Walking to Tesco recently the energy of people that passed by was tangible, almost sparking. A frisson of fractals. Alongside the swagger and the over-energetic boombox bravado of youth, wandered a war-torn veteran, a simple existence yet textured with age and toil – a lifetime of wisdom and wear. A lady in purple seemed excited, she seemed urgent to share a secret but was unsure where she was going. We were not to know, but the man on a bench is struggling with loss – it comes to us all. In the park, on a blanket in the hot summer sun, a spirit of sorcery enchants a young lady reading. A lad just out of jail is extremely happy yet anxious for support in what’s become an intoxicating world. A couple about to embark on a great adventure are singing “we’ll be in touch…” to everything they new. Wood-spirits dance. Energy pulses. The Tesco sign is blue and red. That man you see every now and then, what’s his story? We are all walking stories. Perhaps it’s worth realising this.
My mind is sometimes like a broken kaleidoscope… The room’s quiet… silence can really transport you can’t it? Occasionally I need a silent significance to focus my wondering.
If you’re of my age you can probably recall walking the shelves of a library, looking for that author, the writer of that book you read last year… ‘Fiction K-M’… The library, a cavernous space with nooks, crannies, and arches to other worlds. The room’s quiet, except for the “mummy, mummy…” appeals from a little one in the children’s section “look, look…” (something about a bear and a mouse in New York).
You’re looking for a new read/story. A multitude of spines are stacked tight, but although last year’s book was a great read, you cannot recall the author’s name. Where might you find a new read ? Where might a new read take you?
I was recently roaming the shelves of an online book store looking for another read. I’ve read a few books recently that sparked the synapses; exciting, delighting and warming the cockles of my random access mind. Is it addictive?
The scientific benefits of reading fiction are well documented. Reading fiction provides mental stimulation, helps with memory, vocabulary, and focus. Identifying with characters can help develop empathy and emotional intelligence.
So, looking at what’s popular on ‘the shelves’, we’re offered a lot of exciting or uplifting ‘escapism’… do we need to escape? Well perhaps we could do with less despair, less pretension, less negativity, but do we need to escape these things to celebrate the good in life?
When entertaining supposed ‘fictions’, stories, characters and visions, I don’t think we are escaping. I think we are augmenting our reality with a virtual reality that amplifies, celebrates and realises what we might have. If you want to amplify the darkness, that’s your choice, but I think focusing our kaleidoscope through reading people’s stories might help us share the sparkles of light that visit our ‘Guest House’. A frisson of fractals, the contrast between the shadows, the harmony behind the complexity, helping us to see beauty in and around us.
I heard a colleague recently “I’ve not read a novel for ages… since school”… It made me wonder, who’s missing out? I guess they’ve no need for a kaleidoscope.
Is reading a substitute reality, or is it part of our mind’s kaleidoscopic RAM?
The word ‘kaleidoscope’, created in the early 1800s, is derived from the Ancient Greek words ‘kalos’ (beauty), ‘eidos’ (that which is seen) and ‘skopeō’ (to look/examine), combined as ‘observation of the beautiful’… even outside of Tesco.