Monthly Archives: May 2011

… editing saga on a windy day …

A cup of coffee is the answer. I mull over the problematic paragraph while the kettle sings. It’s the word that doesn’t chime … back to the screen. I pull up Thesaurus. There – a more succinct term. With a warm, tingling feeling of satisfaction, I replace the word and read like for the first time. Still not right. The whole paragraph is flawed. My mind goes blank. I stare at the screen. A sudden comprehension animates, turn things around. I begin to cut, paste, type …

The telephone rings – I can’t ignore the telephone. It could be a client, it could be a friend, it could be my dad saying he has need of me after all, it could be … no, can’t be a publisher. I haven’t sent out queries yet, have I? I press the green button on the phone – the sound of a fax machine. Arghhh, one of those, back to the screen …

Damn, I lost the thread. Ah, the coffee. Didn’t I turn on the kettle a while ago? I return to the kitchen. While the water hums I may as well wash the white shirt I mean to wear tomorrow – done. I take it out to dry on the washing line. I grab three pegs because there’s strong breeze today. I clip on the first peg and have a fantastic aha-moment about the paragraph. I missed an opportunity to engage the reader.

I rush back to the screen and insert more dialogue. Excellent, now it flows, why hadn’t I thought of this before? On to the next sentence, this is easy, just a comma out of place. Commas should be done away with, allowing the reader freedom to imagine pauses. Full points, yes, but commas – I could call it experiential. Stop messing about, get back to your protagonist … I woke in semi-darkness to the scent of mint. Tuck busied himself over a small fire. I wondered why, having poured boiling water over the sprig of herbs, he went on pouring the tea repeatedly from one vessel to another …

A drink – coffee! I knew something escaped my memory. It won’t take long to make the kettle sings again.

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… battling with the branding goddess …

A branding-class expert is something to be … anyone can be an expert, but branding the expertise takes imagination combined with determination. Establish a need, provide a context, add a striking image, a name, and presto, you attract a following of customers. Be like a dog, bury the bone, and bury it well, then dress it up virtually, mark it, package it, and you have a brand, it’s your invention. Don’t deviate; be like the dog, only tolerate your own teeth marks on it. We admire the sheer ingenuity of branding, which has turned into an art form. Take computers – they are memory devices, communication devices, and much more. Apple took a sumptuous bite out of the computing potential by developing an aesthetic language, a shiny package, and a logo with irresistible symbolic power.

Examples of successful branding have helped the growth of a fat goddess that pervades all fields of commerce. Her indulgence irks. There is the ambient kind of branding, like-minded people gathering around new mind tools, new therapies and self-help advice. Creative approaches I’d playfully developed in my work with clients for over two decades are presented as the latest invention, the latest trick revealed. By naming an approach or concept anew and creating a media platform, an idea becomes owned with the shield of a trademark. No free lunch. The trend is relentless. Even common herbs are re-named and patented.

Today, as ever, survival of the fittest means assertiveness, magnetism, influence, and, or material resources. I wouldn’t talk like this if I had a rewarding brand going, would I? While I resist the branding-bug I am free to ask … what will be the consequences? Where will it all lead? Will there come a time when a cooperation so inclined could offer you a tempting reward for a scratch-sample of your skin and patent your DNA? Would our human-rights-act guard against this invasion? Could the race over ownership, patenting and branding spread as far as shaking together a new race in a test-tube?

I am selectively brand-blind. I try to resist slogans, signatures, icons or familiars that aim to burn and mark my memory. It takes alertness, counter-programming. Subliminal stimuli in advertisement were banned, but subliminal messages abound. I prefer to make fresh associations each day. I want to choose my own habits. I want a flexible identity, and space to grow irrationally, no forced order, please. My inner world deserves a room within the social order. I seek no fault, but I make a stand for my inner silence, and my trust in the unknown. Don’t package me, label me or fit me in pre-fabricated boxes. Meet me when and wherever we meet as if it was the first time … like this …

Am I fooling my contradictory self? Surfing virtual networks, I am drawn to a new brand, the no-brand orphans. I’ve met you out there, searching for kinship.  You’re my audience. I wrote a story for you, about a heroine who does not want to comply with what is expected of her, knows well what she does not want and attracts more of the same, until she steps through the mirrors that reflect her.

Yet even when we are empowered by what we want, and this is the secret behind the presently fashionable ‘The Secret’ – psyche is not two-dimensional, it has multiple layers, and whether we are aware of this or not, life will pull us into another myth, and we will create another goddess we bow to.

Let me come clear, this is a plug for my book, a story in search of a platform, an attempt at branding  🙂 Established publishers – big brands – may well have a niche for a heroine who starts out not knowing what she wants, a story transgressing genres, it remains to be seen. I haven’t begun querying yet. But if it came to self-publishing, I would need to address my kinship, other branding orphans. Are you out there?

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the mysterious object, part three

… Memories awakened, of a time when it was possible to gaze straight at the venerable light-giver without being blinded … in the dark sky, shone the light-giver’s mirror image, pale and beautiful, shimmering, and stirring a deep longing in those who witnessed the phenomenon. The gentle orb puzzled minds, since it changed shape from night to night and periodically disappeared, only to re-emerge, gradually waxing from a sliver to gentle fullness. Some saw in the orb another divinity; others rejected this, not wanting to betray their bright and bountiful divinity. The two kinds of worshippers did not see eye to eye. More secretive circles formed, and stories spread. Ever now and then a night-walker claimed having been touched by the silver light, though was unable to explain what possible benefit there was in being touched by this new mystery? Incredulous stories spread, which were laughed at by the now established beneficiaries of ingenuity and industry, and the few night-walkers who sincerely tried to share their experience were regarded with suspicion and ostracised.

Let us relate just one incident, as told by witnesses, to give you a sense of the mystery. One night, or so it goes, a group of seekers gathered on a flat rock above a deep pool of water to watch the full silver globe in the sky. To their surprise, a perfect replica of their beloved object appeared in the still water of the rock pool, beautiful, beyond words. Everyone present gasped. One young woman who resembled her great, great grandmother, Lila, the famous light-seeker, was ecstatic with joy. ‘This is it,’ she exclaimed, and jumped from the rock’s ledge right into the glowing reflection.

The silver scattered and rippled out into circle upon circles on the water. The others looked on in astonishment as the soft light gathered itself back once more into round brilliance. Night’s divinity re-assembled its fullness, still quivering with the gentle, undulating movement of the water. There was no sign of the young woman.

To break the tension, all started talking at once, expressing in so many words and shouts what they thought they had witnessed. With the noise going on they did not hear the footsteps. Quietly, from the darkness around them, the young woman reappeared. Her skin gleamed and glittered, as if she had absorbed some of the mysterious light. Her friends inundated her with questions as to what happened, ‘What was it? No answers came, she had lost speech. Her silent gesture however firmly impressed itself in each men and women standing there on the rock and seeded in their memories forever more. The seeker pressed her right hand to her heart. She had many silent followers, as had many like her from there-on after.

~ the end ~

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the mysterious object, part 2

They teamed up. One seeker reached out towards the light while another stood opposite, waiting to catch the object. The trick failed, of course. The light simply passed out of reach sideways. Next the idea came to form a circle and to slowly close in on the light. These events were set up with great attention to detail. Groups formed to practice the ritual, hoping for the big moment. However, as could be guessed, the instant all hands reached out …  the orb floated upwards, just beyond the longest arms. Societies of light-seekers formed. They had fun working together, though a number of groups developed strict rules and complex theories about the light. To differentiate themselves from the now commonplace light-seeker, they called themselves truth-seekers.

Over time, the mysterious bright object moved higher and people grew taller, their limbs stretched and their spines straightened, all because of their deep longing to touch the light. Plants, too, reached upwards. Shrubs became trees and people climbed the trees as soon as the glowing object popped over the horizon. The cycle of its appearance could now be counted upon. Once the orb passed higher than the highest tree, the most innovative, and therefore the richest of the communities, employed the lesser endowed folk to fell trees and build tower-like wooden structures. Before the approximate time of the light’s arrival, the builders had to leave the structures, while the owners climbed the towers to await their chance. But no matter how daringly the height of towers progressed, the wonderful orb of light floated consistently out of reach – higher and higher it moved, growing in size, and increasingly warming the planet. New animal species appeared, and new plant, some of which were farmed and produced rich crops.

The towers found more mundane uses. Other curiosities were invented, all with the aim to get closer to the mystery. The glowing object was now the guiding principle in peoples’ lives, a new divinity, replacing all others. The divinity was adored so much people avoided darkness. The span of days brought riches, and was obviously good, while the span of nights reminded people of their dim past and aroused fear. Whatever could not be seen clearly became suspect. Persistently, activities were focussed on understanding the light and finding ways to somehow touch it and partake of its power.

People who ventured into the nights were considered odd and generally mistrusted. However, one such night, had you been there, you would have witnessed a most marvellous event, and you would have heard cries of joy and astonishment resounding over plains and hills …

Continued: https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/the-mysterious-object-part-three/

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the mysterious object, part 1

My paper-clearing war continues. A delightful SHORT STORY surfaced, written many years ago. A little editing and presto. Enjoy the installments …

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Once upon a time, not far from here, a planet was veiled in semi-darkness, and the stature of man, woman and child was crouched and bent. Their diet was meagre, consisting of crushed insects and raw plants. And for warmth they huddled close in their caves or grass huts. What gave them pleasure was ironwood, the rarest of plants, valued for its warmth-giving qualities when chewed. Those gifted in finding the plant were called light-seekers.

One such light-seeker, a young woman called Lila, was renowned as an ironwood huntress. She would disappear from her settlement for many sleep-cycles, driven by the promise of yet another encounter with the red glow of ironwood, her reward alone, since the glow vanished once the plant was broken. Even so, there was honour in bringing home the plant – the community would celebrate with a feast of warmth and good cheer.

Our story begins when Lila had been hunting for three sleep-cycles without her usual success. She sat and bemoaned her bad luck when she was overcome with awe at the sudden appearance of a bright object, no bigger than the head of a newborn. As if teasing her, the object drifted almost within her reach. The glow of ironwood paled in comparison to this astounding light. Colours sprang up all-round. Insects were drawn to the warmth, their tiny bodies shimmering. Lila gazed in wonder at her hands, which were doused in gold. Yearning to touch the mysterious object, she crouched carefully towards it, but the light receded, and each time Lila advanced, it receded a little more. Often times she lurched forward – only to grasp air. Lila spent her entire strength chasing the small orb, stumbling along, oblivious to all but the brightness ahead. Whichever way she turned, the glow was before her, always just out of reach.

When Lila was discovered by the people of her settlement, her condition aroused much interest, since she was sharing her strange experience in delirium. Words so spoken were held to come from divinities, embodied by water, plants and insects, powerful spirits known to visit people in their dreams. So it was that the light-seeker’s revelation spread instantly throughout the tribes, and great portents of meaning was attached to the glowing object. Everyone was convinced it really existed. And sure enough, soon people begun to see the orb, and in turn felt compelled to touch it. They fared no better than Lila, yet their desire remained, undiminished.

Eventually some clever minds devised coordinated methods … to be continued.

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it’s magic

Another paper war today, been doing this sorting through endless folders for three weeks now, to decide what goes to a confidential shredding firm. And there are some surprising finds … old letters, poems, like this one my son wrote when he was eleven …

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magic is in the air

it is all around us

we use it every day

it is old and beautiful

many people disuse it

but it still fights on

this magic is very special

it is called life …

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… on awareness …

Magic or what? According to the Hindus everything is food, including sounds and visual vibrations – all kinds of impressions: stories, architectural proportions, union of forms and colours, harmonics and rhythms, dissonance, conflict and all the ideas with which we come in contact. All this, absorbed mechanically and mostly without awareness throughout the day, has made up our being and continues to do so, unless we wake up to this process and adjust our rituals.

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Psychological laws: excerpt from ‘The Act of Will’ by Roberto Assagioli M.D.

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1   Images or mental pictures and ideas tend to produce the physical conditions and the external acts that correspond to them. Every image has in itself a motor element.

2   Attitudes, movements, and actions tend to evoke corresponding images and ideas; these, in turn evoke or intensify corresponding emotions and feelings.

3   Ideas and images tend to awaken emotions and feelings that correspond to them.

4   Emotions and impressions tend to awaken and intensify ideas and images that correspond to or are associated with them.

5   Needs, urges, drives and desires tend to arouse corresponding images, ideas and emotions.

6   Attention, interest, affirmation, and repetitions reinforce the ideas, images and psychological formations on which they are centred.

7  Repetition of actions intensifies the urge to further reiteration and renders their execution easier and better, until they come to be performed unconsciously.

8   All the various functions, and their manifold combinations in complexes and sub-personalities, adopt means of achieving their aims without our awareness, and independently of, and even against, our conscious will.

9   Urges, drives, desires and emotions tend to and demand to be expressed.

10   The psychological energies can find expression: 1. directly, through discharge and catharsis, 2. indirectly, through symbolic action, 3. through a process of transmutation.

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After carefully contemplating these laws you will draw your own conclusions.

Here some practical examples:   Having experienced Feldenkreis work, and practices deriving from it  –  after doing a gentle physical exercise and repeating it in my imagination only, with eyes closed, the same physical reactions happen in my body. This  explains why active imagination can affect mind and body at a deep level and change physical symptoms as well as states of mind.

When I hit my toe, elbow or head on an object, I repeat the exact contact and, in my imagination, send the impact back. There remains hardly any pain and the usual swelling is mild or does not occur at all.

Therapeutically, if a tense or hurtful part of the body is listened to and  allowed a voice, the result can be  instantaneous,  much like when you lower yourself at eye-level to a toddler who has a tantrum, and do nothing else but acknowledge the rage, surprise, surprise, the tantrum stops.

What seems like magic, is actually simple and applies both ways: physical activity influences mood and mind,  active imagination influences mood and body.  Many of our modern-day ailments derive from people not being able to listen to their bodies and/or not being able to use their imagination in a constructive way.

Reading and, even more deeply, writing, are indirect symbolic expressions of psychological energy, which explains the incredible power of stories 🙂

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the road

‘It is not the road ahead that wears you out –

it is the grain of sand in your shoe.’     Proverb

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parallel worlds

Just a thought – parallel worlds are not identical …

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sigh

today something moves

listens, whispers, while I hang loose

like the eclipsed moon

 *

a kind of absence

within a presence – a sigh in

the wake of suspense –

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a neglected thought

of want and desire – freed

from its source – absorbed

 *

by the invisible

heart of matter – black light

embracing suns

 

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