the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog

Five Words Meme

These words are from chickenfeet2003. Let me know in comments if you'd like five of your own.

Vancouver Island
This is the [quite large] island off the coast of British Columbia. Non locals (including Facebook) frequently conflate Vancouver (the city) and Vancouver Island (the island), assuming they are the Same Thing. They are not. Vancouver Island has about the same area as England. I've traversed most of it, some of it even on foot - the famous, and notorious, West Coast Trail, 48 miles from the southern tip to the Alberni Inlet. Cape Scott, the northernmost bit of it, accessible only via a 21k wilderness trail, that I've hiked. Twice! Vancouver Island has been (mostly) home for me since 1963, and it's hard to imagine living anywhere else. (Except that other Island: Great Britain). It's a little world of its own: Victoria is quite a cosmopolitan city (especially now that it has grown out of being "a little bit of Olde Englande"), the Cowichan valley is a foody destination, the west coast is a haven for eco-tourism and environmental activism, there is wildlife, wilderness, culture, charm... It's a great place to live!

I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders; give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she's mine for life...
This is what I Do, and what I have Been Doing for about 25 years (yikes!). I had some illusions that I was quite good at it, but recently have found myself a little less confident and less convinced of my vocation. It's odd really that I choose for my teaching icon Miss Jean Brodie, who was probably the most disfunctional teacher it's possible to imagine. Yet... her idealism, her love of beauty, her yearning, her wish to change the world one brain at a time, might all be something I share. I think in some ways teaching is an outlet for my frustrated actress soul. But that would be understating my love for the profession. Good teachers are gold. I'd love to think that I was one. I aspire to be one.

I'm pleased that chickenfeet2003 associates this with me; I adore poetry, but hadn't realized that perhaps casual observers were aware of that! Poetry for me is like painting or music with words. It distills ideas, it is shorthand for images; it is magic, free-flowing creativity. I've always loved it, since the days when I was a small child and my mum and I used to read snippets to one another at bedtime. Now, it's Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Keats, Sharon Olds, Swinburne, Shakespeare, Gerard Manley Hopkins... so many more.

Probably the type of reading that defines me, despite the fact that my father used to call it "rubbishy muck." Yes, it's escapism. Yes, in the worst of the Extruded Fantasy Product (cf Terry Brooks et al), it is derivative and repetitive. At its best, though - in the Alan Garners, and the Diana Wynne Joneses, and the Tolkiens, and the Sherwood Smiths, and the Barbara Hambley's and the Patricia McKillips and the Robin McKinley's, and so many more, it touches something mythical, some core of our being. It's about love and pain and beauty and the questing spirit and growth and life and death... not much, really. Just rubbishy muck.

Woah. Mr Chickenfeet: you don't pull your punches! Well. What can I say? I'm 54. And certainly not as young as I was. I have an artificial hip, and a replacement lens in one eye, and I'll never ride a horse or figure skate again. And yet... I like being who I am. I don't try to fight the wrinkles and the grey hairs - not that I have many of the latter, I almost wish I had more! I'm proud of the tattoo that friendship bought me at the age of 53. I'm proud that I travel alone, that I love indie rock, that I can still fit into a pair of tight jeans, yet I feel that I benefit from being the age I am and would never be 20 again (except physically). Who was it said that youth was wasted on the young? I would love to have my 20-year old body back again, but I love my 54-year old mind.

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