The Five

A quick introduction to the Five challenge:

I came across the Five in this wonderful post by Brian Lageose of Bonnywood Manor: A Bit of Friendly Plagiarism and a Pentagram of Passions

Brian came across the Five in a post by Jessica Zarins of Branches: Five things you should read/watch/listen to if you want to understand me

The challenge is to share five things which you think would help someone understand you if they read them, watched them, listened to them.

Brian suggests limiting yourself to books, films, songs which define you… but the idea of limiting myself pokes me in the rebellium causing a fractious knee-jerk reaction, so I’m going to add the option of anything.


Doesn’t that feel better, freer.

Jessica had Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren as one of her five… I have one of Ingrid Vang Nyman’s illustrations of Pippi framed on the wall (see below).

Pippi Longstocking illustration by Ingrid Vang Nyman

Why? Because it reminds me of the spirit of little me within big me.

I looked like her as a child – covered in freckles with orange hair often in uneven messy pigtails. My clothes were a mish-mash of whatever, dirty with paint, mud, tree sap, food. I was an oddball only child, a loner, fiercely independent, surprisingly physically strong, prone to getting into strange kinds of trouble, sometimes while on adventures exploring, sometimes because I’d talk back to adults. And I used to sprawl on the floor scribbling and drawing and chatting to myself. I didn’t have a monkey, but I regularly got called “Monkey”.

I haven’t changed all that much… although for a long while I did lose my inner Pippi spirit, but then we found each other again when I turned 40 and had a fuck it epiphany.

I wasn’t going to have that as one of my Five… but I guess it is.

Oh and apparently you don’t have to explain the Five, you can just list them…

But I like to explain everything into oblivion and beyond. I do try to curb that tendency when interacting with people in RL, keep it simple… which means I don’t explain anything and that’s sometimes amusing but sometimes it’s very dumb. However online, on my blog I let it run wild and free…

For many years now I’ve been having this internal argument with myself, which occasionally comes out into the open in my posts, about – the length of my posts and trying to get myself to write shorter ones… but why?

Why try to get myself to do something which doesn’t come naturally?

Well, so people will read them…

Why do I want people to read them? Maybe I don’t want people to read them? That’s an aside…

Let’s just go with the whole wanting people to read what I write and not complicate things….

People prefer short posts or so I keep telling myself and others have said something along those lines too (most of those who’ve said that are bloggers who follow a lot of other bloggers and try to read every post – so wanting short posts makes sense in that context), but I’m a people and I prefer to read longer posts.

Anyway, the other day I had a mini-epiphany which has brought that long argument between me and myself to an end. I figured out that to me a long post is a deep and meaningful conversation – the kind of conversation I love to have with myself and with others. Whereas in my mind short posts are small talk – I hate small talk probably because I suck at it. Practice has not resulted in perfect, it’s confirmed that I can’t do it, maybe because I don’t want to do it.

Please… no never mind.

Should I explain or not?

I was going to apologise if what I just said offended anyone who loves to write and read short posts.

However the chances of someone who loves short posts reading one of my long posts is slim… but just in case, what I said isn’t for you, it’s for me. I just ended a feud I had with myself, that’s good news, isn’t it!

High Plains Drifter (1973)

I watch a lot of films and TV shows. I’ve been watching since I was a child, sometimes a film or show would keep me company as I sprawled on the floor scribbling and drawing and talking to myself.

I love the activity, it’s a great way to go on a thought journey, go on adventures exploring, discover new countries and cultures, people, ideas and… and many other things.

One film which hit a spot within was – High Plains Drifter (1973) – it’s one of the few films I’ve seen more than once. It explained something to me at first about other people, society, and later on I realised it also explained something to me about myself.

Number Three of the Five is a book – The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – which hit a spot too.

It also explained other people, their stories, the paths they take and why, and explained my own story, elements within my psyche, an archetypal journey.

It was like meeting a friend… a friend I really needed appearing just when I needed to have a friend like that. I am very loyal to true friends.

It is the only book which has ever made me sob, deep heartfelt sobs of… release.

I can recall a lot about the feeling and thought of reading it, the room I was in, my life at the time, the story itself, which parts struck me the hardest, softest, deepest… omg the ending!!! Perfectumulus! but what I can’t recall is whether I read it in French or in English.

As I was getting the link for the book on goodreads I spotted a question someone had asked – Is this book okay for teens to read? – I read when I was a teen.

It was exactly the right age for me to read it.

But I was going through a heavy and intense existential crisis at the time… it helped with that.

Existential crises are a part of me being me… just thought I should mention that if you’re genuinely interested in understanding me. Although I wouldn’t advise trying to understand me…

It’s taken me five decades to do that.

Focus on understanding yourself instead it’s a better use of time and energy and… understanding yourself helps to understand others. So it’s more practical to do things that way around – understand yourself first, and understanding others ripples out of that.

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche

As a child I was regularly taken to museums, particularly of art because my father was a professional artist. He loved the old masters. He could spend hours wandering around absorbing the colourful genius, being inspired by sensory delights, reading the messages from the past to the future.

Most of what I saw was a bit of a blur since my child eyes could only take so much in before getting tired… and my little legs found the trek through vast museums, trying to keep apace with the adult strides, to be difficult.

But one painting stood out in the blur – The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche – and made me forget tiredness, difficulties, myself as a child. I adored it from the very first moment I saw it, and continue to do so.

In some ways, like the book and the film, the painting explained the humaniverse to me. I only found out the story behind it when I was older and getting into history, wanting to know more about it.

Lastly but not leastly…

Passion by Peter Gabriel and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

and I’m not going to explain this at all.

Thank you Jessica and Brian!

That’s it from me…

Over to you.


  1. I was called Pippi as a child. Was every girl with reddish hair and freckles from our generation called Pippi? I think I even have a school picture with the pigtails. Not braided though.

    I know I’ve read Count Of Monte Cristo but I can’t remember anything of the story. A few years ago I read my way through Dumas, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, Hemingway, Fitzgerald… I was on a mission and devoured these books. The problem is that I’ve read so much I can’t remember all that I’ve read.

    That song is pretty intense. A lot of emotion going on. It makes me think of one of my favorite albums by Yes, Tales From Topographic Oceans. It’s a double album with four songs. My favorite is Ritual: Nous Sommes Du Soleil.

    Its always interesting to see how people see themselves. With or without explanations.
    And BTW, I personally love your blog and it’s long content. It always engages me from beginning to end.


    • Thank you very much, Angie πŸ™‚

      I agree it is interesting to observe the stories people weave around themselves about themselves. Sometimes they can be jarring because how they see themselves is not how you see them. They’re on the inside of them and you’re on the outside of them… we don’t know their whole story, and of course we see others through the filter of us, so it’s hard to see people as they are, however what we see when we look at them can allow us to see ourselves better if we’re willing to see-see ourselves.

      One of the reasons I like blogging is because I can observe the stories I tell about myself and it can lead to an aha moment, a release from a story which is no longer needed or perhaps noticing that it was never correct, was a lie I told myself and believed. Stuff like that πŸ™‚ Trying to find a piece of music for the Five was the difficult part of this challenge for me. I had several options, one of which was Paloma Faith’s Upside Down, but… Passion expresses more how I feel deep down inside. It is an intense piece of music but there’s also lightness within it. It’s sort of dark night of the soul, then dawn arrives.

      What was the motive which inspired the mission to read all those authors?

      Liked by 1 person

      • The mission was to read “the classics”. Why are they the classics? Is it educational snobbery to quote from or refer to these books? Are the stories life altering?

        Probably had I gone to college I would have been required to read some of these books for a class, but since I didnt go to college it didnt really occur to me until a few years ago. Then I made my own assignment. I use my local library quite a lot and I’d see these authors displayed at the ends of the stacks. I guess seeing the books clicked in my brain that maybe I was missing something in my education(?), knowledge, experience that could be worthwhile to pursue.

        I dont remember hating any of the stories, but none of them really stand out either. It could be the Fibro Fog, it could be sleep deprivation, it could be the way I read them one after another without time to think about them…or maybe they were excellent for their time but not life altering now, or for me.


        • I love your answer, Angie πŸ™‚ That’s very cool!

          I’ve given myself similar missions over the years. When I get interested in a subject, I try to read the classics of it, the authors which people consider to be authorities, which people keep quoting, keep referring to, the icons of a particular group. It’s intriguing to see what all the fuss is about. Sometimes you totally get why a book is a must-read. Sometimes it’s a mystery, particularly if the book was a snooze fest and the author was an intellectual bore πŸ˜‰

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Fascinating peep into “Ursula.” Brian does come up with some nifty ideas, doesn’t he? And obviously credit to “Jess” whom I don’t know, having only encountered her through Brian’s post. I’ll get on my own take on their “Five” at some point, but just not today. It’s a rather ‘bad’ day here. I really enjoyed learning more about you!


    • Thank you very much, Melanie πŸ™‚

      Brain has a very unique blog and style. So do you. So does Jessica. I explored Jessica’s blog a bit after reading Brian’s Five and immediately followed it. She’s a sharer of the deep within, and is on a very intriguing personal quest. Uniquely individual blogs are always a joy to find. I particularly love it when people share what they’re really thinking and feeling, how they experience being. I think it’s because for many years I was afraid to share myself as is, what I truly felt and thought, and experienced… the boldness and bravery of others to do that never ceases to inspire me to do that too.

      You’re a feisty soul, Melanie, bad days remind you of that. Take good care of yourself!


  3. I remember the character name Pippi Longstocking, but I don’t remember the story.

    Five things, eh? I don’t know if I can come up with five. I always tell people the theme song to my life is “Carry on my Wayward Son,” by Kansas. I even use the hook as my ring tone. The TV show Everybody Loves Raymond describes the first 30 years (of 34) of my marriage (me as Debra). The show helped me both laugh and cry at my love/hate relationship with my MIL. I found myself fascinated with the life story of Mary Queen of Scots. I felt her pain deep when I first read about her story. She seemed so misunderstood and not taken seriously, which is how I felt for many years. I’m not sure what else I’d choose. These last two maybe a little. I sometimes felt like Charlie Brown as a kid. The movie Breakfast Club was similar to my high school years, and the movie took place at a high school not too far from where I grew up.


  4. I’d imagined you’re like Pippi in the comic image when I saw it in your old post previously πŸ˜‰

    Today I went on a movie spree and watched High Plaines Drifter and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) too. Hmm, the film adaptation rather skim. Ive never read book though. Haha, the town setting in High Plains Drifter looks similar to that in the Bonnie Tyler Hero MV I thought. I have a grim view about people in general, like the town people in High Plains or chracters in Monte Cristo.

    “…understand yourself first, and understanding others ripples out of that.” Surely I understand myself but in the process of understanding another person sometimes I find the hidden straits or missing pieces in myself. So I used to do it the other round in the past. These days I don’t waste time to understand other people unless the person has a very intriguing personality or unless you are my muse πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, Rev πŸ˜‰

      I agree, it does work the other way around too. Often when I’ve tried to understand someone else, I’ve ended up understanding something about myself.

      In some cases it started out with me saying to myself something along the lines of “I could never be like that person… how can someone be like that, do that?” and then I end up realising that I could be like that or have been like that I just didn’t see it at the time, which means they probably don’t see themselves that way either. It’s a humbling experience, very insightful.

      When it comes to The Count of Monte Cristo, I become like those people who will never accept film and tv versions of their favourite book πŸ˜€ It’s a bit like Lord of the Rings, in as much as it’s very intricate and… most film/shows tend to simplify the story and chop out the more complex bits. Most tv/film versions of Monte Cristo focus too much on the love story of Dantes and Mercedes, and the revenge plot tends to get whittled down to the obvious. The book is intense, and takes you on this incredible journey through all these emotions, thoughts, experiences, twists and turns of fate. As a teen I particularly related to the part in the Chateau D’If, but that bit often gets glossed over in adaptations, you don’t feel time pass excruciatingly slowly the way it does in the book.

      I grew up watching loads of Westerns, particularly Spaghetti Westerns, and Horror. High Plains Drifter was sort of a Western Horror because it had this supernatural aspect to it.

      I think both Monte Cristo and High Plains appealed to my Pluto in the 1st and Mars in Scorpio πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that the film version of Monte Cristo is not doing the book justice. While watching, I read the Wiki of the book, there are so many characters involved, and I was anticipating a tortuous revenge plot…and then it ended πŸ˜„ Have you ever thought about revenge or doing justice to anyone? Lol, I think I did once but it never manifested. I don’t have the patience to plan and plot.

    Last night, I listed five things on a short post, dropby sometime. Much of it is nothing new but just thought I share and I chanced upon fascinating clip yesterday. erh… maybe that’s just for me πŸ˜‰


    • Just read your post and commented πŸ™‚ Love what you did with it! I did wonder what you’d choose if you did it. I thought a Wong Kar-wai film might be in there. The firefly video was fascinating!

      Monte Cristo had a very complex revenge plot, it was exciting and exhausting to go on that part of the journey, leading up to an ultimate realisation for Dantes. It’s the aha moment which is in essence that revenge is a path best not taken. And yes, I have in the past considered taking that type of path. Mars in Scorpio when angry tends to think up ways of retaliating. I prefer to leave it to fantasy, not actually do it. My lazy streak is very useful sometimes πŸ˜‰ The main problem with revenge is it binds you to the person who hurt you. It’s so much more satisfying to be free of them. Leave the revenge to karma, the universe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hee… Glad you enjoy the video πŸ˜€ cos im grew up in a concrete city and haven’t seen such enchanting nature, and I was thrilled just watching the clip. Thought you might have seen similar since you live among the greens πŸ˜€

        At one point, I was considering to read the book but let’s see, lol. I’ve not exactly read an entire book for awhile, but I’m so curious about the plot πŸ˜‰ I grew up watching horror films too, remember watching Western but it was vague, I suppose that period was the first two years I was return to my mother’s care. When it was only me and her at home most of the time I just watched TV, and especially like animal or nature documentaries πŸ˜‰

        Ya leave revenge to Karma, I thought so too. Even though I’d think I’m capable of that, I rather not. It’s better to spent time in other chores πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This. Is. Brilliant. And it’s obviously a much more serious processing of the idea than I displayed with my own take. Thank you for taking up the challenge and showing us the right way to do things. And I say that with only slight jealousy… πŸ˜‰


    • Haha! Thank you very mucho, Brian πŸ™‚

      Your “slight jealousy” is great praise indeed! What a weirdly pleasurable compliment. I feel like I’m in Bringing Up Baby… or Maybe Arsenic and Old Lace (you’re Cary, of course).

      Your take on it is awesome, especially as I was going for more of a how to do it wrong and enjoy the whole UR doing it wrong experience πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think your posts should be as long as they need to be. They are long, and sometimes I have to come back to them because of time constraints, but it’s up to me to make the effort. πŸ™‚

    I love how eclectic your choices are and how representative they are of you. πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, Lynette πŸ™‚

      I kept missing a crucial element for the resolution of my internal feud about post length because it was in a blind spot. I often forget to take myself into account when considering things which involves others, and place myself in pole position rather than at the back somewhere. I was doing that with this and hadn’t fully noticed that was going on.

      Most of the posts I read and enjoy reading are long posts. And, like you, if I can’t read it all in one go, then I go back later – most of the time the post isn’t going anywhere, it’ll still be there later, there’s no rush to read it all now.

      Reading is something I do for pleasure. Long posts are more pleasurable to read, especially if the person writing takes you on a thought journey.

      If I viewed reading as a chore, like I did at school, I’d definitely prefer short posts.

      I’m curious about what your Five would be πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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