Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I'm a 'Z' shape and Ohh Etty!!

Oh Etty you keep on inspiring me so and I can't get enough of your words and I did promise more of them on here...(earlier post that promised this)

'I saw old cities and new cities arise and I thought even if the whole of this world is bombed to bits, we shall build a new world, and that one too will pass, and still life will be beautiful, always beautiful'

'Am I too busy? I want to get to know this century of ours inside and out. I feel it everyday anew. I run my fingertips along the contours of our age. Or is that pure fiction? But I always project myself back into reality. I make myself confront everything that crosses my path, which sometimes leaves me feeling battered...But I imagine it has to be like that...I am being forged into something else...But then I also have the feeling that all the problems of our age and of mankind in general have to be battled out inside my little head...'

'Everything is chance or nothing is chance. If I believed the first I would be unable to live on, but I am not yet fully convinced of the second'

All quotes from Etty Hillesum from 'An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-43, translated by Arnold J. Pomeran.

In other news today, I found out I can be likened to a 'Z' shape. In training, at work today, we had to pick whether we most likened our character to a 'square', 'triangle', 'circle' or 'Z' shape and explain why to others. My bluffed and clutching at straws attempt, was to say 'I felt I was like a 'Z' shape because there are many layers to my character which are all connected and I like to see things from different angles'- What, WHAT, I can hear you saying, were you talking about!?!?! Apparently those that liken themselves to 'Z' shapes are innovative, fast paced, creative, do not like being restricted by time or anything else really.....hmmmmm.

Also by doing such exercises it was further confirmed to me that I am 'socially awkward' and when asked to introduce somebody as part of a task, managed to get their name completely wrong and fed back their talent was 'sleeping' when it in fact was 'karaoke' making it seem like I hadn't listened at all. I blame it on working 6 days a week as opposed to my usual 5 days, my brain can't cope!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

More Etty

'I won't take along any photographs of those I love; I'll just take all the faces and familiar gestures I have collected and hang them up along the walls of my inner space so that they will always be with me'

Etty Hillesum

I love the idea that faces and people's gestures can be stored inside you and perused at your own pleasure in your 'inner space' and so never lost. Etty wrote the above when she considered how she could deal with missing those people she left behind when having to go to the concentration camp at Westerbrok.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Straight from my mind onto my phone onto this page.

Do you want thoughts, spilling straight from the mind into non-sensical words on a page? Well this is what this is.

A collection that lacks structure, order or sense, of my thoughts as and when they come onto the memo pad on my phone or saved in a growing draft message from the last few months.....complete with wrong, rushed grammar and spelling....

What is this thing in the early 20's that says we have to decide now what the rest of you life is going to be, you've had enough experience you wiser enough to decide- no I'm not actually. Who can really know what their best at where will i flourish and enjoy i just don't know. This bothered me but now I think the people who have had most jobs have experienced so much more and lived so many different lives a thousand rather than one and is that better? surely if i want to be a writer the most experience the better.

I want to explore the limits and infinite of you

, Maturing taste of words, mindless reading will no longer do, spontaneous prose, writing-here is a piece of me world forever for you to see here is a trace of my inner sanctum for you to know and judge, the trails of thought now lines on the page,

why am i embarrassed to write in a notebook in public because writing is a private thing, to consider yourself and thought to carefully is seen as self-induglent and sappy.?

Think of me what you will- leave me behind from your life, it matters not to me because my words have captured your fleeting existence and cast you in verbs and adjectives onto a paper prison forever

i am maturing and knowing more how my writing should be. This is the way I am and why i think too much so that I can try to understand people like that and write the vigour I am going to write.

Sometimes I feel like saying to myself look at you with your Bukowski and Kerouac with your larger than large headphones so that you can hear all the sounds of people like Modest Mouse and Elliott Smith-their lyrical and musical greats you say but what do you know?-and your flowing skirt and jewelry from around the world- your so deep with those outward symbols of introspection or maybe your just pretentious

train snap shots that's what you get of people.

I wrote with a blind fury, i had to get it out.

Have you ever argued with somebody who is too stupid to understand so it seems like their winning because you can't be bothered explaining everything to them or maybe I'm the stupid one for thinking their stupid or for not explaining because i can't and letting them live in ignorance.

I'm quite impressed with myself that I recycle lolly pop sticks and make them into bookmarks my obsession with ice is utilised by my obsession with books, that justifies them both then.

Yes yes there was once somebody that  .

why do we need all these things objects, everything that counts is inside us, the lilly in the field needs nothing more than it's spot of soil in the field, animals need nothing but their fur coats so why do we humans think we need all this worthless stuff? because we can 'think' so we think we need it to satisfy whatever prestige, comfort, status, laziness those objects represent, maybe it would be better if we just didn't think.

She'd never quite acquainted to anything

Look at you strutting around like toad from toad hall lott ticket

Tiger Tiger Frangoso

Ask Merty about death cab date of run

Are you bust existing or living?

Pass for less

Six pence none the richer kiss me, sea of love

The trangression of gender roles in the tudor court. Thought experiment what would someone's life be like  if they lived in a dark, windowless room which they never left and no-one ever entered, they are taught to read via video, and then do nothing but read every second they are awake, would they know more than the normal person and be happier?Is an imagined reality better than a real one?

Bus 42 dogs beetle museum

Buffoned brown hair flicked and flecked.                    She
thinks she's something but maybe really she knows she's nothing, nothing now but the way she looks.
Spider legs of black cling and ring her eye.
Her eye heaves and they dangle reaching for the sky.
Skin glazed a roast chicken brown, fake-burnt around the edges.
Beads and bangles marooned on her arm like shimmering, flashing orbits.
Adorned with gold and beads  which jangle with promise of exotic delight.
Eyes... her
eyes roam the aisle for a passer by's attention
                                       what does she
really look like 


Rambling thoughts of a lunatic, or inspired ideas, seeds of something that could grow into something else? ....yeah pretty much rambling thoughts of a lunatic.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

An Interrupted Life.

‘In the past, I would live chaotically in the future, because I refused to live in the here and now…Sometimes I had the certain if rather undefined feeling that I would ‘make it’ one day, that I had the capacity to do something ‘extraordinary’, and at other times the wild fear that I would ‘go to the dogs’ after all…I refused to climb into the future one step at a time. And now, now that every minute is so full, so chock full of life and experience and struggle and victory and defeat and more struggle and sometimes peace, now I no longer think of the future, that is, I no longer care if I ‘make it’ because I now have inner certainty that everything will be taken care of. Before I lived in anticipation, I had the feeling that nothing I did was the ‘real thing’; that it was all a preparation for something else, something ‘greater’, more ‘genuine’…But that feeling has dropped away from me completely. I live here and now, this minute, this day to the full and live is worth living…and we know life, don’t we? We have experienced everything if only in the mind, and there’s no need any longer to hang on for dear life.’

‘Sometimes I want to flee with everything I possess into a few words, seek refuge in them. But there are still no words to shelter me... Everyone seeks a home, a refuge. And I am always in search of a few words. Sometimes I feel that every word spoken and every gesture made merely serves to exacerbate misunderstandings. Then what I would really like is to escape into a great silence and impose that silence on everyone else’.

‘Every pretty blouse I put on is a kind of celebration. And so is every occasion I have to wash with scented soap in a bathroom all to myself for half an hour. It is as if, I were reveling in these civilised luxuries for the last time. But even if I have to forgo them one day, I shall always know that they exist and that they can make life pleasant and I shall think of them as a great boon even if I cannot share in them any longer.’
(All quotes from Etty Hillesum from book mentioned below, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans)

Words are strange, strange things. Especially when 70-year old words speak directly to you and illustrate emotions that could be 1,000’s of years old or felt just yesterday. Words which are interchangeable with thoughts, phrases that are a seamless transition from mind to page. Etty Hillesum’s words speak a thousand different things to me in one sentence. I get everything she writes, her words have made me think deeply and carefully about how I live and the way I see the world and started a change in me, her words are that powerful.

There are strange parts but for the most, her way of looking at the world, despite the terrible things going on around her, was simple and beautiful. Her capacity to see the good in everything and everyone is remarkable. This book landed on my lap unexpectedly but I know it was meant to fall into my hands at that moment in my life because it has made me see and I mean really see what life should be about.

Her book is called, ‘An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943’. In a very quick nutshell; Etty was a Jew living in Amsterdam when it was occupied by the Nazis. She chronicles the gradual alienation of the Jews and their eventual deportation to concentration and extermination camps. She herself, worked for the Jewish Council in Amsterdam, and accompanied other Jews to ‘Westerbork’, a transition camp before they were taken to Auschwitz. Her own fate was to be transported to Auschwitz, where she died in November 1943.

She wrote it 70 years ago, she didn’t know that anybody else would read it and now I have read it and her words are some of the most profound I’ve ever read and are changing me now in the present-that is the power of books. She wondered ‘when she would become a writer when she was already writing beautifully.

What I’ve written here is horribly clumsy compared to the eloquence with which she writes and doesn’t really do her writing the justice it deserves, all I can say is please read her words. I leave you with this…. And because she writes better that I ever will be able to there will be more ‘Etty’ on here this week.

Etty describes the last thing a lady says to her before being transported to Auschwitz the next day, ‘ I would like, oh, I really would like, to be able to swim away in my tears.’

Monday, 15 August 2011

All the small things.

I have let the big, ugly scenarios of living blur the beauty of the small beautiful things.  Whilst in Turkey, these past few weeks, I have observed the deaths of two people in the same day, people I do not know but whose passing away made me stop and wonder at things.

One life taken by accident and one by natural causes but both quickly illustrating the briefness of our time here causing me to somberly reflect on what I’ve done with my time so far. More than this, I have considered my perception of my time here and the way I live and constrew this life I have been given.

Books have fallen into my lap, which have made my eyes open wider, my brain pulsate in wonder and my heart beat faster at the words which are literally laced and marinated in wisdom.

Opened my mind to where in the past I have been going wrong and revealed the world to me anew in its simplest form.

One of these has been ‘An interrupted life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-43’, which I will explain further some time soon and quote some of the beautiful words .I have about a zillion pages in it marked for me to note down as she manages to articulate what I have felt in the past so perfectly. Amongst this backdrop of; books appearing so timely in my hands to read, which seem to have been created for me in the moments I read them, together with the witnessed deaths of strangers and the riots at home (which has lead me to conclude that no humans are civilised we’re all just acting at being ‘civilised’)  it has made me hugely appreciative for all this world has to offer.

So I have not just noticed but paid attention to the small brilliant things in this world that make me want to leap and dance with the vivacity and depth and richness of life.

Just sitting quietly sipping my cup of tea, letting its’ warmth and calmness wash through me.

Walking across the grass and feeling it’s quiet, earthy dampness seep around the bottom of my feet.

 Exercising hard, pushing the limits of your body so that the muscles scream with being used to their capacity, skin gleaming with sweat, your mind telling you to stop because it hurts but beating it and finishing anyway. Overcoming something. Stopping and realising the dull ache of a body used, recognising the limits of this physical shell that contains the real you and being amazed at how much it can do, more than you thought. Admiring the interconnectivity of mind and body, if your mind says you can do it then your body can only follow what the mind instructs but then the body tells the mind, enough, in constant communication with each other.

Feeling hot, weary, sweaty and done but then stepping into a steaming shower and being revived. Wiping away the grime to reveal shiny, scented skin. For a moment, a delicious frozen segment of time, I stood in the soapy, swirly steam and breathed in the soothing scent of Jasmine and Ylang and Ylang. I audibly sighed with the feeling of becoming fresh and clean again, coming back to rightness. The world outside could keep on going around me but for a delicious few minutes I was away from it in the steamy air of the shower.

Sleep. That blissful slip from the conscious to the sub-conscious, where thoughts, coherency, trouble and worries from the day melt away into something else completely.

Hanging washing out. Just that age-old task of taking your clothes outside, pinning them to some kind of line and knowing that the sun and wind will dry them for you. Watching them bop and sway merrily in the breeze so that the clothes almost look alive and  taking part in some kind of strange line dance. Then when you next put some of them on, the freshness, the smell of outside of sunshine and the wind rather than the manufactured smell of being trapped in a dryer.

Rectangle shaped, compact, page upon page, word upon word. We have buildings dedicated to housing them, lives devoted to writing them and people changed by reading them. Books. The potential and possibility they hold. The portal into other minds and worlds; whenever and wherever you may be.

Hearing the rustle of the leaves in the wind, like hushed applause for another day lived.

 Paper and pen- something so close and personal about it. Seeing your handwriting unfurl across the page and knowing that those patterns, curls and flicks are uniquely yours. Thoughts unfold, becoming tangible, imagination, ideas, people and stories transformed onto the paper, no longer ephemeral fleeting shadows in your mind but solid words on a permanent page. Witnessing the fluidity of your writing- there is my thought spilling out for others to see and understand.

Running, just being able to run and get faster and go where your feet take you. Specifically, ahead of me a straight thin path, to the left the setting sun on a deserted beach ahead in the distance mountains, to my right fields with different farm animals, horses, cows, sheep, lamas and geese lazing in the evening sun. Then the cows and the horses start running, one starts and the rest follow as a herd dictates that they should. They are just running for the sake of it because they can and they look so majestic in the golden light. A snail making it’s slow way across the path, on it’s way somewhere. Above me to the left of my head a swallow dipping and rising and swirling in the breeze jut by the opening of its wing.

Observing the myriad of feelings and emotions crossing people’s faces as they watch different stages of a film, lost in the reality of it as blue frames flicker into their eyes.

Watching a mother duck and ducklings cross a road. Them all waiting at the side in a little huddle, then the mum suddenly deciding its safe to go. Off they go, with the mum setting a hasty pace at the front, then the seven ducklings in a straight row behind running as fast as their little feet can take them, tripping and jumping trying to get to the front. The one that’s always at the back because it’s the smallest and slowest trying with all it’s might to keep up, rescued occasionally by the mum who stops and tries to nudge the last one along. Their anxious fear to make it safely is palpable as is their sense of family.

Sunshine dappled in moving water becoming liquid light.

Leaves, roots and trunks of trees all working together for the same purpose. Green fingers reaching into the sky, so the tree can get taller and more leaves can grow, the cycle continues year in year out.

Mum quietly just having a bowl of sour, bitter yogurt for breakfast so that there will be enough cereal for everybody else. Nobody else realises this when they later eat their bowls of cereal and she doesn’t want them to know.