My discovery has brought me considerable joy.
To a certain degree I have found my discovery challenging and at times even frustrating.
Nevertheless to a much larger degree my discovery has provided me with a plethora of pleasures as follows.
And above all these Welcomed.
I have found that my discovery also invites gentle self – examination,
a certain amount of courage to begin with and is a boost to one self-confidence.
My discovery cannot be bought, cannot be owned and definitely cannot be
That my discovery has come relatively late in life adds to its value and increases its charm.
If by now you have not guessed the identity of my discovery you have disappointed me for the first time ever.
I grew up in a home that was far from calm. Now in case you are thinking that this stormy domestic environment probably made me insecure let me put that notion to bed once and for all.
My parents were fine caring people. My father, a hard worker, was always a good provider for what even in those times would be considered a large family.
Likewise in every sense my mother fulfilled her role as nurturer very well.
There were seven children in total and I was the last-born, but being well spaced out I don’t think we ever shared the same roof simultaneously. As parents they were not overly demonstrative, but I know none of us had cause to doubt their affection.
I guess ‘quiet and constant’ best defines the manner of this good couple’s love for their children.
The stormy climate I refer to was provided by my sister Connie who, small in stature but large in spirit, engineered her turbulence with an unmatchable enthusiasm, for you see Connie lived parallel lives. Recognizing much, but making little sense of it, her bright and highly intelligent mind sought to locate a sense of self and lost the battle time and time again. I observed her spectacular rages with something akin to awe and though only a young girl I was intuitively aware that her real conflict was within herself. It seemed to me that frustration fuelled the fantastic outbursts that insidiously occupied more and more of her waking hours as the years went by and with the inevitability of tides the force of them washed over us all.
During my budding teens her rages began to overwhelm the household and no one was unaffected. Even my parents began to crack under the strain and each crawled into their own private hell. My father chose to distance himself as much as possible from family life and when my poor mother began to crumble she took to absenting herself under any pretext for whole parts of the day.
And I? Well for a while I became absorbed with thoughts of escape from the years that stretched before me until I was old enough to leave. Then about this time I was introduced to Lord Byron by a teacher who I now believe had astutely recognized a troubled young heart. Just thirteen years old I drank in the highly romantic, deliciously sensuous stanzas of a poet who commenced writing such excellent verse at about the same age as I was then.
As I walked to school I would soak in verse after verse and through the day I longed for the finish bell to sound that I might resume reading while I dawdled carefully home. These were my only opportunities to read this particular volume for once home I concealed it from my mother who not having had the benefit of a good education might (I assumed with a child’s certainty in these matters) automatically disapprove of the material.
So it was that romanticism opened the door to my secret garden and I rolled over and over in the wordy grasses of inspired literary language. From those first heady, faltering steps into a hitherto unknown fecund world of words compressed to produce poetry’s unique literary shorthand, Byron’s semantic revels seeded in the fertile bed of my young mind. Privy to the intimate communication between poet and reader, escape was mine.
For me self-awareness was born out of disquiet and I wish with all my heart that Connie who loved words and who taught me to read before I attended my first school could have come to know herself as she really was. For I am sure the creative imagination that ran riot in her rages against the world would have, in a better life, been both grandiose and sublime.
For Connie. 2005.