Saturday, January 28, 2006

The loneliness of the on-line poster

Yesterday my friend Keith Donovan wrote a poem, or to be accurate, a parody, which echoed my own feelings so closely that I decided to reproduce it here - with his permission of course.

We both subscribe to a rather small message board list on line called The Steamie, which on some days is very busy, but on others almost totally inactive. Keith posts from his office and I post from home, but we both experience those tedious expanses of time when nothing seems worth doing on the spot, and only a lively exchange with like-minded list members will mitigate our boredom. So here is Keith's lament:


I'm posting into air
I'm writing to a silent site
The other Steamie folk are sleeping as I write

I'm posting into air
I'm writing but I don't know why
It really isn't fun if you get no reply

I'm feeling quite alone
I'm writing but without effect
I'm surplus to requirements, just an old reject

No one gazes open-mouthed
Taken by surprise
Nobody's on the board to use their eyes

I'm surfing on the 'net
I'm Googling in the knowledge space
Refresh, but there's no change; it's such a lonely place

I'm dawdling through the day
The seconds trickle past like tears
The minutes and the hours, the days and weeks and years

I'm posting into air
I'm posting into air


The picture, by the way, should have given you a clue as to the right tune to go with Keith's lyric: "Walking in the Air", the theme from "The Snowman" by Howard Blake.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Christmas trees

Shortly before Christmas I visited a Festival of Christmas Trees in our local Roman Catholic Church. There were 40 trees, each decorated by a different group in the community, including schools, playgroups, Brownies, charities and so on, and also sponsored by local bodies, shops etc. I have never seen such a thing before and the effect was incredible. A friend commented, a touch drily I thought: “Nice to see the church embracing the pagan so thoroughly”.

I don’t have any difficulty with different belief systems borrowing each other’s symbols. Does anyone find it strange that for so many of them the lighting of candles is a significant part of their ritual? For myself, I feel in my heart that a living flame is a powerful symbol of hope, prayer or celebration, and although I consider myself an agnostic, I will always light a candle in a church when I have an opportunity. By the same token, I can go into an empty church and feel the power of the human love, endeavour and aspiration that is stored within it, even though I do not choose to worship there with its congregation.

It seems to me that most religions offer much the same things: explanations for the apparently unexplainable; some sort of structure and guidance for our lives; comfort, support and courage; a sense of community with one’s fellow human beings; and perhaps a vehicle for a sense of wonderment at what we see about us. If this is so, then the different religious belief systems could all be considered as allegories for the truth – the one universal truth (as it must be) which humankind has not yet understood in its totality, but in which all believers in their own way have faith.

This idea I find very liberating: as an agnostic I too am looking for the same things, so I should be able to go into any church, join any group of worshippers, and share in their observance, while still remaining true to my own beliefs. The fact that I cannot subscribe to their dogma is not significant, as by sharing in their worship I am still celebrating the truth, the reality of our creation and existence, whatever that may be.

The truth is One, but different Sages call it by Different Names.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Today is the Christian Feast of Epiphany, which celebrates the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus. This day makes me think of certain moments of epiphany of my own, when a sudden insight or perception of reality has led to beneficial change in my life.

The first of these which I recall was when, at the age of 25, I suddenly realised that despite the prevailing culture for ‘nice’ girls in the 1950s, I did not have to remain a virgin until I married just because my mother said I should! From that moment I gave up the unequal struggle and changed from the tortured, neurotic creature that I was into a reasonably relaxed and tolerably happy person. Three years later I was married and became a ‘good’ girl again … from choice I might add!

Some 50 years on another moment of revelation occurred, thanks to the loving support in a crisis of a group of very dear friends. I suddenly understood, in the simplest terms, an aspect of my behaviour which I very much wanted to change. Out of this illumination came the following poem. I leave you to guess which verse is about me.

“This is me - please love me!”

She’s rather loud, and vulgar too, and says what’s on her mind.
Although she doesn’t mean to, she can sometimes be unkind.
If challenged, she will say to you “I speak just as I find”.
But what she really wants to say is: “This is me - please love me!”

She’s forceful and efficient and she likes to take control.
She organises everything and swallows problems whole.
She’s critical and bossy, and she thinks she knows it all.
But what she really wants to say is: “This is me - please love me!”

She talks a lot about her health, and worries till she’s ill.
She thinks she cannot do things - say’s “I might” and not “I will”.
And when she’s nothing else to do she takes another pill.
But what she really wants to say is: “This is me - please love me!”

She’s fawning and compliant and she never has a view.
She likes to tag along with you in everything you do.
And if you ask her what she wants, she says “It’s up to you”.
But what she really wants to say is: ” This is me - please love me!”

© Judith Taylor 2002

If you recognise someone you know, try listening to the real message and responding in a loving way. It can work wonders …

for both of you!

[Picture by Google Images]

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

I am celebrating the start of the New Year with a picture which may seem rather boring, but for me it represents a splendid new beginning. My son Richard arrived for Christmas with a reconditioned computer for me and spent the holiday installing Windows XP and transferring all my data. My moribund 6-year-old PC with Windows 98 has gone to the dump, and I am rejoicing.

I have also acquired a neat little keyboard which is about 5" shorter than the standard one, and enables me to keep my mouse arm close to the body, and so avoid wrist and shoulder strain. The numeric keyboard is embedded in the main keyboard, and for a touch-typist like myself it is as comfortable to use as the standard one. The only awkwardness I find is that the Control key is no longer in the bottom left hand corner, and so I now have to look for it. The keyboard came from (a UK company) and is the KBC-SB001. Click on Small in the Search section.

Richard kept his patience magnificently as he wrestled not only with all the corruptions and nasties which had made a home in my old PC, but also with my inability to concentrate on technical matters, and my tendency to answer questions with irrelevancies. I owe him a great debt and in recognition of this here is a rather fuzzy picture of him at work at my desk. It was taken in a hurry to test the wonders of WindowXP Camera Wizard. (I wrote about Richard in my October blog under the heading of Spare Parts..)

I send my heartiest good wishes for the coming year to all my blogger friends ~ Judith