Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Progressive lenses.

He was sitting  in his
bedroom looking into an ill-defined distance when I arrived.

My presence was greeted by a smile of recognition.

After a little while he turned to me and spoke.

"I am a little disappointed with the Queen, " he said. 

"Why is that?" 

"Well, I was expecting a telegram."

Before I could say anything more, he continued with a gleam of humour in his eye; amused at the Queen's short-comings.

"Well, yes, when you get to the age of 100, the Queen is supposed to send you a telegram to wish you happy birthday."  

He was 95 years old.

In his mind, he had reached his century, he was 100 years old.

It was the Queen's fault that his narrative  had not gone totally as planned.

It was the last 'serious conversation that we had together.  It felt stangely appropriate that I put this here. He would have been interested in seeing my drawings, my pictures.

He would have said:

"That's nice."

He wouldn't have tried to understand, being together was sufficient.

Touches of sense.

I got to 99 posts in this Touches of Sense blog for 2014 and for a reason which I can not really explain, I felt the desire to stop and to take stock.

I wanted to fake a few steps back, to sort, to browse, to reflect, on this frenetic activity.

What is it that I have been doing here?

Why is it that I have been so active?

I jotted down some notes in a Google Doc. I grouped articles by themes. I sorted them into Flipboard magazines. Links you will find hidden in the titles.


I was curious to try to get an overview.

I was curious, amongst all the themes and the forms could I learn something about these voices, these visions, these dreams and nightmares?


At heart this writing is about birth.

It appears that there is an incessant desire here to enable emergence.

Touches of Sense is a place for me to allow things to grow haphazardly.

I have reconnected here to the child that I was, that I have remained to be over the years.

I am 52 years old and all those ages before.

I take great pleasure in opening my mind to these instants conjured from past lives.

I have rediscovered what is was which powered my drawing, my scribbling, my doodling.

I have found a place where I am answerable to nobody including myself.

I have rediscovered the joy of theatrical improvisation, of letting the characters take me over.

I am only too fully aware that there are parts of me in these characters but more often than not I am thrilled to discover people, words that I have never come across before.

As I allow these indistinct, blurred presences to come onto the page they become fixed, captured, captive of this space.

I am amused how little this is thanks to me, I am just an instrument of my senses, my imagination.

The more that I write, that I capture, the more I find echoes of others, of others' visions, caught in this net of narrative.

I am confetti, we are confetti, it is hardly clear where I start and the others end and vice versa.


At heart this writing is about learning.

This is about learning about the limits of our frames.

I am caught between disintegration and reintegration, between culture and chaos, between language and what is beyond language.

I breathe, I breathe out, I am a prisoner of my frame, my attachments,  my culture, my genes.

I am caught up in ritual, in narrative, in history embodied, in family.

Where there might be cloning I am aware there is mutation.

Things can never be quite how they were.  All is fiction. We make do with fiction.

All is transient, all is fluid.

We reach out desperately to achieve, to acquire, to keep, to savour, to project ourselves.

I find this, like my father before me a source of humour, a means to empathise with our fellows.

All must pass.

This construction, this communication, is source of wonder, is source of vanity.

We protect, we secure, we guard against, we watch over.

We watch over.

We reason, we reason, we fail to reason.

Beyond reason is fear, is hope.

This transience, this fludity is source of life, is source of horror.

Connnection, Community, Mob, Massacre. 

My writing is full of nightmarish wolves, wars, willful manipulators...

I am aware of the power that we have, that we might seize.

“Among men, it seems, historically at any rate, the processes of coordination and disintegration follow each other with great regularity, and the index of the coordination is the measure of the disintegration which follows. There is no mob like a group of well-drilled soldiers when they have thrown off their discipline. And there is no lostness like that which comes to a man when a perfect and certain pattern has dissolved about him. There is no hater like one who has greatly loved.”
John Steinbeck



As I have written unthinkingly and reflected, it has become apparent that this writing is much more a practice of research, than what I have written as 'research' more formally.

I am terribly sceptical of those alchemists who would tell us what they know about ourselves.
I am sure that they have impressive tools. I am sure that they have a captive audience, I remain unconvinced at the idea of objective scientific research of learning.

Nevertheless, I remain convinced that I have no choice but to use those same tools in order to subvert them.

I am of the opinion that as new networked culture emerges we will inevitably need to reflect on the lenses which are appropriate.

I am of the opinion that we must avoid the propagation of a dominant narrative.

In a digitally 'enhanced' culture an older dominant culture is at risk of be replaced by what?

I am optimistic that new emerging conditions will enable new lenses which will allow us to reconsider issues of dominance, of transactions between us.

I prefer optimism to pessimism purely out of refusal to accept that we can not do better together.


I started this blog with and image of a path, a journey. I have collected together a number of stories of journeys, often enriched by the company of others.

Whilst Touches of Sense might appear a solitary venture, this is misleading.

It only has any sense in the context of its shared value by people who might read these pages. These people may only ever be imaginary, that is of no importance in my eyes. I am not only writing for myself.

There are people here in these pages who are my family who  have become my friends, who continue to inspire me, to make my life more of an adventure. It is the life that I have chosen, that I am choosing, that I will continue to choose.

It is a life of play, of conversation, of shared narrative, of hope.

I am happy to have taken stock here, to celebrate the 100'th Touches of Sense article in 2014.

There is a very good reason, that I have reached 100 posts, it is the only reason for me to contine on and beyond this full stop.



  1. I could not resist inserting my voice into your mix. I hope I did justice to the memory of your story, adding an unexpected wrinkle.

    1. HI. Kevin thanks what a nice surprise! Will work more in this vein.

      Want to do voice stories/dialogue/poetry/etc U want to play?