Monday, 30 July 2012

Colourful Overlapping Concentric Circles

I, like all of us in the human race, am a member of many intersecting circles. One is a group of women who gather from time to time to write. Today, they are writing in one place and I am in another. I vowed to myself since I could not be with them physically, I would sit and take a prompt (this is the model we use - to collect interesting words we have read and use them to inspire us to write) and write. The set of prompts were collected, in early July, by Val for a session where the group passed so much time reconnecting that there was no time to write (yes, sometimes we are weak in our discipline).

These two prompts are twisting in my mind today:

         They keep coming up new all the time – things to perplex you, you know. You settle one question and there’s another right after it. L.M. Montgomery

         And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. John Steinbeck

Currently, I am reading two library books that I sought out because my mind has been returning time and again to India, my December experiences there and Gandhi. The Way to God is a small sampling of his writings pulled together by M.S. Deshpande. Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life by Kathryn Tidrick is a biographic attempt to bring some context to this fascinating human being by examining texts and experiences that influenced Gandhi’s life. The first I have read through once (I am inclined to reread it – seeking out the parts I found resonated with me and skipping the ones I found disturbing); the second is thick and written in an academic style I find I do not push through the way I used to. Simon Winchester has spoiled me. These days, I prefer my non-fiction rich in story and not burdened by so many detailed footnotes.
But lately, Maria Popova has peppered my brain with more books to consider and a video about how brains work and each time I stop to connect the threads of some idea and weave them into the fabric of me, a new batch of cotton fiber appears by my brain hand loom and my dendrite fingers start to add them to whatever is on the cortical spindle. What I hope is being created is some mental khadi fabric to clothe my intellect in, preferably silk that will make my writing look just as good as Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

In the publisher’s notes for The Way to God, thanks is given to Vandana Shiva who Googled is revealed to me to have come to Canada in the seventies to study at Western University Ont. and there wrote her thesis on a Quantum Physics topic. She is, like me, 60 this year. This drives me to see where she is right now (in northern India) and the circle comes back to my interests in seeds and kids and planting and school gardens and agricultural education and Northlands.
Yesterday the will of the people who voted reveals they choose K-Days as a new name for the exhibition and today a 15 year old Lithuanian girl has won a gold medal in breaststroke at the Olympics. Are these tiny fibres yellow or pink?

The brain graphics in video look like riverlets, creeks and streams but what I experience is a never ending set of raindrops on the oil slicked surface of a pool of water – colourful, overlapping, concentric circles.
The things that perplex my mind keep choosing to follow the compass spin instead of one direction. I find I can’t get more undirected than that.

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