Around 3.00 am I had the first of two consecutive bad dreams. I witnessed a televised broadcast of a devastating earthquake that was centred upon Hong Kong and extended into the South China Sea. It was appalling, both visually and audibly. So loud! The second dream occurred between 6.00 am and 7.00 am. I’d arrived at a sound workshop to give a presentation, sans power and line cables for the PA system. (A disaster on an entirely different scale.) Rarely do I have bad dreams. Let’s hope they weren’t prophecies.
9.00 am: New day; elegiac, like a naïve painting:
On with marking (again). I don’t want any student to consider themselves unable to develop into at least a passably competent writer, even if they’re far from being one presently. Some lack a basic knowledge of the rudiments of grammar. (Are these even taught in secondary school these days?) Once they’re grasped, the student will be away. Others are ‘tongue-tied’ in writing: they don’t know what to think and, therefore, what to say; which is why they don’t know how to say it. And yet others don’t persevere. The skill of casting one’s thoughts into the mould of words is darned hard to acquire. This practice will require practise if they’re going to improve. In other words, their problems are often localised and can be overcome, in most cases, by dint of understanding and effort over time.
Quite apart from being an extraordinary artist, Vincent van Gogh was an exemplary writer too. To my mind, he used words to evoke images, much in the same way as he did paint. Writing and painting were analogies one of the other. They were two expressions, two facilities, with a common core. These letters weren’t intended to be great literature; his objective in both art forms was to be clear, lucid, honest, lively, and engaging. But great literature they’ve become, thereby.
Gardens in winter have a peculiarly consoling melancholy at this time of the year:
After lunch. In the background: Keith Jarrett, one of the greatest jazz piano improvisers of his generation, and a fine interpreter of J S Bach. In 1996, Jarrett developed ME (or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as they call it in the USA). It stopped his career. But he persevered, effectively recovering not only his passion for music but also an ability to perform at the highest level. We fight for love of what we hold most dear. For artists, creativity is close to their essence. Lose it, and the soul diminishes. Django Reinhardt is a particular inspiration to me in this respect. He lost two fingers on his left hand in a caravan fire. But that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most important jazz guitarists of all time. ‘Where there’s a will …’, as they say.
‘Continue!’ I can see the bottom of the pile for papers, now.
During the evening session, I completed the final Exhibition Report submission and began writing my intercessions for the Sunday morning service of Holy Communion.
Some ruminations from within the spaces between words:
- The past is ever before us.
- When something enriching suddenly and unexpectedly comes into your life and then, just as quickly, disappears, you’re left with is less than you had before it arrived.
- Your success may defeat you one day.
- A dairy is the story of a life. Not that the author will necessarily reveal everything through their writing. However, on occasions, what’s unsaid may be understood from what is said. ‘He who has ears to hear’.
- We need love and friendship like bread and water. Without them we consume ourselves and wither like fallen leaves.
- True sacrifice is made without any expectation of compensation. Sacrifice is not even its own reward. Its only return is the benefit that someone else will gain as a consequence.