Alexander Averin

Friday, 7 March 2008

On Words

This blog is dedicated to Exmoor Jane.

Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack

Dear Diary,

Tears are words that the heart can’t express
Author unknown

First of all here is the promised pic of our dear Finn, he is eleven now; no he is definitely not a labrador, he's always been a bit of an overweight lurcher, M feeds him rather too well but he still races round. (Finn that is).

Apart from eating, this is another of his favourite occupations, resting by the hearth.

It was World Book Day yesterday. A storyteller came to the library and she read to a group of young children whose ages ranged from one practically new baby, several toddlers from the Toddler Group up to a few of the younger primary school children. There was much interaction with the children using the senses; it went really well and all the children were given free book vouchers as they left.

We can’t call the group Mothers and Toddlers any more as they get quite a few Dads with their pre-school children coming to the weekly meetings in the community hall. Very nice to see fathers sharing the daily hands-on parenting role.

Talking of books and children, I am reading a wonderful book at the moment. It is Blue Sky July by Nia Wynn and is the story of a mother (and a father) bringing up a child with severe cerebral palsy. I will say no more as I haven’t finished reading it and hate revealing all, I much prefer people to discover the joy of a book for themselves. All I will say is if you are a parent of a disabled child you should read it, or even if you aren’t as it is beautifully written.

I heard Blue Sky July on Radio 4, it was Book of the Week a few weeks ago read aloud by the author but I just had to read it for myself. One of my borrowers is a young teenager taking a year out before she trains as a children’s nurse; she ordered this book as she had also heard about it. I was impressed as she is obviously already demonstrating signs of an honest dedication to her future profession.

I have been thinking a lot about language recently, about how writers mix up their words and paint a palette as it were. They can create a beautiful piece of art (or not), be it a poem or a piece of prose by using just the raw material that is after all just a random selection from all the words in existence.

Words can be ’arranged’ in the lyrics of songs, in poems, diaries, letters, plays, novels, books of non-fiction, biographies, newspapers, magazines. Even graffiti. Even blogs! Words are therapy, often both for the writer and the reader and often simultaneously. How could we live without words? They soothe, they teach, they inform. I am an addict of course, I’ve always been a sauce bottle/cereal packet reader, I just can’t get enough of the things.

The spoken word of course is everywhere, we cannot escape from it sometimes, though if you are like me you probably like to, occasionally. I may blog about silence at a future date and also about meditation but even in those two states words will lurk beneath the surface as they float around inside our heads. Well they do in my case, how about you? Have you ever reached a wordless state?

Alison Krauss, When you say nothing at all.

Time for blessings today methinks, it is Friday after all.

M is feeling better, he was a bit poorly in the night. His new Hotter shoes have arrived, ordered on the Internet yesterday afternoon, how’s that for service? And they fit too! We’ve never ordered shoes online before but it was a risk that has paid off.

The sun is out although its appearance is deceptive, I took the dogs for a walk this morning and it was bitterly cold still and snow is forecast for these higher regions of Wales.

Rugby tomorrow, that is something to look forward to though I shall be pulled in two directions as Wales are playing Ireland. I have to support Ireland but I don’t want Wales to be beaten. I wouldn’t be happy with a draw either. How difficult is that? And mad? Don’t answer that.

My dear friend and hairdresser who lives down the road. She has cut my hair into a proper bob again and coloured it for me so I feel much more like me, better somehow and ‘lighter’. Funny how a hairdo or something new to wear can cheer one up isn’t it?

Daydreaming will be my special blessing today. It is one of my favourite pastimes after all but it was my Angel Card that I drew this morning telling me I must do it if I am to be inspired. Never one to argue with the angels I did a bit while I was walking round the field but then I saw the delivery man arrive (with the shoes) and the dogs were racing off to check him out so my reverie was quickly brought to an end. Perhaps I will try again later.

Finally……those especially gifted artists that I love, those authors and their paintings of words. No need to enlarge on that one.

I’d better add a poem by one of my favourite poets and then I will leave you. I have another project on the go and it involves, you’ve guessed it,

much mixing up of WORDS.


I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a colour slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
And feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Billy Collins

Bye for now,


Suffolkmum said...

That was beautiful Cait. So nice to read your blogs again! Killing me softly is one of my all time favourites and I just played it over and over. A very apt blog for dear Jane. I envy you being surrounded by books all day.

Frances said...

Cait, this is a beauty. The pictures are lovely, the resting lurcher makes me want to relax, and then ... your words, and those of others that you've shared with us.

I will carry with me all day some thoughts that arose while reading the Billy Collins poem.

Once again, many thanks.

Kaycie said...

I love "Killing Me Softly". That sounds like a wonderful book you're reading. I'll have to look for it. I hear about quite a few books on my NPR station (our national public radio). I've rarely been disappointed by a book they feature.

Your dog looks happy and relaxed. He's a lucky boy.

Have a wonderful weekend, Cait.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Another killing me softly - loved it in About a Boy . .

Words . . so important . . . but how important is grammer - it can change what you mean and strangle the words . . . or add to them.

Grammer to me is the technical side of the creativeness of words. You can learn the technical - but the creative part is a gift.

Milla said...

Oh, I had another favourite song played out, which I can't now remember (that short term memory thang, it was, after all, about 5 seconds ago ...) but I know I liked it, only it switches off the min I got in here. A bit of a relief as I like to enjoy YOUR blog and not be distracted - multi-tasker am I not. But meant to say I feel bad for reading that book from start to finish while standing in Tesco (F9 messing around happily in the photo booth) and I read the whole thing. Very moving - esp as have a friend whose son is profoundly disabled, far worse than this one, by CP.

Tom Foolery said...

I enjoy reading your blog Cait, it makes me feel relaxed. Thanks TFX

Pili pala said...

Dear Cait thank you for your beautiful blog. I love your spiritual nature.
I think I'm in need of a guardian angel angel at the moment can you help xx

KAREN said...

Finn is the same colour as Molly-dog!

We had storytime in the library too, for World Book Day - a man came in and played guitar for the children too. I'm not sure why, but they enjoyed it. Sadly some pensioners complained. They don't like story-time and want things to be quiet 'like they used to be.'

Fennie said...

Great thing is to get children reading and reading for pleasure. The pictures are so much better than television.! Lovely blog. Cait.

Exmoorjane said...

Wow and triple wow (as James would say) a blog dedicated to me - and such a wonderful blog too. So much to comment on, so much to say - your blogs always invite thought and tumble my senses. I often wonder about writers - that they love words yet crave silence. I have never found such peace as I did on a silent retreat once - a whole week of peace, no chit-chat, no pointless politeness - just thought, and reading, and painting....a book propped up at mealtimes too (sheer bliss).
The poem really struck me too (and I am usually too impatient for poetry) - it chimed deeply with what J's English teacher was saying yesterday - about how she wants him to play with words, to not be scared of them, to feel free and easy knowing you can't do anything wrong (water-skiing indeed). What I hated most about my English degree was the pinning down, the dissection.
Writing IS therapy - I have no doubt. I used to use art as therapy but have discovered, through blogging funnily enough, just how therapeutic words can be - whether written by oneself or to oneself.
Thank you for this.....and for my angel card reading (so apt) - I am holding onto the hope of Joy.

CAMILLA said...

The song I love Cait, and the pictures you have shown us beautiful. Thank you for the info on the book, my daughter has a friend who might be interested in this.

Lovely pic of Finn, and you know I adore dogs, he is one lucky boy to have you as his owner.