Last night I watched Michael Morpungo give the Dimbleby lecture, a passionate, romatic man talking very eloquently about the fate of children he had encountered across the world, shot as target practice as they tried to collect building debris near the Great Wall of Palestine, banged up in detention centres, restricted by the ever tightening neurosis of western notions of safety and attainment from enjoying a real childhood, etc. So many images of little children came through my mind as I followed his slightly rambling but goodhearted call to see children as our seed corn. – the little boy cleaning shoes in La Paz for a farthing, the child begging my cold chips off a discarded lunch plate, the little baby I nearly trod on once in a Nairobi slum who had just been born to the 12 year old raped daughter of a widow, trying to raise children in a tiny shack. each enough to set heaven in a rage, as he said. – which is why I have been encouraged by the campaign by the Pachamama Foundation for Fouryears Go. a great little video promotion produced it seems by a “seen the light” big advertising agency. They want to raise the notion that we realistically have four years to tilt the world in a new better way, a way more worthy of human hearts, minds and history. Chase up Lynne Twist on You Tube for more details – great name for a great person!
Still not allowed out, and voiceless! I have just read, in line with my five year delay on catching up with stuff, “A short History of tractors in Ukrainian” (??). Here pain and pleasure are combined in this brilliant novel, characters ringing loud and true off the page, that enhanced realism which has touches of South American craziness in it, but also speaks clearly of the chaotic pain of 20th century eastern Europe. Reminded me of “The Long Way Home.”, by Rose Tremayne, but full of natural joy as well.
In the last week I have also read two books by Dervla Murphy on Siberian travels, and she too, though not with the irony of the tractors book, intersperses narrative with very dense analysis of recent Russian/Ukraine etc. history. Terrible times, like people’s school days, promote larger than life characters and stories. These often turn out to be quite true though. Reality all around us is almost four dimensional, rather than three. The fourth diminsion is enhanced reality caused by pain.
My big enthusiasm at the moment, which has great synergy with Michael Morpungo is KIDSLIBS Trust, www.kidslibstrust a kenya initiative through an inspired children’s librarian from the UK to set up community owned and managed libraries which act as a catylist for new information, empowerment and learning spaces for children and their accompanying adults. amazing what a success the seven existing libraries have been, but KLT managing on half a wing, – well a few feathers really, and a bit of a prayer.Check them out!
The garden – I should tell you about, is mainly my “little allotment”, shared with the beautiful and kind Jane, who shares the secret garden with me in a corner of our village here on the great Chatsworth Estate, high in the Derbyshire Peak District. I will tell you more later, and take you there.
One hidden gem is KUSC which broadcasts classical music all day with no adverts! – They are based at the University of Southern California, five thousand miles from me, but I listen every day. They are having a supporter drive at the moment. How do I support from the UK? www.kusc.org
bye for now,