Friday, August 15, 2014

The Gentlewoman Remains.

Voila! A puff of dust, a rubbing at your eyes... and here I am.

But god, what has become of this space?

There are still followers? That seems hard to believe. Are you still out there? Have you not suffocated in the void? Moved on to greener digital pastures?

And what could I still have to say, after such a deafening silence? This goes back to my basic aversion to the inherent narcissism of blogging, but maybe there's something...

I've started a little poetry blog as well, but that is strictly for poetry-- a pursuit which I'm owning up to more and more these days. Who would have thought? I think I will take back up this space as a site of reflection and general spleen-vent. Sound good, cold world?

Friday, September 28, 2012

A little sign of life

Here it is: a little sign of life. A flickering in the incandescent world of the digital that there might still be someone twitching at the end of this tin can string.

Life is fast and patchy roundabouts this place. Your favourite Gentlewoman has two new gentledogs who are the spring in her step and the chew marks on her shoes. Pictures forthwith.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Born to dis-satisfaction?

"There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." -- Nelson Mandela

At the outset, let me set a few parameters: I am a very big fan of Nelson Mandela and all that he has come to stand for in South Africa and the world at large, that the work that he did and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are inspirations to me and have inspired an awful lot of my academic work. That said, this quote bothers me.

And here's why:

How do we know what kind of life we are capable of living? What ever happened to the societal paradigm where we were born into a community, we did the best with what we had but did not necessarily seek to enlarge our lot, only to improve it through reasonable means, and died snug in a faith we didn't challenge? Now, I'm clearly not for this sort of thing-- I've been hopping international fences and taking classes in existential philosophy for too long now to pretend that I espouse this belief, but whatever happened to it and why do we have to doom ourselves to a lacklustre life if we fail to live a life which fully tests the limits of our capacity?

From birth in the First World we are pumped full of rhetoric regarding our capabilities; we are each destined for greatness, there's nothing we can't do if we set our minds to it, reach for the stars, aim high, genius is in the eye of the beholder and other such platitudes of bullshit. It's not really true. Yes, there are those among us who have the grey matter to make an impact upon the lives of others and maybe the social consciousness of our time, but they have to have the ambition to do so, the funding to procure the education which will enable them to do so, the luck to acquire either good health or the money to buy it, and the sheer roulette of fortune to make the connections and favourable impressions which will open the proper doors and the opportune times. That's more than any one person can control all by their lonesome, and yet we tell our children all these lies and dress them up as encouragement. We're not all capable of finding a cure for cancer. Not all of us are cut out for rocket science. In fact, a fair few of us aren't really college material.

Controversial? I suppose, but we're not all created equal in any way but rights and possibly the eyes of a benign creator if you go in for that sort of thought. If not, this all gets a lot bleaker. If you do, then the hope which is chalk and pinion to existence remains.

We aren't all brain boxes, but we can work steadily and heartily to the best of our ability. Is that what Mr. Mandela meant? That we can only find passion in pushing the boundaries of our lives and intentions wherever we find ourselves rather than offering another quote to the halls of high school graduation platitude? Can we not enjoy the passion of fulfilment at the end of a day of honest labour, of a cold drink on a hot day and the trembling of exercised muscles and a quiet mind? Can't we be happy with a quiet and ordinary life, or must we always be plagued by the creeping, whispering sprite of malcontent that we could have done better, that we might have dressed in silks and ermine and led a life of greater height?

And what precisely is this passion which we're supposed to want in our lives or else be doomed to live in the diminished lack? Google provides the definition of the noun as "1. Strong and barely controllable emotion; 2. A state or outburst of such emotion. Synonyms: rage, ardour, ardor, anger, love." Now, not to play the Gentlewoman card too heavily, but it would seem that our lives would be a little easier if the persons in control of nuclear arsenals and crude oil reserves had a little less passion in their lives. Does that mean I've condemned them to not living up to their capability?

Now, in all honesty, I've never been much of a fan of passion as such. I find it frequently involves too many fluids, but I am for satisfaction. I am pro-joy. Can we have those fulfilments in a quiet life? Might one gentlewoman find happiness and a piece of sky teaching average students to write simply and occasionally take a holiday to a distant place? Maybe that's why the above quote struck such a sour chord with me this morning, but let me put it to you, gentle and unfamiliar readers:

Must it be settling if our lives are not pushed to the brink? Is passion the aim? Can we be happy without it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A small smile

Having very recently lugged myself through the application process for several prospective places of employment and faced with the looming tax deadline, the following quote resonated with astounding clarity.

"We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming." --Werner von Braun

... And thus we say, amen.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What to think

... a Gentlewoman might wonder. What to think about a great many things.

As previously discussed, the Gentlewoman has recently found a new home. Well, almost. They're in the process of drawing up the paperwork, and then there's a fair bit of construction which will need to be done to renovate the attic space and convert it into a bedroom, bathroom and a sitting room (which she has no doubts will be colonised by childrens' toys and media equipment as soon as the flooring is down).  Until then, the hobo life is all the rage these days.
No, really, there is the coworker of the Gentlewoman's Gentleman-Friend who happens to have two completely unfurnished bedrooms in his nearly unfurnished house where they can sleep on air mattresses and she can continue to wage her war on cobwebs and that particular species of thin-legged and beige-bodied spider that seems to live in all ranch-style house bathrooms. She hates them.
Living in such forced minimalist zen surroundings has given our Good Lady a bit of time to think. And what has she thought about? That living in a town where nobody locks their doors if they can see the door to their neighbours, in a town where a car can be left running while the driver runs in to the dry cleaners, where the library has a cat who wanders indiscriminately in and out of the front door and nobody worries, where all these comfortable safeties continue to exist everyday, how mean and hard-scrabble has life been previously and elsewhere?
Is this really a place where people get along? Can it be?