‘I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like of all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves. Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering, part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering, necessarily a vicarious experience, more like a sort of ‘generalization’ of suffering. Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple.’ – From Larry McCaffery’s Dalkey Archive Press 1993 interview with David Foster Wallace.
Who, in the world of fiction, can you identify with? Does s/he make you feel less lonely?
For me, it is Zadie Smith. And whilst she is not a character, her words across the page – from fiction to fact – transmit my internal monologue from one thinking space to another. I read her aloud. To feel the melodic rhapsody. To muse over the grammatically incorrect clauses that somehow bring her work to meaning. Insightful meaning. Smith is my world of fiction that draws me closer to surviving reality.
Sorry falling behind on all other posts – it is called work and study, study and work … and of course, motherhood.
Lately we have being having dedicated family time. My husband and I are so busy with work and studies that sometimes we fail to acknowledge that not only do we need to spend quality time together as a couple, but we also need to dedicate quality time together as a family – the four of us. We set down scheduled events and times to so that nothing else gets in the way of our time together.
Our latest family adventure – as we call them – was a trip to a secluded beach on one of many Hong Kong’s islands. We took several modes of transport to get there and a lot of walking because I wasn’t the best guide, but we got there in the end. We realised that this secluded place would also be great in summer – and also not so secluded by then.
The girls no doubt spent time in the water – regardless of the temperature. We had races, made cakes with sand, drew on the trees with stones, and had a picnic. We also walked these stairs to reach the top of a temple that overlooked the beach. We had a lovely day as a family. It is so easy to put aside those that we love the most because we believe they will always be around the next corner. But some times, we need to realise that life doesn’t work that way and we should cherish each other more often.
How do you spend your family time?
One of my fellow bloggers, and best friends, is following a challenge – one photograph a week for each child. No words – the photographs speak for themselves. Although I am a couple of weeks out of the loop, I’m going to begin this challenge too. After all, this blog is my photograph album of sorts to my children. Here is week 4 of 52. Check out my friend’s gorgeous photographs at: http://www.sewandbakeandlove.com
Recently I was reading the ‘Oprah’ magazine. Yes! I really was. I know, my usual file of magazines includes: ‘The Monthly’, ‘Time’, ‘The New Yorker’, ‘The Economist’ and ‘Foreign Affairs’ – ‘Oprah’ doesn’t seem my thing, but it is. Really is. It is relaxing to read and not overly trashy.
Anyway, this month I was interested in the ‘Question of the Month’ that featured in the ‘Oprah’ magazine. The question read as follows: what would you not change about yourself? So often we bemoan what we would change, but what would we not change?
Some of the responses in the ‘Oprah’ magazine included: curly hair; nose’ self deprecating humour; dimples; and breast cancer. I definitely know what I wouldn’t change about me – Art. I know that this sounds strange for all the pain and anguish he causes me, but I really wouldn’t change him. He has made me what I am today – a person with strength, resilience, and empathy. He has made me who I am, and who I am is okay with me.
What would you not change about yourself?
I cannot believe that this girl is TWO today! She fought so hard to stay alive in the womb and for that this girl will be forever tough. Little fazes her. She puts up with little from others. She lives and she lives hard. And she is a real character. She makes all of us laugh so much. Amaya and I often joke about how crazy Remy is – and she really is. Her latest is to close her eyes when you are telling her off for something – like closing her eyes means she doesn’t hear you. Oh it makes me laugh and I tell her that closing her eyes won’t shut out my voice. Attitude ++++. But I love it. I wouldn’t want daughter number two to be any other way.
Happy birthday Remy Arwen! Please keep us laughing all day every day. Your personality and love of life is infectious.
Two weeks my eldest daughter started at a new school. A new, big school. She was no longer the top dog. The school requires her to take a 40 minute bus ride on the school bus, sit at a desk, play in a larger outdoor playground, and respect and listen to the teacher. It was has been an emotional two weeks for her – and me. I know that if we were living in Australia she would be gearing up to start her first year in primary school, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
To help after her first week, her teacher asked her to take Marvin home for the weekend. Marvin is the class’ monkey pet. Each weekend someone has the opportunity to take him home. Over the weekend the student has to take photographs of what Marvin got up to over the weekend and write about it in Marvin’s book. On the Monday morning, the student needs to present to the class what Marvin did over the weekend.
It was quite a good teaching idea. Amaya loved having Marvin in our home for the weekend and she was keen to return to school on the Monday so that she could show everybody what he got up to for the weekend in our house. Even her younger sister had the chance to have some cuddles. So what did Marvin get up to? Aside from sleeping with Amaya and enjoying morning cuddles with the girls, he …
Joined in Amaya’s ballet class …
He went out for lunch and partook in some colouring …
He was made his own custom house, with windows and princess stickers …
And he helped Amaya make some cookies for school.
We hope that Marvin can come by for another weekend stay.