The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

12 February 2012

Random pieces

... of my tiny mind.

Where does dust come from?  I try to stay on top of it, but all of a sudden, when I'm not looking, (dust-sized) mountains of it appear one day on a lamp base, or around the pencil mug on my desk, or behind the bedroom door.  Does it happen at night? Dust particles send each other text messages and agree to flashmob previously arranged locations?  No wonder the average household used to have 'help' (I'm reluctant to use the 's' word).  Imagine how dusty a Victorian home would have been with all the knick-knacks they had - not to mention all the fabric they used to cover the arms and legs of furniture.  I shudder at the thought of those dustbunnies.

Speaking of servants, let's linger for a moment in Downton Abbey.  Here are some of the best Maggie Smith moments - as the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

This fabulous British import of entertainment candy fulfils all the requirements of satisfying television viewing: scrumptious costumes; romance above and below stairs; a period in history near enough to be familiar but distant enough to be an escape; breathtaking locations; honour, chivalry, and manners; gallant heroes and slimy bad guys; talented cast and crew; British accents.
We're very near the end of series two, and I hear that they will soon begin filming series three. This worries me a little, as the Brits excel at telling and story and allowing it to end naturally, whereas in the case of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes et al are succumbing to public pressure to keep it going.  There has been a hint of melodrama creeping in, and a feeling of story lines being stretched beyond the credible. Still and all, I'm hooked and eagerly anticipate the next instalment every Sunday evening. I'm watching the clock even as I type this.

There is an interesting program (on NBC) called Who do you think you are.  It delves into the family tree of various well-known folks.  What makes it so interesting is not the celebrities, but the revelations that come about from the investigation into history.  Many of the stories have shown that a person's history - whether one is aware of it or not - makes itself present in concrete ways today.  For example, a football player wears on his jersey a number that pops up in the family tree again and again.  An actor with a passion for activism and social justice discovers that his family tree is well stocked with activists and fighters for justice. A family's favourite restaurant sits in the location of an apartment that family lived in generations back.  No man is an island.

Being now back to full time work - thank you, Lord - I'm struggling to find time and energy and inclination to write. I suspect I will have to figure out how to make the available time count, and work at wrestling the words to my will, rather than waiting on them as they are willing to make an appearance. When I had all the time in the world to court the muse, I would spend hours gazing out the window as I sat at my desk.  I don't have endless hours now, and being limited in time means every minute I spend at the keyboard must count for more than they ever did before. I admire women authors who raise children, work outside the home, and still manage to produce reams of published material. I realized recently that I've being dallying with being a writer, because I am a perverse person. I had time and opportunity to make a serious effort to improve my craft and seek publication.  Every attempt has been half-hearted, probably out of fear - either at being found out as lacking talent, or the reverse, being discovered to have talent and then being expected to produce something real. Go figure.

Have you ever noticed how it's the thing you can't have that you want, the only thing you can think of to do that you can't do, and the thing you may not say that sits right on the tip of your tongue, ready to throw itself on the floor in the middle of the room for all to know about?  I have a secret... someone else's secret... and I may not say it aloud for months still.  I don't know how I'll keep it tame and in harness.  Argh!

Poor Whitney Houston.  I was never a big fan - I listened to Def Leppard and Depeche Mode during her heyday, and I had little respect for girls in my class who liked her (I was such a music snob).  I made a compilation CD for my sister years ago featuring songs that were 'really important' to us - music from vintage U2, Talking Heads, Joy Division/OMD and so on.  I wrote liner notes for each track detailing how it was significant, or key moments from the videos - details that mattered at the time. I ended with "and for everyone else there was Whitney Houston".   She sure had talent though, and it makes me sad that she lost her way.  Drugs are such a blight on our society, at every level of the economic ladder.
This was the "My heart will go on" of my day. 


  1. Who does not adore Downton and Maggie Smith? What's not to like? It's Pride and Prejudice meets Days of Our Lives. Utter perfection!!

    And totally. No man is an island. Shortly after my family had moved from the city to the country, distant relatives put out a book on my mother's family's genealogy...where we happened to find that my great, great, great grandparents settled in the exact same area (about 4 concessions over) as we had just moved.
    Striking, isn't it?

    And I too was sad to hear about Whitney. While I was also one of those "alternative music" snobs too, I certainly remember balling my eyes out during The Bodyguard - one of the most tragically bad movies made in the 90's. Still, it was unfortunate to watch her steady decline from pop star songbird, to voiceless, drug addicted alcoholic.

  2. Freakishly coincidental, Sarah, that you moved so close to where your family had been all those years ago. Wouldn't it be interesting to learn about your distant family, finding the links to things you are interested in now, or places you are drawn to?