I recently read this post by Sara over at Mum turned Mom. She discusses her difficulties with pronouncing to the world that she is a ‘writer’. I understand. I haven’t thought much about how I label myself in recent years, preferring to just live out each day and fulfil each role necessary (you know the score: care-giver, cook, cleaner, employee, nurse, driver, decision maker, party planner, and on, and on…) but nowadays I manage to squeeze in ‘blogger’ and ‘reader’ and ‘commentator’ too.
What does childhood mean to me?
Sandpits, mud pies, dandilion clocks,
A time which is stress and worry free
Teddy bear’s picnics and party frocks
and getting over the chicken pox
Endless summers on the beach
or games of tag at the local park
love and loss far out of reach
Imagination easily sparked
everything colourful, nothing stark
Party games like musical chairs
skipping and hopscotch and nursery rhymes
winning a goldfish at the local fair
ducks to feed and trees to climb
the world turning slowly, a magical time.
I have to admit that I was immediately sucked in by the fact that this is a Roald Dahl quote in particular and I immediately wanted to know when he said it and why. It is a quote from his autobiographical collection of childhood stories, ‘Boy’, and now I am very keen to finally getting around to reading this particular volume. Apparently he decided when drafting the book, only to include stories that could be considered spectacular and of course, that is what makes a good memoir and with Dahl in particular you know what he is capable of with regards villains and heroes and frankly, well, tales of the unexpected! So it is all the more intriguing that he has chosen to argue that truth is a virtue above all else, because what is he as a novelist other than a spectacular (and hugely entertaining!) liar?
This week’s theme of paper has not fit in easily with the drafting of a cohesive story. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of people who do clever paper crafts with their children but I’m not one of them! When I think of paper, these are the things that occur to me:
- I once trained to be a periodical journalist. Yes, I was destined for a career monopolised by the written word on the pages of a magazine. I had it in my head that a job as a ‘Features Editor’ would have rocked my world, but it wasn’t to be.
- Confetti. Yes I once got married (twice actually). There was confetti.
- Cootie Catchers (see above), remember them? Just about the only piece of pseudo-origami I’ve ever mastered and only because it was a great way of getting through a boring maths lesson at school! I’m just sad that I don’t have a daughter to pass this gem of a childhood time-waster down to (along with cat’s cradle and French skipping)
- The much vaunted ‘paperless office’. Yup, I work in one of those (so how come there is so much shredding I have to ask myself?) and then I try to imagine an office with no computers (and probably a lot of cigarette smoke) – how times have changed…
- And finally, the advent of the e-book – yes I have a Kindle (two actually) and yes, the technology exists to make the experience of reading off a screen more like reading from a paper page, but where is the artefact? Where is the art? Where is the joy of flicking through the pages, the smell of fresh print, the vibrancy of a well-designed cover? No screen will ever replicate those experiences and if it does? We’re all doomed!
In pondering the colour yellow I happened upon a few descriptions of what the colour symbolises. It is interesting to note that the colour yellow in heraldry used to symbolise honour and courage and yet nowadays its more likely to be used as a descriptive for cowardice.
Bright yellow is almost always cheerful, symbolising joy and happiness but can also be considered frivolous (you don’t see men dressed in bright yellow business suits or driving bright yellow BMWs)…
And then there are the daffodils… Spring!
I have to admit that whilst I love words, language and writing I sometimes hear the word ‘poetry’ and it turns me off until I remember to actually read some classics and it sets my imagination on fire and reminds me of all the beautiful things that can be done with words and the feelings they can invoke. My grandma was a huge fan of poetry and she used to have a lovely book of best loved poems which I would pore over as a child and I once copied out some favourites but I don’t know what I did with those notes. Something recently triggered a memory of one of those poems and it made me want to try and remember…
OK so I recently read this post by Mummy Tries and I wanted to comment but, you know, do you ever read a blog post and feel that your comment would be inappropriate without a prolonged explanation? Well that’s how I felt. So instead I thought I’d just mention it here.
(Just as a precursor to these thoughts I should mention the fact that I come at this perspective from the point of view of a deep thinker who loves words and language and loves to analyze and deconstruct meaning. I studied literature at degree level and that included literary theory which encompasses the writer perspective and the reader perspective for pinpointing meaning so I am well aware that this is only my take on what was written).
I was going to say that my train of consciousness is being very British at the moment – it really wants to go somewhere but it can’t because there’s too many of the wrong kind of leaves on the line. However, on reflection this is not actually true. For the past two evenings I have put the boys to bed, had a bath and something to eat, settled down to check emails, Facebook and any interesting blog updates intending to then move on to something more productive, but my train has been derailed and gone shooting off on a tangent, visiting random stations that were never meant to be on the schedule.
It’s a funny thing but, having only been blogging for 4-5 months, I realise that I now have a load of new friends through this endeavour as well as feeling like I am part of a dynamic and fast-moving enterprise which is quite exciting in itself. Obviously I have also been living partially in cyber-space for as far back as the introduction of Friends Reunited (remember that? Part of the dark, distant past of the social networking world!) and I jumped into FaceBook with both feet (bypassing the likes of MySpace and Bebo) a long time ago too.
Well, I’ve been at this now for about four months (blogging, not parenting). Phew. My initial mission statement included a pledge to be true to myself and write about things that remind me of who I am – both inside and outside of parenthood. Consequently I have written recently on the subject of (my take on) religion, ‘spirituality’ and alternative living arrangements, but these have been triggered initially by my experiences as a mother. Now, I know I’m still a newbie, so my readership is relatively low, but I’m starting to wonder about blogging within a niche. Its nice, its great to be a part of this great big ‘exclusive’ club, but its also really difficult finding anything new to say which isn’t really, properly personal (and therefore of not much interest to a big group of strangers who have a massive pool of similar blogs to choose from). Or its just same old same old: tantrums, weeing accidents, food fights, the deconstruction of the English language (eg, JJ’s hilarious rendering of ‘radioater’ – the device you go to for a bit of news and music when its a bit chilly outside).