I have recently discovered that I am, and always ever wanted to be only, a writer. Now that I have shaken-off being a full-time teacher – much like realising that I am not a giant insect – I find I can give more time to the form-at of my work.
I am old and have three full-grown adults as children – they are as challenging to each of my presumptions of them as I now realise I had. I have been married for 38 years and have been teaching for more than a quarter of a century. I started writing when I was 16 and have been pretending to be a Buddhist for about 40 years.
All of these experiences have taught me to keep my naïveté close (easy) to the ground (that I step on – much, much harder).
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I think I am finding that my writing is my autobiography without me fully realising or intending it (what else could it be about?). More, I find that my writing creates my life; not ex nihilo – that would be impossibly omnipotent – but that it is a re-breathing (contemporary and historical, objective and subjective) that makes life come to life (the appearence of some reds, some odd yellows, some draped greens in ‘Pleasantville‘). My writing anchors in the outer world but I am realising (like dry rot) that the outer world is the mind – my mind. So writing is the outer world in my mind – my outer world. But then when you read my writing (and thank you for doing so – even if you don’t like it you still had to react to reading it) an alchemy will take place: my (outer) world and your (inner) reading will recognise each other, maybe shake hands, they might even hold a conversation. So my writing is everything that is: in and about me and me in my world and your life. Which sounds a bit creepy and needy, but it is not you personally so much as you wholly: me in my world (sounding more and more tautological) informing you and your world like Venn diagrams – like the universe expanding.
The collection of my writing in this blog is like a huge, messy mandala. Mandalas are maps of the world of the mind with which to find the center. In reflecting on the mind with my world I am wanderingly finding my way to a centre which ever widens and expands as I get near to it. I am finding that the center is the journey to the circumference. It is wonderful to have found a way to publish in the ‘outer’ world which is almost as easy and natural as breathing (which makes the internet like air, I suppose). Having scribbled and sketched, scattered and cast all over the ground, for so many years it is gratifying to find a medium (posting) which similarly haphazardly presents them in a nice tidy stack. But, cunning part about all this, there are tags and categories which suggest themes and patterns (fibres and ligaments), and then also pages which could become anatomy charts! Or maps!!! You could surf the tags or follow the map! Across the globe! The more you find the horizon (a center – my world, ‘how do you do’) the more you’ll travel in your world which isn’t ‘ours’ anymore! I am reminded of what Einstein is reported to have said, that if you could see infinitely in a straight line you would see the back of your own head. I would quip that if you could read infinitely (not everything) you would think your own thoughts. And in thinking your own thoughts you would find your own mind. But in finding your own mind you would also find that it isn’t just yours. As you had thought. Hey ho.
arthritic and calcified
from half a century
of uneasy seeing
I was born within the sound of Bow Bells in Bethnal Green Hospital, SE London in 1959. The years I have lived since have been vague but unfolding. In 1961 my brother was born, in 1962 my grandmother lost her husband, in 1963 we all moved into a house on Eglinton Hill. When I was eight my father just left the family and left my mother and grandmother to bring us up. In 1971 we moved to a smaller house in Genesta Road and later that year I started my life at the Roan School for Boys on Blackheath. From 1967 I read comics starting a suspicion that I was Batman operating covertly as an eight year old boy; but one day … From 1972 I also listened to music and from 1974 I started looking at film seriously. Around 1975 my reading spread through Salinger, history, art, Gide and religions. I did History, French, Art and Maths for A-level and got C, D, E and a U respectively for my troubles. In 1979 I went to Lancaster University to explore a Religious Studies degree and my future life, and soon made contact with my first spiritual teacher. I got married in 1981 and graduated in 1982. We lived for a while in Southsea and then moved to Conishead Priory, a Buddhist college in Cumbria. Our first child was born in 1984 and another in 1987. In 1987 I completed a PGCE teaching Religious Studies and obtained a post starting that academic year and have continued to work there ever since. In 1989 our daughter was born days after my grandmother died. My mother died in 1999. Most of my creative energy has been spent in being a Husband, a Parent and a Teacher during these years but I have continued reading and writing in between and have latterly stopped messing around with religious practice long enough to actually sit. Still. And Properly. Eventually. All the while living ghost-like in an ever-more mistifying (sic) society trying to keep hold of my ‘f-a-c-u-l-t-i-e-s‘. And then I started publishing. In 2016 I ground to a complete and utter retirement because I could no longer hear my own voice hollering with no echo in the mist-deep walls.
I am finding
that my value
seems to be in
being here rather than
what I put out so
here I am