Friday, August 15, 2008

15th August
I met a friend on Tuesday who has always seemed to me to be a very fulfilled person. And someone who epitomises a very wonderful kind of luminous calm beauty.

But what she told me when we met was of the demons that haunt her from a dark childhood of violence and neglect.

And of how when she was growing up her creativity was blocked at every turn; and how she is now becoming so aware of her unfulfilled creative capacities. Capacities which, because they lack full expression, are causing her acute suffering.

I came away in awe of her courage.

And also aware, yet again, of how cruelly and consistently our culture blocks creativity; and how horribly often we are prevented from really flowering as our true selves.

Often, too, by the institutions that are supposedly there to allow us to grow and flourish and mature and express our abilities; but which so horribly often stunt and inhabit us instead.

I'm thinking of schools, obviously. Also of book festivals. Because later that day I met the writer who had made such a poor impression on me there the day before. She turns out to be a delightful person: humourous, vital, courageous. Warm and well-grounded.
And the author of some really delightful and witty poems for children (www.chrissiegittins.co.uk).

All of which also shows how often my impressions of people are utterly and totally mistaken.

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