Archive for the Biography Category

What Katy Did Next…

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Current affairs, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2016 by kathydasilva

Not really a reference to Susan Coolidge…but, for the sake of it the tales of a little girl in a nursery setting… The poem at the front of the book, well my copy that I still have from childhood, What Katy Did, just made me cry a bit. Like a voice from long ago, when life was more gentle. Yes, the people of Hampshire, are just that, gentle. That is indeed what I remember. Her poem is titled To Five. And the  first and second  verse:

Six of us once, my darlings, played together

Beneath green boughs, which faded long ago,

Made merry in the golden summer weather,

Pelted each other with new fallen snow.

Did the sun always shine? I can’t remember

A single cloud that dimmed the happy blue-

A single lightning-bolt or peal of thunder

To daunt our bright, unfearing lives: can you?

I guess that at least when I was small, or younger, I did live the most wonderful life, in my mother’s house, alongside a sister, who was two or nearly three years older than myself. And we had quite a disciplined existence, and routine, every morning, getting up for school, quite early. We were the sort of kids, most parents, dreamed of , and mostly were quite well behaved. But, it was  my parents who eventually fell out with eachother. But, all along, I had the most wonderful experience of life. The house was an old detached Victorian built red brick building with a tiled roof and chimneys, with a long garden that backed onto, a virtual wilderness. For a long time, I experienced a kind of stability, that allowed me to focus on school and friendships, and there is a kind of lull, created by security, that allows for that sought after thing, called education. I think now what a blessing, to have had this peace. But, life is a fragile thing. It is amazing, how true it is that a house, can be a castle, and that is still so true, for without the right environment, how can anyone really enjoy living or concentrate on what counts. The house was just that, but, the money in our household was not great in quantity at least in our early years my sister and I, use to manage, however, to create what was not there in the cupboard, by being great inventors. And chocolate spread, was a mix of cocao powder and margerine, when jams and fancy spreads, were absent. Sugar sandwiches, and for the rest of the time, squash and tea served in a pot. This was still a recovering Britain, from two world wars. In the sixties, I just remember being the small youngest child and everyone older than me, and a bit taller. And Margaret my elder sister was about to marry, on her eighteenth birthday, and she had a glass bowl in her hands, which held water and some sort of lily or orchid, which she managed to drop and the glass broke and cut her wrist, and she had been rushed to the hospital and had stitches. She was blonde and wore her hair backcombed, and high at the crown. It is such a brief memory, but, the only one I have of when she was with us at Cobbett Road. And later  in life, my sister, had such a lot of sorrow, and she died of a sarcoma cancer. And she had said, that her happiest years were her childhood. And now I think I do appreciate what my parents did do for me, and it sounds halcyon in feeling, but, we were not really spoiled, in a material way. Much of the delight was gained from reading and learning, and the natural world around was enormously helpful.

Well, nostalgia over with! Why is it the politicians, in our country sound so unreal?  Perhaps being forced to play an evasive role, has forced this enactment of pretence of coping upon them. But, it is true that the last sixteen or so years of life in Britain, that we as a country seem to be struggling, quite a bit. And war wherever it is occuring is expensive, and I just wonder why, just why are we having to do all of this ‘fighting’? I am hopeful and glad at the American result of their election, for  a new start was needed.  and very sadly the left wing over there proved to only have what I can see is a weak leadership, and were far too keen, to perpetuate war abroad without any conscience. Most of my own life, I had to listen to my mother restating all of what went on in England, during her youth in a war that nearly broke our back, as food had to be rationed, and as for being prepared for the actual battle, the materials for weapons and ships, munitions, was seriously under estimated. Historians, recount, the railings from seaside resorts being ripped from their placement, and melted down in order to help with the deficit of need. No please we do not want that kind of war ever again! And yet again, why is there that uneasy feeling in the air? The feeling of not being settled, or safe? Something interesting is happening in Israel this week. Spontaneous fires, breaking out in the city of Jerusalem. And it reminded me of something I read on Wikipedia about the attempt to rebuild the temple of Solomon. That no matter how hard the Jews tried to rebuild the temple, disaster always struck either in the form of fire or falling masonry. And it seems to me that God is speaking again. Some people might blame the climate now, but, the Palestinians were saying that the Zionist’s were forbidding their call to prayer in Jerusalem. So who will listen? And in all truth, I do believe, that the Jews need to recognize their Messiah, in their midst, who has always been, Jesus, who had said: Who is my sister and my brother? And under the new covenant, all men will be saved.

Life stories..Looking For Pearls update…

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2016 by kathydasilva

 

It’s that time of year where nostalgia can grab you as the Christmas seasonal fanfair begins. But, I am in the middle of writing, the memoire/fictionalized version of my life story. I am feeling a tad freer from changing names deliberately, so that while the book will of course go public and be available for sale hopefully I will save my relatives from invasive problematical interest, or potential interest in the future. I am anticipating, this will feel my best work, because essential to biography or autobiography is some honest recounting of events. I was becoming very focused on loss recently, and also have started the ‘novel’ from a different time point, than originally planned. It looks a bit more logical though to go backward from a recent event that was momentous or devastating or life changing at the very least. An lo, springs an honesty, from the many things observed, and funerals, as well as weddings, bring family members together. I am now more hopeful about finishing this one sooner. I had to have a little time away from just typing up a story line, as Driftwood, also became an emotional burden, in part because I am an artist, and events are still current politically, and now even more so, the recent American elections are showing the turmoil and uncertainty of our age. So back to Looking For Pearls, and my fight to create something with some of the poetry side of me still coming through. I always think writing takes something of the energy of the interior spirit of a person as you go along, so that when you finish, you do feel like it is a kind of intellectual birth moment. I am feeling helped along this week, by staying home a bit, with the heating on, thankfully. Here’s  a little extract of Looking For Pearls, it is loaded with emotional ups and downs as a book, but, my artschool years provide quite an interesting, backdrop to London, and the art scene in general. In the extract, I am harking back to my mother’s funeral. (All names are changed to protect identity).

There was tension within the family group and then her grandson, Martin, had told us he could see her, first at the church kneeling at the side alter, and then when we met at the wake. A teenager with second sight, though I am not sure how that happened, he had had visions since his youth. And he could see my son who had passed, and he could see my dad, who had passed, and he could see, my elder sister, and she too had passed.‘ extract from Looking For Pearls by Katherine Da Silva

I have had to live through about a decade of relatives, passing on. So it is all going to go in there somewhere, as life has to appear as real as it is. Though there is plenty of humor as our family, and hopefully my adult self had to cope with such a lot of striving, to make  things happen. I am glad that TV today is getting so predictable and repetitive if only for creating the need and urge in me to make something different. In a way, the whole fictionalized future dwelling semi-scifi, genre, of recent film, has so much forboding attached to it. I too have my version of something like that, in ‘Battlefield’, this will eventually have a different title, but I have some stories up my sleeve, for the year ahead, well at least two or three story lines. The film Hope and Glory leaves us in the period in which it is made, and although this perfectly reflects a certain nostalgia, of a time when people pulled together, through rationing, and bombing raids, the parts I like most are the family exchanges, and rituals of eating together, from grandad to grandchild, all understanding their place, and all interacting.

I was bequeathed a few old photographs recently from the war period, and childhood of my mother. I was so pleased to be in receipt of them, as there is some wonderful historic element, in the styles of clothing and hats. My grandfather on my mother’s side had come from a farming family. And it is with some delight to remember that age, when families would expect to eat food grown in their own gardens. I think the twentieth century has gone so far into the financial element of material things, the era of the super store, that people, and community have truly suffered. My mother’s era, were much more family orientated, and everything especially during the war years of my mother’s youth, was home grown, and they had a small holding. And then of course they had the war to deal with, and for as long as I can remember, every  now and then, my mother would become very thoughtful, about this period of her life, reliving the things, people went through.

 

 

 

 

Writing…memoire/novel..Happy Days..

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2016 by kathydasilva

bookcoverimageabcIt’s funny and not, that at the moment I seem to be choosing humour to lighten what was traumatic at the time of something happening. But, I am not sure it will actually add to the ‘drama’ effect of real life being retold or for that matter remade, in the effort to fictionalize part of the story. I might be understating some of what happened if I add too much humour but humour is part of my personality, and some of that humour came from my father. At the time of a funeral the strangest things can happen. The people you have not seen for a while, can turn up looking completely different to when you last saw them, and in some way this can produce quite surprising elements to a scene. I am just remembering that famous film story, Four Weddings and a Funeral. Well that was something of a combined element of happy and sad moments in the lives of friends who had been quite close.

So to add to my dilemma, I will have to add something of what I read, or rely on for strength. Books are like old friends. My copy of Ulysses by James Joyce is thirty years old! The glue is dry and now not able to keep the pages together, it was paperback. The centenary that was being celebrated was the hundred years from his birth into this world. And that was back some years ago! I had read Stephen Hero and The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When I recently went through the trauma of loss, I was privileged to view a newly written play, performed by Theatre of Eternal Values. They were Yogics, and multi national in terms of the cast who performed. So English, Italian, Finnish, Dutch, and Spanish actors took part in the story of William Blake’s life story. They did the whole lifestory, from birth to death and interwove the story of Job from the Christian bible inbetween scene changes to depict this. Blake  was someone who spoke about social injustice, and was also accused of sedition and ‘uttering treasonable expressions’, and he was quite a good craft person with regard to artistic drawing and print making.

A man who received visions from God, and saw angels in the fields amongst workers, as a child looking through a window. It is indeed amazing how one or two writers can impact a person, thoughout their life. So perhaps I am on the right track, with regard to my story after all!  It is like being in the river of life, the spiritual river if you can imagine a little of something of the mystery, it helps. My friend Michael’s poem, ‘in whose vortex I am caught up..’ Michael is a Brighton poet. The Blake play, showed the devil as a two character part representing his ‘tongue’ or two faced deceptions. It was well done. I thought this play needed to be in the Barbican. I think everyone should see this wonderful version of the life of William Blake. And now back to where I left off…..

Extracts from Looking For Pearls

Posted in Autobiography, Biography, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by kathydasilva

Chapter Six
There is a break water that seems to extend for miles out to sea, made of stone and concrete. There are barriers to stop all but the feet of men and women and dogs, from entering onto it. At the end is a beacon, a lighthouse for passing ships. It is grey and demanding. There is a high wall that runs its entirety to prevent gale force winds blowing a person over the railings in stormy weather. It is safe to promenade, and to fish from this structure. The wall extends into and around a low lying sand beach. The flat sand, is dirty in coloration, but attracts all the dog lovers. The high stone wall, rises at least forty foot above the beach, and steep steps are the only way it is reached. The railing forever rusting and bent with tides and the actions of men.
The tides that bring the shipping and ferries into port, allow for the traffic of fishing vessels, and yachts, all steered into port. The ferries, bring an oily tidal scum, the beaches in places bear witness to this oily mess. Further into the estuary, there is a small island, and an inlet of water, scooped out by men. There is a barge, old and decaying, which is home to those with a tinker like occupation. It never moves from it’s place at the harbor. Further along the dyke, the Ouse runs toward the small village of Piddinghoe. The old anglican church, sits beside the waters of this river, and provides a gentle backdrop where Isobel will sit on a lazy summers day sketching the grasses which are blown by the wind.