And so we wander, not alone

Wander or wonder or both? Today I am happy, I’m productive, I’m Wendy. I feel like the malaise of the last few weeks has lifted and there is so much that I want to do – watch out world, Wendy is awake.

And yet, today one of my dear friends is in the depths and immediacy of unwordable grief. Two other friends move tentatively with scabbed wounds, scars forming, hurts still real and fresh. Eyes furtive. Anger flashing. Loss of people, dreams, hope. Others I know are weighted with life, and like Frodo and Sam in Mordor can only wearily put one foot in front of the other. For others, in the words of Ursula Le Guin “There was nothing she could do, but there was always the next thing to be done.”

It would be easy to feel guilty for enjoying the sun, the smell of my steaming tea. For feeling some measure of control over life as I hear the washing machine spin, as I start to write an essay that’s been brewing in my head for a couple of weeks and must come out of its safe prognostications into the world of words and grammar. My toes are cold, but they want to take me outside so they can scrunch in the grass and dirt and proclaim “I am alive!” Energised. And yet a quiet niggle, “How can I be happy when others are in so much pain?” And another, “Don’t get too excited, this too shall pass.” I resist their ache and breathe into the space between my ribs.

Life is so fluid, fragile, fleeting. Formless. So precious. We try to hold fast, too tight, too human. Days like today are so sharp and clear. Intense. I hear one conversation, clumsy, god I hope I was clear, I hope in your pain you heard. “You gave words to their humanity” I know I tried to say. “You said that slavery and oppression weren’t the whole of their story. That even declared sub-human, people claimed their humanity in small acts of resilience, their agency in small acts of resistance. You gave them back those actions. It matters.”

I sip my tea. The Korean chimes proclaim my washing is ready for the line, for the gentle air and warming sun. Feminism must be inclusive if it is to be feminism, my essay wanders toward the keyboard. Breathe. Life is … this instant.

And so we wander, we wonder. We are social beings, us humans. We share, we journey. We are scared to trust, and yet we do. Time rolls us, twirls, layers. We pray to deities we think we don’t believe in. We reach out. We hold… and we let go.

Inhaling colour, tasting light

Soundtrack: Beethoven: Piano Sonata#14 in C Sharp Minor Op. 27/2
Moonlight, First Movement

Tham Siew Inn

I have been so privileged this trip to stay with families, to be welcomed into people’s homes, invited to share food, to sit. One of the truly great privileges of this trip was being taken by a dear friend and her family to Melaka, and then invited into the home of artist Tham Siew Inn. Such an honour to quietly spend time inhaling the atmosphere of the artist’s residence, imbibing the green of their gardens. Drinking tea. Sitting us women, peeling pomelo. Talking with family members, two sons creative artists themselves and the oh so real, material, tangible woman-wife-foundation, herself a teacher and creative floral artist. There were times sitting with the art, wandering the rooms, up and down the stairs, when I caught myself almost wondering what we were doing next, but not following the thought as time had slowed, the lime infused walls cooled the heat of stress and haste, and I wanted to just be, to be breathing, to just be. The colour breathed calm into the empty places in my soul. And of course sharing together much much wonderful local food breathed companionship into the empty places in all our bellies.

When you look out from the first floor gallery through the open windows, the old green glass with its patina of the ripples of time, you see into Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, one of the oldest streets in UNESCO listed Melaka. That’s the street where you find the artist’s gallery, and it’s a street of contrasts. From the most hip art coffee house The Baboon House, to a museum with original shoes for Chinese women’s bound feet, to a UNESCO restored house showing original architecture and building styles. The atmosphere of creativity, grounded in history, twisting and tasting and reinventing identity and vision and place. Continue reading “Inhaling colour, tasting light”

Celebrating Women

This International Women’s Day I think of women I have loved and we have lost. Women who continue to inspire and whose memory we continue to honour by living in their style and with their bravado.

They are a vital part of our history but they wouldn’t have us look back, rather they impel us into our future. And so today I also think of the women I love who still walk, dance and play with us. Women who inspire me, hold my hand, laugh and cry with me. Drink with me, philosophise with me, are real with me.

Today I’m thankful for the women in my life, for the men who encourage us to be the best we can be, and for all those people the future holds in store as surprises along our way.

PS This logo is from what looks to be a fabulous session at a Hindu Temple next Saturday, if only I was in London… who knows maybe one of you can go and let me know what it was like 🙂

International Women’s Day 2015// //

Sartre and Sacher torte

Every so often I will share my thoughts on the Parallel Truths I find in movies, song lyrics and books that I read.  Today’s is a confluence of existential mystical magical angst and love laden thoughts.  You see, at the same time that I was reading Jean Paul Sartre’s Concrete Relations with Others I read Laini Taylor’s e-novella Night of Cake and Puppets.  An inspired combination. Like chili and dark chocolate.

So I read the dark, convoluted Sartre straight after enveloping my senses in an e-novella about a shy tiny girl luring a violinist to dare to love her. Enticing him on a journey to experience her by following a bespoke treasure map and magic puppets, a journey to love and Mozart and sacher torte in Prague, in the dark, in the snow: pure seduction, pure for-itself anxiety desperate to know how the for-other was seen by the Other and whether she/he could find freedom in being known, being seen and being loved.  Oh the agony of fear, the angst when all is inverted and the observed twists the trap and lures his puppetess with music and desire.

A Night of Cake and Puppets had a happier ending than Concrete Relations with Others, but it is fiction.  Delectable fiction, black chocolate, dripping fiction.  Back to Sartre. Continue reading “Sartre and Sacher torte”