Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

Mystery first-grader’s incredible poem about dancing goes viral

Mystery first-grader s incredible poem about dancing goes viral

When photographer Jason Gardner visited a US public school to photograph some of the students and their families this week, he ended up taking one picture he wasn’t planning to — a shot of a poem, written by a first-grader, which has now gone viral worldwide. We’re guessing you’re going to love it and share it, too.

The poem, penned at an after-school program in honour of National Poetry Month, which takes place in April, quickly became a hit. As a working poet, we simply love it. We love the idea of National Poetry Month, too.

But since Gardner took a picture of only the unsigned poem and not the student who wrote it, at this point the world has no idea of the young author’s identity. The poem reads:

We did the soft wind.

We danst slowly. We swrld

Aroned. We danst soft.

We lisin to the mozik.

We danst to the mozik.

We made personal space.

Forget the spelling, read the thoughts.

 

Although the poem doesn’t seem complicated at first glance, there’s a surprising depth in those simple words. And it comes with the endorsement of several high-profile writers and critics, including Michael Dumanis, a literature and poetry writing professor at Bennington College in Vermont.

“I loved it!” Dumanis told Yahoo about the poem. “It captured the truth about personal space. The mis-spellings make it more primal and deliberate. At the end there’s an epiphany about dancing and what that means.”

And Dumanis isn’t the only one with good things to say about the elementary student’s work. After Gardner posted the photo of the poem to his Facebook page, NPR’s radio show “Studio 360” shared it with listeners and called the poem its favorite poem of National Poetry Month. (The story has since become the most shared on NPR’s website and has gotten more than 4000 likes.) Meanwhile, a headline on Gawker.com blared “This Talented First Grader Just Wrote a Better Poem Than You Ever Could.”

Though some poets and scholars don’t like the idea of a National Poetry Month, worrying that it will dis-suade people from being interested in poetry during the rest of the year, Dumanis disagrees with that idea.

“Anything that draws attention to an art form is ultimately a good thing. Because of National Poetry Month, more people encounter [poetry], more people write it and find a role for it in their lives. It becomes a long-term pursuit.” He hopes that once the student is identified, he or she will find out how much positive praise the poem has received. He also hopes that the student will continue pursuing creative endeavors and continue to read, study, and write poetry.

“This poem, to me, coming from a first-grader, has so much spark and originality,” he said. “Anytime you put a word on the page, you are making a choice.”

And it’s clear that, for this six-year-old, it was the right one. More power to his elbow.

(Yahoo and others.)

Over here at the Wellthisiswhatithink dungeon we have made a living from writing for more than 25 years now, so we were fascinated by this excellent article from Carolyn Gregoire of Huff Post on the things that creative people do differently. Indeed, the Wellthisiswhatithink household comprises a writer, voiceover artist and speechmaker (er, that’d be yours truly), a leading glass artist, and an aspiring young actor with her own improv troupe. Close relatives have included an accomplished drawer of portraits, a member of the Royal Academy of Art, one of Australia’s leading watercolourists, and an amateur sculptor … so anything that explains the quirks of creative people is very helpful in surviving our somewhat unusual family!

When you work in advertising and marketing (areas where creativity, applied to a purpose, is supposed to reign supreme) people often ask us, frequently in a despairing tone, “what can I do to make my organisation more creative?”

In response, the Wellthisiswhatithink gurus always reply “Give your people room to fail.”

To be allowed to experiment and fail, even when that creates cost, is the critical pre-requisite of thinking (and acting) creatively. Thomas Edison, history’s most creative inventor and genesis of one of the world’s most powerful and profitable companies, tried over 1,000 filaments for the electric lightbulb before he found the right material to sustain light, and in doing so, made the world a brighter and safer place for millions of people.

He called them his “One thousand magnificent failures.”

egg crushed

So often, not always, but often, we observe the creativity being battered out of new joiners or junior staff by the (usually) older and more cynical bean counters that head up organisations. Creative people are not risk averse – bean counters and lawyers are.

When we let bean counters and lawyers run organisations they become increasingly stifled and fail to act with entrepreneurial flair.

People who create brilliant businesses are always creative thinkers. Sadly, as those businesses grow, as a result of the very risk-taking creativity that sets them on the path for success in the first place, they become riddled with ‘creativity cut outs” and increasingly bureaucratic, and much more prone to worried introspection than creative flair.

If you want to unleash creativity in your organisation, read this article and make a note of how creative people need to behave. And remember, they are the very lifeblood of your organisation, not a distraction.

Great article. Really. Read it. Specially if you run a company or anything else bigger than a knitting circle. Article begins:

Main Entry Image

 

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuro-science paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

They daydream.

daydreaming child

 

Creative types know, despite what their third-grade teachers may have said, that daydreaming is anything but a waste of time.

According to Kaufman and psychologist Rebecca L. McMillan, who co-authored a paper titled “Ode To Positive Constructive Daydreaming,” mind-wandering can aid in the process of “creative incubation.” And of course, many of us know from experience that our best ideas come seemingly out of the blue when our minds are elsewhere.

Although daydreaming may seem mindless, a 2012 study suggested it could actually involve a highly engaged brain state — daydreaming can lead to sudden connections and insights because it’s related to our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. Neuroscientists have also found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

They observe everything.

The world is a creative person’s oyster – they see possibilities everywhere and are constantly taking in information that becomes fodder for creative expression. As Henry James is widely quoted, a writer is someone on whom “nothing is lost.”

The writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times, and said that she wrote down observations about people and events as, ultimately, a way to better understand the complexities and contradictions of her own mind:

“However dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I,'” Didion wrote in her essay On Keeping A Notebook. “We are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its marker.”

They work the hours that work for them.

Many great artists have said that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night. Vladimir Nabokov started writing immediately after he woke up at 6 or 7 a.m., and Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and working for several hours before heading back to bed. No matter when it is, individuals with high creative output will often figure out what time it is that their minds start firing up, and structure their days accordingly.

They take time for solitude.

solitude

 

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Artists and creatives are often stereotyped as being loners, and while this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. For Kaufman, this links back to daydreaming – we need to give ourselves the time alone to simply allow our minds to wander.

“You need to get in touch with that inner monologue to be able to express it,” he says. “It’s hard to find that inner creative voice if you’re not getting in touch with yourself and reflecting on yourself.”

They turn life’s obstacles around.

Many of the most iconic stories and songs of all time have been inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak – and the silver lining of these challenges is that they may have been the catalyst to create great art. An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically,researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and – most importantly for creativity – seeing new possibilities in life.

“A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality,” says Kaufman. “What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity.”

They seek out new experiences.

solo traveler

 

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind – and this openness is a significant predictor of creative output.

“Openness to experience is consistently the strongest predictor of creative achievement,” says Kaufman. “This consists of lots of different facets, but they’re all related to each other: Intellectual curiosity, thrill seeking, openness to your emotions, openness to fantasy. The thing that brings them all together is a drive for cognitive and behavioral exploration of the world, your inner world and your outer world.”

They “fail up.”

resilience

 

Resilience is practically a prerequisite for creative success, says Kaufman. Doing creative work is often described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks, and creatives – at least the successful ones – learn not to take failure so personally.

“Creatives fail and the really good ones fail often,” Forbes contributor Steven Kotler wrote in a piece on Einstein’s creative genius.

(Or as a Creative Director once appositely remarked to us, “Always remember, our job is to say “Imagine if you will …” to people with no imagination.” – Ed.)

They ask the big questions.

Creative people are insatiably curious – they generally opt to live the examined life, and even as they get older, maintain a sense of curiosity about life. Whether through intense conversation or solitary mind-wandering, creatives look at the world around them and want to know why, and how, it is the way it is.

They people-watch.

people watching

 

Observant by nature and curious about the lives of others, creative types often love to people-watch – and they may generate some of their best ideas from it.

“[Marcel] Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Kaufman. “For a lot of writers, people-watching is very important. They’re keen observers of human nature.”

(And as John Cleese once remarked, “If you are calling the author of “A la recherche du temps perdu” a looney, I shall have to ask you to step oputside.” – Ed)

They take risks.

Part of doing creative work is taking risks, and many creative types thrive off of taking risks in various aspects of their lives.

“There is a deep and meaningful connection between risk taking and creativity and it’s one that’s often overlooked,” contributor Steven Kotler wrote in Forbes. “Creativity is the act of making something from nothing. It requires making public those bets first placed by imagination. This is not a job for the timid. Time wasted, reputation tarnished, money not well spent — these are all by-products of creativity gone awry.”

They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.

self expression

 

Nietzsche believed that one’s life and the world should be viewed as a work of art. Creative types may be more likely to see the world this way, and to constantly seek opportunities for self-expression in everyday life.

“Creative expression is self-expression,” says Kaufman. “Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”

They follow their true passions.

Creative people tend to be intrinsically motivated — meaning that they’re motivated to act from some internal desire, rather than a desire for external reward or recognition. Psychologists have shown that creative people are energized by challenging activities, a sign of intrinsic motivation, and the research suggests that simply thinking of intrinsic reasons to perform an activity may be enough to boost creativity.

“Eminent creators choose and become passionately involved in challenging, risky problems that provide a powerful sense of power from the ability to use their talents,” write M.A. Collins and T.M. Amabile in The Handbook of Creativity.

They get out of their own heads.

creative writing

 

Kaufman argues that another purpose of daydreaming is to help us to get out of our own limited perspective and explore other ways of thinking, which can be an important asset to creative work.

“Daydreaming has evolved to allow us to let go of the present,” says Kaufman. “The same brain network associated with daydreaming is the brain network associated with theory of mind — I like calling it the ‘imagination brain network’ — it allows you to imagine your future self, but it also allows you to imagine what someone else is thinking.”

Research has also suggested that inducing “psychological distance” — that is, taking another person’s perspective or thinking about a question as if it was unreal or unfamiliar — can boost creative thinking.

They lose track of the time.

Creative types may find that when they’re writing, dancing, painting or expressing themselves in another way, they get “in the zone,” or what’s known as a flow state, which can help them to create at their highest level. Flow is a mental state when an individual transcends conscious thought to reach a heightened state of effortless concentration and calmness. When someone is in this state, they’re practically immune to any internal or external pressures and distractions that could hinder their performance.

You get into the flow state when you’re performing an activity you enjoy that you’re good at, but that also challenges you — as any good creative project does.

“[Creative people] have found the thing they love, but they’ve also built up the skill in it to be able to get into the flow state,” says Kaufman. “The flow state requires a match between your skill set and the task or activity you’re engaging in.”

They surround themselves with beauty.

Creatives tend to have excellent taste, and as a result, they enjoy being surrounded by beauty.

study recently published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts showed that musicians — including orchestra musicians, music teachers, and soloists — exhibit a high sensitivity and responsiveness to artistic beauty.

They connect the dots.

doodle

 

If there’s one thing that distinguishes highly creative people from others, it’s the ability to see possibilities where other don’t — or, in other words, vision. Many great artists and writers have said that creativity is simply the ability to connect the dots that others might never think to connect.

In the words of Steve Jobs:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

They constantly shake things up.

Diversity of experience, more than anything else, is critical to creativity, says Kaufman. Creatives like to shake things up, experience new things, and avoid anything that makes life more monotonous or mundane.

“Creative people have more diversity of experiences, and habit is the killer of diversity of experience,” says Kaufman.

They make time for mindfulness.

Creative types understand the value of a clear and focused mind — because their work depends on it. Many artists, entrepreneurs, writers and other creative workers, such as David Lynch, have turned to meditation as a tool for tapping into their most creative state of mind.

And science backs up the idea that mindfulness really can boost your brain power in a number of ways. A 2012 Dutch study suggested that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. And mindfulness practices have been linked with improved memory and focusbetter emotional well-being, reducedstress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can lead to better creative thought.

"Who would have thought Lionel could be so enraged by my forgetting he likes peas with his faggots?"

“Who would have thought Lionel could be so enraged by my forgetting he likes mushy peas with his faggots?”

Those of you, and perusing our correspondence file there are many, who view the rampant success of the suburban blockbuster epic that is 50 Shades of Grey with some confusion – not to mention those who avoided reading the books altogether, commes moi – will love this blog from Speaker 7.

Genuinely hilarious, and recommended. As, indeed, is most of the blog. Give yourself a break and have a larf … fewer calories than a Kit-Kat, after all. Click here:

http://speaker7.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/fifty-shades-of-movie-magic/

P.S. Um. Are there really so many suburban housewives suffering total frustration of their darker sexual needs that they are absolutely hanging out for this movie to arrive, having read and re-read the three books a dozen times each? Sheesh.

(It’s out on Valentines Day next year, by the way. Yup, Valentines Day, for a movie about Dominance, Submission, and BDSM. You heard it here, first.)

Homo Suburbus clearly needs to lift his game. Personally, one always does one’s best to hold one’s end up where conjugal duties are concerned, but then there’s the back to be considered, not to mention the war wound … the gardening needs finishing, then there’s that tap that’s leaking. Not to mention, of course, football to watch.

Today I heard of a voraciously fit young lady marrying a much older guy this weekend, whose female friends are genuinely concerned that she will kill him.

Where coronary thrombosis beckons, discretion is the better part of valour, we say.

For some reason, Dear Reader. we are reminded of one of our all-time favourite poems, from a man who has created many of the wittiest and most apposite verses in the English language in the last forty years or so. Yes, OK, our mind is wandering: age will do that to you. Heigh ho. Anyway, those who are familiar with my poetry will immediately spot the genesis of my style, such as it is, in McGough’s work, which is acknowledged in the foreword to my book. Enjoy.

Today is Not a Day for Adultery

by Roger McGough

Today is not a day for adultery.

The sky is a wet blanket

being shaken in anger. Thunder

rumbles through the streets

like malicious gossip.

Take my advice: braving

the storm will not impress your lover

when you turn up at the house

in an anorak. Wellingtons,

even coloured, seldom arouse.

Your umbrella will leave a tell-tale

puddle in the hall. Another stain

to be explained away. Stay in,

keep your mucus to yourself.

today is not a day for sin.

Best pick up the phone and cancel.

Postpone until the weather clears.

No point in getting soaked through.

At your age, a fuck’s not worth

the chance of catching a ‘flu.

from Roger McGough, Selected Poems, 2006 at Penguin Books.

Speaker7

I was delighted when I saw the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly:

ewcoverFinally, the first of many issues heralding the arrival of this movie. Being a big fan of the books, I tore through the magazine pages, reading voraciously and savoring every morsel I could.

I understand it will be difficult to condense E.L. James 600-paged behemoth down to a two-hour film. Will they cut out one of the 1,200 email exchanges? Or one of the 4,507 times Christian orders Ana to eat? Or one of the 35,678 times Christian remarks on Ana’s wetness.

God, I hope not.

In the magazine, the stars were interviewed about their thoughts on the film.

fiftyshadesactorsFor the uninitiated, Fifty Shades of Grey is a steamy trilogy about a virginal sockpuppet who falls in love with a controlling oil-retention enema. They murmur and stick things in holes. It’s awesome or–to use Virginia of Lame Adventures

View original post 111 more words

Mary Gelpi and her dog Monty. And, er, red pants.

Mary Gelpi and her dog Monty. And, er, red pants.

I found this little poem on a blog called by Fibromy-Awesome, written by a charming and intelligent young lady called Mary Gelpi who is currently struck down by a bunch of crappy medical problems that she refuses to allow to defeat her.

I find reading her blog thoroughly uplifting, sometimes bringing me close to tears, occasionally very funny, and always well written. Many others agree, and I commend it to you.

Anyhow, while reading her stuff today I happened on some of her poetry, and as you will know, Dear Reader, I am something of a scribbler of rhyming couplets myself, and this one actually both moved me and made me guffaw simultaneously, which is a rare trick.

I don’t think I would have written it quite this way, but show me a poet who wouldn’t change something about what someone else has written and I will show you a poet bereft of passion and dying.

It’s sharp, and genuinely witty. Enjoy.

New People

There are two things people ask you
When they meet you for the first time.
What is your name?
What is it that you do?

I dislike these questions
They don’t actually reveal too much
of anything
about who we are.

Our name says something about our parents.
Our job says something about the world.

I have my grandmothers name
And now I’m unemployed.
Should we keep talking?

 

PS I am always glad to publish poems submitted to the blog provided they’re not, you know – how does one put this – utter crap*? Just email them to me at steveyolland@yahoo.com.

*Nota bene – utter crap of course means “I didn’t like it”. Everyone’s a critic, right?


 

Once the decision was made,

you were ruthless.

 

You hoovered away our life.

Shuffled poems, letters, and sleeves crusty with bleeding hearts into drawers.

Locked them, and threw away the key, making sure I saw it arc, scintillating,

over the back wall and down the embankment.

 

Watching your demolition, I waited quiet at the foot of the stairs.

Like a man on his way to an execution he thinks he deserves.

The unspoken agreement that it would always end like this stapling my lips shut.

Pinned together by the promises of expecting nothing.

When you deemed it right, we were to be un-realised.

“I will run out,” you’d said. “Always do.

  No lies, not between us.”

 

No whining. No reminiscing.

No last minute pub-garden rescues over bitter ale.

No relying on fevered bodies to make things right.

You had run your hand across my belly, making it stiffen.

“It won’t be that,” you had said. “It will be other stuff.”

 

Quiet now. Waiting for the bullet. Eyes fixed on the sky.

Click, staple, click, staple.  Your timing.

That was always the deal.

 

Casting around the newly laid graveyard, now neat as a pin,

untidy man neatly stowed away,

jumbled memories marshalled into neat rows,

you straightened the flowers

I had bought you, for this day,

self consciously, in the middle of our dinner-partied, wine-soaked table

where once you had bent, looking over your shoulder,

hair tumbling, laughing madly at me.

“Afters. Come on.”

 

Brushing passed me, you hurried up the stairs, and re-appeared,

bearing in front of you like an offending sceptre,

a solitary, white edged and almost new toothbrush.

For a moment, your face trembled and hope leapt.

Then, click staple, our lips were closed again.

You swallowed the toothbrush into my breast pocket,

gave it a little pat, and then another, more thoughtfully.

Looked at me for a moment,

and walked to the door, working the key

I had just given you back.

 

I pavemented, eyes squinting against the sudden light,

refusing a blind.

 

As it closed behind me, I saw you through the bowl of glass

fish-eyed through the mock Tudor door

grasp your broom and resume your busy sweeping.

You never glanced back as you swept and swept

your tears washing

the kitchen floor we had once danced on

all night

.

Anyone interested in checking out my volume  of poetry – READ ME – 71 Poems and 1 Story – can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/7y55a7v

I hope this poem has the same effect on you as it did on me and then my re-posting it will be worth the effort.

It’s called “Walk with me by the water” – it really is worth the read.

Enjoy.

Bugger.

I forgot the words.

(You are a very silly man, Simon. I am sure all readers of ‘un certain age’ will laugh. And my last few posts have been deadly serious. I also suspect Simon might be taking the pith out of my post “The Many Paths of Life: https://wellthisiswhatithink.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/the-many-paths-of-life/)

Shakespeare ApartmentsFun article by my new mate Bill, on a recent blooper as a result of wrongly attributed quoting, and also a fascinating piece of Bernard Levin writing (how he is missed) on Shakespeare and his impact on the English language.

Read about ‘Le grande fuck up’ here: http://matteringsofmind.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/french-politician-gets-egg-and-bacon-on-his-face/

Great way to start the day and recommended reading. Well done Bill!

I would also, at this time, like to record my lifetime of thanks to the teaching efforts of John Merriman, who was my A-levels English Literature master, who took a boy (well, a bunch of us, actually), with a mild enthusiasm for acting and reading and turned me into a lifelong advocate of fine writing, and Shakespeare in particular. He imbued in me an undying and undimmed love for the sonorous, rolling prose of the Bard and others, and was endlessly patient when my teenage mind strayed or was merely incapable of understanding the intrinsic beauty of what was being presented to me.

He also introduced me to the unbridled joys of Tom Lehrer, which had it been all he had done, would have firmly established him in my private pantheon of heroes.

John was a generous, brittle, wise, funny, urbane and endlessly world-weary man who covered his essential compassion with a veneer of well-worn Cambridge scholar cynicism.

School House, Lord Wandsworth College

School House, Lord Wandsworth College: if I recall correctly, John Merriman's rooms opened onto the balcony

Sadly, I am sure he is dead now. He was old back then. Old in that sort of granulated, canyon-lined face way that you knew instinctively betokened a life that had seen plenty of both joy and pain, with each careless and unavoidable emotion that human travails are victim to etched onto it; not a day that he had lived was not marked on that face somewhere.

I trust he has gone to that great Globe Theatre in the sky and that the sherry, as it always was, is impeccable and smooth and nutty and aged, and that he is often left alone with the bottle, as he often left us alone with his drinks cabinet in his rooms – which were all red chintz and antique prints, and had the air of a tableau of genteel living transplanted holus bolus for the later 19th century – thereby teaching us trust, as well.

Other than the joys of Shakespeare, nothing reminds me as much of John Merriman as the immortal Rowan Atkinson reading the class roll. It still plays brilliantly, some 30 years after Atkinson’s luminous star hit the entertainment firmament.

I saw Atkinson perform this skit at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton just a few short months after leaving Lord Wandsworth College, about the time this YouTube clip was recorded, funnily enough, and I cried with laughter, then as now.

How Atkinson can make such powerful use of a pause is beyond my weaker ken, but John Merriman could undoubtedly do the same. Timing, you know. Performance is all about …

… timing.

“If I see it once again this period, Plectrum, I shall have to tweak you.”

“Anthony and Cleopatra is not a funny play … if Shakespeare had meant it to be funny he would have put a joke in it.”

Immortal stuff. Just as the impact of a creative and passionate teacher is immortal, in its way – touching so many lives – and I, in my turn, seek to teach my daughter why all those complicated antiquated words are worth stuggling with, and experience the joy of seeing the light slowly dawn in her eyes, in turn. And so it goes, and so it goes: and the learning rolls on, and we are all the better for it.

Is it my imagination, or was the world a wittier and somehow more innocent place back then? Hélas, maybe I am just getting old. Enjoy.