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This month HAS to be some kind of first step in making changes. The changes which I feel need to happen, yet seem to be so difficult to get started. In the past , there have been many changes, which seemed to come about through first having this idea of the need for it, then, if I took some active steps towards it, change happened.... Like yesterday, a small example: I wanted to get a certain book, searched Amazon for it, then when I went shopping to the local market, on a secondhand bookstall was this very book waiting for me.
Windy, sunny, sitting by my open window. Have earplugs in to quell the constant chatter from the downstairs neighbour, who is as usual sitting under my open window with her visitors; their voices mixing with her raucous foghorn tones. I'm remembering Australia during my childhood; the seven years we lived in that faraway country. The first place was a small apartment, on the ground floor sculpted out of a large family house; it had a vast paddock and an untended wild garden, a great place for children to play. Ten years old, I learnt English by osmosis, playing with friends.
Thinking about all the places that were my home since childhood. Interesting how you can remember even the layout of a flat you lived in as a child, yet not much of some other facts. They say that it is all there though, but buried deep in the files your memory. Some people's memory gets jogged by certain smells. Even though I have a strong sense of smell, and I love perfume, I can't think of any memory that is awakened by any particular smell. I suppose I am more visual, as photographs of people and landscapes transport me back.
So I went to the dentist yesterday, intending to discuss this tooth extraction, which was planned for next week. The tooth, what's left of it, was in shatters anyway, my lower right mouth felt like a bomb site and I'd been eating and chewing on the left side last week, since the tooth broke. It's interesting how the tongue gets used to its environment, the mouth, and after that week of Tongue feeling somewhat distressed, it was getting kind of used to avoiding the jagged mess on that side. Yesterday, the dentist extracted it and now there is peaceful pain.
Yesterday I wrote about pain. And it got deleted somehow. Today I don't want to write about it , but my tooth site is aching and my face is swollen. Emotional pain is far worse than physical pain. When you know the pain is caused by healing,or in childbirth, the pain is creative. The pain of grief is far worse than any pain related to one's body. I have often thought that I would bear any kind of physical pain, if it could be traded for her miraculous return to life. But that's not how the universe works, it seems.
I remember vividly being 10 years old. We were in Paris, passing through, living in a hotel on the Rue de Maubeuge. We were there for a few months, or weeks, I can't remember how long, but we seemed to be there a long time, and I liked being there. Walking along a busy boulevarde, passing beautiful shops and feeling this was a significant part of my life, I played a mind game with myself and thought: "I'm ten years old now, and when I'm 24 I'll be really grown-up. Where I shall be, and how will I be?"
Now it seems to me that 24 years old was indeed grown up, but not as grown up as I am now. I was single and seemed to attract men very easily, without really trying. I vaguely remember thinking I had not yet met anyone I considered suitable for a marriage partner. If such a person existed, I hadn't met him. Living with my widowed mother, I was teaching in a Junior High School and spending most of my weekends in Greenwich Village. I guess I had not yet truly fallen in love, though I had occasional infatuations of course.
It seems so easy to write about my life like a series of dates and corresponding activities. When I read a good novel, I realize that the writer is telling a story as much from the inside of characters as from the outside happenings in which they are taking part. The interaction between the characters is what creates most of the drama in any good story. So if I were to write a novel about my life, I would have to delve deeply into assessing my own as well as others' emotional and spiritual development and weave it into narrative.
Certain events in New York, partly fate and partly my own naivete catapulted me into making a journey. I was pulled towards Spain, and knew I had to go there without delay. I heard about Yugoslav freighters, which carried passengers, and were reasonably priced. I bought a passage on one leaving New York in late August, arriving in Tangiers, the beginning of September. The boat trip was an unexpected adventure, it took ten days and I made friends among the young group of passengers. Though in those days we neglected keeping in touch. There were no mobile phones or internet.
I suppose I could start writing the novel from that time he asked me if I spoke English. It could be a good beginning for fiction. It was most certainly a beginning. I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had said: "No, I don't speak any English!", and turned my back on him. But there is no way that I could have done that. He was magnetic, and it was a fated meeting, the timing of it was so precise, the co-incidence so finely tuned, that I have always known it was synchronized by destiny.
Having moved to a table outside Pedro's bar, I remember being mesmerized by him. I can't remember what we talked about, but I do remember being mesmerized. When he suggested we take a walk along the beach, I agreed readily. I can picture the scene as if in a film. The moonlit sandy shore cooled by the evening breeze, the beach chairs stacked up, the sunburnt tourists disappeared into their hotels or still in late night bars. Two people walking along that Spanish beach, telling each other their stories and making a connection which was the beginning of another story.
I'm getting my hair cut today. But I don't really want it cut, just layered and only by Tony, who seems one of the few intelligent and expert hairdressers who understand what I want with my hair. I have a realistic view of my appearance, and have a keen sense of design, so I know exactly what I need for shape of cut, and I don't want to have a short style either. Amazing how some hairdressers just don't have what it takes to cut hair like you want it. Then you are stuck with it until it grows back.
Breakfast is an important part of the day. You are breaking the fast of the night, and your sleep time. I find that I am not hungry for food when I first wake up, but I crave fresh air. I drink warm water with lemon juice, which seems to clear the digestive system and hydrates it. After several glasses, I often eat a few prunes, which provide a little sugar to the blood stream. I peel a banana next, and saviour the taste. Then I should go for walk outdoors, and work up an appetite for my welcoming porridge oats.
She saw that the elegant white envelope was addressed to her. On the back, it said that it was from the Deputy Prime Minister. She read the typewritten words of the letter, a personal message to her and in reply to what she had emailed him weeks ago, to his website contact. In a way, she was surprised to get a reply from him at all. But considering the subject matter of her email to him, it was quite a touching and personal response. Indeed, he remembered the school trip he and J. had been on so many years ago.
Silence has become so essential to her. She is still amazed at how most people seem to be terrified of not having some kind of background noise or music or chatter or traffic roar or whatever noise they need to hear, to prove to them that they are essentially alive. In a supermarket there is piped music, in a hairdresser there is pop or heavy metal, on the streets the cars, buses, exhaust fumes and honkings, the continuous hustle and bustle of speeding humanity which cannot abide quiet reflection. On a sunny day, the park is like a human zoo.
Words can influence our lives so much. But our body language says so much more. A hug from a friend, a really strong hug or a kiss on your cheeks, which is meant as love, not just a fashionable gesture. And when your cat comes and rubs against you, that is an embrace. We all want to be loved. but loving is even more important. That is why I can't eat meat. I love the little lambs which I see in fields, so how can I eat one of these, killed and and roasted, even though it might taste delicious?
Numbers. Dates. What they stand for is very personal. 1993. The year which turned my life upside down. As if the book of life was snatched and burnt almost to cinders. Yet, some of the pages are still readable, and I am working on telling the story of the memories that book contained. 1965 was a year of great joy and so was 1977. 1963 was exciting and 1964 brought big changes. The years of 2000 have been bland. They have glided by and some were bumpy and some were smooth but they have not been in technicolour since 1993.
I grouted the space between the tiles of my kitchen sink yesterday. I found a tube of grout I had bought recently. It was still quite usable, although I had to cut it open at the bottom, as the paste did not squeeze through the proper small hole. First I had to scrape away the mouldy bits of the old grouting, which was a messy job, and then fill the spaces with the new white, clean grouting paste. The phone rang when I was in the middle of this absorbing task, and I had to forego a friend's sociable chat.
Why is it that doing some simple things gets procrastinated. "You need a certain type of energy to do paperwork." Yet, you know that it is very important to fill out this form; a simple task which has been hanging over you for days and weeks. Ok, so you had an excuse when you were sick, and feeling not up to doing any paperwork at all, and then you had a tooth out and had weeks of ensuing discomfort after that, and now you have been cleaning the house and getting ready for a guest. But, listen!! No more excuses!!!
Looking out my window, I see roses. In my neighbour's garden, there are some pink roses. My maternal grandmother's name was Rose. My middle name is Rose. Nobody calls me Rose, I am known by another name. Yesterday, I went to post letters and next to the post office was a stall with some colourful straw hats. So, feeling virtuous for having finally posted the letters, I tried on a hat. It looked completely ridiculous on me, so I quickly took it off. Then I spotted some frilly jackets, with roses, and having tried one on, I extravagantly bought one.
Have to store stuff away now that it's settled that a friend is going to housesit for me in the summer. I just hope the cats won't miss me. They are very psychic and seem to be aware that something is going to be changing in their home environment. Just the way one of them looked at me last night; her eyes seemed to be expressing a certain feeling of melancholy, like a child would look at you, when you tell him that his mummy will have to go away for a while. It feels, in a way, like abandonment.
Isn't it amazing, how when you can't think of what to write here, if you just start doing it by typing any words that come into your mind, it creates a momentum that sweeps ideas into your consciousness, which you can then develop into 100 words quite easily. This morning was very windy, and after giving her a lift to the tube station, I went for a short brisk walk which certainly cleared the cobwebs from my head. It is so difficult to be sociable before my coffee, and I think I must have seemed like a zombie this morning.
So my housesitter does not find my kitchen and bathroom modern enough to accomodate her for the summer months. Well, that's fine and to be honest, I was quite relieved to get her email with her comments, as somehow we did not really click on personal meeting, as I had thought we might. Although I cleaned and scrubbed and grouted, the lack of some modern appliances and my cats roaming around freely were too much for her. She is used to staying in five star hotels, her expenses paid by her corporate employers. Obviously, my place must seem a dump.
So easy to fall behind. If you kept up with all the important chores you should be doing each day, you might be classified as very efficient. But getting sidetracked is so much fun really, like skiving off school, or just doing things on the spur of the moment. Schedules are important in some areas of life and getting your work and your plans organized is also useful, but then friends and other people's schedules enter the picture and you have to adjust, and rearrange your own agenda. Synchronizing your life with other people's lives is an art in itself.
Twenty five. That number brings to mind the age I got married. No, it was really twenty six. Twenty five was when we met. J was twenty five when she came back from Taiwan. D. was twenty five when he was with M. Twenty five is a good age. It is a time when you think you might be getting old, but you really and truly are still very young. But I don't feel much older than twenty five even now, though I'm older by numbers. I read a fascinating novel recently, in which the writer conveys this so well.
I'm reading a book by an author I have just discovered. Her technique is amazing, in that she writes in the present, the past, skipping in time here and there, and yet the story continues in a way that is possible to follow, and the characters build up their reality and their personalities in what seems like a very natural way. As if you'd known them for years, as if you'd known them like your childhood friends. This way of writing a novel must be much harder than it looks at first glance, structuring the plot must be quite complex.
I'm having a lazy day. Reading a book just picked at random off my shelf. It is about prana, which is the energy that is invisible but very much the driving force in all living creatures. We get it from breathing the air, from the earth, from food, from our mental state. Try walking in a park, in the fresh air and on the grass as against the asphalt of a path. You can feel the difference in the way your feet are absorbing the energy/prana from the earth. Be aware and focus on breathing in prana. It's great!
Yesterday, Stephanie came to see me. She now lives in the USA and is married to a man she loves and has a little daughter she adores. Her mother still lives in England, and they see each other once a year. Either her mother travels to the USA to see her and her grandaughter, or Stephanie and her little girl visit the mother in England. But the mother has told me that she misses her daughter and has had to do a lot of disciplined thought processing, to convince herself that she is not unhappy about this way of life.
Immersing oneself into a novel is dangerous. I've just now climbed out of it, and realized most of the day is gone, and I have not even had lunch or done any of what I had planned to do. I must admit the story was well written and about some big issues, which the characters in the novel had to untangle and somehow sort themselves out of the emotional big-dipper ride they were on, most of it of their own making of course and I guess the author must have experienced some of these herself, to be so engrossing.
I am going to finish this month of May's batch and then I am going to have a rest from this exercise. I should be writing a novel, or rather make some structural plans for it. The things I have lived through in my life could be the stuff of several novels, and, as they say, life is stranger than fiction. I could not write it as an autobiography, as I think a lot of it is so personal that I would not want it to be made public, but if I wrote it into the guise of a novel....
I feel my time is up on this site. It has been a wonderful experience. I feel like I know some of the people on here. It makes me aware of how sensitive most people are, and how it is so important to express what we feel. I saw a fascinating documentary on TV yesterday, it was about Thailand. It followed the daily life of a Bangkok street vendor, selling cooked insects. They are bought and eaten as delicacies by the local people. I found this quite disturbing, but then reminded myself that humanity is varied and ways are diverse.
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