Perfectly formed

I have an affection for the small and the insignificant. I value things which do not demand attention. I am very happy with the idea that humanity is dwarfed by the cosmos, and feel little need to make my mark on the world. Maybe I draw the line at nematodes and mites, but this is more an aesthetic preference. I admire their fitness for their environment, the intricacy of their workings and the way they occupy their niches in the amazing thing which is life. Lichens are as perfect in their operation as blue whales.

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White-lipped snail, Cepeaea hortensis

Small things have the great advantage that one can store them away without too much trouble; one’s living space remains much the same if one shares it with a snail shell or a button. A myriad of tiny drawings will not fill a whole shelf of sketchbooks. Many people might miss a leaf on the pavement or a crab-spider in a flower, but I find joy in these things which on good days is certainly enough. On the other hand, large things often appal me especially when they are man-made – their impact can be almost frightening. A low-flying aeroplane, a pylon, a skyscraper. You can’t turn a blind eye to things like that. What some might admire as a marvellous human creations I might see as hubris. Huge things in nature certainly remind us of our insignificance  –  crashing surf, a redwood tree, a mountain.

Sometimes the large is too large to appreciate. All the more amazing that craftsmen in Roman times could create an image with hundreds and thousands of tiny tesserae. A kind of gestalt – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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V&A

Sometimes it seems that a word or even a letter can say as much as a lengthy book. Thomas Berwick’s little ‘tailpieces’ can say as much in a humorous way as a gigantic canvas. How can one really appreciate the 154 square metres of Tintoretto’s ‘Paradise’ with its 500 saints surrounding Christ and Mary? I find it rather annoying that the greater fame an artist achieves, the bigger their work becomes. They are now utterly dependent on others to cast the sculpture or fill in the backgrounds or the crowds. It must be a completely different task to supervise enormous creation than to be entirely responsible for one’s early works. Is this like the gigantism which is said to afflict an animal species when the line is nearing extinction?

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Moss at sunset

Maybe to consider oneself insignificant, and to produce a few small things, but beautiful, might be seen as false humility. Rather that than cover the earth with an explosion of enormity.

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A portion of the loveliness
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Ups and downs

Sometimes of a morning I feel that things are going well. This is an unusual state for me. Often I feel neutral, and often things can seem pretty dark. As the day goes by, the mood inevitably changes for better or worse. Sometimes I think it is the Welsh weather in me. So what conjunctions in my sky?

I often wonder whether I ‘should’ read accounts of madness, but they are of absorbing interest to me, and often uplifting, even when tragic. Thus such reading reflects life itself. Hastening to choose something at the library for my weekly London visit (this needs to be engaging but not demanding) I set upon ‘An unquiet mind: a memoir of moods and madness’ written by Kay Redfield Jamison, of whom I have long been aware. It was first published nearly twenty years ago by this American clinical psychologist with first-hand experience of manic-depressive illness. Well, it was a dramatic book. I could hardly conceive of how she came through and gained acceptance for herself in practice, and happiness in her life. She also writes from the U.S. psychiatric perspective, which is strongly ‘medical’ in tendency, though she does also allow that talking therapy gave her courage and a way to integrate the powerful experience of mental illness into her life. She demonstrates the most destructive end of a spectrum which in a milder way affects us all, yet it is necessary for me to continue to hold in mind the different ways to understand human nature and nurture, generate meaning, demonstrate acceptance of and empathy with others and seek my own meaning – something I have found singularly hard to do.

The previous week we visited Chichester, to escape flag-waving of the Queen’s tea-party. At the Pallant House art gallery was the annual ‘Outside In’ exhibition of ‘extraordinary’ work produced by artists excluded by the conventional art world. Nowadays it must be admitted that they get a lot of wallspace, one way and another. Angus MacPhee was a Hebridean islander who was admitted to residential care in Craig Dunain Hospital in Inverness during WW2. After his day’s work on the hospital farm, he used his native skills to weave ropes and clothing from grasses and wildflowers; objects such as he remembered holding together the precarious life on the harsh islands of his birth. His sister spoke of him very touchingly in her soft voice – he was invalided out of the army, he wasn’t ‘coping’ and they ‘though it was for the best’. He spent maybe 50 years in hospital, without speaking, before coming home a year before his death. He didn’t show any sign that he knew he was a person of interest to art therapist Joyce Laing but he did once make her a hat, which was saved from the bonfires which consumed most of Angus’s work, left hanging in trees in the hospital grounds.

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extraordinary art

The artists in the Pallant House exhibition fell into three groups, it seemed to me. They demonstrated intersections of degrees of disability and talent, which challenge the definition of ‘Art’. The broadest definition of disability would include poverty, poor education and naivete, exclusion by belonging to a minority community, learning disability and physical and mental handicap. There’s a political correctness to ‘inclusion’ which can become problematic. But some of the individuals exhibited great ability on a technical and aesthetic level, whereas others were purely and simply compulsive makers of …  stuff of varying interest and appeal. Making has many purposes in life; the activity is rightly considered therapeutic, an expression of humanity. A 2013 exhibition of ‘outsider art’ at the Wellcome Collection used the word ‘Souzou’ of such a generative force. There is no direct translation to English, but it can indicate both creation and imagination in Japanese. New ideas are born and take shape in the world.

My first encounter with ‘outsider art’ was while living in Switzerland. The main body of the collections of Jean Dubuffet reside in the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne. This place became a destination for many outings, and maybe influenced my decision to train as a psychiatric nurse. Sadly, art doesn’t have that much to do with 21st century mental health care, with honourable exception of institutions such as the SLaM Bethlem/Maudsley Hospital who run excellent projects, a gallery and museum. Funding, staffing, time seem not to permit.

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time

Attending a bank annual meeting may not sound like an inspirational activity, but among other customers of Triodos UK is Age Exchange, founded in 1983 to bring ‘reminiscence and intergenerational arts’ to people suffering from dementia and other difficulties. Their cafe, library and education space is right on the high street in Blackheath, and I’m planning a visit soon. (Triodos supports enterprises which share the bank’s unusual (for banking) values of building on social, environmental and cultural capital.)

While we’re on the subject of cafes, this morning saw the second ‘Transition Coffee’, a new daytime meeting for members of our town’s struggling environmental group. We run a bookstall at the Farmer’s market to raise funds and meet up for drinks one evening  a month. The group has been quiet for some time, after several key members moved away from the area, and these social events allow the remaining members to gather their resources and decide what next. Last month a new friend mentioned the work of environmental campaigner and therapist Sophy Banks who founded the Totnes Transition Heart and Soul group, and has worked on the idea of ‘inner transition’ as a way of avoiding the condition so common among activists and vocational workers, undervalued as they are, yet completely dedicated to one or many deeply humanitarian causes. Our insights into the future are frightening, and do not seem to be appreciated by society at large. Each minuscule element of progress is so dearly bought. It’s not a wonder many cannot face the commitment of this work, and bury themselves in other (it must be said, equally valid and more enjoyable) priorities. We ‘burn out’. So gathering all these strands together, I again forge the intention to affirm my long-held values, to foster my community, to enjoy myself in ways which are deeply meaningful to me, and once again pick up the banner of activism.

Those curious precipitates

Henry James characterised  the unpredictable outcomes of friendship between two people (and how much more curious among a group of people) as quasi-chemical – explosive, expanding, volatile gases or dispersible obscuring powders. He was a subtle operator himself, secretive in his relationships (especially with women when young) and becoming increasingly reclusive as his dread of being known and possibly judged by society increased with age. He was also utterly dedicated to his art of writing, and not above exploiting his friends’ willingness to share themselves with him, and shunning them when they needed his support. One biography has it (Henry James: The Imagination of Genius, A Biography by Fred Kaplan) that his capacity for true friendship and also sexual love of any kind was ruined by his capricious and domineering parents. Another (Henry James: His Women and His Art by Lyndall Gordon) that he almost ruthlessly used the understandings of women of his acquaintance to build his extraordinarily touching females characters within their stifling conventional societies in Europe at the turn of the last century. A third affirms this view, and also focuses on forbidden male passions (The Master by Colm Toibin). Each author has doubtless committed themselves to a particular perspective, and all cast light on the complexity of the case. But in life outside books, everything is more nebulous, time generates change, chance acts upon the chemistry and living elements exert their own unique understandings.

A.C. Grayling has written a masterly account of the varieties of the experience of friendship (Friendship : Vices and Virtues) which has been a consolation to me as I lose touch with friends, they die, they find themselves in irresistible circumstances and make choices which seem uncharacteristic. But the beauty of a friendship is that is can remake itself, given thought, time and acceptance. May be any apparent change or loss can be borne if there have been truly shared values and an underlying sympathy. Humanity requires that we accept that nobody can be known completely, and that we do not even completely know ourselves, until we encounter the ‘others’, and accept the validity of their experience.

I have often been brought up short, even many years later, by a fresh realisation of meaning in something said by a friend. Statement: ‘Oh, it must be so simple not to be married.’ Correction: ‘There are other complications.’  Statement: ‘I always presumed that two men might understand one another better.’ Correction: ‘Which two men? All are different’. I am almost shamed by the recollection of so much ignorance! Conversely, a friend may say something which reveals their unknowing of my own mental state. Statement: ‘You were confused.’ Correction: ‘I was very clear but our use of language is different, and I am kind enough not to hurt your feelings’. Statement: ‘You want me’ Correction ‘I am feeling fear or distaste, not lust!’ So we negotiate our lives, covertly and overtly. Where there are great self-evident differences of gender, nationality or class, or more subtle nuances of social understanding, how much more can we be mistaken in someone we like, and feel we know. Some blessed souls may have no space between their intent and their expression, but I believe those are few and far between.

profoundly parenthetical
language and meaning

Maybe dialogue can clarify meanings between friends, but there must be non-judgment. When a friend (or more hurtfully, a family member) tells me I am wrong about something, it is a denial of my experience; the process of my life. I may understand myself to be wrong in time, but I must come there myself. More likely, some third position will prevail. Some believe that to like, one must be alike.  In such a case, I believe a relationship can be saved by non-discussion in certain areas. Leave something in peace until insight prevails. We are not only creatures of reason; emotions can prevent us from thinking or expressing clearly things which may be of core importance to us. Compromise is essential. Some would say that if there is a significant and fundamental difference between two people, they cannot be friends, but I am not so sure. It might depend on the degree of toleration available. Grayling examines models of friendship within which one partner advises, prevents, changes the other. I would prefer to come to change on my own account, not be told by someone who only wants me to resemble and thus affirm themselves. For in difference is the Jamesian chemistry.

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Milk chocolate or plain? (‘Nicky’s Coat’)

For me an ideal friend is somewhat self-sufficient. Co-dependency seems a denial of individual responsibility and agency. Time may divide friends through differing experience and character development, and there may be insufficient remaining at depth to hold on to. In which case, let go. But don’t expect this to be easy. We become used to our longstanding constellations. And yet with even distant separation and no communication, like a star a friendship may be picked up as if it had never been severed. I am not sure what holds. Still other friendshps may simply dissolve away: maybe they were never really there. I suspect that I am somewhat needy of social contact, and sometimes I feel I need my friends more than they need me. But I only have to remember that others may have more pressing claims upon their attention. Only when resentment begins to creep in is it time to stop missing the person’s presence, and learn a little more independence.

Death begins to remove our friends  in a different way as we get older. The untimely loss of young friends can be shattering, but it can also help us to learn that the universe is not a personal place. Henry James experienced resurgence of his creative powers on the deaths of three women in his life, and there is a certain energy in the emotion of loss. One may suddenly make a decision to change, or to live differently, or one may suddenly gain an understanding of something previously obscure (like the poetry of T.S. Eliot, another man hard to know and love) I can’t believe that after death I will be reunited with loved ones. That is not a necessary part of it. But the idea of the material of a friend continuing; breath, clothing, their use of household objects; seems beautiful to me. And thoughts of past conversation, with the new understandings brought by memory and imagination, is consoling. If friends fall out, I believe they should forgive one another and move on. ‘These things happen.’ But a friendship is never completely dead, in my experience.

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Until death do us part?

The wind will listen

So now begins the deception of the word. When I read the books I love, I recognise the supreme difficulty of accurately conveying the meaning of subtle thought. The best authors seem to effortlessly convey ideas onto paper. Sometimes I achieve this, or something close to it, at other times I read back what I have written and feel I have failed utterly, and worse, I have said things I didn’t mean. In the ‘listening profession’ (psychotherapy) the practitioner’s empathy can fail too: their own bias can impose meaning which is not there. Question, question, question …

Handwriting seems to encourage fluent thought, maybe the keyboard does not. A blog must be typed at some stage, until we reach voice recognition, and I truly wonder how those who dictate manage coherence. For me, coherence is wrapped up in the process of planning, shuffling and editing towards meaning, and now only the first is hand-work.

For a long time it has seemed clear to me that every person is an unpredictable mix of their facts and their interpretations. One is a body and its emergent mind within contingent circumstances. Now I am older I can see continuities: there were forbears who were gardeners and domestic servants, anxieties can be expressed in familial ways, the spoken voice can be mistaken on the telephone. A third generation reveals this still more clearly.When I learned about the phenomenon of confirmation bias, I realised a further path to destiny: we choose our meanings from among a variety. Yet another understanding from my studies in psychology is the value of reflection as a path to knowing ourselves. This time of my life is the time when  shall know myself and change myself with the greatest self-awareness.

Suburbia is a fine place to grow up. It is full of people, within which little communities form, it shows the process of environmental change acutely, yet there is space for a child to find their own niches –  the garden, the edgelands, the youth club, the shops. Only the first two really interested me. And then there was the refuge of books to which I still retreat today. There can be a kind of anonymity in the city which is not permitted in the suburbs, still less in the countryside, where everyone knows one’s business. So maybe I should be thankful for my origins among the middling folk. Some, but never too much scrutiny. It was often the case, noted also by friends, that the post-war generation of parents did not commit themselves emotionally to their children to a very great degree. Maybe they were tender in their losses. Both before and after, maybe parenthood has seemed to demand a greater degree of supervision, one way and another.

Emotions were unwelcome in my family. Childish temper, excessive sorrow were denied, and so concealed. The occasions upon which I saw my parents distressed were few and far between. I imitated them and I think I have been seen as a controlled person and one who is made a little uncomfortable by the sight of distress in others, yet I can only suppose that, inside, they felt as I do.  Why is it that age seems to bring emotion more to the surface? is it that experience brings empathy, and we see so much pain in the world?

I have recently been reading Lyndall Gordon’s biography of T.S. Eliot, a life of pain if there ever was one. On the whole sympathetic to him, she brings out the point that how we wish to be known can maybe only be expressed in the inchoate form of poetry, if we incline to it. By many accounts a deeply unsympathetic man, and also unfortunate, both in early personal choices and in his war-scarred era. Some of his demons were entirely of his own making while also emergent from his family history and inheritance. At times he expressed hatred of both women and Jews, he seems to us pompous, elitist and astonishingly selfish though maybe in his tormented way he knew this. To the outward view, he certainly made some very self-serving decisions. Towards the end of his life he accepted that he would not be a saint, contented himself with being someone who tried to help people improve themselves and their society through belief. Maybe he did become kind when he allowed himself to accept kindness. I found myself glad he died happy, though I would have preferred him not to have sacrificed loyal friends. but maybe he had only so much energy left to spend. If I had a biographer who had access to the ‘truth’ I’d hope that her readers would accept me in the way I have more easily accepted T.S. Eliot as just another flawed and exceptional human being. I like the idea that if there were survival after death, we would understand and forgive all, the outer and the inner life of ourselves and others. But I don’t believe this, so the acceptance of oblivion is the best I hope for.

These are some moments which completely changed my understanding of the meaning of my life, and allowed me to see that every person has such a history and is therefore infinitely deserving of love and tolerance. As a child I remember only once wanting anything (it was a simple thing and easily given), which I was not allowed. Maybe this was the first experience of injustice, and a profound acceptance that one may never get what one wants (so don’t ask, and don’t show anyone that you mind). I learned young that I was easily discouraged, by things which did not catch my imagination or by criticism. I didn’t realise soon enough that I could say ‘no’. The longer I played the good girl; quiet, obliging, kind; the harder it became to break out of this role. Even now it is hard. My experience of the death of a friend showed me how emotion affects the mind profoundly (to the extent of depriving me of the desire to eat, and on the more positive side, to enable me to ‘get’ T.S. Eliot’s ‘Wasteland’). From that time I wrote more for pleasure than work. Living abroad enabled me to see how parochial a person can be, and opened my eyes both to diversity and discrimination of varying degrees of subtlety. I realised that significance of the visual in my world through photography. Through studying psychology and mental health I observed the capacity of the human mind for pathology, and its plasticity – another reason to say ‘there but for the grace …’

After making the decision not to become a psychiatric nurse, and accepting that beyond a certain age maybe some kinds of change become impossibly hard, I saw a few therapists in the name of ‘recovery’ (not counting the practice sessions were were obliged to carry out among ourselves under the guise of peer-counselling). I talked about a lot of other things as well, and I hope this led me to become a better and happier person. I don’t know, maybe I was not so good. I came to see the process of therapy as very mixed. Everything depends on the motive, the problem under discussion, most importantly the therapist and their own biases (no denying it) This led to my further understanding of the limits of empathy, and the possibility of losing oneself in the effort to ‘help’ others.  Such a project of the Self is never finished.

Passing time inevitably brings increasing age and I recognise my great good fortune in my temperament and situation. I see myself as lucky. That is not to say everything has been positive, but more that the negative can be accepted and learned from. But it is hard to lose friends through death, extraordinary events and atrophy. It is hard not to be strong in my body any more. And it is hard to be with people who think a person does not change. Yet maybe they are also right in a way. Maybe there is a core personality which does not change, while the superficial character is more labile. Why do we love people? Does that come from a core of being or superficial preferences. I imagine both these ways are possible.

Another book (‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ by Susan Cain) enabled me to accept that I am a partial ‘introvert’: while I can enjoy people I also love my own company; its freedom from expectation and its silence. And that my skills are under-appreciated by society at large, which adores action, risk and the short attention span. And a great deal of observation and study enabled me to understand that I am not a person who manifests stress in unavoidable migraines, but that I am sensitive to certain foods, and need to drink a lot of water, as well as live at a slower pace. All this is acceptable, even welcome, as my energy declines. I’m even glad of my quiet nature, since age may be so much harder for the person who prefers doing to being.

A dappled thing

Red hair and freckles seem a curse to a sensitive child, but I lived. This is the factual history of me. The obvious, external and objective facts only partly form the nature of a person. I can remember and recount my history quite simply, but that is not all there is to it. The internal and subjective, the light and shade, come in my next entry.

Child of the 1950s, child of older parents, clever, plain, I went to a local Montessori nursery which must have had an unusually liberal approach to the education of infants at the time (though it didn’t look much like Montessori method I encountered later). The little boys and girls were prepared for entry to private schools if they were judged to have the necessary brains. I have so many memories of this little school, from the head teacher’s  grand-daughter with a hole in her heart and blue lips to the sad puppets we could take home for the evening if we had been good. Writing was learned by joining dots; my geometric patterns did not meet the approval of the second grade teacher. One day I had to stay for lunch and it was mince and butter beans which I could not eat. 3rd and 4th grade girls shared a room, where there were horse chestnut sticky buds on the teacher’s desk. My interest in the natural world was evident from the beginning, and I left the school for my private junior and secondary school with a little prize, ‘The Dumpy Book of World Nature’ which I still cherish.

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darling book

My parents were religious, a stance which unsurprisingly I accepted initially, but then rejected when I came fully to an age of reason. Maybe not all children with such a history would be as bothered by it as I was, but my struggles later became rather complicated, and crossed the boundary into an extreme complexity of meaning. This will have to be unpacked at a later stage of my journey. I believe my parents were kind and good, but their generation had ways of being, and were lacking in ways which have been explored all too fully by the next generation. I loved them, even admired them, considering the travails of their lives; I don’t blame them, but there’s been some working out to do, enough for a lifetime. So this too must wait for its exploration.

To an external view, my childhood was privileged and reasonably happy. My mother was a good cook, and I learned a lot in an informal way, which was a good foundation for future culinary exploits. Although I wasn’t happy at my girls’ school, and starting to struggle and fail in every subject except biology, I got the results I needed to go to university. I managed to defer entry for a year, another  astonishing act of rebellion,  and had a delightful time as a student gardener at the Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley. Here I met people I could never have imagined, including boys.

Durham University when I arrived there in 1975 was another liberation. I loved Botany, a degree subject which no longer exists. It is a lasting regret that I had unreasonable aspirations to be something other than a career botanist, but I say that with hindsight. The life of plants has come to be the greatest interest in my life.

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my precious

After two less happy years moving into the domain of design at Sheffield, I had my Masters degree and a job I would come to hate, in a busy landscape architecture practice in London. I also married during this time, and maybe it was a face-saving exit from the profession when my daughter was born, consolidated with my two sons in rapid succession.

Family life followed a conventional path. I actually liked my children and I hope they could say that they were happy despite the occasional blip which I recall with mortification and shame, and I hope more accurately then they do. We had messy days in the kitchen, muddy days leaning over pigsty walls, bonfires and picnics, and the cheapest camping holidays available, on the basis that any experience can transform a child’s understandings, and a parent is not going to know which will be formative, or lead to future happiness. They weren’t completely free, but I hope freer in their minds than either their father or I had been.

Later in the children’s schooldays we took a chance to live abroad for a short while. Switzerland was a lovely time of excitement and new experience for the most part. Like so many of my experiences, maybe every experience any person can have, living in Switzerland was composed of almost violent juxtapositions of light and darkness. The summer sun is brilliant and hot, perhaps too much so for an English shade plant such as I. But the society has another side, and winter can be bleak. I had time on my hands, and it was a time for reflection and integration. It was also a time when I began to take photographs, and to explore the incipient and ambiguous world of social media.

lavaux lake light
light  on Lac Leman

I returned to live in England again after three years in Switzerland. For pragmatic reasons, the family was now apart, living in different countries and pursuing different objectives. I was aiming to begin another career (studying to return to work in the field of mental health), while also caring for my aging mother and also keeping an eye on the eldest and youngest child, while my husband oversaw the final stage of the middle child’s secondary education. In the end, I decided that I was not cut out to be a mental health nurse. The theory was fascinating, the clients (as they were then termed, rather than patients, though they did mostly have the patience of saints) seemed to warm to me, but the paperwork, the chaos of the NHS at the time (sadly it has continued so to this day) and the prospect of ‘watching my back’ seemed, in the final analysis, too frightening and worrying to contemplate. I hold a position almost midway between regret and relief at this decision.

Most recently, I took a succession of menial jobs to while  away the daytimes and give me some social contact and minimal income, while I continued to care for my mother and indulge my love of my family, friends and home, my garden, my ‘making’  and my books.

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making …

My mother died and my daughter became pregnant within three months. I already knew that in my adult life  I had more played a succession of roles than become myself, and now I take this task in hand, with a greater sense of clarity than I expected.

Why write a blog?

I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I know I’m a procrastinator. But I have also been heard to say ‘writing is all there is left to do’. And then again, ‘It’s all been said before’. I love to write, and I love knowledge and ideas, especially when they can be combined in complicated yet coherent ways. Synthesis. Equally, I know that truth depends on perspective. So placing letters on a page, however virtual, becomes a rash act. Who will disagree? I’m 60 this year. There’s no need now for me to fear any person’s judgment (even of my spelling),  and better still, I know that nobody is looking. To hear me on the internet a person would have to be a very acute listener; there’s so much noise. And advertising is anathema – I’m not going to jump up and down crying ‘look at me! look at me!’. At times in my life I have tried to explain myself, but finally I know that I don’t need to, and that there is nothing worse than to try one’s best, and still be misunderstood. So what will follow is just how it seems to me.

There is an ulterior motive, but an exploration of that will have to wait a while, until I have gained confidence, made a habit of writing, and seen a body of work emerge. There is sometimes a necessity in concealment, privacy, even secrecy.

The act of writing is a pleasure to me and I am a true hedonist. I’m shy, so I am happy to be be my own and only audience, and as to speak aloud brings new meanings to poetry, I’m hoping some new meanings will emerge for me when I write. Ideas become tired from batting around in my head for so long. A friend said to me once that we seem to come to the truth repeatedly, and then forget it repeatedly. Maybe writing it will help me remember a truth.

Change is inevitable. Time moves, meaning shifts, my own reluctant bias swings around. I hope I remain open to the wealth of material in the world. We have access to ever more information, and need to find ways to sift it. Diarists often say that they recognise their former selves in past entries, and in my past of words, sometimes I have been  pleased by my own coherence. Let’s hope I can generate more of that before my cognitive powers decline. I’ve never yet been a creature of habit, but now I hope to form just a few; a pattern to make sense of the future.

My punctuation and grammar may be erratic, or better, idiosyncratic. We all have our areas of pedantry. But I intend to go with the flow and not try to be too controlling. I love the ellipsis, the question mark and the dash. My voice somehow needs that uncertainty.

Inspiration is there, all around. As words can have many meanings, so photographs can capture the visible world only imperfectly. Maybe I can find a way to use words and images together to mean more. The world of ideas is fleeting, and I have sometimes been tempted to think that just to have one a day might be enough. But isn’t a search for more personal meaning at a time when my worldly roles are loosening a most valid venture?