We’ve lost something – it’s called perspective

My husband sent me this link today – it’s a photograph taken of the Milky Way in the southern hemisphere skies, and it’s incredible. It got me thinking – this is something that can be seen with the naked eye, but isn’t usually because of light pollution. It’s awesome, it’s massive, it puts things in perspective. Is it any wonder our ancestors, who for tens of thousands of years would have seen this sight every time they looked at the night sky, were spiritually aware – look what they saw every night. Something bigger than themselves. And it’s no wonder we think we’re gods striding the earth – pretty much all we see is what we’ve made. It’s hard to comprehend the impact we’ve had on how we see our world. As we’ve seen less of the awesome view above us, so our vision has shrunk, until all it seems to encompass is our navels.

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I had a home in Africa – published in The Woven Tale Press

As an incipient writer, it’s a thrill to get people to read and enjoy your work, and to get it published is kind of the ultimate thrill really. You know, for us bookish types who don’t go in for the jumping off bridges sort of thrill. And so with my little heart bursting with pleasure, I can say my piece on growing up in Africa has been published in the August issue of The Woven Tale Press <sighs happily>.

You can find it on page 23 of the latest Woven Tale Press along with the mind-children of a number of other arty types, written, painted and otherwise formed.

🙂

Most Influential Blogger Award! – and no-stress nominations

I’ve been nominated for another award! This time by Running in my Head – thank you so much 🙂

most influential blogger award I’d like people who receive it to feel appreciated for what they do without feeling burdened, coz I’m all about no stress! So if you would prefer just to take it as a compliment, please do, no hard feelings!

With that in mind, to accept the nomination:

1. Display the Award on your Blog.

2. Present a few deserving Bloggers with the Award (I’ll leave it up to you how many).

3. Link your awardees in a post and let them know of their being awarded with a comment (or a pingback).

4. Include an embedded video or soundtrack of your current favorite song.

 

I would like to nominate these bloggers, either because they’ve been influential in one way or another to me, or, even if I haven’t got to read them a lot yet, I want to acknowledge their positive influence in the blogosphere:

My Puzzling Piece – Rachele has been through a lot, but still puts in time online to share autism resources

Erika Fuego – Erika is a beautiful soul who writes about love and all related things, which is everything

Sensitive New World – Melene deconstructs and explains being highly sensitive

My Blog hopespringseternal – a Scottish blogger, which grabs me from the start on account of my own Scottish heritage, posts beautiful pictures of his country

Looking4GodToday – Michelle writes about life, love, God, and hearing from him – and not hearing from him

Travel Tales of Life – Sue has the most interesting stories (along with photos) of her many travels

Get Nutmegged – Meg is a lovely blogger who writes about living with ADD, among other things (great resources here)

Fatshion Hustlings – Gillian is brutally and refreshingly honest about life and discrimination of various kinds

Gotta Find a Home – Dennis has befriended many homeless people, and tells their stories so that they can be heard

Jnana Hodson – Jnana is a Quaker with a hippie heart, he writes novels and talks about faith among the Friends and the deeper meaning of life

 

As for my favourite song, this one has been a perennial front runner for me – I give you Neil Finn, with the rather haunting Twisty Bass….

 

The little gift that could

This is a very quick post, because I’m feeling really bad about all the blogs I haven’t visited and need to – getting the Very Inspiring Blogger award has been firstly, a lovely and unexpected surprise, but then also a gift that keeps giving – a couple of people have told me that being nominated has really inspired them, and that has been really encouraging for me to be used to encourage other people! And besides all that, I’ve had people say such lovely and touching things about me and my blog. So, wow, I’m pretty blown away! Thank all you lovely people, and especially Inese who nominated me 🙂

And to the people I haven’t replied to or whose blogs I haven’t visited (yet), I’m a-comin’!! We’re down a laptop at home, oh the first world tragedy of it! But it is slowing this hover craft 😉

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Inese from inesemjphotography has been kind enough to nominate me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

veryinspiring_bloggerawardIt’s my very first award, thank you Inese 🙂

Inese lives in Ireland, and if that’s not enough to draw you over to her blog by itself, she takes stunning pictures of hauntingly beautiful Ireland and elsewhere (and she’s a lovely lady, you can tell).

And now I need to choose 15 out of all the great blogs out there to nominate for the same award. If my nominees choose not to accept, I hope you will just take it as a compliment 🙂

  1. The Chrone Chronicler
  2. Days and Months
  3. Tabitha’s Gluten-Free Dishes
  4. The Clear Parent
  5. Deborah Makarios
  6. Willy Nilly To and Fro
  7. Life’s Journey’s Unfolding
  8. At My Table
  9. Nerd in the Brain
  10. Menomama3
  11. Quarter Acre Lifestyle
  12. Leanne Cole Photography
  13. Petals Unfolding
  14. Nurse’s Links to Resources
  15. Love Support Educate Advocate Accept

I enjoy and appreciate each and every one of these blogs and if I had time I’d say why for each, but I find each of them inspiring in their own unique flavours, and I definitely recommend visiting them.

Accepting the nomination there are two rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo on her/his blog, and link to the blog they got nominated from.

2) The nominee shall nominate fifteen (15) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

Thanks again, Inese 🙂

And later that month…..

Meike from hubilicious also nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award – thank you Meike! 🙂 Meike/Hubi is a German living in California, and writes about that adventure, and food, and life, the universe and everything. Check it out!

 

Evicting Mrs Pauley

Writing 101, Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View
Craft a story from the perspective of a twelve-year-old observing it all.

They’re sending Mrs Pauley away. The police is there, with Mr Johns, dressed in his suit and tie like it’s a wedding. He’s the landlord. He owns a lot of the houses on this road, like ours too. So I know him. I know what he’s like when rent is late. He’s there on the step next day, no waiting, frown on and hand out. It’s not like the people here wants to cheat him, but mostly they works at the factory, and sometimes there’s trouble, and it closed for a few days, and then there’s no pay. And then rent is late. Like Mrs Pauley’s.

But Mrs Pauley, I don’t think she gonna be able to pay rent ever again. Mr Pauley, he was the one who worked at the factory, and he’s dead. Died from a heart attack three months back, just collapsed there at his machine. He’s just lucky he never fell into it, that’s all. That would have been a worse way to go than he did. And a worse corpse for his wife to bury. When I grow, I want to get out of this town; I don’t want to work in that place. There’s too many accidents, and one way I don’t want to die is in a machine, or later on, all mangled and crying out for the end.

But anyway, Mr Pauley went an easier way. It’s his wife it’s gonna drag on for. I don’t know where they’re sending her, for sending her is what it is. She don’t want to leave. She been in that house across the way from us with her family all my life, and much, much longer. All her boys was born there in that house and I hardly remember the older ones. Steve, the youngest, he only left last year for the city. He got away; all her boys did. I think she made sure they did, though it made her cry when they left. She can’t go to Steve; he don’t have a place of his own yet, she says. She says Robert’s wife doesn’t want her with them, only because there’s no room or money with all their own little ones too. Nobody can blame them, neither does Mrs Pauley. I guess she’ll go to one of the others, but she hasn’t heard from any of them yet.

Mrs Pauley is crying now as she brings her brown suitcase out to the car (black like the hearse that took her husband) that’s waiting to send her away; the tears run silent down her face and drop in big drops onto her chest. Her face is puffy and pink in the wrong places; no more cheerful smiles like she used to have on, when her kitchen smelled like a bakery and she’d have a biscuit for good kids who done her some favour, back when Mr Pauley would come whistling back from factory. I think I’ll always remember those biscuits of hers, better than me own mum’s, though I’ll never say. After Mr Pauley died, she stopped smiling, but she had no time for tears then. Then she had to work real hard, baking and baking, and trying to sell to the markets where they sells to the people who got money for treats. I guess baking makes a person smile less when you got to do so much of it. That and worry over rent. And after all the baking and selling and worrying, it still weren’t enough to pay Mr Johns. I don’t know why he need the money so bad, seems like he got enough, with his new clothes and his big car, shinier than the police one. He look like he got enough to eat too, and more than enough.

But Mrs Pauley been crying probably a week straight, since Mr Johns said she gotta go. Our neighbours is standing on their stoops and in the street, watching. They don’t say nothing, even the little ones like my sister Ginny, leaning into my folded legs; we all know there’s nothing to say. The police is there, and Mrs Pauley hasn’t paid her rent. It ain’t fair, and we all knows it, but we got no voice in this world. Voices are for people like Mr Johns, who owns their own places, and other people’s too. So we just watch. And Mrs Pauley cries, but she don’t say nothing either.

 

Lost, Found… Discarded, Part 3/3

I’ve lived here for many years, but I couldn’t tell you exactly how long any more – time isn’t the same once you’re dead. I don’t completely remember how I even came to be here, I just feel a connection with the place, so I stay. The family who live here, they don’t know I also do. Probably just as well, they’d think it was spooky to have a silent, unseen watcher amongst them. So it’s best they don’t know, although the boy caught a glimpse of me once; a mistake on my behalf. I hoped they would think he had imagined it, the way children do…they seemed to have forgotten that incident anyway.

I don’t want to worry them. It’s not as creepy as it may sound, hanging around them like this, it’s only that I’m lonely. I enjoy being around the living, being near the warmth of their everyday. I vaguely recall the emotions they seem to feel so sharply. I suppose you could say it makes me feel more alive, being near the force of them.

It’s winter now, and there’s a fire in the grate. The woman is sitting before it, looking into the flames. She has a name, but it never stays in my mind. Names….they don’t mean too much to me now either. I think they mean something when the lives of the people who carry them have a continuity to you. To me, though, the existence of individuals drifts in and out of my consciousness, much as they drift in and out of rooms.

The fire would be hot on her face, she is sitting so near. I can’t feel its heat, but I still watch the writhing flames. They appear more alive than me, but it’s an illusion born of movement only. How ironic. Now, though, they’re eating letters the woman is feeding them. This is curious. I remember letters. Usually they are kept if important, and discarded if not. To burn one is symbolic, the giving of a memory, or a promise, to the flame as if it were a funeral pyre. The woman opens a letter and reads it, while others burn. I am interested enough now to wonder what she is thinking. There was a man who lived here once also. I don’t remember when I last saw him, but he was with her when they first came here. There was emotion like a tumult in those days. It blew like a wind through the rooms of this house. Oh yes, I felt almost alive then. But not happy…

She crumples the last letter, the one she has read, and she puts it into the mouth of the fire without another pause, and we watch it burn.

 

Legitimate Fears & Phobophobia

Fear. There’s a topic for you. I know a bit about it myself. Most of us will at some point. Life is a dangerous undertaking, if you’ll excuse the pun in advance. You can tell by the fact that none of us get out alive. Ha.

People say there’s nothing to fear but fear itself, but I’ve always thought the fear of fear was a perfectly legitimate fear. Apparently other people think so too, because it has its own phobia – phobophobia.

There are all kinds of ‘legitimate’ fears – the fear of violence, the fear of bunjee jumping….the fear of clowns…..but sometimes a person can be anxious about some incredibly irregular shit too. Like catching buses, phoning strangers, and Dutch people. Ok I made that last one up. But I’ve had my fair share of being scared, both legitimately and illogically. It never stopped me. I rode long-haul buses, and my first job was cold-calling complete strangers for market research. It was the worst job ever. I must have lasted a month. Though I stopped short of bunjee jumping, I have done abseiling, and caving, and abseiling while in a cave. I once volunteered to help fundraise for a national well-child charity, which involved calling and asking for donations from organisations. I don’t think I did the charity any favours; I was epically crap at it. But I did it to push through the jolly jitters… It didn’t work. So much for exposure therapy.

I’m not scared any more. I think eventually my adrenal system just went, meh, whatever. Or maybe it’s because I got pissed off with being scared. Doesn’t matter, the net effect is, I’m no longer easily scared, and that’s a powerful position to be in – more so I think than if I’d never been afraid, because I know what fear is and can stare the bastard down.

 

 

 

Lost & Found, Part 2/3

{Writing 101, Day 13}

A week or so ago, I wrote about the loss of a marriage. There were black dogs and big sticks and everything. Great story.

But this post is not about loss and gloom, no. It’s about what I found when I was finally brave enough to stand alone. It took me a very long time to gather the courage to step out on my own. One of the (many) things which mobilised me in the end was that I was losing myself, becoming someone I didn’t like and didn’t want to be, someone angry and defensive. My own family became so used to me being prickly that my brother once gave me a cactus as a birthday gift. But I remembered, even if they didn’t, that I hadn’t always been like that.

Saving myself was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of things that scared me. So I gave my husband the freedom he clearly coveted. But I had two young children, and our future was a blank.

Humphrey Bogart

All that.

I wasn’t sure I wanted another relationship. Ever. The idea of being just me and the kids and a whole lot of books held a lot of appeal. But even though I wasn’t looking, I did meet someone. I could wax all soppy about him, but suffice it to say he’s all that.

He really is. And who am I to say no to all of that?

He’s had to have a lot of patience while I unwound, but he’s that kind of person. And he believes in me. He’s the reason I have the confidence to put my thoughts and writing up to public scrutiny, and why my children are psychologically healthy and grounded. For a lot of reasons, he’s my hero.

I once made a mosaic heart, with a pattern built from pieces of china. It’s a fitting metaphor of our life together – we’ve built a family out of the broken bits of our previous lives, but it’s not just a Frankenstein monster of make-do – it’s a piece of art.

 

Dear “Thrilled”

{Writing 101, Day Fourteen: To Whom It May Concern}

Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What jumps out at you? Start there, and try a twist: write in the form of a letter.

Dear “Thrilled”,

You’ve attempted to approach me several times over the past few decades, and I know I’ve been less than cordial, so I felt it was time to address the situation head on. But I’m not sure what to say. I am ambivalent about you. You seem popular, but then I was never one to go along with the crowd, and to me you seem just a little loud, in your face, even, dare I say it, common.

But maybe I’ve got you wrong – are you even who I think you are? You seem to mean different things to different people. Are you … conforming?? Come on, you can be honest, for once in your (by all accounts very long) life. Are you compensating for being a lonely nerd, growing up? If so, you should know, it’s ok to be a nerd these days, maybe even more than ok. Nerds have their own culture. There’s geek chic. Nerds have TV shows.

Anyway, think about it, ok? I know you’re not all you’re cracked up to be (but don’t worry, I’ll keep it just between me and you; won’t breath a word). If you feel like reevaluating your identity, going back to your geek roots…..well, maybe then we can talk.

Until then, let’s just agree to a stand off.

Regards,

CG