A Taggie (for the time being)

Thursday, January 30, 2014




I slightly overestimated how big this needed to be when I was making it last night. The little duckling will have to grow into it. Sweetie loves his lion taggie and has been bugging me to make one for his little sister too. He helped me select the ribbons and after he was asleep the other night I started stitching.
This is such a quick project, I was able to finish it with one eye on the tv (T20 cricket) while listening to J's commentary of the game. Having one of the bigs with me while I am making something for one of the littles is lovely. He chatted and shared lots of wonderful little observations with me. There is so much that he already knows and so much that he has yet to learn, it makes me think it must be both exhilarating and exhausting to be 9 years old.
While he spoke (an endless stream of quips, asides, questions and chatter) I was picking ribbons and stitching eyes remembering when I was doing similar things for him when he was freshly born, and marveling at just how close that feels. So much time has passed but I can still reach out and touch it. It is right here beside me, I can feel it. I berated myself for yet again losing myself in the drift and for not practising being present. I often remind myself of the quote 'wherever you are, be all there' (widely attributed to Jim Elliot) but reminiscences have a siren-like song that is very hard to resist.
I've just finished reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki which has a lot of zen and quantum physics in it and, whilst I am fairly certain that I missed the point entirely, having big kids and little kids does sometimes feel like living simultaneously in the 'many worlds' the physicist Hugh Everett wrote about. It is not the same of course but, as Jiko would have said 'it's not different either'. It was a great read. Very thought provoking and a little hard to classify. The main character's name is Ruth, a novelist living on a canadian island with her partner, environmental artist, Oliver. All of which can also be said about the author. The book is filled with footnotes that Ruth (the character) makes about a diary she finds washed up on the shore. It is hard to tell how much of herself and her partner she has put into the book but it is hard to read it without hearing their voices.
She doesn't seem to have much regard for blogging/online writing. The japanese schoolgirl, Nao, writes in her diary at one point "I'd post her stories on a blog, but actually I stopped doing that a while ago. It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they're all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart." There are two footnotes to this passage. The first reads: "I never think anyone gives a shit," Oliver said. "Is that sad? I don't think it's sad.". And the second reads: "Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding." - Milan Kundera, Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1980.
You can see, dear reader, how this passage would not sit comfortably with me. Like Oliver, I don't think it is sad to not care if anyone gives a shit. This blog is more like an open journal than a cry for conversation so I am OK with sitting in my lonely little room writing and posting but I really don't like the idea of contributing to an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding. It would be great hubris indeed to believe that this blog stands apart from any others. I know it does not. The writing is haphazard and sporadic, the photos are predictable (feet in shoes, babies, close-ups of hand quilting, photos of flowers and beaches that look like everyone else's photos of flowers and beaches) and yet I persist. Perhaps I hope that an age in which the writer in every individual comes to life will also be an age in which the reader also comes alive and more people will be heard and considered than just those who speak the loudest and longest at the bbq.
But, back to the taggie: I used chenille and ribbons I had in my sewing stash, a little scrap of corduroy saved from an old pair of jeans that C loved so much she wore right through the knees and a special piece of ribbon that came wrapped around a gift. That beautiful rainbow ribbon is from Eleanor and her mum. Ruth Ozeki might not think that blogging offers anything of value but it has been a great source of friendship and community for me. Without blogging it is unlikely that Eleanor (and her mum) and I would have ever met.

A Tale for the Time Being was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2013.

8 comments:

cyn :

well that is one way to look at blogging and writing and yet..i am here in vermont..and i found you by following a link to another link..browsing through different writings from people who touch something in me..and suddenly here you were..alive on this small laptop screen..sending me back through your archives, providing me with a vision, a small window into another time and place..delighting in the world view that your particular pictures and world provides..until now when i have caught up with the reading..and had to wait, seemingly endlessly..between the post of the 9th and the post of today..greedy for your words, which obviously, before now, i had been able to read all together, all at once..

i guess you could choose to think that an age "of universal deafness and lack of understanding"...could develop from a world of many blogs and posts...but hey..that can happen in many mediums, although perhaps not with the same immediacy..

but i would much rather think of a world you are helping to create and sustain..in which time and space loses a certain amount of meaning..but a new and interesting level of understanding and connection grows

i know so very little of your country, the very every dayness that happens...it is not what is shown on the news or learned in a social studies room..and yet what you choose to share touches my heart, tweaks my brain..and provides a new dimension to my day..indeed a different kind of ribbon than the one from eleanor..but a definite rainbow gracing my life..many thank yous for the sharing...cynthia

Michelle c :

I for one am glad that I can still maintain this connection to you, which is a weird connection at that, when all is said and down. We've known each other for many, many years, you've seen my children grow up, I've seen yours grow up and your family expand. And yet, we've never met in person. Yet, despite the fact that continents separate us, I think if we were dropped in the same room we'd have much to talk about, like old friends catching up.

So, I for one am always happy when I see a new blog post pop up on my news feed.

And the taggie is simply adorable.

Eleanor Smagarinsky :

A remarkable post for so many reasons, but most importantly because it made me happy. Meeting you and reading your words bring me joy, so yeah... if that's not what it's all about then I don't know anything about anything!!!

Poppy - Poppy??!!! Big! Growing! Wow!

My mum will plotz when she sees her ribbon, you have no idea.

And now I shall go find that book you mention. I have just finished "The Circle", which I highly recommend (Dave Eggers), and which discusses some of what this whole internet thing is doing to humanity...both good and bad.

But this space here, that you've created Duvvy, it's a good place. Very very good. I like it here. And every day I am so thankful that we met each other!!! E x

Mary :

Such a beautiful taggie thing. And such a thoughtful post. I too love seeing you pop up in my feed and am so grateful to have you in my life and all because of the world wide web. xxx

kortney :

"exhilarating and exhausting"

yes, that sums it up so well for me at the tail end of 39!

love hearing about creating with an older child next to you...

peace keep you all.

Eleanor Smagarinsky :

OMG. The Kortney (above) is my ModPo friend (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry course). I had referred her to your blog because I figured she'd enjoy it, and here she is. Happy!!

kim at allconsuming :

Gorgeous Amelia. All of it.

Jen :

I knew there was a reason I never liked Kundera. I read ten pages of Unbearable Lightness and then Jesus gave me permission to stop. People write things to be read. I have never believed that anyone writes JUST for themselves. The act of writing implies the suspicion that someone *does* give a bleep.

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