Island Blog – Dynamic Fire

I love to learn new things. Being naturally curious and a once highly involved member of a debate group, I am never happier than when picking apart a so called truth or absolute. I am no academic but I can sniff out someone stuck inside their own pages and the match girl in me begins to itch. However, this itch thingy doesn’t mean I want to put anyone down, far from it, but I do want that ‘whoever’ to relax and to consider another perspective. It doesn’t always work I find. Learned absolutes and truths become a part of whoever’s infrastructure and my fiddling about with questions rattles the legs that hold them up. How many times have you heard “Well, I always do it this way, thought this way.’? Or said it yourself. I certainly have but the second I hear that stuck phrase slip through my lips, I pull in for a rethink. Where the hell did you come from? I ask the words that now founder embarrassed at my reaction, bumping into each other and changing places, skidding to an ungainly halt. I brush them onto the floor. Rearrange yourselves, I say, dismissively.

In the questioning of what others say and believe to be truths I must needs attend to my own truths and what I have discovered is that truths are truths for a while and then they need to rearrange themselves. The words Always and Never are goal posts in the life game of football or rugby or netball or whatever your game might be. They are not the field. The field is wide open, a space where anything can happen and everything can change. The players on that field are wild or half asleep, strong or weak, ready or not. The players are our everyday thoughts and feelings. However, scoring goal does not mean we win the game but only achieve a short term full stop with an accolade, and a roaring crowd and bells and whistles because everyone loves a winner. Apparently.

However, I am with the players, hot, tired, stretched, hopeful and most important of all, ready to change tactic or direction in a nanosecond. If one on that field is focussed on something that doesn’t demand an open mind then the whole team is compromised. It is no different inside a mind. There isn’t just one of us. There are many and each member of us is of value and importance. I get fed up with the noise inside my head, all of me talking at once and nobody letting a.n.other space to speak. Hush you eejits! I hissed at 3.45 am as they woke me to such a hullabaloo that even the wee dog lifted from her snores with a puzzled bark. It’s ok, darling, I soothed. It’s just me and me and me and me and me and me and so flipping on. But, once the daylight decided to become daylight, eventually, I could see that in my so called sleeping moments, my friends inside the head of this match girl, are sorting out latent thinks as yet unresolved. I could ask them to work only in the light but I know they are cathemeral and so my pleas would be pointless.

Back to conversations, to debates. I remember them, around a bar table, height and heighty, fun and fractious, confrontational when someone was losing the power to defend their ‘stuck’, because this whoever thought they were only strong within the old pages, pages that burn easy. In this crazy time, in this ‘stuckness’ we might remember we are field players; we might remember we are many others of ourself; we might think dynamically out of our own troubles, remembering that they are not nothing. They are visibly and actively something. They are not bad, nor wrong. They are real. However, with a little shimmy to the right or to the left of left, we will find ourself mid field, or way out there in the whatever it’s called and with a new perspective on the game, even perhaps with an eagle eye and a match girl with an itch at the ready.

Island Blog – The Sky, Skerries and Staying

Today it is falling, the sky I mean. Earlier the pocks of deeper grey sat like skerries in a white sea. A few spots of soft rain fell, hardly worth a mention, but the wind was cooler than of late. Now the sky is leaking down onto the land, covering the hills, blanking out the trees, undefining contours of a land I know like I know myself. But do I know myself, I wonder? I think I do, and yet, there are times I catch my reflection and stop, mildly astonished (oxymoron). You do know, I tell myself in my best English student remonstratory voice, that it is impossible to be mildly astonished. This is lazy ‘speke’. Astonished, is, after all, a superlative and ‘mildly’ does little more than dilute with too much milk. It blands itself. And it thinks me.

I studied and loved language. English, French, German, even Latin, and am still a devotee of the way language flows like a river. Or it can do but, if I am honest, less and less nowadays in the ways learned by me. I remember my old dad with his linguistic brilliance, puffing like an old pipe should he encounter poor English, poor grammar, the ‘wrong’ use of punctuation. I also recall a conversation with him about acceptance. As cultures collide and collude, language shifts. We adopt and adapt and before we know it, words fall away like birds. When I read a classic novel, superbly crafted and written, it seems effortlessly and in lingual confidence, I can see that without incursive verbalism such writing would indeed flow like a river for a creator of stories. So do we, the now ‘we’, who must work with the fast moving changes of our world, go with what is, or resist and remain in academic slippers? We could, but we would risk losing a load of readers because language is changing. We might find ourselves moving up a floor, and up again, until the only person left is a lonely one. All the rest have died off, and their slippers are too worn for a charity shop, and burned as litter.

I find new language dynamic and fascinating, even as my eyes roll at much of what I read. Get with it old woman, I tell myself, because if you do, you remain in the game, the game that is life in motion. To refuse to abdicate the throne of those torn and floppy slippers is to choose loneliness. As writers, and we can all be a writer if we just pick up a pen and are ready to learn and grow in the world of words, we are duty bound to be gymnasts. Not actually gymnasts, the thought exhausts me, but acceptance gymnasts. There is another type, the one that holds on to the slippers for grounding, and who does a lot of eye rolling and pipe puffing and shuffles from room to room as if there is no world out there and if there is then I want none of it. I am not this person.

We live with danger, threat and menace. We are hacked and hi-jacked. We are compromised, surprised, confined and defined. Out there racial and sexual prejudice is alive and kicking, literally. The sky is falling. But wait. Look at how the sky reaches down both to confuse and to alter our perceptional lens. See how, in the not-seeing of what we know invites us to look at something another way. We can dismiss this as an opportunity, ignore it, even, say Mist, say Fog, say Close the Curtains. Or we can actually look and if we do, we will marvel. It is the same with words, with language, with change and with people. I get that it is exhausting (nearly said pretty exhausting #oxymoron) to be always required to adapt and adopt, but it is the way the world is spinning, faster and faster. New technology brings both healing and death, the whole circle, and the greys in between are like the skerries in a white sky sea. There are millions of them and each one offers footfall. They are like stepping stones. We might not know where they lead but if we don’t keep leaping from one to the next, we remain lonely, in slippers and pipe puffing at what only we consider lost.

I can write into the mist, or it can blind me. I can see banks of clouds or I can see skerries in a white sea. I can allow new cultures to enhance me or inhibit. I can hold to the old or I can estew the new, allowing myself to simmer and to blend with whatever comes in. Together we can make a delicious meal. I am not a new writer. I am honed from past teachings but I am curious and interested and I want to stay in the game.

Island Blog – Daynight

The clouds are pink. So are the hills, the trunks of the hazels, the rocks and the sea-loch. It is 4.45 am and everything is pink. I am also pink, according to the mirror reflection and my face needs ironing. This is due to the crumpulation of pillow, duvet and face, conjoined in a less than harmonious trio. We obviously fell out at some point during the night, fought each other until we ran out of oomph, and then collapsed, like all menage a trois do in the end.

The house creaks. The floorboards creak. My knees creak. We are all coming to life, beginning to breathe in a new morning, taking in the pink, leaving the night behind, letting it go. Sometimes I am delighted to let go, sometimes I wonder if being awake most of the night makes it day and not night. Perhaps there is an in-between, like a no mans land, a wild place that has no name, as yet unlabelled. I can give it plenty names, however and not all of them polite, but in deference to social rectitude I shall name it Daynight.

Although it may sound terribly awful spending a deal of the dark hours awake, I am well used to it and find myself able to recover quick quick during the hours of light. Just a 30 minute catchup snooze can lift me right back into a Tigger bounce. It thinks me. Have I devised a splendid plan of action, a modus operandi, one that will always lead me into what may sound like a child’s story, or am I a natural bouncer? Did I learn myself this attitude or was I born with it? Ho, I say and Hum. I don’t have an answer but, for the record, I am very happy with my bounce, even if my knees do creak nowadays. And, even if I did come up with an answer, what would it matter and who would care?

I watch the pink clouds. There is Robin Hood with a huge snake in his grip. Here is the Rockbiter and over there, oh look, it’s Noddy’s car, complete with horn. If I called you over, it would be too late to see what I see. Clouds are like that. Shape shifters, game players, always moving on like night, like day, like everything. Even if I grabbed my camera, it would be over, the cloud show and they would just look like pink clouds. It seemed important, back then, back when I didn’t understand that the whole point of anything is that it changes every minute; people, time, clouds, weather, happenings, all change. The key is to just look, to watch, to stand quite still and let the eyes have it. And with every look, watch, stand still thingy we change because we have experienced something new, something that will never come again, not in this way. A kindness given, a word of support, a smile, a wave; the way rain falls on a window, the swing of a feather falling, a catch of rainbow light, the scoot of a rabbit, distant laughter. A pink sunrise may come every morning, but it will never be the same twice, like zebra stripes and snow flakes, every one unique.

Like you and like me.