Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Life and Family, Lost in Thought, Music

Remembering in Light and Dark

People are talking about the Beast from the East coming back. There’s a deep chill in the air, and phantoms are hurling themselves through the cat-flap. The lid of a storage bin outside flew up and jammed in the hedge, allowing torrents of rain to pour inside till I secured it with a twig. International relations are frosty, yet there are friends, old and new; there’s warmth, hope on the horizon… and light rising against the dark.

I don’t know if you’ve read the children’s book The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. It’s the second book of a series, but I loved it. It fitted with the topic of a school dissertation I was writing, which I may have engineered deliberately… anyway, I remember a line in the book about light and dark being forever at war. Sometimes one seems stronger; sometimes the other, but neither wins altogether. All or most of the books I referred to had something to say along those lines.

In The Dark is Rising there were Old Ones and Old Ways. The Old Ways were safe routes, and when times were bad, Old Ones from different times and places came together to keep the dark at bay. My memory of the series is fuzzy, but I loved the whole idea of it, along with the high drama. It was as though we risked falling through the ice into the spinning vortex of space and time, never to return.

Today I’ve been listening to music for the first time since my mother returned from hospital. I blogged about the last time in A Ray of Old Sunshine, when everything seemed to be going wrong but I found a moment to fix the speakers of my old hi-fi.

Tonight I was upstairs working, and decided to play my newest batch of CDs. They are powerful albums such as Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, but the song that made me sit up was Clean, from Ryan Adam’s version of 1989.

When I stopped to listen, the screensaver came on with a miscellany of pictures in no particular order, all ones I’d worked on. Cats gazing, tree reaching into the blue, fractals, mother’s silhouette, over-saturated beach with pink clouds, a dark wood, raindrops on a window, evening sunshine on a hill… It reminded me of times in my life when I thought differently about things; talked to different people; had different aims, tried a little too hard (yikes, look at the detail on that one!) Maybe I’m not so different now. Some of it was part of the journey and fell away, but the rest followed right along.

With the song Clean pushing me out into the light, I felt all of a sudden that I could fall in love with my own life just as it is. If it had been unremittingly dull from birth till now, I’d have no reason to… if I’d had no strong feelings about anything or anybody, there’d be nothing to stand out. I’ve been through hell emotionally, and no doubt there’s more that lies ahead, but I love it all for being mine.

It doesn’t matter if it’s completely washed away by time and events… my life took place and is as vivid as it ever was. Some companions came a long way with me and still pace alongside; others were lost long ago, but… my thoughts mirror and yet oppose the lyrics of the song, because while I swim, I won’t forget.

The rain came pouring down
When I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
By morning
Gone was any trace of you

Clean — Ryan Adams

Posted in Life and Family, Lost in Thought, My Cats

Cats, Goblins and the Mysteries of Thought

There’s a print of a goblin on my wall, and I’m still a little mystified. My mother came home with it one time, and that’s all I know. I spotted similar prints at the town library, so it must be connected with that — it’s from The Spiderwick Chronicles.

I read a snatch of something somewhere… ‘scientists still don’t understand how the brain thinks’. Well, I had an odd thought just yesterday. I was playing the game Northern Tale for the umpteenth time… there are many levels and you get to know them quite well, though you don’t always win at expert grade without repeating some of them a few times. To start with, you click ‘play’, look carefully at the layout of the level, and think to yourself, “Oh yes, it’s *that* one.”

A couple of times I didn’t recognize one right away, and thought “which *is* it??” and studied it for a while, then suddenly… “Oh yes… THAT one!” and everything shifts in my mind as though I’ve found the general slant and form of the level, which now falls into place.

It’s quite a complex idea, if you think about it. I would be hard-pushed to explain exactly what data goes into my perception of that level as a recognizable entity. There are no words to describe it.

I wonder if we make life too complicated for ourselves. We live such short lives we end up sitting back, thinking “hold on… I never got round to even a fraction of the things I meant to do!”

Part of the trouble comes down to our energy levels. We berate ourselves for not acting more like well-oiled machines every day and doing all the things we meant to do. Sometimes we need to rest and take time to rethink our priorities and strategy. Sometimes there really isn’t a lot of point in a goal. We probably aren’t living lives the way we should but have been brought up to think it’s normal to live lives like these… all the games we could play or films we could watch or places we could visit or people we could get to know or crafts we could learn — or languages to speak, or books to read, or dishes to cook, or objects we can collect… well, maybe we can do a little of some of these things. They don’t have to be constants in our lives unless there’s a genuine need.

There’s a reason why we fall into ruts, routine, habits… it’s less confusing; less tiring. When we have a need for a new game to play or a new thing to learn, we will reach out, but otherwise we just bump along doing what we are used to. Perhaps, for some of us, that includes blogging!

I don’t want to get in such a rut that I won’t try something new once in a while — perhaps ennui is our guard against getting stuck in the mud.

Why do I have a goblin on my wall? Two other pictures in the room are of cats. They aren’t dissimilar creatures, come to think of it. I was constantly chasing the wee red one today because she was determined to be part of our coffee party when some friends visited. I must have carried her out again about five times.

Meanwhile, my mother’s cat clung to her knee, which was fine… you think of them as almost the same person, and it wouldn’t cross your mind to put her out of the room while there are visitors. After they’d gone, though, she was determined to sit on her at a moment she wasn’t welcome. We kept trying to dissuade her, but she was absolutely determined to cross that table and hop on.

I said “cats don’t understand the meaning of ‘NO’, do they?” and my mother said “they PRETEND they don’t understand.”

The cat tried again to cross the table… “NO!!” Mum said, absolutely clearly, and the cat hesitated and sat back. Well, she knows what ‘no’ means. She just hopes you will forget about it in a minute, when your mind has wandered off and she can sneak over without anybody even noticing.

I’m not sure that goblins would even care… they’d just leap on you and pull your hair, and the more you shouted ‘no’ at them, the more they would grin. Actually, not so different, really!

Got to make some leek and potato soup now. It’s not my favourite, but my sister bought two enormous leeks that I have to use up somehow! Zzz.

Posted in Computer Graphics, Teddy Bears

Gazing at the Constellations…

A portrait of my favourite dragon, Stargazer. 😎

I did it in Photoshop Elements today. I cheated by having the photograph on a bottom layer as a guide, but the actual painting (by mouse) is mine. It’s a bit rough, but it all takes practice.

Stargazer says his dad was as big as the container lorry in The Transporter. I’m not sure what I’ll do with him if he grows that big. 😉

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Health Issues, Teddy Bears

Stories of Moonshine

StargazerMum’s had a horrible cold for the past week. Yesterday I said “why do you keep clutching your face?”
“My nose is very sore,” she said. She was streaming; constantly blowing her nose and mopping her eyes. I considered myself lucky to have held out without falling prey to it myself. If this was how she reacted to a plain ordinary cold, goodness knows what would happen if she caught something worse.

Last night I was telling another mortal, tangled up herself in the coil of life, that teddy bears are good to have around — they can be counted on not to die of anything, and if you wake them up in the middle of the night to talk to them, they don’t yell at you. Well, not usually.

Only the night before, I had been talking to Stargazer the dragon. I said we could pretend we were on a beautiful ship of our very own. “Moonshine!” he said. Yes, piloted by Captain Stargazer with his cutthroat crew; First Mate Diddums (bucket’s over there) and Second Mate Magical Bear. With a motley crew of cook etc, but no doctors. Not needed.

Of course it would be night, with lots of stars visible overhead. The ship would be rocking gently, and all the crew would go to bed in the same hammock. No one would be on watch because the good ship Moonshine could be trusted to deal with whatever arose. Meanwhile, our great adventure was just to drift together on the waves, far away from the cares of civilization.

Nothing like it for sending one to sleep.

The next night I crawled back into bed, saying “what will we do this time? We could have something a little more exciting, like a hurricane?”
Captain Stargazer said “I dunno… it’s a bit too soon. Would a choppy night do instead?”
“OK, let’s get cracking, then. It was a dark night. Moonshine tossed restlessly and a cold breeze blew…”

First Mate Diddums couldn’t breathe. All she did was lie prone in the hammock, and her nose filled up. She had been perfectly fine right up till then. Cooked supper, washed dishes, made tea, did a jigsaw. And now this.

She couldn’t sleep. She mumbled, turned over, sneezed violently a multitude of times, and used lots of tissues. She even held her nose… it felt full of acid. All dreams of Moonshine and adventures flew out the porthole.

I got up at 5.30 in the morning. Mum said she could wake me early to do photographic mists and things, but outside it looked like noon already. We’re supposed to leave the photographic mists till later in the year. Instead I went and answered someone on the subject of Apophysis.

My stomach keeps being gripped by cramps, but when I asked Mum if she had that, she said ‘nope’. In fact today she’s quite chirpy and is beetling about washing clothes, making tea, and doing the next jigsaw on our list. So it’s just me, then. I expect I’ll be kicked out of the Moonshine’s hammock tonight.

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Quizzes and Memes

The Letter F

Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth (from 1sojournal) and others, I have been given the letter F to do with what I will!

Beforehand I was curious to know what letter I would receive… certain letters would be easier than others; such as ‘C’ (cats, chocolate, coffee, cake).

F has some less obvious words, so it’s more of a challenge. I didn’t want to rush into it and miss some crackers, so took my time writing it up. I was typing an electronic copy of an old journal from 2005, so I kept my sore eyes open and gleaned a few ‘F’ ideas from there.

One of the most obvious but also the most important. Good friends are a boon. I found quite a lot written in my 2005 journal on the subject. It’s oddly reassuring to look back and find I’ve been wrestling with the same concerns… though you would think I would wish I had it all sorted out by now! It’s just as though I’m reading someone’s blog and thought “oh yes, thank goodness; someone else knows what I’m thinking.” Even if it’s only me. Perhaps we can be our own best friends, just as we’re told we are our own worst enemies.

It took me a worryingly long time to figure out that I could still have cats in my list!

Oh… fantasy is vital. We just finished watching our DVD of The Hogfather. We are told in it that although the sun would continue to come up, things wouldn’t be the same if human beings weren’t allowed to have their little fantasies, whether about Santa Claus or the Oh God of Hangovers. Just so long as fantasies don’t become real. They need to remain fantasies, and we still need to believe in them. Like … no, I won’t say it. They’re real for me, wheels and all. 🙂

A part of fantasy, flowers, midnight at the bottom of the garden. I grew up with a copy of The Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. I used to look carefully at each one and decide which one was me. Often it was the Rose, sometimes the Sweet Pea, occasionally the Pansy. I feel turned off, though, once we get onto the subject of little girls’ sepia photographs, evil vampiric goblins, or changed definitions of the word. Perhaps I have the artist’s interest in fairies… in the colours, lights, magic, delicacy, mystery and beauty of Tinkerbell. I don’t want that to change.

Forgetting (as opposed to forgetfulness)
I’m not talking about those times we forget our watches or glasses; to turn off the iron; to attend appointments; relevant information about someone else’s plans. Those episodes are frustrating. I’m referring to the boon of forgetting our injuries and upsets. In that sense, forgetting is healing. Some days my agoraphobia seems to get worse (like a sore that’s being rubbed raw). A few days spent at home is just the ticket. The next time I go out after that, the edge has worn off it all, and I feel a lot stronger, thinking only about the good things. The more I forget, the more relaxed I am. It would be terrible if we remembered everything that happened or was said to us with unfading clarity. Oblivion is the blessing of the River Lethe (but not of drink! I drink mocha and guava juice, me).

There are two types of ‘flow’ that I love… the easy, graceful flow of a good pen (one that isn’t all bobbly and inky), and ‘getting in the flow’ of something. There’s nothing like putting your head down and losing yourself in your work or project. It’s an amazing feeling, and sometimes I completely forget where I am or what time it is. It’s not so pleasant when someone comes into the room and speaks to you, and you have to bring yourself back to earth, often with great confusion.

Like the ones in Photoshop or Paintshop Pro. They can be great fun to play with… just open a photo, save as a new copy with a different title, then try all the effects! Crayon, brush, blur, distort… and add different layers in different modes and opacity. Don’t take it so seriously… just have fun.

The best pictures are soft in the right places and sharp in the right places. Like life. It’s nice to be surrounded by a blur when we don’t want to see everything in heartbreaking clarity, but we need some things to be in focus, or we would never get anywhere or appreciate anything.

Feel / Feeling
I’m always talking about what I feel or am feeling about something. Wouldn’t it be difficult if there was no such word in the English language? Sometimes it’s an emotion, sometimes it’s gut instinct: a suspicion.

OK… I don’t like floods! But I’m always dreaming about them. I don’t know if it should therefore make it into my list of favourite things, but it’s significant to me one way or another. Maybe if I wrote a novel, there would be a flood in it. I read once that if you dream a lot about floods and the sea, you’re being smothered by your mother. (Laughs).

If you would like a letter, drop me a comment and let me know… on your own blog you can write up your list of ten favourite things beginning with that letter.

Posted in Dreams and Nightmares, Fantasy and Science Fiction

Vale of Tears

Dreamed there was a kind of flood disaster; people were standing around looking for help to get their loved ones to safety. When I looked round and said to the nearest person, “please help me get Zipadee out,” he fixed on me and said “help me get my brother out!”, causing me to feel frustration and irritation… how dare other people put their loved ones before mine?

All round me, that was happening… people asking for aid from people asking for aid.

I was too late to save my friend and she turned into a clear raindrop, being borne away in a huge river called The Ocean of Crystal Tears. It looked just like its name; there was no blue, mud or weeds in it, but it roiled and foamed so much you couldn’t see through it to its depths. It was icy cold.

I was telling my sad story to two important elves from The Lord of the Rings… Galadriel and Elrond. As I talked, I held myself firmly in check because I feared I might break down, and they looked as though they would like to weep themselves. But they turned to me and said “your friend is not alone; the River Mississippi saw her plight, and has dived into the Ocean of Crystal Tears to bear her company. It snakes through the centre, warm and brown, sparkling and laughing, enclosing your friend and keeping her safe till the journey’s end, when you will see her again.”

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Poetry and Verse, Teddy Bears, TV and Films

Alas for the Mailed Warrior!

We watched three movies on Saturday night, one after the other: Merlin (part I); The Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers); The Fifth Element. We didn’t plan to watch The Fifth Element, and Mum would probably have avoided it normally, not having seen it before, but she hesitated during her channel surfing, and I said “this is funny.”

I asked afterwards “which did you like the best?” and Mum said “The Fifth Element.”
I enjoyed all three (we both did) but I liked it the best too. It’s always been one of my favourites.
“It reminded me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, said Mum – I never thought of that.
“It’s less boring than The Hitchhiker’s” I said. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book, just as I loved all Douglas Adams’s books, but the old TV series was duller than a Vogon’s poem.

Have you noticed all the deep voices in The Lord of the Rings? When they have something sonorous to say, it’s always by someone with a booming voice. Theoden, King of Rohan, when Helm’s Deep was about to fall, turned aside and thundered gloomily, “Where is the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? They have passed like rain on the mountains; like wind in the meadow…” and I clutched all my stuffed toys to my chest and whimpered.

There’s a YouTube clip of it. Also a bit of trivia courtesy of Wikipedia… it’s probably based on an Old English Poem, The Wanderer.

That’s one of the hard things about moving in with Mum… you can’t weep at the sad bits! Teddies are useful for packing all round your face so nobody can see. Unfortunately ‘hearies’ have this annoying ability to hear you breathe. I never realized this till my early 20s, having a furious row with a friend; she said I was breathing rather quickly.

Ever since then I’ve been so sensitive about people hearing me blowing like a grampus at moments of stress that I develop tight bands round my chest in an effort to breathe normally. Thus, when Gandalf is gasping “Fly, you fools!” or Sam (with a crazy Frodo holding a sword to his throat) is pleading “it’s me… your Sam!” or when a mother grieves as her young son is taken away to fight a losing battle, the only thing to do is put teddies all round your head and stop breathing altogether.

Have you tricks for surviving miserable movies?

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, TV and Films

In Good Fellowship

I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring last night – not for the first time. I enjoyed it more than last time, somehow – it felt more as though I was reading the book and ‘seeing’ what was happening, and I wanted to repeat all the sonorous phrases that came rolling off their tongues. I was acting a bit silly for some reason, and when Gandalf paused, sniffed around suspiciously, and frowned, I said “it’s the Balrog!” and waited with bated breath… “blah blah blah blah the Balrog,” he said, and I cheered…

Proof that people over 40 aren’t any less giddy than kids of 14.

Fusspot the Siamese was watching when Gollum turned up. Gollum peered through a gap with his great golden eyes glowing in the night, and Fusspot sat up and stared. He didn’t relax till things started moving again.

I found myself thinking that if we fell through a wormhole in the middle of the night and woke up as characters in The Lord of the Rings, I would probably be Boromir. Nobody wants to be Boromir, though there are a lot of Sean Bean fans about (like me!) I didn’t realize it until, dying on a tree root, he uttered the following words:

“The world of men is failing. All things will turn to darkness.”

Aragorn tells him no – there is hope for us yet. Trouble is, I think many imagine that we live largely in a world of light, perhaps with war beating at the door, but I think there are a lot of orcs right in here with us, along with wizards like Saruman. The Shire is the achievable ideal, and we’re moving further away from that all the time.

It’s not a world of light yet. Nowhere near.

Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was on Blogigo:

Iain wrote at Nov 9, 2006 at 00:26:
re if LOTR had been written by someone else, here’s an enormous thread you might find entertaining – it’s patchy, but some bits are very good.

Diddums wrote at Nov 9, 2006 at 20:11:
Boy, they really went to town. I was only able to read 3 or 4 pages before my brain seized up, but one of my favourites was the Mary Poppins version.

Posted in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Junk Shop Finds

It Spoke to Me

DinkyThe other day I noticed a little figure sitting on a rock, gazing at me, so I picked him up and took him home. I couldn’t leave him in the charity shop, could I? Especially as he was only 50p.

On the back of his rock is etched the legend ‘C.L. Penny Designs’. He’s delighted to have his picture put up on a blog – nobody’s ever blogged about him before. He will probably sit and stare at it all night when I’ve gone through to watch Battlestar Galactica. He’s probably looking at it even as you are.

I wonder what is the last little thing you couldn’t resist taking home with you? Anything like this?

Posted in Books, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Health Issues, Hearing Loss, Political and Social Issues, Rants, Technology and Software, TV and Films

Escape from One Brave New World to Another

Escapism, for me, is reading books. A good book makes everything whole again. I find fantasy is the most evocative genre, the one that takes me furthest away from the things I hope to escape. Good triumphs, magic exists and loose ends are rare. People enjoy their work, value their way of life and possess depth of character, understanding, and a low tolerance of injustice.

I miss the characters and their worlds when the last pages have been reached. I feel as though they still exist somewhere out there, and it won’t matter what happens to me here because I’ll always be able to go home to them. Maybe I will stay for a while in Bag End with the Bagginses and Gandalf, or with Badger, Mole or Ratty in their comfortable burrows. I won’t go anywhere near Toad – he makes me tired. I would rather hobnob with the weasels, especially those friendly with Badger. I could go wombling on Wimbledon Common with Tomsk and Wellington, looking in particular for sweetie papers to wallpaper their home. Better still, I could hibernate for the winter in Moominvalley – I always fancied the idea of a nourishing bowl of pine needles just before curling up to dream away the ice and the snow.

Do I prefer the sleepy stories to the adventures? It’s possible. Maybe I like the contrast; the sense of giving respite to characters who have been out in the cold for weeks on end. Or maybe it’s something deeper.

I’ve always been a sleepy kind of person, and have never been able to understand where people get the energy to do the things that they do. Where did Napoleon get his energy, for instance – or Alexander the Great? Too often I’ve lain in bed in the morning (instead of beginning the day’s chores) wondering about such people. Is there something wrong with me that I have never desired to leap up at cock’s crow to add to my little empire? Why do I never feel the impulse to go travelling, exploring, or to conquer Mount Everest? Why would I rather read about volcanoes than stare down into their smoking craters? Why are my favourite passages about people having rabbit stew for supper before turning in for a nice long snooze?

I’m sure there are various reasons. For instance, I sometimes wonder how The Lord of the Rings and other fantasy classics would have turned out if Frodo (or other fantasy figures) had been deaf? How about Gollum? “Sssorry, master, you’ll have to repeat that as poor old Smeagol don’t hear so good these daysss, gollum.” The thought of all the communication difficulties with innkeepers, magicians, trolls and the like, met while hiking along the road to defeat evil, makes me want to curl up in a ball and close my eyes.

Even more depressingly, I still wonder if Mum is right when she suggests I have an underactive thyroid. Maybe that’s always been part of the problem. That’s also why I don’t entirely believe in the concept of laziness – if you dig deep down, deeper than you expect, you may well find all kinds of unavoidable reasons why someone drags along and refuses to get involved with whatever’s going on.

Or perhaps my sleepiness kicks in because ‘modern civilization’ is so intensely regimented and boring that all the fun has gone out of it. Strange things happen but they make me more tired rather than less – people are criticized if they so much as put the words “Oh, shut up!” into the mouth of an Angry Beaver. It doesn’t matter what you do in this climate – either it’s something you’ve been kindly allowed to do (repeatedly) for limited amounts of money or it’s something someone somewhere will hate and despise you for, such as wearing white ankle socks or keeping cats.

There are so many parts of the world (even locally) that we never get to see in our lifetimes because they are the grounds of some reclusive ogre in his castle. Every so often they throw everything together into museums, trusts, collections, gardens or national parks and let everyone in (for a fee) to sigh ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’. They tell us with satisfaction it all belongs to us now and we can come and stare at trees, canyons, animals, old ships, musty houses or junk in glass cases for as long as we like, just so long as we get out before closing time, and provided we don’t get too close, feed the exhibits or touch things with our grubby fingers.

Doesn’t that seem a mite sanitized? You can’t say “hey, I visited the Grand Canyon” or “we went on safari and bothered a group of elephants” or “I found a marvellous whale skeleton that’s bigger than my house”… everybody else has visited/done/seen everything too, and will just look at you as though you’ve presented them with a hot and sticky bunch of daisies.

I don’t even like ‘discovering’ a wonderful blog post only to find the writer has already drawn an admiring crowd of other readers. They got there before me – how dare they! And if I can’t run shouting to everybody “look what I found”, then what’s the use? I can discard that unworthy feeling after a while, but it still leaps on me unawares every so often.

Have you ever noticed that the world has shrunk, and nothing and nobody is beyond your reach? We can dredge the Titanic off the sea bed without killing ourselves in the attempt, and nobody falls off the edge of the world any more. It used to be that you would send someone a carefully worded letter and if you haven’t heard from them after a couple of years, you start to wonder if maybe they died and nobody told you. Now, if you dash off an impulsive email and the recipient has not responded in the next five minutes, you get very angry and think “what did I do to offend the old blackguard? I sent a friendly ‘howdy doody’ across hundreds of miles of land and sea and this is all the thanks I get!” It doesn’t do much to lower your blood pressure.

Finally you discover that everything you do, whether it’s leaving your TV on standby, allowing your tap to drip, or cooking Scottish cod on your gas hob, is a threat to the entire planet. It gets so that they ask you to vote for a cast iron cooking pot on the grounds that it marked the start of the Industrial Revolution, which is a good thing, isn’t it? But then you think “that’s when people lost their jobs and their skills, and that’s also when we began to destroy the world”… and that squat black cauldron suddenly becomes the linchpin of evil. Not so suddenly, perhaps – there could be an underlying psychological reason why it was associated with witches and black magic.

Having embarked on all this industry and technology (how I love my emails and my blog) it becomes very difficult to quit without making enormous sacrifices, including (probably) our own lives. As slaves to the machines, computers and other systems that have been put in place for us and which only seem to fully benefit a select few, what is there to live for? Oh, right – books! Books that make everything fresh, whole, and exciting again. Especially books that allow you to put your head under the blanket and hide for a little while – not just from Sauron, the Weasels of the Wild Wood, the Groke’s frozen loneliness and the rising dark, but also from factories and other places of brain-deadening occupations, politicians, committees, intolerance, inequality, injustice – and pollution.

Where do people get the energy to maintain this way of life? I’m not just talking nuclear, solar or wind power here, I’m talking people power. I have always wondered.

Edit Feb 2008: Some comments I received to this post on Blogigo:

1. drifting wrote at May 18, 2006 at 10:38:
What a wonderful post. I love the way you wrote it coming around in a circle. I share your love of books as escapes from reality. I much prefer to live in the world of fantasy where there is justice and true love and honour, etc, etc. And you (or your mother) may be right about an underactive thyroid. I’ve never had the energy that everyone else seems to have – just watching them or thinking about what they do exhausts me. I did have an underactive thyroid (may still do) and with treatment it apparently ‘returned’ to normal levels but that was some time ago before I got fed up with doctors and checkups, and now continue my slow life. I believe in relaxation and activity in small doses.

2. Diddums wrote at May 18, 2006 at 20:52:

I don’t like the sound of checkups and pills forever more either. I can imagine myself making the same choice you did. I suppose I should go in for some tests, though, and see if the suspicion is correct… sigh.

3. Pacian wrote at May 18, 2006 at 22:28:
I can sympathise with preferring the nice scenes in a fantasy sanctuary to the brash adventuring, albeit perhaps for different reasons. It’s always scenes like that that make it feel real to me. If I was in some weird alternate world, I imagine I could take great pleasure in little things like having a home and a window to look out of.

I read something, on a blog not too long ago, that stuck with me. Someone wrote that when you find out more and more about people, you discover that everyone feels that they’re hanging on by their fingertips to a life that moves too fast and is too hard. All our media and stories tell us that happiness is doing loads of stuff and exerting yourself in certain ways, but I don’t actually think that this is true for everybody, or even most people.

4. Diddums wrote at May 19, 2006 at 00:53:
That’s a good point – they do add depth to the book; a little perspective and a chance to study the surroundings. People can sit around and talk to each other a bit more, too – and usually they meet somebody new, or hear something in the way of stray gossip…

I go off some characters if they turn out to be somebody really important – royal personage or such. They get trapped in their new roles and responsibilities at the end of the book, and that never feels quite right to me. Maybe it’s that lack of energy getting in the way again!

5. kateblogs wrote at May 20, 2006 at 16:03:
What a wonderful post, you sum up the modern world so well. There are a lot of great things about the 21st century, ease of communication for example. Oh, and of course electicity and medical treatment. However, sometimes I do envy people in the past. They did have new places to discover and explore, new theories to prove or disprove, and their lives don’t seem to have been as regimented as ours. Certainty is good, but I think we all need a little adventure too.