Thursday, March 26, 2015


He leant over to the box to pick up another one.

So engrossed was he in his task, that he hardly registered the cold of the early morning.

He picked up the paperback.

He turned it around in his fingers, squinting for its title in the pale street-light.

Where should he cataglogue this book?

  • Should it be classified in fiction or non-fiction?

  • Should it be classified by size?

  • Should it be classified by binding?

  • Should it be classified by author?

  • Should it be classified under 'T' for 'The'?

  • Should it be classified under 'B' for 'Book' and the 'T' for 'The' ignored?

The growing list of questions felt ever more menacing.

The passing time, measured with each breath,  was wearing him down.

Where should he put the book?
Where should he put the book?

As his anxiety reached an unbearable level, he felt himself making another unsatisfactory choice.

No it woudn't stay in the 'T''s.

No that wouldn't be the right choice.

He resolved himself to another provisional placement.

He would come back to the question later.

He would find another one which would be easier to catalogue.

He looked over at the heap of books in the box.

He looked down at the neat lines of books on the grass.

Birds were beginning to wake to the first glimmers of dawn.

He had had no time to think about getting dressed; clothes in the circumstances had seemed to him superfluous.

He had gathered together his most precious belongings.

These were the only things which were of comfort to him.

He was there....sat, hunched over on the ground, quite naked, only a few feet from the railings.

There he was....

He was a castaway, washed up, one night on a traffic island.

He could only focus on the essentials now.

He reached over for another book.

The rest would have to wait.[1]


Image credits

The Library at Krotona, 2014

The Current Sea


[1]. This post arose on reading: I. Gilchrist "The Master and his Emissary" which I quote here:

"The systematic categorising process of the left hemisphere can sometimes begin to have a life of its own..."

"'Punding' (a form of stereotypy [2]) - the mechanical and repetitive assembling and disassembling of machines, collecting and categorising of inanimate objects, such as torches, TV's, stones, boxes, and so on."

[2] Stereotypy.

In animals.
Stereotypies also occur in non-human animals. It is considered an abnormal behavior and is sometimes seen in captive animals, particularly those held in small enclosures with little opportunity to engage in more normal behaviors. These behaviors may be maladaptive, involving self-injury or reduced reproductive success, and in laboratory animals can confound behavioral research.[15] Examples of stereotypical behaviors include pacing, rocking, swimming in circles, excessive sleeping, self-mutilation (including feather picking and excessive grooming), and mouthing cage bars. Stereotypies are seen in many species, including primates, birds, and carnivores. Up to 40% of elephants in zoos display stereotypical behaviors.[16] Stereotypies are well known in stabled horses, usually developing as a result of being confined, particularly with insufficient exercise. They are colloquially called stable vices. They present a management issue, not only leading to facility damage from chewing, kicking, and repetitive motion, but also lead to health consequences for the animal if not addressed.[17]
Stereotypical behaviors are thought to be caused ultimately by artificial environments that do not allow animals to satisfy their normal behavioral needs. Rather than refer to the behavior as abnormal, it has been suggested that it be described as "behavior indicative of an abnormal environment."[18] Stereotypies are correlated with altered behavioral response selection in the basal ganglia.[15] As stereotypies are frequently viewed as a sign of psychological distress in animals, there is also an animal welfare issue involved."

This reminds me of an earlier post concerning sensory deprivation:


Friday, March 20, 2015

Absent hands.

“A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling, or teaching, or ordering. Rather, he seeks to establish a relationship with meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all our lives trying to be less lonesome. And one of our ancient methods is to tell a story, begging the listener to say, and to feel, "Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought." To finish is sadness to a writer, a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.” 
― John Steinbeck

Hands on the wall.

We shall never meet those people.

They are so far away now.

We can see still their hands.

They are stretched out across time.

Those absent hands touch us still.

A hand in the book.

On opening the well-thumbed Delia Smith, the handwritten recipe is still there.

It conjures presence.

It confirms absence.

It has become a relic.

The absent hand touches me still.

I turn a page.

I close the book...

Hand-counted years.

It has been a memorable week.

On Monday I had another birthday.

I am becoming rather more aware of birthdays now.

When I was younger I took far less notice.

Then, I could count the years on only the fingers of my two hands.

Time stretched out indefinitely.

It seems more counted now... that others are absent.

A heart written note.

It didn't look much.

It was a DM.

It appeared on my tablet in the morning.

It was a birthday card or perhaps a present.

There were seven words, three twitter handles, and a link.

It was special for me.

We shall perhaps never meet.

Perhaps we are brought closer by the distance which separates us?

We stretch out.

We feel absence.

We feel presence.

We are as if felt together on this page.

We can never count alone.

We don't have enough fingers.

These absent hands touch me still.

For Terry, Kevin, Susan, Maha, and all those who count for me absent and present.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Things were getting serious.

Bob was eyeing up the last triple word score.

Jemima was about to place her blank letter to extend the word 'Quit' to 'Quite'.

That was that. She was going to win again.

Bob sighed, resigned to another pride-sapping defeat.

Jemima counted up the score.

"I think that makes 36 points, if I'm not wrong Bob?'

Jemima beamed proudly.

Bob humphed and added Jemima's score to the tally.

Was he ever going to beat that self-satisfied little Miss Annoying?

He placed four letters on the board.

"No that's no good Bob," said Jemima. "That word doesn't mean anything."

Bob was fed up.

Jemima always beat Bob.

Bob looked forlornly at the list of tallies in the Scrabble box.

Bob: 78
Sally: 256

Bob: 83
Sally: 246

Bob: 56
Sally: 238

It made for sorry reading.

He didn't bother turning over the paper.

Bob felt humiliated and stupid.

Jemima was clearly brilliantly clever.

Stop making sense.

Looked at together, the words placed on the board would have made no sense whatsoever.

There was not a single intelligible sentence to be found.

Nobody would bother reading it all anyway.

That was not the point.

These were just scores.

There was never any question of it making any sense; winning by the rules was everything.

That was something some of the family never seemed to understand.

They seemed to equate being good at Scrabble with understanding, with intelligence.

They were only partly wrong.

Being good at Scrabble was mainly about understanding a game, and having a very specific sort of intelligence.

To hell with making meaning, it was primarily about pattern recognition.

Any words would do as long as they fitted in on the board.

Bob was just about to add three letters (T,W,O) to the board when....

When Sally came to play.

Sally was bored.

"Can I play?", she asked.

"No, Sally, you are too young, and you are ruining my concentration," replied Bob grumpily.

"Buzz off."

Sally, aged four, took no notice of her brother and sister and grabbed a handful of letters off the Scrabble board.

"Hey, Sally stop you are messing up our game!"

"I want to play, I am going to make a house."

Sally was already piling up the seized letters into a leaning tower of meaning.

"Sally, put the letters back right now or I'll call Mum."

"No, I'm playing too."

"I'm making a house."


With all the petulance she could muster, Sally flung the board on the floor.

"You're stupid. It's not fair, I wanted to play TOO!"

Ivory towers.

I sometimes have the impression that Academia is a very sophisticated form of Scrabble.

The expert players take it very, very seriously indeed.

They have developed their skills considerably over the years.

They practice daily, looking up ever more obscure words in Scrabble dictionaries.

They develop strategy.

They look to measure themselves up against the best.

They play in clubs and go to conventions with their peers.

Looked at together their words don't always make much sense.

They are very unhappy if little kids grab the tiles laid on the board to build towers of their own.

Monday, March 9, 2015


“Love goes toward love as schoolboys from their books,
But love from love, toward school with heavy looks.” 

W.Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet

Sinking sand

It is so easy to get bogged down.
It is so easy to get dragged down.

I was feeling tired.
I was feeling fed up.
I was feeling generally worn down.

I was finding thinking physically difficult.

I hate moments like this.

There are moments of desert.

There are moments when flowers seem improbable.

And yet they do bloom.

School with heavy looks...

He looked at me glumly.

He was finding thinking physically difficult.

I noted down a few words diagramatically on a piece of rough paper.

I looked up at him.

He looked back at me.

There was a gleam in his eye.

It was if he had been awaken from a prolonged sleep.

There was a connection.

I suddenly felt a spark run through me.

I suddenly felt a whole lot less tired.

This is how I can continue doing what I do, in a desert.

It only takes one flower.

Ice dams.

Winter seems perpetual.

Day after day of cold.

Day after day of chill.

There are moments of darkness.

There are moments when flowers seem improbable.

And yet they do bloom.

My friend Terry sent me some evidence here. (click link)

My friend Kevin sent me some evidence here. (click link)

Joy rises.

This is joy.

This is spring.

This is love.

It is infectious.

Friday, March 6, 2015

In a tangle.

That's it, now I am completely lost.

I am not at all sure how to draw a/the line.

I am in a bit (?) of a tangle.

I am not at all sure whether drawing a line is appropriate.

I am only sure that drawing or should I say typing this is making me feel like it's a life-line.

Where there is life there is hope as they say.

Yes of that I am sure, I am typing this here...

I can see it.

I mean I could see it when I was typing.

Existential questions.

I am not even sure of myself!

Who am I?

Am I: English, French, a learner, a teacher, a researcher, a facilitator, an academic, a writer, a pundit, a critic?

I am not sure that one answer is ever adequate to such a question.

I shall settle for, in this present context:

Simon, @sensor63, Simon Ensor. Simon David Anthony Ensor. Learner.

What is this?

Is this:

a) careful reflection?

b) instinctive nonsense?
c) emotional?
d) rational?
e) a useful contribution?
f) useless noise?
g) respectful?
h) disrespectful?
i) offensive?
j) inoffensive?
k) etc
l) none of the above?
m) all of the above?
n) other.

Will this be:

a) read?
b) unread?
d) misunderstood?
e) understood?

Where am I?

I was reading Frances Bell's post 'Cool Webs for Rhizo 14'  and an ensuing discussion about the value of spaces which are 'Cool'.

For some people 'cool' is associated with a blog.

So is this blog space 'cool'?

If I then post it on Twitter or in a FB group does it remain cool?  

Is a back-channel (where I let fly my feelings) cool?

I am at a loss to understand this concept of a 'cool web'.

Frances explains in her comments:

"I am thinking of the cool web as a safer space where people with different assumptions/ languages/ cultures can try to engage in dialogue without too much pain."

I am not at all sure that this space on my blog is necessarily safe from pain. 

Is this an issue of a particular space or an issue of a particular relationship that I might have with someone?

Marianna Funes continues this discussion and chips in with:

"When I teach cross-cultural psychology in a business context we often focus on the need to attend to what is taken as self-evident and to presuppose that, even that which seems ‘outrageous’ to somebody in a culture they do not understand, has a basis that makes sense for the group of people adopting the given action."

I am getting the distinct impression that this is not about 'cool webs' but about 'cool people' who are able to question their assumptions, their own ways of being and of communicating.

So this is not a question of a particular space but of developing a trusting relationship?

On the whole I would say that Rhizo 14 has been a 'cool course' with 'cool people' .

(but maybe I am using a different meaning of cool here - sorry).

I would include Frances and others who comment on her blog as 'cool people'. 

(provisionally, until I decide they slip momentarily into another category; it rather depends on if/how they respond to this blog post).

Ultimately we will all be 'cool people'.

 (I digress and in my attempted humour I make an elementary mistake, I think even dead people are not at all necessarily cool. Indeed SOME very DEAD PEOPLE are definitely NOT and will NEVER BE COOL).

I apologise for the shrieking capitals here, but I rather like them, and this is my domain.

(no I know it is not a domain of my own cos I am lazily still on Blogger, sorry)

What is loud? What is silence?

I have been having a continuing discussion with Marianna (so silent that she may not be aware of it) about the question and value of silence. 

I am very much intrigued about this question. I always remember the power and importance of silence from my days as a counsellor, and as a salesperson and now as a teacher.

Silence has the potential for great power in a relationship.

Stony silence is in my experience undoubtedly NOT 'cool'.  

So being silent would not necessarily be a means to establish 'cool webs', it might have exactly the opposite effect.

If I participate actively in a space am I facilitating conversation or silencing others?

What is the appropriate volume of participation?

Must we take turns? 

If that is the case then we might have to wait a LONG time (and it wouldn't be really very rhizomatic IMHO).

If I leave silent participants be silent am I excluding them or am I being respectful?

I remember my father at the end of his life who would find the 'noise' of his grandchildren oppressive. I can fully understand that. His grandchildren were not being noisy (I can assure you I know the difference) they were excited to see him and wanted him to play with them.

When he was younger he would have loved the rough and tumble and the noise.

It was so frustrating for all of us when we were divided by volume.

I remember being sad at the volume of the television which stopped all conversation.

What was low volume for him was high volume for us.

I have been intrigued at conversations going on around this issue of 'noise' and 'silence' on the web.

I am not sure if I am in a 'cool web' or a 'hot web'.

Maybe I carry my own personal micro-climate with me, whereever I am?

I noted a twitter conversation the other day.
I loved that tweet.

I even replied to it.

Then I thought better of it.

I deleted my reply.

I agreed with Nick Kearney, yes 'sometimes the only response is silence'.

Is his tweet an example of the 'cool web' the  #stillweb?

I suppose if he puts the hashtag #stillweb it must be.

If I put a grisly image on the hashtag #stillweb will it still be #stillweb? (probably not).

I am not sure about this 'cool web' business.

Maybe it is not about a space but a relationship?

Should I tweet him a link to this post?

Will he regard it as noise?

I am not sure.

Nothing is clear for me.

What is pain? 
Frances talks of pain in her comments to her post.
What is painful for me would certainly not be painful for others. 

I may have developed high resistance to pain.
She says: 
"We might cool down the conversation with explicit norms, clarifying our objectives and assumptions,offer facilitation and other support in an attempt to achieve real dialogue. Over time the constraints could be loosened."
I wonder who it is 'we'? I wonder what 'cooling down conversation' means? 
Will this blog post be cool and within explicit norms?
I am not sure. I shall ask Frances (that is a joke Frances).
Would an emotional blog post be cool and within explicit norms?
Who will decide on the emotional charge? 
I don't know.
Wouldn't a legalistic or scientific article be a cause of pain for someone?
I am in a (bit) of a tangle.

I suppose this is my attempt to ask respectfully the question.

I am sorry if I offend.

I shall be a little upset (emotional blackmail and silencing tactic?).


There has been much talk 'in' #rhizo14 of community, all over the spaces.

I suppose Dave Cormier should be happy about that.

He did entitle his course  'The community is the curriculum'.

I am having great problems with this idea of 'community'.

I am having so many problems with it that I shall have a short pause to muster strength.

Here is a  musical interlude offered by the great (my opinion) Serge Gainsbourg.

For those of you who can't be bothered to listen to Serge Gainsbourg, he sings in French and he asks a large number of times:

"Who is in? Who is out?".

So this is my question for THE COMMUNITY (you know who you are if you are reading this):

"Who is in? Who is out?" and when and where and who decides?

Frankly this is quite clear for me now.

There is not one community.
There are multiple communities.
These multiple communities are not fixed (much).

I am not sure that I feel that I  belong to any particular community.

I don't do belonging very well.

Of course this feeling doesn't mean that I don't belong to a or several community/ies.

I have clearly identifiable traits - I am a man for example. (of this I AM SURE).

I have behaviours which mark me as a community member, like speaking English with a more or less middle class pronunciation with twinges from the North West and some French derived borrowings.

I am a human tangle embodied.

Dave Cormier, I think that he agreed to the idea that there were a number of communities in #rhizo14 in an interview that I vaguely remember with Maha and Sarah.

However I still have a few questions:

How long do a bunch of people have to stay together to consider themselves a community?
How long do a bunch of people have to stay together for others to consider them a community?

I think that the "rhizo14" community has never ever been fixed if we consider that there might be one.  That being the case there can never be A CURRICULUM, but multiple, dynamic, oscillating and competing curricula.

So I suppose I could say that the varied and fluctuating communities in and around rhizo14 have varied and fluctuating curricula.

If we consider that the course was about Rhizomatic Learning, it would seem to me that this is as far as we can take it.

There can never be at any time A COMMUNITY or A CURRICULA.


If there is no 'cool web' or 'hot web' and no 'COMMUNITY' nor 'CURRICULUM' then that is chaotic, exciting and potentially full of risk and power struggles - a bit like life.

Keith Hamon has written a great (IMHO) post about complexity ethics. I shall put a link here:

Ethics for MOOCs: Assertive Humility.

I think we could change that title and just write:

Ethics for life (and a better world): Assertive Humility.

If there is no one 'COMMUNITY' then there can only ever be personal ethics and desires which will vary and fluctuate according to who, with whom and when and where people interact.

There are moments when I prefer (like now) a bit of peace to sit down and reflect.

There are moments when I am moved to formal academic research.

There are moments when I love larking around on FB telling Sarah Honeychurch she's a typical anarchist. She doesn't appear to take any offence. (I worry Sarah.)

There are moments when I find people in general and people in particular annoying, hypocritical, contradictory, bossy, noisy, disrespectful, snooty, superior, confusing,  boring, egocentric [add any negative adjective] and I include myself in those negative qualificatives applied to people.

I prefer to be inclusive.

Hope and forgiveness

There are two stories associated with rhizome and rhizo 14 which I would like to highlight.

There is a story of hope and there is a story of hopelessness.

There is a light side and there is a dark side.

On one side of the coin (the light side) there is the possibility that diversely humoured and skilled people can learn to live like the baboons in the video 'Understanding the Effects of Hierarchy in Society" that Howard Rheingold shared with me the other day.  With the Alpha males dead, they lose their desire for dominance and hierarchy and become increasingly forgiving and open.

There is the hope that we can learn to live with our differences, value our different perspectives, take a deep breath or two when we feel like we are being talked down to or ignored, or excluded, or... (add any negative feeling towards others) and try to work towards more open, perhaps less rigid societies which allow for diversity and mutual respect.

On the other side of the coin (the dark side) we can take from #rhizo 14, an impression of fixed positions, fixed labels, fixes spaces, hierarchies, stories of power struggle, memories of the inabilities of humans to use their imaginations to see the other peoples' point of view.

We can imagine rigid and unchanging community lines, a need for rigid policing of behaviour, a need for a quota of words written, a series of instructions as to acceptable forms of expression.

I doubt that anybody in #rhizo14 would really want that.

I hope that I am mistaken.

On the other hand there might be another group of extremists who might emerge and become dominant.

They might decide to follow the actions of Pol Pot and decide that all Alpha males, and in particular those who they consider to be senior academics should be sent to the killing fields, with the objective of achieving an earthly paradise and a 'less violent society'.

It worked for the baboons...

The rhizome, nature, and  humans in particular do have an ugly side.

I prefer to live in hope (perhaps stupidly).

Yes, I accept that Rhizo 14 is an experiment.

I often change my mind.

I am hopelessly and annoyingly inconsistent.

That in itself gives me some cause for hope.

I am in good company.

I am happy to be in a tangle.

Thank you for your part in my tangle.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

No child left behind.

Will man's ingenuity know no limits? 

Thanks to centuries of scientific study, what people thought of 'education' in the dark ages, at the beginning of the 21st century, has now been wholly replaced with an infallible model.


In those early years of what was termed at the time the 'MOOC' (massive open online course), massive numbers of learners fell by the wayside. 

[Such wastage is, I know, hard to conceive in our modern times.]

These 'unlearners' appeared strangely unable or unwilling at the time to validate way-stage badges or to communicate in any recordable way in the carefully designed, artificially intelligent, dynamic, quasi-complex, learning ecologies of the time.

In modern environments, the role of well trained multi-tasking, multi-ethical, universally adaptable, omniscient, insomniac, expert learners, teachers, researchers, monitors, facilitators, foremen/women, sales representatives and their ilk has been recognised within THE COMMUNITY as being essential to the success of our 'No child left behind' educational nirvana.

Modern 'key nodes' have been trained or have developed independently (and been officially badged  and sanctioned by THE COMMUNITY) mega-sophisticated skills to identify different species of learner in the eco-system.

'Key nodes' are able to spot and enclose into comforting groups: 'sheep', 'lion', 'tiger', 'gannet', 'lurker', 'troll', X, Y, Z, type learners to avoid any risk of stressful tension between them.  

In the event of a sudden surge of learner candidates, a 'key node' need only click the virtual 'help' button to have an instant increase in numbers of 'key nodes' to meet statutory requirements of THE COMMUNITY ratios for 'key nodes' to 'unkey nodes'.

(Just imagine the difficulty for key nodes in the dark ages! I know it is difficult to imagine now!)

They are even able to detect increased blood pressure of 'unkey' nodes which might reduce life expectancy (of course all learners today have the right to live until the statutory age of 140 years old).  

'Key nodes' are even able to call upon back up 'key node' teachers/facilitators/monitors (et al) who will instantly adapt to a group's diverse expectations and provide them with ideal learning conditions.

They will, of course, exclude all potentially dangerous predators and parasites, ignorant cretins, trolls and the ilk (of course all learners have the right to live until the statutory age of 140 years old).

Case study.

As the 'key nodes' looked through their extraordinarily extensive and wholly ethical educational ecosystem manual, they felt that unusual feeling of 'uncertainty' which caused their pulse to rise almost perceptibly.

Brian, unusually for a 'key node', felt almost like emitting, what for him was most improbable, a potentially offensive (you never know how another 'organisim' might interpret spontaneous laughter) quasi-nervous giggle.  

"So, friends, we are facing a ghost in our machine."

The 'friends' nodded solemnly in agreement.

"We have noted on our sensors a number of....(at this moment Brian hesistated and clicked through the universal glossary for a word which had become archaic)...sorry bear with me now,....a number lurkers."

"A number of whaaaat?"

The 'friends' gasped in unison.

"Er.... lurkers, that is what it says here," replied Brian, almost (though that would be an archaic interpretation) apologetically.

"We have a number of nodes who are apparently not responding."

"That is.....immpposssible."

(One or two of the 'friends' were able to find a word (an extraordinary feat in the circumstances).

"Yes, I am afraid so," Brian went on, "It is quite clear, there are nodes who appear to be connected to THE COMMUNITY, and they appear not to participate in any apparent or recognisable way."

The "key nodes" mumbled and murmured but were quite unable to find any words to express (what might have been interpreted at another epoque as signs of confusion)...themselves.

"So what has been tried so far?"

One of the less troubled 'key nodes' ventured.

"Well we have looked at the data from the 'reassuring prompt facilitation', 'the exciting bait attempts' 'the species specific feeding program', we even tried out the 'mid-term party mode' but there appears to be no reply. The nodes are not lighting up on any of our sensors. Nevertheless they are still signed up in the ecosystem."

The "key nodes" mumbled and murmured but were quite unable to find any words to express (what might have been interpreted at another epoque as signs of confusion)...themselves.

"Who is responsible for this....this....(at this moment Brian hesistated and clicked through the universal glossary for a word which had become archaic) ...oversight."

The "key nodes" mumbled and murmured but were quite unable to find any words to express (what might have been interpreted at another epoque as signs of confusion)...themselves.

"I fear," Brian, almost whispering now, went on, "We will have to review our manual of Universal Ethics and Conduct."

The "key nodes" gasped.

"Yes,' Brian, almost whispering now, went on, "Someone, er some people, er something, here is...responsible."

The "key nodes" mumbled and murmured but were quite unable to find any words to express (what might have been interpreted at another epoque as signs of confusion)...themselves.

"Yes," Brian said, "I said:  RESPONSIBLE."

Image credits:

Anders Sandberg

Glory, Glory Hallelujah.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


You won't know that but I will know that I am there.

It is in this instant framed.

Look up at the sky.

We are taken on a journey.

Search for the sky.

You can meet me there.

I am not looking for understanding.

Just be assured that I am at peace.

"I don't ask for your pity, but just for your understanding - not even that - no.  Just for some recognition of me in you, and the enemy time, in us all."

Tennessee Williams Sweet Bird of Youth

Just imagine.

Strange isn't it, how what we write never comes out quite how we could have imagined?

I don't know about you, but that my friend is precisely why I write.

Somehow, somewhere my imagination is extended so that I may imagine some more.

Strangely, I lose myself and I find myself at the same time.

I am never sure where.

I am never sure why.

From submission to recognition.

I shall let you into a secret.

There is a word that sparked this, and that word is: 'recognition'.

It was Maha who got me thinking.

She kindly suggested that I might make a 'submission' of my writing in order that there be some sort of  'recognition'.

I found that proposal both troubling and stimulating.

It made me wonder:

What form of 'recognition' did I ever seek?

The answer, I suppose, is from what this blog is woven.

Mirror, mirror...

There are those who we choose as mirrors.

There are those who are chosen as our mirrors.

There are those who would choose to be our mirrors.

There are those who we see reflected in our mirrors, who perhaps we seek to erase.

There are those...


Recognition for me, is a quest for harmony.

I have tried on so many costumes, played so many roles, that I find myself not so much naked but worn.

If I be worn, I am not for the instant worn out.

If the truth be known, now my friend I am inhabited.

I remember the seduction of theatrical applause.

I don't know about you, but the applause only ever had meaning for me when it came as confirmation; confirmation of a journey, of an emotion, of a struggle shared.

There has to be...there has to be presence.

Recognition is perhaps in communion.


'Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.' 

I shall read that again slowly.

Beauty is indeed in the EYE of the beholder.

Beauty is in that instant of beauty shared.

It is that instant which transforms us, which heightens us, which proclaims us as so much more than ourselves.

There is recognition in our eyes.

We recognise each other now.


There have been so many days when I could never have imagined writing.
There have been so many days when I have tossed frustrating drafts into a bin.
There have been so many days when I railed against the beast which drove me to write.


There is no purpose in this.

There is a breath of freedom here.

Look up at the sky.
Look up at the sky.
Look up at the sky.

Do you recognise it now?

I am weary.

Pray, my friend, share the beauty you see.

Be at peace.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


News of the apparition spread like wild-fire through the dormitories, before too long, not a single child was able to sleep for fear of  being confronted with the phantom of the dread Lady Hesketh.

Before that night ended, many of the younger boys would have become familiarised with that name.

A ghost constituted an element of initiation into the culture of the school.

Briefed by their seniors, who were only too willing to share their knowledge, they would be able to put a name to their night terror.

Not one of the boys was actually able to give a reliable first hand account of actually meeting a wraith; it was that which made it far, far more terrifying.

Lady Hesketh, was a weapon of the elders. They had ownership of the spirit. She was theirs.

Phantom menace 

I remember years of institutional meetings which seemed to have only one purpose: to remind us all of impending doom.

We were constantly assaulted by news of vague threats, of powerfully unknown enemies.

Fortunately, we had among us those experienced fear-mongers who awakened us to such dangers.

Fortunately, we had some sort of protection...

I have come to recognise the tone of voice, the lowered volume of exposition, the acceleration of breathing, the long serious looks. 

There are those, it appears, who develop their power thanks to a privileged access to a spirit world.

We are in the presence of Shaman.

"Shamanism (/ˈʃɑːmən/ SHAH-mən or /ˈʃmən/ SHAY-mən) is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world.[1] A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.[2]"

It is curious how harbingers of fear are often those we turn to.

Perhaps, they really are effective channels for elemental emotions which move us.

There are those who always know better than us.

They will protect us.

“I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”
George Orwell, Animal Farm

Apparition credits:
Hamatsa Ritualist 1914
Edward S. Curtis Library of Congress.