Saturday, March 24, 2007

Two sides of the wall: a poem for two voices

This brushed steel wall is my protection.
(... is my prison.)
I stand far behind it surveying
(... pressed up against it)
the fact that it is tall, wide, strong, impenetrable.

made impotent by the fact that I do not know how to begin to
bring it down

Copyright, 2007, Verilion

Aaah. This is not how I want this poem to look. I spent a lot of time lining up the lines which blogger completely ignored. Still, you are the reader, even if I had had it exactly as I wanted, there's no saying you would read it as I wanted. But all the same ... bloody blogger.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I was dozing and listening to Radio 4’s 'Open Book' just now when I heard the word dislocation. From that word came a memory, from that memory came a smile, from that smile came a thought, from that thought came a question.

When I was about eight years old I played ‘mother’ in the school production of Hansel and Gretel. Steven Tear played ‘Father’; he was a boy I had probably paid no attention to until that moment. He came to my house and we rehearsed together. Even though I knew my performance in the above play was horrendous he never said so. When he was bullied by the other boys for being my friend, he never said so and the first I knew about it was when his mother came to my house to ask me to visit him in hospital because those horrid little boys had pushed him over and he had dislocated his hip.

I remember that summer holiday being made up of sunny days, blackberries and Steven. We spent every day together, running under the sprinklers and lying in the afternoon sun drying off. We explored the dark depths of the little wood in the park turning over the bottom of our white t-shirts and filling them with blackberries till finally my mother stopped screaming at the stains and sent us off to buy cooking apples and pastry mix. I remember playing on tricycles in his back garden, fighting back the tears because even though my ears hurt so much I was playing with him. And then that feeling of hatred as I was passed between nodding mothers, who prodded under my jaw and sighed and pursed their lips and finally condemned me to a week in my bedroom: “It’s mumps!” I remember that feeling of complete despair when I was told he was moving to Sussex.

I never thought of it as love before, but I guess that’s what it was. I remember those boys trying to tease me that I was his girlfriend when they found out I was going to see him in hospital, but that soon stopped due the fact that I had the fiercest look on my face, I was bigger than all of them and I had already kicked the shit out of the ankles of one who had crossed me before. But yep, I guess it was love. It was easy and innocent and so all consuming.

So then I just wondered whatever happened to Steven Tear. We kept in touch for quite a while and then puberty happened and everything changed. I wondered if he ever did become an actor. I just wondered...

This morning I also wondered if your ears should feel like alien satellites parked on your head conducting tests and probing my tonsils. Having finished there, they have moved up to my sinuses. My ears feel dislocated to the rest of my head.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Reading Week

On Thursday I came home knackered. Within minutes the sleeping bag was dutifully bundled on to the sofa, the ashtray was at arm’s reach, as were fags, lighter and bottle of water. A snack of veggie pate and marmite on toast lay on my belly. The socks disappeared down the end of the sleeping bag to migrate to that place where right socks live and I was settled. I was not going to move until I’d finished the book...

And it would have been nice if the story had ended like that but unfortunately life has a way of intervening and instead I found myself dismantling an IKEA desk at record speed while swearing profusely (it speeds up the process) and loitering around in the street waiting for a delivery man to arrive...

And then I got back to my sofa... and finished the book.

So the first book I finished this week was The Child in Time by Ian McEwan. As you read it’s as if he is pulling a noose of words around you tighter and tighter until all your senses are stretched to snapping point, hyper aware of everything the characters are going through. McEwan drops hints of reprieve, then pulls out the ground from beneath you, leaving you falling and gasping.

On returning to awareness all is calm again although there is a sense of pent up frenzy building up, of mistrust. Can McEwan possibly lead you to a satisfying joyful conclusion?

The last pages of description are so lyrically graphic that you can almost feel, hear and smell the scene beneath your fingers and then it is followed by the final full stop.

It’s over; you have experienced the protagonist’s breakdown and slow renewal.

As I was surfing blogs recently I remember catching sight of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. The blogger had described it as the best YA fiction they had read recently and I remembered that when I went to get some books from the library recently that Claire had pressed this book into my hands. After half tidying my desk I found it below Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb (I’m half wondering whether to read it in French so haven’t started it yet). Anyway, the metro journey wasn’t long enough for Mortal Engines; I was still reading it as I trundled up the stairs at my stop. It’s a thrilling story set on the future Earth warning us of our self-destructive tendencies. There’s adventure, some cool characters and a nice look at developing young lurve. While I loved the story line, I wasn’t too sure about the device of using present tense for certain characters. And also in the thrill of the story’s breakneck forward thrust, I kind of got the impression that some of the characters were inconsistent or that parts of the plot hadn’t been followed through sufficiently. Still it was a ‘thinking’ book, which gives it a thumbs up in my book. Mmm... I see there are a whole series of books. Oh I’ll have to check those out.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


A while ago I received an e mail entitled ‘Coincidences 11?’ What follows is a long list of things that one way or another equal 11 and are grouped around the theme of September 11th. The last few things get you to change a flight number into Windings and asks you: ‘what do you think now?!!’ Initially my response was a straightforward: what a pile of bollocks, then a rather confused, OK plane flying into two bits of paper (alright, I see they are supposed to be the Twin Towers), skull and crossbones and TA DA DA DAH ... the star of David? I knew that last symbol was the star of David, I also know that in religious symbolism there is a fair amount of cross over, but my exhaustive (not) Google search did not bring up little known Islamic star symbols. So not only was this a pile of bollocks, but whoever had compiled this list didn’t even recognise one religious symbol from the next, the end conclusion being that this was put together by an idiot. A small amount of logical thought had made the holes in this become so gaping that the universe could disappear through it.


Then again logical thought encourages us to look for patterns or coincidences in order to understand the world. For instance:
The sum of the interior angles of a triangle is 180°, a quadrilateral 360°, a pentagon 540°. As a side is added to a shape the sum of the interior angles increases by 180°, so logically two triangles must make a quadrilateral and three triangles must make a pentagon and so on.

The never ending quest for patterns has enabled humankind to learn and develop.


Patterns can also be akin to superstitions. When I watch Liverpool play I wear red (even if it’s just my underwear). There is no evidence that suggests that they play better when I wear red, I’ve never kept notes on this, I really couldn’t say. I recognise this as a rubbish superstition, but I do it anyway, there is no pattern to this.

Yet the never ending quest for patterns has made me begin to find them where really they shouldn’t be. At certain times of the year things happen to me. This number is significant because that is when everything tends to right royally fuck up. I am engaged in a battle with myself over logical and illogical thought. It was logical thought that led me to these illogical frankly superstitious conclusions.

When I sift through my own life I want to slap myself across the head because I’m an idiot. When I tell my colleagues that Mr. X is an assassin listing reasons a – g they laugh all the way, but the big joke is that about halfway through you can see them really thinking about it. That’s logical thought again.

So I suppose my conclusion is that there is a fine line between idiot and searching for patterns for the improvement of humankind (although the assassin joke is probably quite close to idiot as well).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Very Lion

Apparently Matt and all his friend's scratched their heads about my request, but I like it. Thank you Matt. Go here and you might recognise some others up there. Granny Were certainly is fearsome! I also like Frederich Nietzche.

Oh and thanks Minx for highlighting this fun spot.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Observational Records on the Analysis of Dreams – 12/03/07

Subject x describes dreams full of bright streaming daylight,
yet senses the inner spirit is dark.
In the bright and almost fluorescent radiance of these dreams
subject x is profoundly lost.
What are the possible meanings to this opposition?
Are we to conclude that the darkness is merely the night?
Is subject x engaged in a struggle to wake up?
Or is the darkness a fear that subject x has buried so deep,
that even in the brightest glow cannot be found?
Further observations will continue to consider
each of these hypotheses.

Copyright, 2007, Verilion

Saturday, March 10, 2007


I’ve been thinking about suffering today. It started when I read The return of the Schools Fools (March 6th) post on Debi Alper’s site earlier in the week. It interested me because as an educationalist it pleases me when people say positive things about education and schools. Even before I finished my degree I was very disillusioned with the direction education was taking in England and rather than career plans I was planning escape. When I left almost eleven years ago I never imagined I would still be in education now. I was burned out, fed up and just glad to be leaving. Nowadays I love my job, it’s stimulating and I just wish that the methodology could be introduced nationally because I believe in it.

In discussions with my colleague, particularly from Britain, one of the things we share in common is that we didn’t exactly like school. One of our leading reasons for going into education was to make things better for the child. I was an average student who sucked at exams. I was a bored student who was not excited by many aspects of school. The things I enjoyed doing I can still remember now. My primary school project on Brazil made me choose Latin America as my destination for escape. I loved my history classes in secondary when I was allowed to decorate my pages and let the creativity flow. I sailed through Media Studies, but did terribly at English lit, because I could not memorise a quote or poem for toffee. Thank heavens for the fact that by ‘A’ level they let us take the texts in or I would have been super screwed. So yes, I wanted to go into education to make learning a little more exciting and now I can say quite frequently to parents during the year: “If they are not interested in it, they are not going to learn it.” “If they want to dance their times tables, then let them dance.”

But how does this lead me to think about suffering? Well, from day one of my career I was sensitive to the needs of students with special educational needs, which is probably a good thing because in my second year I had sixteen SEN kids in a class of thirty two. I learnt on the job and later I made it my business to learn more. When Juan Carlos who shortened his name to Carlos and still couldn’t spell it finally spelt his name correctly because we had spent weeks with those Hickey Multisensory cards I was proud. We deviated a little and used sponges in the playground and did it in batik and everything, but you know, he got it. Anyway to cut a long story short I know my stuff now and I understand why I have always been drawn to this field. I can see now why I didn’t do so well at school. Why when I grew up in bilingual family I left home firmly monolingual, but when push comes to shove, I won’t say I’m dyslexic.

This is what I was thinking about this morning. Why won’t I say it? And then it hit me. I struggled, but I don’t think I suffered. Somehow I got through and somehow this has stayed with me. And now I’m asking myself why is it inculcated in me that these students should have to suffer? We are well past the days of ‘word blindness’. Research has taught us a lot and brain research is enabling us to know more than ever before. We know how to deal with dyslexia, no child should suffer. So why? Why when I went back last night to that original post did I find two comments there that frankly just made me want to break down and cry and woke me up at seven this morning still thinking about it?

I’m at a loss and all I can say is that I feel for children and the parents of those children who still suffer unnecessarily. Somehow education isn’t working for all children and I don’t believe that it’s a utopian ideal that it should. So how are we going to deal with this? I hope someone out there has some answers.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Every now and again chaos reigns supreme.

Although, that is not exactly true. What happens is that carefully executed plans come to fruition and chaos reigns supreme everywhere else.

By that I mean that as I pulled my washing out the machine little pieces of super clean but super fluffy tissue rained down on me. Little pieces of broken glass were still wedged under the kitchen cupboard from when I had boogied on down in the kitchen and slapped a glass flying across the hallway. Piles of DVD’s lay in front of the TV- this was supposedly the pile of stuff to watch, but was actually mixed up with the pile of watched stuff. The table which should be used for eating had morphed into an unpaid bills mausoleum. And I tripped over my suitcase from Berlin at lease three times during the week before I ran out of clean clothes and had to unpack it just so that I could wash some clothes.

What happened?

Luvvie season, that’s what.

Luvvie season actually begins in September when the show directors wave a script in my direction and let me get on with it. In my imagination I start with a blank stage and then imagine the set, the lights and finally I imagine the little actors on it in costumes designed by me.

Luvvie season begins for me about a month before hand, usually about the time where I have the nightmare that the play is the next day and I haven’t done anything. I’ve always worked best under pressure, although perhaps this year the fact that I was still fixing part of the set thirty minutes before the first performance was a little too much. Then I get shut up in the light and sound box for two days I go and collect my flowers at the end of it and it’s over. That’s it six months of work (or in my case four months of farting about and one month of panic) is finished.

As I sat in the bath yesterday half watching Grey’s Anatomy and half pondering my dropping off toe nail I examined this flat feeling. In August I dropped something on my foot and over the months I’ve been watching the nail’s progress knowing that one day it would drop off. What actually happened was that a new nail grew underneath the dead one and although I have only three quarters of a toe nail, it will continue growing and I will continue to watch it’s progress (because I’m disgusting like that).

Whereas luvviness takes over your life and then leaves you with nothing but an empty box of chocolates and withered flowers after a huge expense of energy.

When you finish a piece of writing it’s not finished. I will put a final full stop at the end of the piece but then I will come back and edit it. If I spot a typo later on I will correct it, you will read it, I will re read it, you may comment on it, I may comment back. Instead of being over, writing grows and grows.

So, I think I’m going to do just that: write.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...