Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Taking Care of Myself (for a change)

My dear family bought me a Kindle for Christmas. No, dear readers, nothing in this wide world will ever put me off having a real book in my hand or on my shelf. The reason for requesting the Kindle was down to old age and arthritis. Let me explain. Huge heavy books have not, after all, gone out of fashion - despite the recession, green activitists and general accusations of an attention deficit culture - but seem to be on the increase. And I love a huge story where you can really get to know the characters and they stay with you for a long time afterwards. They become part of your existence for a long time, some characters forever. I'm now well into Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy and Lizbet Salander is definitely a never-to-be-forgotten heroine. But that's for another blog.

However, my point is this. Holding up heavy books and trying to keep open the pages is very tiring and painful for my rather arthritic hands. So I felt a Kindle would be the answer for this problem and for reading a large book. Thus my first download has been The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest which is a mega huge book. The actual process of sorting out registering on Wi-fi meant having to find a local venue where I could access wireless and this turned out to be our local MacDonald's in the Malvern retail park. This also meant having to queue amongst an astonishing amount of Boxing Day shoppers after a bargain, fights to find a seat indoors as it was deep snow outside, then wait for a fishburger which was lukewarm by the time it got to our mouths. Still, an interesting experience all in all. We hadn't been to a MacDonald's with Thalia, our daughter, since she was little, and that's some time ago now.

My marvellous daughter set up and registered the Kindle and we then came home, dowloaded (at last) and off I go. I can see it might become addictive. My wrists are certainly grateful.

(This picture included here has nothing to do with anything except the fact that I think it's great. Just bear with me. It's a Christmas Tree of BOOKS!!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beginnings Remembered but Endings Unknown

It's some time since I penned a few dramatic and amazing thoughts to shake the world. This is because I've been watching my mother slowly passing out of this life and into the mysterious uncertain place that lies beyond our human ken. It is a painful experience losing one's parents. These are the beings who brought us to life, gave us the means to achieve consciousness and gain the much prized human body. According to the sages, a human incarnation may take thousands of lives to obtain and we should prize and honour it instead of abuse and loathe it.

My mother was a beautiful woman and remained attractive and elegant into her eighties. Her style of thought and attitude to life was dramatic, passionate, warm and loving but her love was a fire that could burn and terrify one. We were very much alike yet very much one another's opposite. Our natures and personalities clashed and we found it hard to accomodate each other, yet were fused and bonded at a very deep level. To my mother I was never a separate being but an extension of herself, her own ego. She found it hard to comprehend that I had different ideas and desires to her own.

However, it was Angela Diana that encouraged my love of literature and encouraged me to read classics from many countries. Alas, I never had her talent for languages. She could read the Greek, Italian, French and English originals. Through Mum's enthusiasm and love of books I entered the world of Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Guy de Maupassant, Zola, Flaubert, Kazantzakis, Plato, and later devoured the English classics.

We forget our beginnings and only know of them if our mother chooses to tell us about what happened. We are mostly unware of our endings and there is no way we have a clue about what happens after our span of mortal life is finished here on earth. I find this annoying. It's one of the reasons I enjoy reading a biography because we perceive the whole linear movement from birth to death and it makes a good story. It has a beginning and an ending. I'm not going to know the ending to my story or know what happens to my children when I'm gone or be able to reflect upon it all. I won't be able to write my story from start to finish. Someone else will have to do it for me.

Linear as it seems, my belief is that this life is part of a circle. All life moves in spirals in the Universe and so, I'm sure, do our little lives. As darkness falls and the day's turmoil is forgotten in sleep, so we move in death into that strange sleep full, perhaps, of dreams and wonders, a sleep forgotten once we circle back once more into the wakefulness of a new life.

Or is it the other way around? Is this mortal life the dream while death wakes us to reality?

Favourite Quotes

  • My home is my retreat and resting place from the wars: I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner of my soul. Michelle de Montaigne
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony: Mahatma Gandhi
  • Friends are people you can be quiet with. Anon.