Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Landscape

The landscape is all around us. Whether we are in the country or the city it is always with us.

How often do we think of it? How often do we even notice it?

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are part of the landscape, and it is part of us. We have left our marks on each other. We carry the scars of innumerable encounters with each other.

It is not that long since the landscape of Britain was swept clean by ice. Since then, for better or worse, we have reshaped it to suit ourselves, and now it carries a record of our beliefs, our hopes, our fears.

Many of the stories that we tell to each other, that we have told to each other for countless generations, are rooted in the landscape. Where did they come from? Are they product of our imagination alone, or did the landscape itself play a part in their creation?

Of course, it is fanciful to suggest that the landscape is aware of us. In our dreams it may be one aspect of the gods that the ancients knew before consciousness altered the world for ever, but reason tells us that, beneath its thin, living skin, it is lifeless, although far from inert.

Yet the landscape is a text in itself, and, if we can learn to read the messages which have been written in wood and earth and sand and stone, we can learn something of its story.

Is this suggestion of a collaboration between the storyteller and the landscape, between the living and the not-living yet not-dead anything more than the product of an overactive imagination?

What does the landscape mean to you?

What stories has it told you?


By Unfoldling, Keith Ramsey.

Friday, 10 September 2010

soporta tesremos

Among comments received about The Unfoldlings previous post, Letter to a Soldier,  Prince Able Pleasure said of Atropos, one of the Moirae: 

Whuaat! ... that aud trollope. She turned up yer way back ontarmuv sum flash ferneeshun blowk,
borrud me gert gert gert .......gramfeez spankin new iron shears,thame only jus bin invent id, made sheerin a joy by all counts,beasts luvdum n awl. anyways,she took off, never gived un baak.....bloody good tool,proper job,ope er put un t sum use



And now, to this, J. Hamartia, makes His response:
   

I feel that sometimes Mr. Pleasure resides, a prince, in his own Zanadunal dream.  His atavistic anecdotes are legion, a pastiche of fantasy, Chinese whispers and neo-druidic oral tradition. That said, Able's perfunctory account is based on a deeper truth.

My Great Grandfather cubed was a Phoenician Merchant, a diligent and honest family man. He was a Venturer whose trading took him to places beyond the voyages of others. His ship's log was scrupulously maintained, and remains to this day in our family vault.

He would sail the Mediteranean and the seas of Atlantis, cargoing spice, gold, perfume, all the glories of the East to the shores of Albion and on to Kernow. There he loaded tin. Then on, to Cymry, for copper, and the new fine tools fashioned by those ancient Celtic smiths, all kinds, for cutting. Then return. First by Zommerzet, where the Mendipi yielded lead for working, and the sweetest lamb, and softest wool, and zider. Exotica for His Homelands.

It was here he conversed and dined and traded with a local parder of sheep. An Old Stone ager, who said he prefered his flints to the new bronze amalgams.

The Merchant, with respect and fondness for his host, and being a practitioner of diplomacy, on one departure left a present. A pair of the finest shears. Shears forgered with the perfect measures, tin to copper, not too soft, not too brittle, they held an edge.

When the old Brython Herder finally first put his gift to use, he declared at the Autumnal shearing, this is surely wizardry!

Some years later, on the Merchant's return, He had with him his niece, one Atropos. A fine young woman, finishing her education, as was custom, with travel. And as ever, in the eternal way, she found love on her journey.

The Herder's son.

He tended his father's flocks and he loved Atropos.

There was a feast, and a trader from the North, a goth of some stature, drunk on the apple, publicly slandered Atropos. The Herder's Son, all chivalry and fortitude, stepped up. They fought. The Goth, sword drawn, lunged. The Herder's Son, weaponless, grabbed for his Father's magical shears. They were above the hearth, floating, displayed. A shrine to transformation, a moving on from stone.

He grabbed the cutters and struck, as he took the sword in his belly. The shears cut jugular.

There was no victor.

For the Herder, the meloncholy lasted long. The Merchant and his charge left for home. And with her, Atropos took the shears.

Wedded to this wand of destiny, from then on, in her grew hardness, honed by her sisters, morphing into myth, crystalising into awful responsibility, relentless, perpetual.

I know this to be true. It is written. The Merchant's Log attests.

Records kept by subsequent descendents show that, many generations on, stange things transpired concerning one Jeshua and Holy Glastonbury, but that's another story.

You have my wired.....

J. Hamartia.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Letter to a Soldier

This post is inspired by The Unfoldlings thoughts on dreams.




Freud used to keep a pen and paper at his bedside to record his dreams. The unconscious mind unleashes clandestine thoughts, which then evaporate for all eternity or else they are reclassified and confined once again to that place of seclusion, to be revealed in cinematic elegance in another time and space.


What do you dream of, My Love? And on awakening do you discard that other life, concentrating instead on the practicalities of the day ahead? Or do you savour those night-time escapades and grasp on to threads of possibilities? Struggling to recollect fading fragments, does a sense of peace stroke your stirring body or do demons embed themselves into your wakefulness?


I have heard it said that, during our formative years, that time when the world seems so mystifying and the mind intangible, visions of the night come vividly but it is not until we have had a chance to expand our knowledge of the world that we realise fully the power of such visitations. Then, in retrospect, we are more equipped to interpret them and analyse our psychoses as they once were and, for some, continue to be.


Can you still recollect your dreams of youth? And have you decoded these or is your mind strong in its denial of them? Do parts of your history remain unmanaged, not dealt with, or can you in all sincerity comfort yourself with the surety that nothing remains unsolved? Along with all those decisions we have made in our lives, there are roads we’ve never travelled, places we’ve never dared to go, ideas that have screamed out to us in our slumber but which we failed to acknowledge or refused to grasp.


Some people can no longer dream. Ginny told me that from the very day she knew about Thom, her dreams left her forever. She was not haunted by the ghost of him, nor could she evoke his spirit into those hours of darkness: nothing. But he does come to her, I’m sure of this, because why else would she be cloaked in an inexplicable tranquillity each morning as the alarm clock bullies her to rise from her bed and see to the twins, her beautiful boys? Thom’s beautiful boys, who are thriving, despite his absence. But I’m sorry, My Love, you don’t want to be reminded of death. It is all around you, a breathing truth, an inescapable energy, an unseen figure. That is our strongest bond and nothing is deeper. It is fathomless. This truth is not a dream.

…..

But are any of your dreams are so delicious that, on awakening, you wish to shut out the light in an effort to re-enter that fantasy world of your own making, so you squeeze your eyes tight, hoping to hold onto those rare and precious images for a moment longer and so delaying the inevitable danger of life? Where do you go to for salvation? Who leads you there? Are you surrounded by those you love today or do callers from the past remind you of who has gone before, helping you to build this person you have become? Are tenses confused: an old acquaintance in a recent location or a new recruit in your childhood playground? Do you witness people chatting who would never normally meet? Are settings muddled? Those fierce and impenetrable foreign mountains juxtaposed with the familiar rolling hills of your parents’ village?


Are joyful trances a gift from the Cosmos, a custom-made offering from some other-worldly realm? Or are they nothing more than self-constructed happy feelings? Does the rational being in you disregard dreams as sleeping thoughts with little connection to the real world or does that Romantic in you entertain them with abandon?


I’m sitting up in bed, the lap top resting atop my lap, and it’s late. I can hear a dog: it is his baying, I’m convinced, that tiptoes into my semi-consciousness mind, stalking me with his low plaintive voice. I dream of that sound but I can never then fix it to any living creature because there is only me, wrapped in the sarong you presented me with after your first trip of our marriage. You were away for just six weeks, a wrench nonetheless for that new bride; the woman who had found her Hero but he had escaped her, to return with altered eyes and strong arms and a love as fierce as any she’d ever known. I remain upright, an ornament draped in the finest material, aware of a pining here in our home but unable to locate the source. It seems to be within me but the noise is not of me. I awaken to an exterior silence and an inner disturbance. I shake myself down and distract myself with a bedside novel but I can find no solace and I succumb to sleep once more.


It is during those moments between the alarm sounding and my acceptance of the new day that the nightmares come and go: nightmares that are overpowered in an instant by a spiritual other. At first, I see a cliff and a figure walking perilously close to the edge. It’s twilight. I shout to warn that familiar shape of the impending danger. I am mute. I run towards the scene in front of me but the distance widens and I am powerless. I look away for a moment and when I refocus, both the figure and the cliff have disappeared. I pull myself to sit cross-legged and I look up at the emerging stars. Into infinity. And a serenity, a wave of inevitability, spreads magically from my toes to the crown of my head with a yogic force. I am alive.


And I love you.

 


By Dr Reba
                                                                                         

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

High Dive

The replies some of our Unfoldlings gave to the blog post Art for Art's Sake may have faded into memory.  But here are those paintings you hold closest to your heart, about to zing back to life:











Monday, 7 June 2010

Prejudice



Prejudice could be seen to be a matter of perception.  It's sometimes used, often unwittingly, as a moral compass, an inner guide to how we would rather or rather not not live our lives.  Prejudice may be a fear of the unknown or a mistrust of those things we do not understand.

It can be overt, a spoken or written phrase than cannot be revoked. 

It is probaly more usually hidden.  You didn't get invited to that gathering because of something that's beyond your immediate control.  You were pipped to the post in that job interview because your face didn't really fit.  In such cases, how would we know that we had ever experienced prejudice?  We may not want to address such issues as they arise, loathe to cultivate a sense of victimhood.  I simply wasn't asked to the party because they don't like me, I didn't get the job because someone else was more qualified.

Have you experienced prejudice?  Did you understand why? What emotions did it evoke in you? Did you re-evalute yourself, your situation or the person expressing the prejudice? 

Have you ever been prejudiced against someone else for reasons you can or can't explain?

Friday, 26 February 2010

Sick Bed

The Sick Bed by H. Lessing

How do you feel when you're confined to bed by illness or incapacity?  Do you thank goodness for the rest or does guilt eat into you, thinking of all those chores that you "should" be doing?  Do you ever get feelings of powerlessness or frustration?

How do you pass the hours from your sick bed?  Sleeping, reading, watching TV, speaking on the phone, masturbating, eating?  Do you get lonely?

Have you ever been incapitated for any length of time?  If so, how did such an experience differ from that of a shorter illness?

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Memory

As children, my cousin J and I were always the 'naughty ones' and slightly older than our brothers, who we used to torment with practical jokes and what we thought were clever mindgames.

One of the stories that my Auntie and Mother take great glee at recounting during each and every family gathering is how J and I once painted my Uncle's car simply because we 'didn't like the colour.'  We got into big trouble and "that time when B and J painted Dad's car" is always sited as the perfect example to illustrate what little shits the two of us were back in the 1970s.

Last New Year's Eve, my little cousin T (now 40) confessed to my old Partner-in-Crime that, in fact, it was he and my own brother who had painted the Ford Consul an unsightly shade of yellow and put the blame on us: we'd had nothing whatsoever to do with it!  We must have pleaded our innocence at the time but our previous childhood pranks pointed towards us being the culprits and we have always stood guilty.

Until now!  Now, no-one mentions the incident apart from my cousin J, who, I think, wants forgiveness and/or retribution:

"The bastards even had me believing that we'd painted the car for 32 fucking years," he lamented on Boxing Day. 

Family memory had convinced us of our culpability!

What is memory? And who puts is there?  Is yours compartmentalised or is it random? How is it triggered? Do you have involuntary flashbacks or do you sit and recall events purposefully? Have you  remembered something for years that you later found out to be erroneous?  How did you discover the truth? How did you feel?

Share with us your memories....