but also heartachingly beautiful if you do– and the realisation takes my breath away. I have to stop for a moment and think of how I ever came to be here, and how lucky I am that I did. And all the stretching suddenly seems worth the trouble and the pain.