Archive for the education Category

Writing, for who?

Posted in Autobiography, education, Poetry, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2017 by kathydasilva
camus

Albert Camus: writer of A Happy Death; Exiles and the Kingdom

I hope eventually that the novels, that I continue to write, might finally have their own independent voice. I have read over  a lifetime, so many books and quite a few from a previous century. The style of writing, in the Victorian era, which is described as the Romanticist period,  and a bit before the gothic/romantic Mary Shelley, included, held quite a few marvels, that seem forever, to be taught, and remain, subject for study, at university level at least. In my mother’s era, they as children, were given George Elliot’s Silas Marner at school, but, by the time, I came to do my final O Levels, the main study novel was indeed, the very famous To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The American’s had usurped the English novelists, in importance! The consolation was Shakespeare for a playwriter, Romeo and Juliet, and still this was backed up with a visit to the local cinema to see Franco Zeffirelli’s, version of the famous tragedy. I am saying ‘backed’, because even by the time, that I came along, in the mid seventies, for O Level study, television, and the newly growing Hollywood film industry, had already made its dent, in the call for an attentive audience. In the fast growing technology of the TV playscreen, from black and white to Technicolor, there was an obvious demand for screenplay writers, and the need would have had many an aspiring, author in its clench. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed the replays of black and white movies, the early movies of Tennessee Williams’ screen play talent. There was a great sense of classicism, in the story lines, and emotional outpourings of the  characters,  who became iconic, to the next generation of would be actors and starlets. Great screenplays, added to great acting and directing, was bound to create diversion, and in the same breath,  an addictive pastime. I think the arguments for ‘where the great novel’ went, is thoroughly, embedded, in this call for time on everyone’s leisure moments. Hedonism, was with us from at least the post war era onward. However, it is true, that great novels, have been written that then have been made into films. But, it is also true, that not every novel, of our modern era, makes the same impact as something like, Wuthering Heights, or Gone With the Wind. And between the original novel, and the screenplay, there exists, a transformation, which does not always translate the greatness of the original text. I am mindful of something I recently, watched, but, mainly for the actors, and some of the ‘romance’, element of the story, the novelist Nicholas Sparks, who wrote Message in a Bottle, did not get to write the screenplay which is by,Gerald di Pego. I kept wondering throughout, about the flimsiness of the characters, and, so, yes, what could have been, an awesome, and, deep statement about bereavement, fell a little flat. Grief is a very complex, state of being, and my heart wanted to feel, something for the man who had lost his wife, Catherine. I could not create in  my own, head any more connection, with the entertainment of the film, than just letting the wash of the sea that eventually consumes the ‘hero’, wash over me by the finish.

Novels, That Last the Test of Time.. is that a better heading? Well I suppose the film industry is never really going to run out of great classics, as there are plenty of ghost stories and Tolkien went down a storm! Will that make people read the original novel. Well in my case, when they filmed,  Thomas Hardy’s, Jude the Obscure, I directly went out to Waterstones in Brighton and bought the book.

‘In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitization of print.’ (Will Self)

Saving the Great British Novel? Well I am not worried too much about the novel, and whether to write it or not, as there is a market albeit for electronically transferred data, thankfully, long train journeys and commuter traffic will ensure, some readership, and a growing population of retired people, which is on the increase. I am not sure whether to rely on Will Self, as a ‘weatherman’ for trends, over literature, but, I guess, given, that the classical element of some high-end writing, meaning literature, might well be suffering, some lack of recognition for the modern-day author of works of a more aesthetical nature. My thoughts are in this sense, in the days of the writer, James Joyce, who married and kept his family, not only by the means of his authoring of books, but, also by whatever job, including teaching English to foreigners, in Switzerland, and working in clerical positions of government, still kept to his goal of breaking the mould, and experimenting with poetry in the prose form.

 

Will, himself is probably way out in the frontier zone, with abstraction, and by that meaning psychological realism, to the full brunt of interactive text. With all of the content of ‘Shark’, in mind, the social comment, and the whole drama of events described vividly, throughout the story, I found myself battling with the text, and surprisingly, ending up with quite a lot of memorable scenes to describe, after laying the book down.I am intending to write a bit more in due course, but, perhaps, in the past authors, did not  have the privilege of knowing what kind of response their work would create. My question perhaps, instead of why it is suggested that society is evolving away from story telling, is it not the case that much of what is life, repeats itself, even between centuries. Science creates new subject, and new subject will always inspire more story telling. Star Wars, and Star Trecking included! And there we have that wonderful tale, Hitch Hicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My theory too, is eventually any true intellectual, will become bored fairly soon, with the tittle-tattle of new fandango gadgets, and plump right back to a source of enduring quality writing. Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust) included!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Story

Posted in Autobiography, education, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2016 by kathydasilva

I was remembering parts of the content of a dream, recently, enough to say, that I felt compelled to re-evaluate, the meaning. To search a bit deeper, as to why, certain images appeared, and in doing so, understand the will of my maker, the eternal God, whose birthday is celebrated today. The light coming into the world, as some would say. To explain, and by way of more detailed explanation,   a small but signifcant thing that had occured in my early twenties, when trying after graduating to get a job, and somehow, start the process of progression, away from the dole queue. I had already the creative art ambition, already, practiced some of that ability at the college where I studied, but, my interest in writing, had begat the need to learn, touch typing in order to ‘punch’ out a  book or two at some point. And the most significant thing was a purchase of an electrical typewriter. I had asked my mother and then my father who had  by this  time, begun to live a wholly separate life from my mother, could they help with the purchase. I had begged the money from them, and bought the WH Smith typing course book. This had been recommended to me by my sister Alison. Between all three, I am now touch typing this. I learned to touch type on the electric machine, but, when times were tough and money less forthcoming, I did sell the typewriter to a pawn shop in the Tooting Bec area of London. The pawn shop, was a kind of swap shop, too. But, on this occasion, I took the cash. I was grateful. I did not know how my father, who had probably retired by this point, as I was born, late in my mother’s marriage, when she was about thiry-eight, might have reached down into his heart, and let me have the cash. After all, an electronic type writer might have been at least ninty-nine pounds, at the time. I had relinquished ownership of this wonderfully functioning machine with also a digital editing window, without much thought at the time, but, need for food and other things, had been higher on the list, and I mean the need to eat, and keep, on living. I took a while before employment came my way, but, I had felt sure typing would help me to this end. Computing and wordprocessing were just around the corner, in terms of development and mechanizing of the whole publishing industry. I did the typing course and have not regretted for one moment, as inbetween, different employment, temping and VDU input, were the only possibility of anything, slightly secretarial. I watch people doing the two forefinger effort, and wonder why they do not do the same thing. And now we  have

Padlock with drilled part

Padlock (with drilled part)

hackers.                                                                                                                                                             And now we have thieves of intellectual property. And now, yes, perhaps slowing down invention, might make honest persons of us all? I found my locked cabinet, opened without ‘breakage’ of the lock? I saw the small padlock on my laptop case, had had a hole driven into it, and wonder who would do that? What a sad human. And sad for me, as I still retain, what rights I try and protect over my intellectual property.  This is how horrid our world has become.

My dad, had done a thing which was essential for  my survival. My mother had helped organize that, and my sister, had helped because she cared that I would be able to get a job. And to me that is family. And how sad, now, because all three are with Our heavenly Father. The dream, I will now tell you the dream. I was walking down a wide London street, a clock tower in a parallel road, similar to Big Ben, but, in any case, it was the feeling of a Sunday walk with an elderly parent on my arm. My mother wearing a dog tooth check winter coat. Her right arm, hooked through my left arm, and the unspeakable thing happened. The weather was as normal, the sky quite clear for a winter’s day. But, still, the unspeakable happened. There was an explosion. The buildings in the parallel road, were bursting, or exploding, one after the other in a kind of wave, and my only thoughts were to run with my mother, to shelter, to get out of the open road, to try to protect us both. Where we ended up, was the doorway, that looked not dissimilar to the pawn shop, though a charity shop in Romford does look similar equally. But, listen, the windows were empty, and the shop had no lights on, probably because it was a Sunday. I sheltered there, but, in the air, and remember this is only a dream, was the voice of Johnny Depp, saying ‘Let go of your mother’. I am not sure why, but, Johnny Depp, spent some time in London whilst filming a few things. I am not sure, why, but, as I looked, all that remained of my mother, was the bit of her right arm, that was hooked through my left. The blast must have been nuclear. The tragic image, was as bad, as I could imagine. Why had I survived, well God had said, I had signed for peace. I signed a petition, at Greenbelt festivals year 2002, against our country invading Iraq. It is the oddest thing, but, now too, God is trying hard to speak to us all. I vote left wing in the elections for I personally believe in helping the poor in the most logical sense of dividing wealth evenly, as evenly as is possible without taking the wind out of the sails of industry.  The prophecy, is continued, in my own life. This year, I have been severely injured, in a car accident. An unmarked police vehicle in Ilford, ran me down on a crossing, it was going the wrong way down a one way lane. I have suffered a fractured right ankle and also the wheel ran over my toes, my falanges, or bones in my feet are still not right.  The  honest people must take heed and do what is right, and take up your cross. But, it is still on my mind that closed down shop. The place I sold my electronic type writer, and the whole, thing that parents do which is bolster and help, at personal sacrifice to their own needs.

I started my own personal search for expression, at a very young age. But, most significantly, was my discovery at an age of independence of the author John Steinbeck, and then from about art school onward, there was a veritable fountain of suggestions. History is very helpfully noted down and documented when writing novels. Indeed in a hundred years time, I am sure writing will still be as relevant and as important, as the time of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. We need a voice to take to task, illumined screens and computer/gadget madness. Thank God there is a poetry revival in tow country wide.

NB To budding authors….

Will Self types his first drafts to his novels on an old fashioned non-electric typewriter.

 

Why Writing is Important..

Posted in education, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2016 by kathydasilva

I live in  my flat, surrounded by nearly a lifetime’s worth of books spread out around the place even some on shelves in the kitchen. I started to collect and develop, my own taste in authors works, around the time, I came to live here in London. Mostly as a student, I collected second hand novels and the saving, made it possible to read plenty of the classics, that I felt my education up until the age of sixteen, had seemed to ‘leave out’. Bar the fact my mother taught us to read from a young age, and allowed us a choice of books from the school catalogue, she also made sure there was a good enough supply of abridged versions of classics with illustrations, so that as young as we were at the ages of say four to six, there was plenty of stimulus to look at books. And in a way, I am glad to have been her youngest child. I had an absent Godfather who also sent me wonderful books, and dresses.

With e-books becoming popular, I was thinking of cutting down on the scale of the collection, but, to be truthful even the covers, and the secretiveness of the content of a book, make it a mystery. It is like looking round a second hand shop full of curios. I especially like rediscovering tales that have been quite original and different in the backdrop of another culture or far away destination, and possibly time.

camus

I picked up Albert Camus’ Exile and the Kingdom, from the shelf this evening, to find the story The Renegade.  It is a story of extremes, both in the condition of the characters, and the landscape of the  hot desert of West Africa. The narrator mentions Taghasa, and wikipedia informs me it is a region of saltmines. The story is about a missionary who has encountered a tribe of ‘savage people’, who cut out his tongue. He had gone to the desert people to take them the message of Christ, but, had been made to bow before their Fetish of a god, and was entrapped and beaten down.

‘What a jumble! What a jumble! I must tidy up my mind, Since they cut out my tongue, another tongue, it seems, has been wagging somewhere in my skull, somthing has been talking, or someone, that suddenly falls silent and then it all begins again – oh, I hear too many things, I never utter, what a jumble, and if I open my mouth it’s like pebbles rattling together.’ The Renegade, Albert Camus.

He ends up hating the people who had encouraged him to go out there, and wanting to prevent the humiliation of another missionary by intending to shoot him before he arrives in the city of salt. The entire story is unique, I have never read anything quite so extreme, and the only other author whose story The Immortals, Jorges Louis Borges, is there to make comparison.

And writing like this  is something that belongs to deep felt emotion and experience.

‘Squatting, as I am today in the shelter of the rock and the fire above my head pierces the rock’s thickness, I spent several days within the dark of the House of the Fetish, somewhat higher than the others, surrounded by a wall of salt, but without windows, full of sparkling night. Several days, and I was given a basin of brackish water and some grain that was thrown to me the way that chickens are fed, I picked it up.’

Yes that is why I collected books! I think story telling is important, and all cultures tend to write or story tell, and that is true throughout history. If we as humans should stop, what would there be to hand to the next generation? And then that image of H. G. Wells out of the Time Machine, of spinning discs, and books that disintegrated, as the man from our age, sees the future, through his travel. The books had been archived, it would seem in a library rarely visited, as the future inhabitants had become slaves of the Morlocks. The Morlocks, looked like savage ape-men, with no hint of intellect left, who had become cannibals! That was Wells’s  view of the post-nuclear war world. I see something different. And I hope for something different. We must make something different!