me

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 launched this web log on the 78th anniversary of my mother’s birth.   I didn’t realise this until after the day but derive great placement from it.

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 31 years and have been teaching for a quarter of a century.   I started writing when I was 16 and have been pretending to be a Buddhist for about 32 years.

All of these experiences have taught me to keep my naïveté close (easy) to the ground (that I step on – much, much harder).

 

[[[[[[ ~~~ ]]]]]]

 

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.

                                                                                                it is
                                                                                                where
                                                                                                I am

                                                                                      arthritic and calcified
                                                                                      from half a century
                                                                                      of uneasy seeing

So …

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.

                                                   I am finding
                                                   that my value
                                                   seems to be in
                                                being here rather than
                                                   what I put out so

                                                              here I am

the links I put on this page link to respective theme-pages on my blog.   The links that WordPress put in here will link to some advert about how to improve your brain.   Beware.

70 thoughts on “me”

  1. Oh wow. Oh wow.

    (I hope you get the reference, be careful when googlingit – if you search for the result may be offensive and distressing)

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  2. m lewis redford said:

    Well, I get it now, after I Google’d it. I hope you are well!

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  3. Very much enjoyed your witty and informative bio, almost as much as I enjoy your work! Looking forward to reading more 🙂

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  4. Thank you for your support of my Retracing Jack Kerouac blog – it will be interesting to explore your blog too. Take care J

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  5. leander42 said:

    I’ve nominated you for a Thought provoking Blog award. The rules for acceptance are here:

    http://leander42.wordpress.com/awards/

    Like

  6. That’s an interesting perspective to start from. I think you do know when you’re a writer – but it does sometimes take a long time to recognise.

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  7. Nominated you for an award… Super Sweet Blogging Award: http://bluegirlpoems.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/super-sweet-blogging-award/

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  8. glad to know you sir !

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  9. ah, there you are – I thought I recognised you

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  10. thank you very much, that’s very sweet of you

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  11. wholeheartedly agree!

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  12. Love your thought provoking description here.

    As you say, unlike just going straight to a butterfly from a caterpillar, we have to, (some of the more sideways inclined among us, so to speak I imagine) have a philosophical discussion with ourselves first about the feasibility of this ‘butterfly-ness”.

    Well, I have anyway, and stayed up late enough trying to outwit myself out of one cool debating angle right into another one, as if it ever helped. But now you “blog”. The trendy word for plain and simple writing of course, but it keeps many of us sane I suspect. Me blogging too now. And I’m grateful for you having stopped by to leave a friendly “like”!

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  13. Internet as air!!
    Now I know all about you, though not the best parts. those are a mystery.

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  14. quite so, my secret identity as the Riddler must remain hidden … d’oh

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  15. *Put’s The Riddler file in “hidden”*

    Wonders

    Riddles, air….

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  16. Hi there,
    Hope all is well with you 🙂
    I’ve given you an award of your choice over on my blog! http://shrewdbanana.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/thank-you-thank-you-thank-you/#comments
    Please click to come over anytime to claim it, and also my thanks for nominating me for the One Beautiful Blogger Award.

    Best wishes,
    Anne
    x

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  17. I really love your writing style and I will be returning to read more! This is a lovely blog, my favorite one I’ve come across in a while. 🙂

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  18. welcome; and thank you for reading … and therefore being!

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  19. Thanks for reading and ‘liking’ my post on Catcher.

    I really enjoyed your reflection on writing’s relationship to identity and reality.

    Excited for more moments of reader-writer alchemy!

    Best,

    Diana

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  20. very nice to meet you out on the literal plains … I am also involved in teaching – please have a look at:

    http://ghostteachers.wordpress.com/

    when the time is write (sic, of course) and the coffee mug is hot

    Like

  21. Yes. You are a writer. And, you sound like an interesting human being as well! Best, Kartika 🙂

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  22. Thank you, it is kind of you to say.

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  23. “But in finding your own mind you would also find that it isn’t just yours.” After reading some of your posts, it occurs to me that perhaps we are thinking some of each other’s thoughts. Thank you for the Like and the Follow, and please allow me to return the favor. I’m looking forward to reading more of “our” observations.

    Like

  24. I see from your article on Barbie that we are the same age as well … maybe we are Barbie’s mind!

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  25. Oh mercy I hope not….although there are days that my mind is just as empty!

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  26. “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.” I would say “amen!” if I were religious, and I do love the sound of the word “hallelujah”! At the risk of sounding young and/or thrown back from the 1960’s, “wow!” and “right on!” will have to suffice.
    Wow!

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  27. It sounds like your passion is in writing rather than teaching…time to come out of the closet and be who you are meant to be. Thanks for sharing this reflection on your life.

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  28. I think you speak truth – but I gotta eat; thanks for commenting

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  29. had a quick look at your blog and read the article on Scorpio … apt

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  30. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  31. Born 1955, Bow. Brother born 1958 & father died unexpectedly one night in 1970 then life went to hell in a hand basket. Scary similarities.

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  32. Amazing to enter your world. Thank you.

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  33. Thank you for stopping by and taking a gander….but wondered if you could bring him back cause is wife misses him.

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  34. he’s never been away, it’s just that is wife misses him all the time

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  35. Happens….when you know someone so well you start forgetting they exist.

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  36. Hello again, after a long long absence… sometimes life just gets in the way, it seems. But since I had a bit more time to wander today, I took my coffee cup and spilled it all over the blogs I follow, which means I read and re-read and enjoyed and thought and re-thought and was just baffled by the word beauty, and I also noticed something very sweet on your blog; you added my humble blog to the sites you wander a lot, which just warmed my heart and made my day. I would like to thank you for this and for your presence at my blog from the very beginning. Thank you, in the most sincere form, in the form of a stranger who offers a helping hand to carry a heavy bag.

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  37. natch; blogfriends

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  38. I don’t know how you found my blog, I am only glad that you did because it drew me here…and here I shall stay right through the deadline I’m missing on something else because you are that good…you are. It’s probably going to work best if you take breaks once in a while so I can get my work done.

    thank you.

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  39. oh
    you
    are
    so
    charming!

    thank you so much for the recognition … but – back to the assignment; now, c’mon

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  40. by the way – it was johnnycrabcakes who did the intros over at http://aprayerlikegravity.wordpress.com/

    he is a fine pond-skater

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  41. Hi Lewis, it sounds like you write therefore you are. We artistic types seem to define ourselves by our art – if I may be so presumptuous to say that.That is both our pain and our bliss. Our art becomes inextricable linked to how we perceive ourselves and our personas in the world. Sometimes it feels like a strange form of addiction.

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  42. indeed; I’d go further to say that we both ‘see’ and develop our selves through the mere acts of perception and experiencing – artists do the same … almost-consciously, and, in the process, form objects. Like oysters. But moreso, in becoming aware of this – the self experiencing the world which is the ‘other’ that defines the ‘self’ in the first place – the artist has the potential to see the fabrication for what it is (a beautiful, artful fabrication) and live in that realisation like a magician … or go mad if they can’t.

    Thank you for your reflection: I would never think what I end up to think without a reflection of another’s thought to notice that something is there to think about.

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  43. “suffice”

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  44. LOVE pretending to be a Buddhist ;0) I gotsta get on that…looking forward to reading more!

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  45. see you out on the ‘vast and subtle plains of mystery’

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  46. ;0)

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  47. yeah…lucky for us 🙂

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  48. Here I am…interested and impressed with your “Me” and responders when yea…there’s “Unintended Consequences.” Thank you sounds special in French, so merci )

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  49. Enchanté de votre re-connaisance …

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  50. Merci )

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  51. enjoyed reading your life…interesting blog you have here and thanks for following mine.

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  52. I always think that writers are, well pretty much, grown from seed. Like trees. A few flower and send their seed on. Many don’t. But the trees still grow, and we breathe because of them.

    I’m British too – very good to meet you.

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  53. now that was quite clever – I see what you did there; but even those who don’t flower and just drop their seed *thunk* on the ground and more damn trees (and weeds) grow up everywhere … where would we be without our back gardens, eh?

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  54. hey mlr, thanks you so much for stopping by, I’m really enjoying your (extensive – intimidating and impressive) body of work, I look forward to more! be well

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  55. and thanks to you too, Frank; the name’s Mark

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  56. very pleased to meet you mark, thanks again for sharing your excellent work! a master of the craft i look forward to learning from… be well sir

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  57. wow, another day in the kafkaesque landscapes of your mind… love it mark…

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  58. ‘bet you didn’t know that a giant insect wrote all this?

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  59. I’m glad Mr. crabcakes led me here – funny, my son was also born in the early 80’s in the context of a Buddhist monastery – what a start! My mother also dies in 99, but more than that there are the shared questions I guess. My world does recognize yours quite a bit here. Your final autobiographical paragraph compresses in a particular way, and it’s always an interesting question, how to convey a life in a compressed space…so many ways…but/and meanwhile, I like the idea that we are writing (in my case mostly photographing) our autobiographies and spewing them out into the web-ether, and it IS easy and satisfying, and isn’t that terrific!

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  60. ah, it is such a relief to hear such an echo; thank you – you could walk for months and months within this hinterland scattering pieces of life like breadcrumbs and no one seems to be following until you bump into a fellow traveller quite by chance anyway; and that is perfectly alright;

    thank you, too, for such a grand and browsing visit – what a gift on a Saturday afternoon where the weekend is not quite working out as I’d have hoped

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  61. I have been away for some time, and just spent the last 30 minutes trying to find your blog again; more specifically your Batman pieces.

    Glad I found my way back

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  62. I knew I was around here somewhere … did you think to look under the cowl? Thank you for searching for me, it is a timely reminder that I am never really where I think I am anyway

    – continued success to your explorations and endeavours

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  63. Rise above said:

    Which reminds me, never stay in one place for too long, you’ll always get what’s coming to you

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  64. I am old too;) Precious little time to do just what you want to do, need to do-write.

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  65. … need to be-write;
    we may be-old-ing but we have all the time that doesn’t really exist as long as we can learn to be, whether through writing or painting

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  66. Thank You for your Like.

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  67. I fell off the internet. But I’m clawing my way back (slowly). I’ve missed your work. Did you end up publishing a collection? If so, where can one find it?
    Also, Happy Holidays and all that jazz!

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  68. there’s something outside the internet to fall off?; I published my first collection in a print run of … one; I gave it to a friend – I think I’m very new at publishing; I’ll see if I can get you a [fresh] copy …

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  69. I am so excited that I found your site. I also really like your phrase “I have been pretending to a Buddhist”. I feel like this is how many of us practice Buddhism. Perhaps that is the right way.

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  70. I’m not so sure: pretending is no substitute for having a right good look at yourself, pretending has just been part of the cover-up all along; still, as you say in your blog, having some self-love/understanding goes a long way too, honest throat-hollowing acceptance; hopefully we can share some insights on the way …

    Like

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