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).
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!
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.
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.