Where she rambles on and on about page 84 of 1984

May 10, 2012

C has just started a class of contemporary fiction. It’s an abbreviated course, heavy in reading, but hey…it gives her 3 more university credits. One of the assigned books is Orwell’s 1984. She hasn’t read it yet.

I know, you’re shaking your head at my complete lack of guidance for my child.

Actually, I have to be truthful, I don’t want her to read it! I have this urge to save all my children from exposure to evil. And Big Brother is all evil. I do sometimes wonder why I feel like that. You would think that exposing them to books with a difficult subject matter, like 1984, the Diary of Anne Frank, even Deborah Ellis’ The Bread Winner, would communicate an important life lessons in a way I can’t. (Actually, I was very upset when the kids had to read The Diary of Anne Frank in high school, and, when C did something very stupid as a teen, I gave her The Bread Winner to read as a possible punishment…she loved it!) I can see you shaking your head and muttering, “Oh for god’s sake” under your breath.
I guess my “protect the children from difficult subject matter” instincts may come from my experience of having to flee the Czech Republic as a child.

I do waffle on!

Back to 1984…

We spent last autumn at West Cottage. It was so beautiful. The maples at the bottom of the garden shed mountains of leaves, the crab apple tree was absolutely resplendent with yellow fruit and the leaves on the cherry tree turned daily rainbows. I wanted to document it all and so, between enlarging bedrooms, raking up leaves and photographing everything in sight, I took time to make a small book to remind myself of that glorious October.

Being the junk collector that I am, the book is made from found pieces. A large, posted manila envelope and an ordnance survey map make the covers. Inside, the pages are papers from an old sketchbook. And it is filled with my autumnal photos and drawings and origami folds, found feathers, vintage photos, an old broach, buttons, thread and found poems made from the books “A Brief History of the Wellington Boot” and “1984”.

I found a copy of 1984 in the thrift store. It was missing the front cover and several pages, but the remaining pages were the most beautiful golden colour and had that soft-with-age feeling, you know, as if a breath could scatter the ashes.

I chose page 83/84. On those pages is Winston, paralysed with paranoia about the thought police, as he walks away from Mr Charrington’s shop with the glass paper weight in his pocket. Such emotionally charged pages. But my mind pulled invisible words from the sentences so the found poem reads like this:

Though I don’t recollect any moment
when I
recognized
that I was going in the wrong direction
I halted, and stood for several minutes
It was curious, but
i was too paralyzed to move.
There was no retracing steps.
However – – ! i had already made up my mind
that the heart could be trusted.
so I turned to the right and walked on
humming to an improvised tune – –

On the opposite page is an analysis of Bach’s piano concerto in D minor with sketches of the last summer geraniums in watercolour pencils.

So here’s the point of this story: (Thanks for not shouting, “Get to the point already”)

The point is that something beautiful can come out of something frightening, ugly and even evil. Whether it’s a lesson, a growing experience, or just a nice memory. So I’ll encourage C to read on. After all, she’s already read To kill a Mockingbird, Into The Wild, Atonement and many others.

And loved them.

Maybe those books have had a hand in helping her become the beautiful young woman she is.

Kind of like little red riding hood...but different
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9 Comments

  • Reply Monique Liddle May 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Hello Veronica!
    Your creativity reminds me of my Uncle. He is a brilliant artist w/oil, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, and color & black pencils. Like you he sends me drawings in books, on the back of paper from his office, on envelopes containing lestters to me. As a child, he would write stories with drawings for my brother & me. I thought he was the most creative person in the world as I grew up. He could see so much in everything around him. As I read your post especially of how you wanted to remember that October and I saw the photos of your art, I am transported. Yours has a feminine touch to it, which I like. I often wonder what it must be like to have that ttype of creativity bubbling up inside you, Veronica. Does it ache and yearn to move from inside of you onto something tanagble, whether it be poems, stories, drawings or other creations? I imagine you have lived w/it all your life so you don’t know any other way of being. My uncle has shared w/me massive amounts of poems when he was trying to process his Mum’s death & how she affected her children when she was alive. He was so glad when I started my blog & to I began to tell my story – and also when I began writing again…Anyways, I’m going on!

    Thank you so much for sharing this post and for letting me remember my Uncle. I love your crative streak & think what you do is truly beautiful!
    Monique

  • Reply Monique Liddle May 10, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Hello Veronica!
    Your creativity reminds me of my Uncle. He is a brilliant artist w/oil, acrylic paint, watercolor, charcoal, and color & black pencils. Like you with your art/remembrances, he sends me drawings in books, on the back of paper from his office, on envelopes containing lestters to me. As a child, he would write stories with drawings for my brother & me. I thought he was the most creative person in the world as I grew up. He could see so much in everything around him. As I read your post, especially of how you wanted to remember that October and I saw the photos of your art, I am transported to a familiar place. Yours has a feminine touch to it, which I like. I often wonder what it must be like to have that type of creativity bubbling up inside you, Veronica. Does it ache and yearn to move from inside of you onto something tanagble, whether it be poems, stories, drawings or other creations? I imagine you have lived w/it all your life so you may not know any other way of being. My uncle has shared w/me massive amounts of poems when he was trying to process his Mum’s death & how she affected her children when she was alive. He was so glad when I started my blog & to I began to tell my story to others – and also when I began writing again…Anyways, I’m going on!

    Thank you so much for sharing this post and for letting me remember my Uncle. I love your crative streak & think what you do is truly beautiful!
    Monique

    • Reply Veronica May 11, 2012 at 3:15 am

      Hi Monique,
      Thank you so very much for your lovely words. I think, if I met him, I would like your uncle very much. How lucky you are to have him in your life. I started painting as an apprentice of my aunt’s when I was about 5yr old and so creativity is really deep-rooted inside my soul and I don’t know any other way of self expression which is as satisfying, or as necessary for my well being. My aunt passed away a few years ago but the memories of her will stay with me always. Aren’t we lucky to have, or have had these incredible people teach and inspire us?

  • Reply Joy Weese Moll May 11, 2012 at 5:41 am

    What a beautiful scrapbook – and I love your found poem!

    • Reply Veronica May 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Joy, thank you so much. I love to rearange words from old books into “found” poems. Do you ever do that? I also love erasure poetry but sometimes get frustrated at missing words. (more discipline needed) 🙂

  • Reply Lynn Daue May 16, 2012 at 4:47 am

    I’m blown away by your art. I never, ever would have thought to bring so many different elements together, and I love that they work in harmony.

    • Reply Veronica May 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Hi Lynn, thank you for your lovely words and for the inspiration around the book spine poetry.

  • Reply Linda G Hatton January 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Ah, I tried to find this page the other night and it wasn’t coming up for me. I’m glad I found it now. I love your work .. also, erasure is one of my favorites! I especially love the button flowers. Beautiful art!! Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply Veronica January 30, 2013 at 6:24 am

      Oh good Linda, I’m glad you did. I like erasure poetry too. Can’t wait to see more of your journals. Hope you make more. 🙂

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