Memory Gems – A Musing.

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In stolen moments, all alone or with one dog at my side, I sip my coffee and finally relax and tumble my memory gems through my mind.

Passerbys stop to pat my dog which he welcomes. Me too. It is almost as nice to receive compliments about your pooch as your child. My dogs are floozies willing everyone to stop and pat.

My work day week takes a lot out of me. I think, I ponder, I write, I broker relationships between organisations and people, I collate news and share it, supervise staff and monitor programs, read, write and allow the many conversations and information I have gathered during the week to percolate through my brain, allowing new ideas to bubble to the surface. See? Everything is related to coffee.

I gain my energy from time alone, spent writing, reading, drawing, painting, sculpting, pasting, tearing, creating. I wander about my garden and I ponder and plan, plant and pull. There’s a lot of alliteration in my life. I draw energy from the earth, trees, plants, flowers, animals and the sky. I notice those moments of the sunlight through trees, a cobweb stretched across my path, a moment’s fragrance and much like my dogs, ponder it all later. I think about the trees I noticed driving to work and my dog’s faces as I gave them a last pat (and the random cat that joins the throng) and I savour them.

From childhood I learnt to gather those moments, the little treasure troves of gems, to share when life dulls or becomes overwhelming. Dealing with large groups of people is overwhelming, or groups that oppose one another (or think that they do). Worrying about one’s children and other people’s can be exhausting. Other people’s anxiety grinds against my own and I seek solace in my gems. Those shining moments when the world offered a glimpse of beauty. The more you find, the more you see.

Sometimes there are surprises. One evening this week, after completing an intricate drawing, I went into my bedroom, flipping the light on and stopped still with surprise. On my bed, looking equally surprised, was a beautiful chocolate Burmese. “Hello!” I assumed he came in through my open window and made himself at home. The effort it would have taken to get up to my window, balance and jump down probably required a nap. I walked slowly around the bed and offered my hand for a sniff. I quickly worked out that he preferred a stoke to a neck scratch and we were friends. I got ready for bed, wondering aloud to him who he was and who was missing him. A personable gentleman, he made himself at home and tried to settle on my pillow. I had other ideas and scooped him off. He liked the cuddle so settled down to sleep alongside me for the night. When we put him out in the morning, he was unwilling to leave and seemed disconcerted that he had to go before being offered breakfast.

We have wondered about him since. My bedroom window stays open and I watch for him. Handsome and obviously well cared for, we hope he is safe at home.

Another gem for my treasure trove of memories.

Why I blog? 201:2 Still a lot to consider

I was very resistant to start blogging. I sensibly began reading other people’s blogs to see what I enjoyed reading and what I responded to. There is such variety.

Did I prefer those Storytellers who framed their stories in contemporary concerns or those who shared about practical issues, conversations about community engagement or those blogs where inspectrofication occurred (yes, that is a new word and I like it)?

I began by framing my stories but soon found I was sharing personal stories and then that I was sharing intimately. This surprised me enormously. What surprised me even more was the amount of re-blogging of my intimate blogs. I had great difficulty comprehending that the workings of the inside of my mind were relatable. I am human after all and we are all so assured of our startling individuality. Experiences may be different but our feelings and emotions are the same. What determines the difference is our decisions, how we react to our experiences. Well then, how to react to this experience of blogging?

I determined that it was okay to share my “Introspectives” as readers responded to them so positively. I have some readers following the Jumbly Tales and there are still many more of those to come but I had other things I needed to explore. I also have a broad range of interests and find my work and personal life intersect at disconcerting frequencies, so my blog covered that as well. Basically, I needed to cover whatever it was I was wanting to share. Luckily there are as many categories as you wish to create.

I fondly imagined that I would have comments of daily significance only to discover that life gets in the way and other issues such as children, family, Community, animals, house, work and garden (so much to do there!). There have been times when I have thoughts to share and times when I do not. When I do not feel that I have anything to share, I think it is best that I do not. Gobbley-gook would be the result, I am sure. I am quite proficient in swearing in gobbley-gook (as the man who tried to intimidate me with his van found out recently) but it is not what I want to put in my blogs.

Interestingly, there is a vague sense of guilt when I do not blog. My commitment is to myself and my writing development, to those who consistently read and respond and to those who kindly find my writing of interest enough to share. That’s serious levels of responsibility. The blogosphere (and that it an actual word!) is full of so many interesting writers, creators, and thought provokers that I wonder at my own contribution. I do not have ego enough to imagine that missing a week here or there is noticed and would not be concerned if it was. I blog primarily for the development of my own sense of self and style of writing.

Ah, now we have it. I am blogging to develop myself. That is exactly the reason I began blogging. I wanted to share my stories and develop my own writing and in the process, see what others had to say on their blogs and in their responses to me. I endeavour to comment on other blogs, to share my appreciation or what they have inspired me to think about. I do not read blogs every day but certainly read a share each week. I particularly like artist and photographer blogs. The eye of an artist is such a celebration and I appreciate enormously the capture of a mere moment of existence, a thought or an idea, that I can contemplate in the picture of the artist’s work. What a gift. I enjoy satire and spiky commentary but I particularly enjoy comments from readers who add so much through their responses and can have me falling off my chair, snorting with laughter.

There are writers who have been blogging a long time and certainly blogging is not a writing form that everyone does well. I also appreciate Poetry blogs. I am enamoured with words after all. I love the sense of connection and feeling from poetry, especially if the words do not make literal sense. Poetry is primarily emotive for me and I respond strongly to visuals. I write a lot of poetry, some good, some simply expressive. Be grateful when I tell you that you will see little of it. It is the way in which I process my stuff and most of it is not for public consumption. The pieces I do share are for the letting go. I have noticed a number of bloggers who share whatever they have written.

As a Storyteller, I have a commitment to the reception of my tale. While I cannot guarantee how a story will be received or understood, I feel strongly that I share stories with which I am complete. One blogger’s tale of forgiveness inspired me and while more thinking was going on with the blogger, it was clear that some shareable conclusions had been reached. I told him I had been inspired and thanked him for sharing. I noted that he had been moved by people’s responses and that he was able to share more of his developing thoughts in the process. And that’s what blogging is, it’s a process.

While some do blog absolute finished and shiny pieces, others process their lives though their blogs (some more rawly than others) and this is what fascinates me.

I have decided that I like blogging. I promise to always be respectful and withhold the most raw material (always). I have a new commitment though. I will continue to read respectfully other bloggers’ work and contribute respectfully to their comments. This interactive forum that let’s us grow and develop and collectively engage in the sub-conscious process of evolution is not be underestimated.

Hmm, must think about that some more.

(c) CLHHarper 7 July 2014

Twisty Thinking: an Introspective

Twisty Thinking: an Introspective

What is it about other people’s stories? Why, in their stories, do I hear the “somebody done me wrong” song? Why do I feature, unwittingly, in those songs?

It seems to me that there are some people in the world who think I spend more time thinking about them than I do. Should I be? I work and think a lot about my work. I have one child left at home and spend brain time on her. Mostly I think about practical things and activist activities.

I think about tiny homes, gardening, veggies, animals, ethical responsibilities, coffee, living lightly, getting older, politics, art, writing, therapy, Quakerism, Simplicity, retiring, my mother, my niblings, my grandson (actually I think about him a lot), coffee, books, volunteering, painting, teaching, craft, reading, what I am reading, books, science, space, water, coffee, my comfy chair, cleaning (not much, I admit), friends, stories I have heard, stories I have told, new stories, performances, the people I love, the people I have cared for and do care for, writing stories, poetry, listening to poetry, watching poetry, my dogs, my cats, (wishing I had rabbits), butterflies, coffee, teapots, coffee, the house, making a cinema, birds, books, Community (with a capital ‘C’) and coffee.

The theme here is that I don’t think about other people as much as they seem to think I do and I think about coffee a lot. If someone arrives where I am (work, dog park, home) and isn’t chatty or is grumpy, I never assume that is about me. When I was young I thought everything was about me. Eventually I learned that other’s behaviour was determined by their own lives. I am no longer ego-centric enough for it even to cross my mind that another’s behaviour could have anything to do with me. This is handy if I don’t hear from someone for awhile, I assume they are as busy in their life as I am in mine.

Where I come unstuck is when I am accused of thinking things that never crossed my mind. What? Yes indeed. Thoughts and feelings that never occur to me become accusations. How does that work? It’s difficult to defend yourself against irrational accusations. I don’t even try. What’s really hard is when a smidgen of fact gets twisted up in someone else’s reality which then becomes an accusation of my wrong doing. Now, this does not happen much but when it does happen, it comes from more than one. I have a theory.

It’s the full moon this week and the lun-ies are out. Yes, I am resorting to tried and true loony reasoning. There is no other possible explanation when people I believe actually do love me, or at least care for me, treat me as though I have deliberately done something to upset them. Well, for the record, I am sorry they’re upset but the thing is, I really haven’t thought about them that much.

Oh wait, maybe that’s it.

(c) CLHHarper May 2014