Friday, 22 July 2016

Myths and Legends in the making



Week 3 at the farmhouse. Just one more week now.



American poet Jane Hirshfield says:

'The best stories are almost myth like in their ability to support different conclusions.’

 Maria Popova, creator of  brainpickings.org says:

‘The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. 

Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.’  Thank you Maria Popova. I agree, but had forgotten.

I seem to have been doing a lot of unconscious processing at the farmhouse this week. Not much writing  has been done.  My spelling has gone nuts, and  as a result…I find myself questioning my body and especially my brain… are you really well?  What's going on?


 But it's been an unusual week in many ways. How long do you allow your feelings of grief to surge before you chose a new conclusion, a new way of looking at the story?

Here is a local story that one day will be either a myth or a legend.

Kiki, a waiter at weekends at a nearby town, was the nephew of my  beloved friend Loli.   

A month ago a 'suspicious looking' local man came into the National Bar in Lanjaron, Andalucia where Kiki was busily working. It was the weekend of  the towns annual lively water festival. 

The man threw petrol over himself,  then over the people in the bar, then  set fire  to himself.  This resulted in his immediate death,  and the  death of  the bar owner. Many people were seriously burned. Kiki  tried to stop the man. He managed to help many customers escape from the fire.  Kiki died  a month later. The doctors had put him in a coma, from which he never emerged.

The 29 year old has been honoured by his town as a hero. Tributes to him are flowing over social media and  the local Newspapers.

How long do you allow your feelings of grief to surge before you chose a new conclusion, a new way of looking at the story? 

Painting by the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi


Today Life feels surreal, and the luxury of spending time and effort in writing feels…unreal. 

So really, whether in Orlando or Paris, or Nice or Syria or Nigeria, or anywhere else in the world where atrocities are happening daily… we who survive…can chose how we re- tell these stories.

‘Storytelling at its most healing  becomes a canvas on to which the reader and  the  listener, as well as the writer, bring their full range of memory, intellect, and imaginative response.’

In other words,  I believe we all chose how, with the passing of time, we will re tell this story.  

Will it become a myth or a legend? A heroic tale or a horror story?




My prayer  and my mantra over the next weeks will be that the families affected by Kiki’s passing will be blessed in unimaginable ways. May kindness and love flood their lives, and may the cooler days of autumn brings some gentle respite.








http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poets/detail/jane-hirshfield

Photos thanks to Pinterest.



Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Bolivian farmworker and the magical green purse.


Sucre Bolivia 2012



Hello dear friends from scorching southern Spain, 

I’m here at beautiful farmhouse  near Malaga editing and tweaking some of the  travel stories from my blog. Seven days have passed.  I'll be here for a  month.  Lucky me! It's paradise. There's even a salt water pool.

The stories will be interwoven with a few of the cancer adventures.   Inner and outer journeys, as it were, to share my trust in the bigger picture of our lives.  

I'm not religious as you know, but I so believe there is an amazing bigger picture at play for all of us. 
Lessons in Loving never end, do they?
Lessons in Compassion are ongoing.

I think it's all about learning and growing and sharing all along the way.

Here is a taster of the only true story I’m writing with hindsight. I've told it a few times but never written it down. 
It's an extraordinary story of  trust, and what happens when trust goes out of the window.  When the show was over, I just had to laugh.   Honestly! 

The whole story will be in the book.

I’d love any feedback !



Sucre,  Bolivia 2012.  
The distraught Bolivian farmworker and the magical green purse.

Street Corner Theatre.   9am – 12 noon-ish.




I’m on a real, fired up mission on my third morning in Sucre.
I’m wanting to learn Bolivian street Spanish.  Just the  most local kind of expressions.  No more text book learning.  I’ve done a lot of that.

So, I’m walking from my arty hostel called Casa Takubamba to The Beehive. It’s literally 500yds around the  corner.  

It feels a  safe kind of area.  There are slim leafy trees and  many windows  have well cared for geraniums behind bars. There’s an old church with an empty plaza in front.  A few  elderly fruit and vegetable  sellers sit under larger trees, their wares spread out beside them. It will soon be hot.


It’s a lovely fresh  sunny morning but I’m still dealing with altitude sickness. It’s like my body has arrived at this lower altitude but my head hasn’t.  It’s still arriving from La Paz.

So,  I’m not super alert.  I’m obviously not at my most observant. The following  story clearly demonstrates this!

I’m here in Sucre mainly to research their ancient, local, dancing shoes, and to visit the famous  once a year festival at Pujilay. There won’t be many white faces  there .  It’s not a tourist event. So I’m feeling it’s doubly important  to learn some local  expressions.




The owner of the Takubamba hostal is Jorge, soon to become a friend.  
The owner of The Beehive is Amanda, a beautiful young Asian American social entrepreneur from San Francisco. Both Jorge and Amanda are extremely street wise,  and young.  I am neither. 

The Beehive is a hostal, a café, a language learning centre, and a meeting place, all created by Amanda.

I’m on my way for my first ‘conversational’ Spanish lesson . I’ve signed up for two weeks. Classes will be with Veronica in the mornings, and Suzi in the afternoons.  They’re both Bolivian.



I’m tremendously motivated.  Really I am.  My Spanish, one way or another,  must improve.  Little do I know, very soon indeed, I will  be learning in leaps and bounds in a most unexpected way.  I've resolved  I'll talk to anybody to practice.

Sucre is at an altitude of 2,810 meters.  That’s 9200 feet.  That’s high. The population is said to be 193.000.  This morning it has increased by 2.  They arrived on an early morning bus from the country, apparently.

And so, on the corner of the street beside The Beehive,  pure street theatre commences. Amanda and Jorge play bit parts. 

The  story of The distraught Bolivian farmworker and the magical green purse is about to start.

Two experinced criminals are about to choreograph a very profitable day. The select me as the star of the show.

Would you want to read more ???