Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Twenty five

There's a 'memetic prompt' (I'm not sure such a term exists, but like the sound of these two words together ; )) doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment. . . Name twenty five things about yourself that might not be considered 'common knowledge'. With all that's swirling about right now (for one thing, I'm supposed to be writing a conference proposal - submission deadline's today), I was initially reluctant to participate, but after reading other people's offerings, came to the conclusion there was more gift in this little exercise than burden. 

Here's the list I cobbled together in the wee hours this morning. . .  


1. I have no trouble not answering telephones.

2. Had I been born male, I'd wear a beard and sing bass.

3. The un-publicly declared name for my house is Izinyoni (Zulu for 'House of Birds')

4. I hope my postage stamp of land will one day become a vibrant meeting space for collaborative exchange; for yoga, meditation, creative and healing arts, dance, music. . . a sanctuary where fellow travelers come together to contemplate life's mysteries, explore ideas, take creative risks. . . grow.

5. I light candles each evening - and often during the day.

6. I think our unconscious is a good many steps ahead of us and that we humans are endlessly mysterious

7. . . . and wondrous, as is the world we inhabit.

8. I'm curious about the things we cannot see or hear, the places we cannot travel to - except via dreams and the imagination.

9. Mathematics, numerology, sacred geometry - the systems that undergird everything - thrill me.

10. I like keeping the score in Scrabble.

11. My favourite numbers are 11 and 22

12. My patient old glasshouse has finally been lovingly dusted off and repaired and is ready for its first growing season in years. Hooray. 

13. I talk to 'my' birds each morning and am encouraging the raucous tui teenagers to try out a new riff or two (yes I sing to the birds, too).

14. I fell in love with Antarctica the moment I set eyes on her in 2005; five years later, I remain convinced there was nothing incidental about our meeting and, too, that our relationship will endure for at least a lifetime. 

15. I fell thigh deep (right leg only) into a crevasse at the foot of the Herbertson Glacier in 2008. Had both legs gone in, that saw-toothed glacier might well have swallowed me whole and I might not have been here today to write about it. I still sometimes feel a shock-wave run through me at the memory of that. . .

16. I have a five-dot birthmark on my left ankle that resembles the 'five' on a dice.

17. I talk in my sleep - on occasion, strangers on airplanes have had to prod me to let me know I'm expounding loudly on some subject or other

18. I need great big dollops of time on my own and in silence - I am increasingly reluctant to visit commercial outlets. 

19. I trust faith and best intentions to help us transform even the toughest of obstacles into something worthwhile

20. I cherish my children - and believe in them big time

21. I love my friends

22. I grew up handling chameleons, tortoises and snakes; my childhood home was surrounded by wide open veld. I would freewheel on my bike (no hands on the handlebars) at high speed down our dirt road to the river where my three sibs and I would wade amongst bullrushes and red bishop birds. We'd regularly pick up rose quartz, amethysts and tigers' eyes.

23. Once upon a time I loved a Siamese Fighter fish named Rufus. 

24. I think protest can be better expressed through poetry, art and prayer than via aggressive means, noise and negative language.  

25. Laughter and music are great healers.

Young Tomas's flowers - c.1996

Perhaps you'll feel 'memetically prompted' to share twenty-five bite-sized morsels (or less, or more) on your own blogs - and/or to jot one or two down here for others to enjoy? Thanks ;


  1. I always like this sort of reverie..rambling along, sometimes funny, sometimes've taken an interesting path...

  2. Great list, Claire. My favorite number is 22, too. Something we have in common. I might try this exercise myself one day. Thanks.

  3. when i saw your tuesday poem "headline" for Basho, i said to myself, of course she's posting Basho!
    i love your all-of-a pieceness, claire. everything you write and post, your artwork as well, so clearly comes from you and no one else...and your list of 25 is, of course, made of that same, transcendent material.
    i did the exercise on FB a long time ago- when i was stil in NYC. i may do it again, and post both on Twisted Knickers--see what change a year has brought...!

  4. You might intuit my nodding head, over here, across the waters. When your land becomes the site of all you wish for, I will be thrilled to visit, even if it is electronically. Reading your list, on a morning that started out too jangly (all in my mind), has restored me to peace and trust in our processes, especially in our hidden gifts. Happy to know you better. xo

  5. This list made me so happy.

  6. What lovely things you are made of, Claire.
    I look forward to your sanctuary and will day-dream about it today.
    who knew facebook could offer such inspiration ;-)

  7. In reference to Number 6 on your list, I'd like to share this quote from Albert Einstein that I came across: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."

    I have a friend who is an evangelical atheist who believes in nothing which cannot be proved by science (there's a poem about him percolating away in me), but I find his way of seeing the world stifling. I prefer the latter way of living in Einstein's quote and I imagine you do too.

  8. Hi Lynn - rambling can be revealing! This little list-making exercise was more of a stream-of-consciousness process than anything else, really. I was surprised at what arrived on the screen (the oddest juxtaposition of things!). Will you try it? I hope so ; )

  9. Dear Elisabeth
    I encourage you to try this - it took very little time, really; felt a bit like leaping onto a horse that turned up unexpectedly in my garden and going for a quick bareback gallop across a wide paddock. As is the way with these things, one goes on later to think of heaven-knows-how-many other things one could have added to the list. And then, of course, we consider our 'darker underbelly', still under wraps?!

    But no. . . 'tis the season to be jolly, right? (It was good for me to 'banish my old school nuns into corners' along with my 'propensity for intensity' and not think too hard.) Play is good. Deep play especially (Rebecca Loudon's term).

    The fact we share a favourite number makes me happy. Thanks, Elisabeth.

  10. Dear Susan
    As ancient as he is, Basho is new to me - his poetry arrived in my lap and I gazed into it as if it were a beautiful newborn babe! It amazes me that something so light on the page can open such deep depths - like a rock pool whose bottom we can neither imagine, nor reach? I'm am not surprised you have a soft-spot for this man, too, Susan! And love that you do.
    I confess I'm a teensy bit envious of my friend Jenny who's leaving NZ for Maine today (a little town called Troy - is it anywhere near where you live?). Pam, Penelope and i were fantasizing about making an 'in the flesh' journey to the US one day and partaking of a meal (or several!) with our wonderful, as real as real, blog friends. And if you ever come this way, you will find our doors open.

    You bring warmth and light to this space, Susan. Thank you - and do please write and post your list(s)?

    Love, Claire x

  11. Dear Marylinn - you will find the door ajar. Please come in.

  12. Rebecca, I am happy that you are happy. The transparency of your writing is an inspiration, you know; you give me courage. xo

  13. Dear Rachel - thank you for daydreaming of the sanctuary named here. I like to think it is already happening - perhaps it is? (Facebook is full of surprises, yes ; ))

    I was happy to see you've posted another poem on your blog. Am off there now to see what else is new.
    L, C x

  14. Hi Andrew
    A friend in Dunedin shared this Einstein quote with my son and I the self-same day you wrote it here. It's fascinating how often these synergistic little events happen, as though (in this case) the words are drifting by in the ether and all we have to do is reach out and pull them down; for you, there; and him, here. And now for all of us, here! Thank you - and yes, miracles - mirabile dictu!'

  15. What a great list. It's nice to get to know you in this way.

    I have a dream of not only meeting, but living in an intentional community much like you have described. I search google often and they do exist so I take trips there in my mind.

  16. Hi Kass

    Isn't the mind a remarkable and endlessly fascinating place - that we can roam around in it for a lifetime (or many?) and never get to the end of its mysteries never ceases to amaze me.

    I love that we are 'invited' to be magicians of a kind; to conjure, construct, deconstruct, invent, put-together, take apart, pick up, set down. . . and we can travel or stay home in so many more ways than the body dictates.

    It makes me happy to think that you dream of an intentional community, too. I wonder whether this is taking shape/finding its form out here in the blogosphere?

    Some days this world seems more real and palpable to me than the one I 'actually' inhabit. Do you ever feel this way?

    Thanks for coming, Kass -

  17. As always, Claire, I marvel at the lyrical words you choose to express yourself.

    I love the fact your two favourite numbers are so wonderfully connected to primes (well, to me they are (-: )

    I might have to start writing a list...

  18. Dear Vanda
    Do please write a list? The 25 one has been going round Facebook for some time. It sounds daunting at first but all it takes is one stream-of-consciousness session and there it all is. ('Don't think too hard' is what a pal said to me. . . this time of year has more than enough demands to have to suddenly work at something else, right?!).
    Love, Claire
    PS. 11 and 22 are very fine - master - numbers. And of course there has to be some relation to primes! (I am a prime nutcase). xx