Saturday, 23 June 2012

Return Of The Happy Cartographer, May 1994




Through most of May of this year I was on a fabulous mission to appreciate, to drink life up, to be aware of every breath. This happiness is giddy, has a sense of intoxication. I didn’t have the budget for actual intoxication, there was only coffee and a genuine joy for life. This kind of pace is unsustainable, not necessarily a bad thing. As I am still reminding myself now, transition, and all of life is a transition, happens in oscillations; there is chaos, expansive and excitable, and there is anti-chaos, stabilising and reflective. I considered splitting this month into two posts, but that cuts off the cycle and it’s more useful to see it in one go, I think. I have bleeped the naughty word, rather than overdub and lose authenticity. Anyway, here I am, aged 24 and living in a less cramped shared house with a washing machine, which also accounts for some of my heady delight.

‘17th May 1994
A morning in Wakefield watching people and patterns. If you sit for long enough they seem to repeat themes and motifs . Circulating time. Missed the bus but I’m not bored, my perceptive senses are developing too quickly. Some people are desperately invisible.

19th May 1994
Buzzing again. Creativity or coffee? When I’m on a creative roll seem more susceptible to addiction. Need something to bridge the gap between me and the world.
Writing- gives frames of reference for our experiences. When a blind adult is able to see, they have vision but can’t make sense of it. They need to build references eg: colour and shape are different. Through reading I gain new perspectives and in order to write what I perceive I should become sensitised, shouldn’t take anything for granted.
The fantastic and the everyday are not so far apart.
People are watching me write. I’m an event.

22nd May 1994
Sunday, Kitchen Table.
Spent weekend fully engaged in the moment of being. Like you do.


25th May 1994
Canteen.
Just read Vogue because a bit of glamour is entertaining. Today I am not going home to make tea but staying out, getting a coach to Manchester and seeing Maya Angelou. This gives me some indulgent time. I have some money as well so I’m going to have a proper dinner not just an apple and a coleslaw sandwich. College is a cloistered existence but there is freedom in this enclosure, there’s books and films and art and theatre, all giving new directions and perceptions, opening up new possibilities. Sometimes I think I spend too much time watching and not enough participating, but it does aid my positive willpower, lifting me up over difficulties to see the other side.

26th May 1994.
Sat in bed.
Maya Angelou was amazing, a goddess. As soon as I saw her I nearly cried. I’m looking at my windowsill, my own domestic altar. The icons are everyday  sacred objects – a baby sock, a lapis lazuli disc, a canteen coffee cup (unwashed) dried seaweed and juggling clubs.



30th May 1994
Skelmanthorpe Park, Bank Holiday
Daughter and friends playing on the slide- head first, who’s the fastest, all in a chain and other such initiations into their physical environment. I’m trying to let the wind blow my thoughts clear, but it’s not the same when you can’t smell the sea. We’re going for a walk in the woods now.
Our Back Garden.
Jaunt in the woods has sprung a dream memory:
I am being dragged along a stony road on my stomach. My wrists are tied. It’s a **** of a way to travel but at least I’m getting somewhere. I think I might have been captured but I realise I can easily untie the knot. I have to travel like this otherwise the destination wouldn’t appear the same, had I sat comfortably throughout. The journey is important to the frame of mind.
I’m slightly ill, how I hate being ill, so this may explain my mood. I need to rejuvenate. Asking this quality from something else only serves as a stop gap- an attitude of gathering strength is required. I used to get this from being in the sight and sound of the sea. Now I will have to gain it from myself. This is a bumpy journey but I define myself through it.’



Meeting Maya Angelou was a confirmation that venerating the ordinary stuff was an important idea, and that one should be in charge of one’s own story. In every woman, there is a kind of goddess, and here was a woman who let hers shine. A brave and inspirational presence.
I can’t remember when I had the dream that is brought to mind while I walk through the woods herding a tribe of neighbourhood children- it is weird to read this now, because it is so true. Oh dear, I say to myself, you could have untied the knot, but yes, you would not be the same person. Some children can be told the fire is hot and some children have to stick their fingers in it before they learn; I am the latter type. The point of these revisits to previous time points is to find out how my attitude shaped my ability to be happy, not to dwell on difficulties, so some drama is left out. This may or may not undermine the power of the whole story, I am not concerned with that. I don’t want to promote drama for the sake of creating a wild story, I want to show that attitude creates a wonderful life whatever may happen, there is joy to be found.

Girl gazes at a container ship- maybe it is full of exotic shoes?


5 comments:

  1. 'Need something to bridge the gap between me and the world.'

    This has me ruminating. I wonder, as I read your words, do you sometimes feel a disembodiment? A sense that You are bigger than you and somehow need to scoop up a fraction of You in order to navigate the world that you inhabit?

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  2. 1970 kid then. Same age as one of my sons. He too writes things that amaze me. Good year for writers to get born in. You chose wisely.

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  3. Suze- I think I used to be more self conscious of being an outsider type, that I didn't fit anywhere but I didn't totally not fit either. I felt connected to the natural world but not so much to human society. But now I feel like everything is connected: we're all part of a thing, whatever it may be. So the Me that is bigger is the Me that is most connected to everything. I hope this makes sense- have such short times online at present it prompts a bit of a blurty rush!
    Geo- It was a wise choice of year indeed, helped by the cleverness of parents to get us there. I love it when I amaze myself but this pales to the joy of being amazed by my children.

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  4. There are some things in life I do not want to be too aware of, but I make sure to locate my joy from time to time. I stopped by at Suze's suggestion. ~Mary

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  5. Thank you Mary, I hope you enjoy your visit :-)

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