Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I can't converse!

I've tried to write conversation, dialogue and discussion but without success. I cannot get it right! My characters seem unconvincing, their speech fatuous despite scenarios which should be arresting and make for compulsive listening. But no! I cannot write conversation.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The first day in the rest of my life?

The inspection had ended at 1300 on Friday and I had spent the weekend in the garden and with the family. Monday morning now, and where am I? On a train to the big smoke for two days of assessment and report writing ..... and thought I had retired .... again!!

The train carriage is half empty, but also half full of slightly overweight middle-aged businessmen and smart young women making their way in the world. It looks and sounds like a two-way ladder with seriously boring guys pompously and pretentiously working with laptops and piles of paper, while aspiring and assertive (largely) women, clearly better organised, listen to their ipods and read the financial pages. Quite a contrast!

And in this melee, where am I? With a foot on both sides of the ladder? Who can tell? Certainly not me!

I tried to think this through but we are in Rugby already, more than halfway to London in just over the hour; the speed of life today! And here I am musing yet again! What would my favourite poet Donne make of this dilemma? Or tycoon, Alan Sugar? Or Paul of Tarsus? I sometimes think that I am thoughtful like Paul, but he was never confused; maybe he was like me? Reading him, I do believe that he was trapped with a personal issue he never describes; his theology may be sound, but his life seems to indicate a tension he never details.

Alan Sugar would not be where I am; no tensions for him, no train either! he is the exemplification of clarity, direction and judgement, underpinned with confidence in his own abilities. He really is the consummate professional, having faults but being wrong not being one of them.

So I am left with Jonne Donne, that sensitive and jesuitical poet with a resolution to every quandary, even if he does not share it, an answer to every tension, a solution to every problem! Whether his poem is compromise or conclusion, the outcome is always final, secure and unquestioned. At the "mingling of bloods" nothing stays the same, nor can the old world return; it changes everything ... for ever!

The Flea

Marke but this flea, and marke in this,
How little that which thou deny'st me is;
Me it suck'd first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled bee;
Confesse it, this cannot be said
A sinne, or shame, or losse of maidenhead,

Yet this enjoyes before it wooe,
And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than wee would doe.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
When we almost, nay more than maryed are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,
And cloysterd in these living walls of Jet.

Though use make thee apt to kill me,
Let not to this, selfe murder added bee,
And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.

Cruell and sodaine, has thou since
Purpled thy naile, in blood of innocence?
In what could this flea guilty bee,
Except in that drop which it suckt from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and saist that thou
Find'st not thyself, nor mee the weaker now;

'Tis true, then learne how false, feares bee;
Just so much honor, when thou yeeld'st to mee,
Will wast, as this flea's death tooke life from thee.

John Donne

Monday, April 04, 2011

Conversation, compliance or mask?

"Who is she?" she asked.
"Who?" he replied.
"Stop kidding; you know what I mean. Who is she?"

These opening words of a radio play that I heard today made me think ..... made me think that this conversation (soon to be an argument) must have been repeated in so many homes, and made me think too that at home we sometimes pretend to be the people we are not!

A mask can be a wonderful gift, enabling me, or you, or us, to be both the person we are and the person we are not. What we think and feel and believe may be there, just under the surface, the real me, warts and all. The mask is there for all to see, a shell or peel which can be so attractive, warm, inclusive or loving, a comfortable skin, acceptable to family and to friends, and believed by all except our intimates to be REAL!!

Meanwhile, underneath the mask, a personality inhibited by events is just wasted or wasting, festering, infected with the germs of hurt, anger or isolation. Just as flesh softens, hardens and heats up, hiding the puss just under the skin until the boil bursts in a thick, grey, putrid flow, so our hurts fester behind the mask until it is torn away in a realisation for one partner that truth is health, and for the other a realisation that the truth is (or is not) welcome; living with a mask is tolerable. Living with truth is heaven or hell!

Schizophrenia, that frightening term for those with split personality is often misused by amateurs like me. So few of us suffer from this maladie, but we seek comfort in the divisions we hide. Having two sides may provide comfort and security, and with practice may even become almost perfect. How many partnerships follow this model? At work or at home, so many crave an audience, needing appreciation, gaining satisfaction to sustain a mask. So many others see themselves as misunderstood. For others, the mask slowly becomes reality and one side of the split personality disengages as the other comes to dominate.

What does all this mean? Which is our true self? If the cap fits, wear it! If not, be grateful for peace of mind and heart!