When I woke this morning (at 4:30am) I could not move fast enough to find out anything about the direction of the votes. Now I have to own-up to a slight knot in my stomach as I found out that … Continue reading
Category Archives: The Human Condition
Arts? Do We Really Do Enough?
Today I want to talk about the ARTS and how I think there almost the most important of all the curriculum. I don’t know about you but my interests stretch between writing, (very important to me) photography and music. (playing the guitar) All of these are from the arts. So you could say Im artistic or at least creative.
I went to a special school event where a number of schools had joined in a singing venture. Each school were taking a part to play in the production. It is probably obvious that one of my children was taking part. I have two children, both boys and both in school. When it comes to the arts i.e. Music, Paint, Dance, Writing, Singing, I’m not sure we get how important these subjects are in our schooling. Both my children have preformed in school plays and to be honest until today I thought they were brilliant in what they had done. Only with this joint venture there was a team of five who are covering the country spending what amounts to three hours with these schools, if I can be honest Blowing the current teaching out of the water. In just three hours these wonderful women have made these children into a pleasure to listen to. One year seven student sang like a professional she was fantastic.
Only it does lead to the question, should we not be doing this as an everyday thing? Shouldn’t our schools put as much resources into the Arts as they do the three R’s. I know its very important to be able to read and write and preform arithmetic. I also know that there are resources for the Arts already but and it’s a big BUT. If five teaches can transform many schools with only three hours tuition, shouldn’t we ask if were doing enough Now!
When I went to school the three R’s were everything. I began writing on a more serious level only seven years ago. Thats almost twenty years after I had left school. To be clear I’m writing from the UK and I know there are much better places in this world that prioritise the arts much more than us. If anyone would like to comment on how good there schooling is then please do, I would love to have another countries comparison.
Remember Enjoy! And Please, Please comment.
Are you a Skilled person? or a Knowledgable person? or both?
Knowledge and Skill, are two words that people use to describe others abilities. Although we all could be guilty of the synonymous use of these words. I feel we need to give them more thought. Because when we do we may find that they have very different meanings entirely.
The competence of a person can be assessed using these two words but have you ever looked into your knowledge or skill level. For instance can you tell someone everything there is to know about your field of work but you seldom put this into practice and when you do you seem clumsy and un-practiced. Well thats more knowledge and less skill working hand in hand. Or someone who can turn there hand to anything but has a hard time telling people how to do it. Thats skill but little knowledge. I believe I maybe the latter. Which believe it or not is the better of the two.
You see a man with little knowledge can increase his knowledge by reading and learning the required knowledge. Almost anyone can do this with enough time and effort. But an man with little skill may be able to increase his skills by practice but we all cannot be Leonardo Da Vinci or Mozart, and from the academic world there is Stephen Hawkings and Plato. These men were Knowledgable beyond most others. But to have reached this level they must have had skill in equal measure. For I’m sure there are men out there now with the understandings of the greats (the knowledge) but lack the skill level that is required to bring about true greatness.
So in short if you have knowledge then use that knowledge in practical applications and you will grow your skill to its fullest. But if your lucky enough to have Skill then acquire all the knowledge you can and you may be great one day.
In the end both Knowledge and Skill are required to master any field. My personal feeling is that its best to start with a bit of both. After all a skilful brain surgeon with little knowledge is a surgeon with a dead patient. Also an engineer with a lot of knowledge but little skill makes for machines that don’t last that long. (hmmmm is that why things just don’t last that long anymore.)
I hope you enjoyed this post. I know I’m not writing enough post and will try harder.
Please comment or just Like my post.
“The man who makes everything that leads to his happiness depend upon himself and not upon others, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.” – Plato
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” – Plato
Good day or bad? How come it can change so fast?
Nothing in life knocks me back more than, how fast a day can go from good to bad. You can be having the best days of your life and BANG right in the middle of your smile come a knock back that if you could script your own life you wouldn’t write It In, because it’s to unreal and people would think it fake.
I’m not one to moan or groan about life. I take life as it comes. Truly I do. No really I do. Ok I suppose I try to and some people may say that I can take things a little to far at times but I can assure you it all comes from the right place. And I never want to hurt anyone.
As you know I’m not a religious man but if I had to align myself to any one religion I think it would be of the Buddhist persuasion. A good quote from Buda is;
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
I like this one because happiness is a gift we can all give. And when we don’t take the opportunity to share such a gift its a waist. So less shouting and jealousy and more sharing of the cheapest thing in life a SMILE. Smiles in my experience give happiness for free.
Have a good day. Or what’s left of it. And remember to smile.
THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE
Recently on the 17th of September my wife’s mother who has lived with us for the last four years passed away. Her name was Irene Wills, I called her “I” like in the way you would say eye and my children called her Nana. She was mum to my wife. We miss her but know she is in a better place free of the troubles that cancer brings. Incidentally the 17th of September is my birthday. My children say it’s just another way of remembering there nana.
And remembrance is where this post will take you. I wrote a post back on the 12th of May 2011, I titled it emotions part two. I wrote this just after my father passed away so it seemed fitting to repost it today. I think it applies very well. So please read on and as always feel free to leave a comment.
Emotions part two
POSTED ON MAY 12, 2011
Grief Can be the most destructive of the emotions; it’s more like a lucky dip, depending on what part of your life your in. When you are in your younger years it’s all about working out how to deal with such loss.
As children we all look at our parents and regard them as invincible. Mum and dad will be there forever. Then we have our first pet or relative pass away and the walls of safety are shuck.
Like all things experience makes for better control and composure. The more that pass away the better we deal with it.
Personally for me I sometimes feel I’m a bit to composed.
On the other end of the scale people who don’t except loss tend to have a hard time coming to terms with the person that has passed away. This can lead to all the bad emotions like anger and regret.
In the end it all comes to control, no one wants to have control took away from them. When we lose loved ones in my experience it’s when I felt at my most helpless.
There is nothing we can do to change this. No amount of wealth or power will bring that person back. In the end we all have to give in to the overwhelming power of death.
When we say that someone needs time to except the death, what we are really saying is we have to except that there is no mistake and no second chance and we are never going to see this person alive again.
How to deal with grief for me (and we all deal differently) it’s all about memory’s. We have this wonderful brain that holds everything we have ever seen, smelt, heard and touched. So take advantage and make what I call a memory box of the loved one who has pass away. Take any personal items you might have, place them in the box. Then in the years to come when you feel you might be losing there face or voice in your mind, take out the box and like a miracle it all comes flooding back. Sometimes with overwhelming results. But usually welcomed.
I have done this now more than once, each time I learn a bit more on how I deal with loss. The overwhelming lesson is that we should never be scared of our own memory’s. It’s this ability that sets us apart from all other life. We play things out in our minds so that we can learn and love from people who came before. To me this is a wonderful gift that we give when we die. My father was a great story teller and when he died I just searched in my mind to find all that he had told me. I now have enough material to last two life times. Thats mine and his, thanks dad.
This would not be if I shut of the memory’s.
To end this I will try and some it all up in one sentence.
It is simply to remember, and grief will become joy.
I feel I must warn you, if your not a writer maybe this blog post is not for you. You may get something from what Im going to write but writers will appreciate it that much more.
Rejection is a writers burden to bear. We all suffer rejection in our lives. We can go to work and feel a certain amount of rejection each and every day. Only it’s short lived and often we brush it off as wit or someone being funny at your expense. And I say, so what, I probably do it to others as much as others do it to me. Life goes on. Only as a writer I feel our rejection can go a little further.
In most professions of art there seems to be a tough road that we must follow. A road of loss and pain which all the greats have walked down. some of the most famous being Vincent van Gogh and Goya and a more modern day star Amy Winehouse this is to name just a few of many. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not alining myself up with the likes of the above, just showing that great art seem to come from people that have had great pain.
So rejection plays a part in creating the art, and my art is writing. I have lost much in my life. More than some and not as much as many. When I look round at my fellow man and woman I see people who don’t see the world as I do, they move through their life with eyes closed and hear nothing of its beautiful sounds.
When I receive a rejection letter from an agent or a publisher it hurts. If you say it didn’t then you are fooling yourself and if that’s how you cope with rejection, then fine fool away. Only it doesn’t stop there, it took me over five years to write my first novel. And the one I’m on now I have been writing for a year already. I work full time and have a young family so time is my enemy and I just don’t have enough of it.
People can without knowing it reject us sensitive writer types simply by being nice.
You know when you meet someone for the first time and tell them your a writer is goes something like this-
You tell them your a writer, they think it’s great and tell you how they have a good idea and begin to share it with you. Then you try to explain that good ideas are plentiful and its not the idea that makes a writer but the commitment. They look blanked at you and ask you what your book is about. You reply with a fumbled pitch that takes all credibility from you which leaves them thinking your a fraud.
Now weeks go by and they will eventually ask how the book is going you say it’s coming great and go it to a boring rant about the currant plot because you feel they are truly interested and not just being nice. Then when you notice there face you stop and it’s many months before that person ask about your book. After a year( or maybe two) they ask again and are surprised when you still have the excitement you had before. But still you will manage to bore them and they will walk away thinking how can someone commite so much time into something that will amount to nothing.
And that’s the difference between a want to be writer and a writer. What we do is hard, each and every time someone asks how the book is it’s a kind of small rejection in its self. (That’s unless you answer is it’s published! Here have a complimentary copy.) All they do is remind you how slow and bad you are, but and this is a but with a smile on my face. If you want to be good you have to go through all this rejection.
It builds good writing.
You will only find your style through writing many hundreds of thousands of words. Not till then will it be you and you will be good.
So when the next person asks you how’s the book coming, tell them it’s coming fine and thanks for asking. If they ask what’s it about? And this is the hard part that I fail to do so often. Tell them sorry but you have decided to not tell anyone about the book until you have finished. Then talk about the weather or there new house or the next new smart phone.
then when they hear about your book its the first time and its complete. You are free to talk about all the characters and plot turns because they have read it.
ps, This advice is manly directed at me, I am a failure when it come to following these simple rules. But I will make the extra effort and not keep going on about my books that is until I have finished then i will not shut up.
Please comment as Im always happy to receive them.
Don’t we love to talk
As people we love to talk, we love to socialise and network. Dale Carnegie had a great quote: –
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
I suppose your wondering where I’m going with all this? Well it’s the “why” we as a species like to talk and network or dare I say it, “Gossip.”
Gossip can be a very good vehicle for moving a story on, or for-shadowing a future event. Two characters discussing another character is very helpful when you need an aspect of their personality for-shadowed.
So to understand Gossip we need to know why we do it in the first place.
We can express ourselves through the arts, I.e., music, religion, writing, politics, and even science. But what do we talk about most of the time? It’s not the above list I’m sure. I have read that two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip. This may come as an unwelcome reminder of our interest in the personal lives of others. But if you think about it most gossip is not negative. Most is just chitchat about who is having a baby or what colour someone’s going to paint the lounge. Whatever the moral status, gossip serves an important evolutionary purpose. It’s like a verbal grooming, ape’s pick each others flea’s and stroke each others fur. As for our social grooming, we talk and gossip.
The term gossip once meant, “A person related to one in God, The word later came to mean a close (female) friend or companion. This later translated into the modern definition of gossip, “small talk, and rumour” or “to talk about the affairs of others,” I like this one.
Somewhere along the line of our evolution, we evolved the capacity for language; gossip replaced our physical social grooming. According to Robin Dunbar, a professor at the University of Liverpool and a leading researcher on human gossip, “language evolved specifically for the purpose of gossip.” It functions to make a bond within your social group, It can resolve conflicts, build social networks, clarifying social status, also it can help to influence others. Gossip is therefore a powerful way of strengthening the social bonds we already have.
Stated by Kate Fox, “Gossip generally involves more than the sharing of information about people’s lives and relationships: it usually involves the expression of opinions or feelings about this information.” Although opinions may not be directly stated, they may be heavily implied through tone of voice or body language. It shows their views on the subject matter. It’s not necessarily negative. However, this is not to say that negative views do not exist, as they definitely do; and these negative comments serve a very important function.
When someone engages in negative gossip with a trustworthy person they are strengthening the social bond with that person.
Although other animals have mating calls and grunts, only the human species uses language to such a degree. Gossip is what humans use to establish and maintain relationships, resolve conflicts, build social networks, influence others. Gossip undoubtedly works as a social mechanism. So when someone asks if you’re gossiping, answer with a big fat “YES”. As, we are all very good at it.
HAPPY FATHERS DAY
Father. Dad. Daddy. Pops. The Old Man.
I’m quite sure I called him each one of these at least one or twice. If memory serves me, my sister love to call him pops. Without a doubt he was one of the most influential role models in my life, he was an amazing man. This is becoming more and more apparent as the years start to pass now that he is gone. He had a huge heart and loved his family, especially at times like today when we would all come together to celebrate his accomplishment of being the father of four children. I admire his drive to have his own business, his dream was to have all his children working with him in a family business. Sadly this dream was never realised but his willingness to take that risk is worth admiration. I loved the way people would always have something nice to say about him.
My dad didn’t get to stay with us as long as I would have liked. He passed away two years ago. But not forgotten is what today is about, because he is and never will be forgotten. My relationship with my Dad has influenced me in ways I would never have imagined. He loved his poetry and my older brother has taken that torch with a flair that would make my dad proud. My oldest brother has his temperament and holds it so close I sometimes have a double take when he speaks, again my dad would be very proud. As for my sister, well she has his humour in abundance. When she laughs, she lights up just as he used to. If you catch her in the right moment she would probably laugh her-self into the ground.
As for me, well I have his story telling. He was the master of telling a story. He would reminisce about old army days and rugby tails of fights and laughs. Out of all my siblings I believe I got the best deal. I have children of my own and they call me dad now, (never pops or old man) and if I take one lesson I have learnt from my dad, it is that your children will always need you even though they say they don’t. I will be the best father I can be as my dad was the best he could be.
On Father’s Day tell your Dad you love him, or if he isn’t here, take a moment to think of him.
Happy Fathers day Dad.
Come on. Melt my heart.
What can truly melt your heart?
I mean we all go awww when we see a puppy dog fall over and look back with them big brown eyes. Or when someone posts a really lovely comment on Facebook or twitter to a friend or relative in need. But I think the one thing that really makes your heart melt is when a child makes a selfless gesture. I have two boys one aged twelve and the other eight. They fight and bicker like any other brothers but every now and then they have a moment. When one will show humility and a kindness that should not be in one so young. These moments make me smile and make my heart melt.
Do you have any moments of heart melting quality?
Self Improvement Through Writing and Continuous Assessment
Self improvement, I like this. I think I have believed in self improvement most of my life. Well at least as long as I have thought about myself as a thing that can be improved. So probably from the age of six or so. Either way I have believed in a simple rule most of my life, that rule is, ‘Given enough time and dedication, anyone can achieve anything that has been achieved before.’ Whether it be rocket science or brain surgery, a plumber or a writer.
I began writing story’s later in life than most. Writing my first draft of a novel by the age of thirty eight. Since then I have wrote two more novels and a bunch of short story‘s.
I am writing the forth draft of my first novel. While doing this I have noticed a vast difference in the quality of my writing. This is to the point where I have thought, on more than one occasion of scrapping it. Putting it a draw so to speak and letting it never see the light of day. The only reason that Purple is still around is that I have wrote a sequel. And it is technically a much better book than the first.
This is where self improvement comes in. I recently started a new job for a very large company that is known throughout the world as an innovator and has a constant drive to high quality of its products and personnel. Now most, if not all company’s would say this as part of there mission statements. But as I constantly assess my work, always looking to improve the sentence, the paragraph or the chapter. So does my new employer strive on a daily basis to improve not the products but the people that make them. I’m am encouraged to do this each and every day in the hunt for zero mistakes. This is done through constant improvement not by someone in an office, who is disconnected from me but by me and the people I work with.
We improve ourselves each time we learn something new. Goals are important too to attain a high leave of quality, whether it be a hobby or a job. But it is not the goal that makes us improve on a personal level, it’s the process of attaining that goal that makes us grow and become a better person. To strive for something better is to learn. Self improvement is very much about the journey, so aim high and don’t get to hung up on the target, after all you can always make the target bigger if you keep missing.