Friday, October 17, 2014

There are days when...

I have files full of scraps of poems, drawings, mournful pourings of my soul.

I have kept scraps on a shelf from the days I was at school.

There is stuff from the days when I was working in door-to-door sales.

There are scribbles from the moments when I was sitting sadly in a bedsit in Whalley Range.

There is a piece in particular that  I remember which was going to be the start of a book which I have not yet started to write.

I wrote it when I was 19.

If I remember rightly (without opening my secret file) it went something like:

"How does one start a story like this?"

Then followed about seven lines which were all crossed out with blue biro.

I clearly felt that I wanted to write something.

What can explain those lines?

I clearly felt that the scraps would come in useful one day.

What can explain my keeping those lines in a folder for over 30 years?


Why did I keep those particular scraps and not others that ended up in the bin?

I have no idea.

It is a shame that it took me from 1981 to 2010 to imagine sharing anything that I wrote publicly.

I am sure that I would have benefited greatly from feedback, encouragement.

I am sure that I would have been able to develop my writing if I had regularly posted even half-finished attempts at making meaning.

Blogging didn't exist then...

Aren't all our attempts to make meaning partial?

I have been reading some of Aparna Nagaraj replies to  comments that  I made on her blog "Learning to learn: Playing the Keep up Game - Connected Courses"

She says that she only blogs when she has confidence that what she will say has value.

I replied to her that we are often a very poor judge of what others value.

Sometimes it is necessary to show others that we are struggling.

I am reminded of the excitement of seeing the sketch book of John Constable in the  Louvre.

It was full of scraps of half-finished ideas.
I fully understand this feeling of wanting to self-censor.

It is a natural reaction particulary when we are surrounded by people who we consider have so many expert things to say, or who say things in a way that we could only dream of saying.

We minimise our potential contribution.

We forget that there are many others who are like us, who will benefit from or sharing of our half-formed ideas.

They will be able to  identify with us.

I think of my kids, how I  value their beautiful childish paintings, their flowers, their poems and I feel sad that we are taught or that we learn to censor ourselves.

If that is what education does, that is not an education I want to maintain.

I remember a few years back that I dreamt of myself the adult hugging the scared child that I was, and reassuring him.

It's ok to be you.

Nobody else in the world Aparna will ever be a better you than you ever.

Please share more! The world will be richer for it.

for Aparna


  1. Wow, what a privilege.. You've made my day Simon Ensor.. How glad I am to have written that blog post yesterday, and published it..

    "we learn to censor ourselves.If that is what education does, that is not an education I want to maintain." - True.

    The fear of failure stopping us from trying - it happens all the time. If our education helps us unlearn the fear of failing, we will be trying many more things in life.

    1. Hi Aparna your comment made my day!

      Thanks a lot.

      I have spent a morning working with students who can benefit from your experience of taking a risk.

      I am asking them to blog - I believe that this really has value for us if we understand that all our voices are precious even and perhaps especially when we feel that we have nothing to say and that nobody will listen to us.

      The privilege is in the connection. Thank you for the flower!