Gary and I went to Stonehenge yesterday. I’d never been there before but I’d been driven past it and seen it from the road. A new visitor centre and exhibition has just been opened there. There’s a museum all about Neolithic life and possible theories about how and why the stones were built. There’s been a lot of archaeology on the site so there are lots of artefacts on display. It was all quite interesting.
You can’t go right up to the stones because of the delicate nature of the archaeology and they’re still digging there but you can get pretty close. I can understand why they don’t let most people up there because a few silly people will always think ‘let’s chip a bit off and take it home’. It’s the idiots that spoil it for the rest of us.
If I look cold and windswept in the photo, it’s because I was! I insisted of having a nice hot cup of tea in the tea shop when we came back from the stones. I didn’t particularly find it a spiritual experience but with a lot of tourists around clicking cameras and the usual exit through the gift shop I thought it was more an educational and commercial experience than a spiritual one.
Since about September last year I have been learning to play the guitar. I don’t think I’m doing very well but then I never do. But it has struck me how much like writing learning the guitar is.
Firstly, progress is always painfully slow. I sincerely wish I could pick up the guitar one day and play like Hendrix the next but that’s never going to happen. It’s endless hours of practise that improves one’s playing and nothing else. I have heard rumours that if you go down to the crossroads and sell your soul to a tall dark gentleman with horns and a tail, then your ability can drastically improve very quickly but that’s too high a price to pay in my book. But there are so many other things to do in life and so many times when the last thing you feel like doing is writing or practising the guitar.
And when you’re learning anything new is can be so disheartening. As someone who suffers with a lot of self doubt, I never think I’m doing enough or doing it properly. I feel guilty if I don’t practise the same as if I don’t write. At least I have a guitar teacher to give me a small sense of perspective. He’s always a lot more enthusiastic about my playing than I am. But with writing, it’s much harder to get perspective and I’m sure all writers are familiar with the feeling that every thing they write is probably garbage and how they feel they’re probably wasting their time doing this.
However, when a break through does occur and something goes well, the feeling of achievement is monumental. Music, writing and creativity in general is, despite the difficulties and setbacks, such a joy. With the guitar, my aim is to be good enough to be in a band. With the writing, I want to be a successful published author. What I really want is some sort of public vindication. Yes, a best selling novel or a grammy awarded album would be great but what I really want is for people to like what I do. I want my creativity to be appreciated. Surely that’s not too much to ask?
I am always amazed when I hear a woman say “I’m not a feminist but…” I cannot understand why any woman would not be a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t turn you into a dungaree wearing lentil eating lesbian, nor is being a lesbian anything to be ashamed of. But so many women seem frightened of admitting to being a feminist. Why?
To me, being a feminist is about being a man or a woman who believes that no-one should be discriminated against because of their gender. That’s all!
So I would like to say “Yes, I am a feminist and I am proud to be one. I consider it nothing to be ashamed of frightened of. It helps me to embrace my political, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual power and I can’t see anything wrong with that!
I never realised when I first started doing the Facebook thing that it would turn me into a grammar nerd. The urge to correct bad spelling and grammar is so strong that sometimes it is really hard to resist. One of the most prominent and frequent errors occurs around the words ‘there, their and they’re’. So let me explain.
‘There’ refers to an unspecified place, as in “The Beatles are over there.” ‘Their’ refers to things that belong to them, as “The Beatles have their hats on today.” ‘They’re’ is an abbreviation of ‘they are’ as in “The Beatles have arrived and they’re on stage.” I hope this clears things up. I know a lot of people on Facebook will continue to get it wrong.
I can understand if English is not your first language or if you are dyslexic or have other learning difficulties; fair enough then. But if English is your first language and you went to school I can’t help thinking that you should know this stuff. Perhaps that makes me a pedant but then so be it!