This, our mythic moment

There is a point in the swing of a pendulum, at its farthest position from the centre, when it pauses mid-air, before returning on its downward journey. At that moment it is both in motion and yet immobile, momentarily hypnotised by the tension between gravity and momentum.

Some years ago, at a small workshop in London, storyteller and teacher Sue Hollingsworth introduced me to a concept she termed the “mythic moment”. In the context of a personal story, such a moment might encapsulate a mind-bending experience, a sense of awe at something magnificent or terrible, or a piece of shocking news after which life will never be the same. The defining characteristic of moments such as these is that time seems to slow down, stretch out, even stop completely, the universe and its unfolding events paused in brief hiatus, like the pendulum suspended at the top of its swing before a new perspective comes into view and motion is resumed.


Millionaire claims capitalism is abstract, not linked with capital

This is satire. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is a purely coincidental result of amalgamating some hazy memories and having a laugh with them.


A lively online exchange about economic systems came to an abrupt end when one of its participants, millionaire Mike Sutton of Maidenhead, asserted that “capitalism is more about ideas than resources” — at which point the others lost the will to live.


Small, vivid update

Hello long-lost readers, if any are still out there.

Vivid has been dormant for a while, but like the vaquita in the image, it is not extinct just yet, and neither am I.

Most of my writing endeavours of late have been directed into the beginnings of a draft of a non-fiction book. Assuming it gets written, but not otherwise published, this is where it will be serialised.

In the meantime I have an idea or two brewing for a new essay here, and ahead of that a couple of short, unrelated posts ready to publish right now, landing shortly.

One of these is itself a book review — the first and possibly the last on this blog (count it as a testament to the book in question that I felt inclined to break with tradition). Please do have a look, spread the word, perhaps even buy the book. It’s an eye-opener.

The other post is a bit of satirical fun, inspired by some shenanigans on social media that I witnessed over the last year or two, but itself entirely fictional: all resemblances coincidental, etc., etc.

Before uploading those I wanted to say something about privacy and data protection, given the GDPR legislation that came into force since I last posted here.

Luckily this will be short and sweet: I don’t keep, store, access or possess in any way anyone’s personal information.

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Language patterns, the media and cultural re-storying

newspaper-664513_1280It’s fashionable these days to summon the concept of narrative for effecting change, whether it’s to evoke brand loyalty, to create demand for some product or, on a rather more substantive scale, to persuade humans to live more peaceably on the planet. I’d personally prefer to see its mysterious power deployed in pursuit of a lot more of the latter and a lot less of the former two — if this power actually exists. (more…)

Reclaiming our place in the planet’s ecology

food sov farmers-market-local-produce-520It is a standing joke in my home that when dinner appears, whether it’s a curry or a quiche, someone has to ask “whose is it?”

The quip is an affectionate lampoon of my step-father, who for as long as I’ve known him has never eyed a piece of meat on the Sunday lunch table without asking precisely that question.


WANTED. Planet in crisis seeks leaders up to the job

V leadership-transition

When the essence of leadership tends in the direction of doing injury and inflicting harm, it is a collapse of leadership, for which we do not have a name. – Stephen C Rose, in the introduction to his book: The Coming Collapse of Leadership.

Why is it that slow food, slow money and slow travel are so appealing, but that there’s nothing quite as dull as a slow catastrophe?

Perhaps it’s because when you slow down food, money and travel, it allows you to more fully savour the genuine rich pleasures to be had in the senses and in the moment.

Whereas if you slow down a catastrophe, that doesn’t work at all, because catastrophes are meant to be enjoyed at pace. (more…)

Could do better: why we must set young minds free

Back to the chalk-faceIn the same week that my 16 year old son began assessing his options for subjects and sixth form colleges for next year, his 11 year old brother made a bold but flawed attempt to bunk off school, managing to duck away from the school bus and secrete himself in the local churchyard with his packed lunch and a plan to sit out the day under a bush.

The closeness of the school community and his older brother’s vigilance meant that his absence was spotted and reported within an hour; to his chagrin he was back in school for second lesson. But there were insights to be taken from this traumatic, if brief experience.