Wednesday 28 November 2012

St Therese of Lisieux

On Sunday there were a whole load of old Christian books left out in the building where our church meets for anyone to take.  I picked up an Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux, a Carmelite nun who died at just 24-years-old in 1897.  I don't know much about any saints, but I've been wanting to read more about people in the past who've devoted their lives to following God, because there's always something to learn, and I'm interested to know if over 100 years ago, a young woman faced similar struggles and questions to young women today.  I've just started it, and the language is pretty old school - it was translated from French   and published over 50 years ago, but I'm quite enjoying the 'quaintness'.  And already, have read something I'd like to share:

"The sun's light, that plays on cedar-trees, plays on each tiny flower as if it were the only one in existence; and in the same way Our Lord takes special interest in each soul, as if there were no other like it.  Everything conspires for the good of each individual soul, just as the march of seasons is designed to  make the insignificant daisy unfold its petals on the day appointed for it" (p.27)

Monday 26 November 2012

Recent Poetry Performance, November 2012

Here's me performing three poems recently at an Iopen evening in Brighton.

The poems are American Dream (on), Twin Thing, and First Love - all by me :-)

PS, despite my attempts I think I still manage to paint my twin sister in a less than positive light, which wasn't my intention at all! She is brilliant!

PPS not so keen on the whole close-up filming, but hopefully my looming face isn't too distracting! haha!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Glass Disasters

I've just started reading and working through 'The Writing Experiment' by Hazel Smith, on the recommendation of a dear friend.  Here's my first attempt at writing something using word association:

Glass houses house horses run wild and don't throw stones guilty woman Jesus loved fragile strength see cracks appear spear breakdown call the AA how long how long a mile a kilometre marathons snicker and chortle hurtle past everyone seems to be doing it these days addiction tattoo true blue Joni Mitchell sings smoky cafe everything's changed exchange of eyes hazel green sea choppy helicopter hurricane sandy beach huts shut the gates button down the hatches scratching nails on chalkboard cringe syringes litter the streets he weeps flooding the scene tsunami waves slaves to circumstance stand proud and unmoving quake shudder shiver apocalyse calypso dreams are dashed in the wind blow me away to another day mane tossers bosses rotten kisses does anyone care

Monday 19 November 2012

When will there be peace?

I was going to tell you all about my recent experiences at the pub, but they seem very trivial in the light of the troubles going on around the world at the moment.  Perhaps apart from Thursday, which was the day of the funeral of the previous Landlord.  Death and cancer are cropping up their heads far too often at the moment.    We don't really know how to speak of death and dying in our culture.  We don't know how to grieve, how to process.   There is too much silence, I think.  We want to try to keep it tidy and reserved.  After a few weeks, we expect people, or ourselves, to pull it together.  Because people stop asking how the 'left' ones are doing.  Recent deaths of loved ones of regulars at the pub have meant that there are more  conversations about it.  Last night one man admitted it took ten years to 'get over' the death of his partner.  There have been tears and hugs and when alcohol is added it does get a bit messy and bit more honest.  Which perhaps isn't a bad thing.  I don't know.

But death will happen to us all.  It is a part of life, so to speak.  I suppose it rarely seems 'timely' - a lot of people don't die in their sleep in their nineties having lived a full and satisfying life.  But then again, quite a few do.  Today I'm thinking of places where death must seem very real. The fear of it tangible in the air, tasting like metal on the tongue.  Death untimely, death unnecessary, death caused by others with a cause, yet death unlikely to achieve anything good.  Stupid Stupid fighting and greed and pride and power and revenge.  Struggles that have gone on for decades until they seem 'normal'.  It should never be normal.  And of course it is the vulnerable, the innocent, the 'ordinary' people who will suffer, as the power-hungry play their games as if it were simply a matter of pressing the controls on an x-box.  I'm thinking of the people of Gaza, sitting in their homes with the very real threat that a rocket could come crashing through the roof at any time.   I'm thinking of the people of Goma, as rebel troops approach the city, while the army and UN seem to be able to offer very little protection.  The pawns caught in a game of chess for which the prizes are gold, diamonds, cobalt and coltan.  Paid for in human lives.

Are people not tired of fighting?  Do they not see it achieves nothing?  What will break the cycles of revenge?  Greed will never be satisfied.  Pride is a dangerous dangerous thing.  I'm scared about today, tomorrow.  It seems there are no limits.  I am angry beyond words at the unseen dealers supplying weapons to fuel the fire.  I know the arms trade probably reaches further and deeper into our own economy and nation than I really want to know.  But isn't it time that things are brought to light?  Today I hate violence more than ever.  I hate that war games are so popular.  So normalized.  One games of paintball was enough for me.  I cannot imagine living under that choking cloak of fear day in and day out.  Cannot imagine what it's like for children to grow up in a place where death is an everyday thing, where they cannot remember what it's like to walk a street without fear.  Without being reminded everyday of their vulnerable position in the world, that they are not believed to have as much value as others.

Today my fists clench in anger, and my stomach clenches in frustration, and my soul cries out for peace peace justice and peace.  Not the fake peace that glosses over the gruesome and gory and gut-wrenching stories but peace that sees people as of equal value, that sees life as a gift.  Not justice that results in yet more revenge, but justice that fights for reconciliation and understanding and cooperation.  I don't know if it's possible, but may I not give up praying and hoping and speaking and fighting for a different way.  

the Naked Now

On the recommendation of friends I've just started subscribing to Richard Rohr's daily contemplations.  Rohr is a Franciscan priest and the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation.  This was yesterdays thought:

"It is living in the naked now, the “sacrament of the present moment,” that will teach us how to actually experience our experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, and how to let them transform us. Words by themselves invariably divide the moment; pure presence lets it be what it is, as it is".

Richard Rohr, from 'The Naked Now: Learning to see as the Mystics see' p.12

Tuesday 13 November 2012


Two minutes silence and I think of Fathers

Fathers lost and Fathers gained
Fathers who are, Fathers who have never been
Fathers who stepped in
Fathers that make us proud
Fathers that make us ashamed
Fathers who sacrifice
Fathers who forget
Fathers who fight
Fathers who fall
and feel
and enFold their sons tight in their arms

Fight for me
Love me with a forceful kind of love
Tell me how you feel about me, please?
When I'm frightened, fire away my fear
Fashion me into someone 
Who follows in your footsteps

I fight for you.  Every day.
I love you with a love whose force is stronger than any raging river
And it won't be washed away.
I'm telling you now how I feel about you, listen.
When you're frightened, I'm right beside you.  There's no need to fear.
I'm fashioning you to walk confidently in your own steps.
When other Fathers fail, I'll Father you above and beyond anything you ever thought you deserved.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Brighton Recently

Got to make the most of the sun when it shines!  Not looking foward to winter...

There's a lot of writing on the walls in Brighton.  This is something I DON'T want to do...!

On Sunday we made sushi, after many months of intending to do it.  Our friends bought all the ingredients and we  spread sticky rice onto sheets of seaweed, chose our fillings and rolled using the special bamboo mats.  Add soya sauce, crazy hot wasabi and pickled ginger and YUM, there you have it!

the view from the church office where I spend half my week.  It's pretty good, especially after having no windows at all in the previous office!  If you look carefully you can see a second rainbow above the first

Thursday 1 November 2012

How honest?

I have a few minutes alone - hubby is washing up after cooking me a lovely dinner and watching the 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'.  Feel good film for sure.  Hubby's in the kitchen listening to some horrific screamy 'music' that he's partial too.  I am under the covers with my laptop and some emotional Spanish music (LOVE IT: aiiiii ventannaaaa....mi pobre corazon....mi almaaaa....estoy loca de amor.....aiiiiii...etc), head full of ponderings from the past few days, having had no time or energy (boring bad cold and body saying 'stop working so much!') to write them down or to see friends to talk them through properly with.  Perhaps that's why I have a blog.  To give me the opportunity to talk things out without having to watch someone's eyes wander/glaze over as I lose/bore them!  And yet the idea that someone will hear my words, unlike those written in my journal, which I'm supposing no one will read until I die. yes I do imagine someone pouring with great interest over my heartfelt scribblings, all 20...30...journals (probably more by then) and turning them into a best-selling book.  or at least proclaiming something about my depth and insight and wisdom. haha. ok i'm not actually really joking. is that bad?

Which leads me onto one of the things I've been thinking about this week.  About how much we share, especially on blogs.  It's interesting to see the scope of open-ness there is in the blogging world.  There's people who don't spare much detail about anything but remain anonymous.  Some mummy bloggers give their children's names, some don't.  Some people I know who write blogs have to keep things fairly vague because of the nature of their work e.g. friends working with child prostitutes.  I find most people can be very open on certain subjects, but not on others.  For example some might be very vulnerable about their faith/beliefs/doubts but say nothing about their relationships.  Some people only ever write about their children.  Some only about their political views.

I know I'm stating the obvious, perhaps I'm just trying to figure out where I fit, how much I want to share, etc.  I know I am often overly aware/sensitive to how others perceive me despite having spent most of my life trying not to care too much.  I think most people that read my blog are people that already know me - in some senses it's probably them I'm most concerned about, rather than the unknowns who stumble across it.  Maybe because in 'real life', we don't tell everyone everything.  For example, there's people I speak to about my faith, and there's others I won't.  I don't think it's because I want to hide, I suppose it's whether or not I think the other person will 'get it', or at least want to try to.  A lot of people don't want to hear/talk about that kind of thing.  Others only want to argue about it and I'm not really up for that.  In the same vein there's some friends I'd tell really personal stuff to, and others I perhaps wouldn't.  I do try to be pretty open with everyone, and would like to be seen as consistent, but I realise throughout the day I speak with different filters on.  There might be a positive side to this, in that I think I'm quite good at relating to lots of different people from different backgrounds.  I don't want to alienate people.  But at the end of the day, even if the language changes, I'd like the message to remain the same as much as possible.

Maybe that's another reason for the blog.  To speak more honestly than I do in person because I too easily shy from confrontation/feel intimidated or rushed.  I've always been better at writing than speaking.  And as I said, I don't want to hide.  But what does that mean?  Sometimes I fancy writing about embarrassing sex-related situations, or nakedness, or ranting about hair removal, or other less civilized topics that grownup girls aren't meant to talk about or admit.  Not to shock, necessarily, but because I think some things DO need to be talked about more so that we realise things really aren't like they are in the films - for pretty much everyone, not just you!  On the other hand there has to be some level of privacy, right?  I don't know.  I wouldn't want to embarrass people I love.  I don't particularly want to just be known for talking about boobs and bits.  But I do want to bring reality in, not just poemy, pondery pieces.  I want to reflect more of the crazy breadth of life and people.  [On the other hand maybe I just haven't had enough 'girlie' time lately to get all those things off my chest!] pun intended.

Annnnyway, hubby demands some attention so I must go...nooo not like that... it's time for another installment of 'Breaking Bad'.  But in the meantime I'll keep on pondering the whys and hows of this bloggety-blog.  Any thoughts, let me know :-)