(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.”
“And what would happen then?”
“I would see all the good in the world.”

(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)

I’m writing this:

I’ve been reading this book, and, on page 331, it says (that Steiner said):

“This fundamental mood [being filled with the “devotion that one develops in the spiritual world�, which makes the child “give himself up to his enviroment by imitating the people around him�] 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.�

It is hard to say, but: if you asked me “what is it like to be you?� (a question I like asking, though hardly ever out loud; I’m not that brave) I’d have to say “well, all my life has been a fight against those who wanted me to believe that it is foolish to think that ‘the whole world is of a moral nature’. It has been a struggle to be allowed to believe that.�

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.