Apologies, I haven’t written for some time. I will attempt to do better but a bit going on.
The Christmas build-up has begun in earnest. For the very young, 5 or 6, it is quite an exciting time but for many others, it seems fairly banal, if not a tad moronic. The lack of spirituality goads me – it is after all supposed to be a religious festival. It has more in common with Pagan mid-winter celebrations. We should rename it yule-tide and put an end to its hypocrisies. Still, I enjoy the carols. I just resent the inherent celebration of commercialism at its best, or worst.
Who was Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ ?
It’s believed Bernie Taupin, who wrote the lyrics, dedicated the song to his first wife, Maxine Feibleman, who was for a time ‘seamstress to the band.’ More generally it is believed to be an attempt to sum up the Californian spirit of the seventies, in particular a homage to the many seamstresses who worked on Rodeo Drive.
I prefer the first story. Far more magical.
‘Tiny Dancer’ is one of my favourite songs.
I walk in constant wonder
And around me something stirs.
So I hold to the path,
One step at a time.
I’ve put my first novel on Amazon. It was great fun putting together, and I hope great fun to read.
I’ve started proof reading a second novel. This one is called ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and is far more character driven. I’m also working on adding paperback versions.
The blog has taken second place at the moment, for now, but not forgotten.
When I was growing up my grandmother had a phrase for every occasion, which would usually encapsulate the entire situation. It was something passed on from generation to generation: these wise sayings which in a few words held much thought.
There are a few I can remember now : ‘the difference between a rut and a grave is about 6 feet’; ‘old sins cast long shadows’ and ‘like father, like son.’
I don’t have a repository to pass on to my son. I tried a phrase once and he just looked at me blankly. It is a shame but I think these old words and compact wisdoms are being eroded. A shame, but there it is.
The problem is old as man himself. In our democratic societies (which calls for another debate) there ought to be a fundamental morality. Mills called it a judeo-christian consensus, a set of common values, beliefs and moral precepts acceptable to all good people around which our public policies could be formed and acted upon. Liberals have long argued that such a shared morality is required for the smooth running of a society. Unfortunately pluralism means that common morality isn’t a possibility, there are simply too many models of what is good and bad to be in an all inclusive morality. One mans meat is another’s poison. So many turn to empathy. Instead of having an inflexible list of values, ten commandments style, why not use empathy as a tool to create an understanding which will serve as a common morality.
It is not so simple, for lots of reasons. Firstly, can one be sure empathy is truly possible? Can you stand in another man’s shoes without actually being that man? All else being equal how do I know my reactions to a certain set of circumstances are truly empathetic? Additionally is empathy truly an ideologically neutral value around which we can organise public life. Isn’t it more likely that empathy can be fine tuned to represent any argument?
Warped empathy is a far more likely outcome, I fear true empathy takes us into the realm of fairy tales.
Remember in 1990 when Kevin Costner released ‘Dances With Wolves’, nearly four hours long.
It was based on a novel by Michael Blake. There was an equally good sequel called ‘The Holy Road’, which delves into the coming of the white man’s ‘holy road’, the railway. There’s a great bit in it when one of the indian folk, ‘Wind in his hair’ is invited into a white man’s home, or ‘box’, as he sees it. Blake then describes Wind in his hair’s complete alienation from such an existence. There isn’t even any ‘moving air.’
We generally accept our ‘boxes’ now but maybe there is another way…