Dec 292006

Searching for more clarity on walkingtalkingwriting: these images for what we are ABOUT:
Autumn2006pics_0431_1 Autumn2006pics_043_2

When ak and I last met to walk on Dartmoor a week or so ago, there was a moment in our talk …

… when we compared walkingtalkingwriting to Yoga (which we both do), and the ‘Salute to the Sun’ practice; the sequence of twelve movements; stretching the arms upwards-bending forward-lunging one foot back, and so on… ; first with the left foot leading and then with the right foot; "left" and "right", the alternating pair of movements, that are usually repeated in series of three.

So, ak and I continued in our conversation; first the "left" step, walkingtalkingwriting, we agreed, walkingtalkingwriting begins the process. But then the "right" step, what is this? It seemed on Dartmoor on the days before Christmas we were in the dark about the "right" step. Essentially dark. Something incognito. Over Christmas, the reading of the opening of St John’s Gospel, something emerged. Light. The "right" is action; journeys accross boundaries; over the threshold about who or what we meet.

"Left" step / "Right" step; I found aAutumn2006pics_043 detail in this photograph (taken last October in Istanbul) of ak standing in front of the remains of the massive columns formerly located in ‘The Forum of Theodosius’, the decorated columns, according to the Guidebook, being the design of peacock feathers. My reading recollected Theodosius (the last unifier of east and west, and who elevated the one Catholic religion among the competing views of Christianity, and put out the eternal fire of the Temple of Vesta in Rome), and the Forum as the place for meeting. And the closer reading of the columns, the design not only the lightness of feathers rsing, but also steps sunk into something hidden.

"Left" step / "Right" step – feet sinking into waves of flowing desert sand, feet sinking under waves of river, beach and sea; steps in series of three, first the "Left" leading, then the "Right" -
walkingtalkingwriting: journeys accross boundaries, about who or what we meet over the threshold .
Autumn2006pics_0431.. Autumn2006pics_043_1


Meeting Places…

 Posted by at 3:57 pm  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
Dec 292006

About who or what we meet over the threshold, I began searching weblogs in earnest over the last few days; walkingtalkingwriting – first "Left" step then "Right" – the search for Meeting Places:

  1. LITERARY FRIENDS  – "literary blogs" / "book blogs"
  2. SPIRITUAL SOURCES – "religion and spirituality blogs"
  3. DIVIDED VOICES – "political blogs" / "plogs"
  4. SOUND and SENSE – "poetry blogs"

- for journeys accross the boundaries.



 Posted by at 3:31 pm  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
Dec 292006

On the way to organising a walkingtalkingwriting ‘blogroll, this is the beginning of search for LITERARY FRIENDS, "literary blogs" / "book blogs".

Weblogs that are – "… writing about reading":
First impressions – there are 2 types of weblog; the ‘collective’ (some in magazine format), and the ‘individual’ (ie generally one person). Some lists of Links on weblogs seem so enormous that I do not believe they can all be true LITERARY FRIENDS! Here is an initial short-list.

For the ‘collective’, go to:
the literary saloon and search its extensive links
then try:
Brit Lit Blogs and search its links for both ‘collective’ and ‘individual’
and look for the links that recur, such as:

For the ‘individual’, walkingtalkingwriting thinks these might become LITERARY FRIENDS:
(but how does Sandra do THAT much reading?!)

And dont forget to check out the recent
Guardian literary blog ‘top ten’ award

Whenever lost, or unsure where to go next, try
Arts and Letter Daily ("… ideas, criticsm, debate")
with its enormous lists of online (USA bias?) -
Book Reviews
Favourites &



 Posted by at 3:27 pm  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
Dec 292006

Courting wisdom, walkingtalkingwriting’s pilgrimage, this is our first faltering steps in search of " religion and spirituality blogs"; a real mix of the great and the gruesome! I’ll stick to the great. is a good place to start (‘…all religions respected’), along with its blogheaven. For a short and discriminative selection of links, try its article on ‘Best Spiritual Blogs’.

SoMA ("A Review of Religion and Culture") is a good web ‘magazine’. It also lists a huge number of (?bias towards US and Christian) links .

The Revealer ("Resource for Journalists and Media-makers") is another good web ‘magazine’ with blog activities.

Killing the Buddha  ("cheaper than the church") is a more open questioning (not actually Buddhist!) web ‘magazine’ with a blog, and good links. For instance, Sakamuyo ("life and faith on the island of misfits").

Velveteen rabbi ("When can I run and play with the real rabbi’s?") is a good ‘writery’ Jewish blog.

Mere Islam looks an elegant blog, Islam on Line a useful website.

Buddhists seem not to be well served in the blogosphere… so it looks like I’ve got myself a new job!



 Posted by at 2:15 pm  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
Dec 292006

About searching for "political weblogs": my first instincts were saying – "Don’t touch them!". At the same time, something else (that ‘something incognito‘) was saying – "Go on!", because one of the boundaries walkingtalkingwriting crosses is political debate – especially debate ABOUT Hope and Protest.

But "Plogs" are legion:
… where to start ? Wikipedia lists 23 political, 37 liberal, 11 libertarian, 8 conservative, 3 warblogs. That hardly scratches the surface, and then there all those political Magazines too.

… and who to trust on the search? Perhaps those who write History (the History News Network). But USA based, and as they say ‘History is always written by the victors’. Not always true; the History of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was written by the ‘losers’, the Byzantines fleeing to the west rather than the victorious Ottomans. In Iraq I wonder if the same isn’t happening – too soon to say we think!

… DIVIDED VOICES, or should we call it  ‘ESSENTIAL VOICES’. We search for authenticity, rather than the merely strongly opinionated, political ranters, or spin doctors. In Iraq, riverbend (Baghdad Burning) of course.

… voices that reach out over the divide. My first choice is Open Democracy and its Links, and themes of:
arts & culture
democracy & power
ecology & place
faith & ideas
media & the net

I think that covers it!


 Posted by at 2:10 pm  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
Dec 292006

Or SENSE & SOUND… The words are taken from the 2004 TS Eliot Lecture given by Don Paterson. He called the talk ‘The Dark Art of Poetry’ , although he immediately dismissed the title as a – "nonsense". At the end of the talk he states, ABOUT the two words sound and sense – "we need not connect what is already joined".

The walkingtalkingwriting search for "poetry weblogs" – poetry and poetic territory – is a search for meeting places where – "we need not connect what is already joined".

The Poetry Library in London warns of the hundreds of thousands of poetry websites, and links according to the following themes:
Listings & portals
Poetry advice

In our view (… walkingtalkingwriting: – journeys accross boundaries, ABOUT who or what we meet over the threshold), few indeed of these sites are the meeting places we seek where – "we need not connect what is already joined".

You have been doubly warned!


Dec 252006

Profile00162 A pain in the knuckle of the fourth finger – the ring, the one that also supports the fingers and thumb that holds the pen in my right hand; joint swelling, the crackle of crepitus, and bruising; from recent spade work creating a small new vegetable garden, outside the walls so that rabbit netting must be dug in deep and covered with heavy stones – and I am compelled, commanded, upon the word of the beloved physician, she tells me to take up the pen in my left hand.

It is a slow and slowing business, the uncertain formation of the letters one by one, and the later difficulty of not being able to decipher the script of everything that has been written by the left hand on the page, there is the necessity of sustaining awareness to follow lines of the squared notebook, the practice of silence and slowing thought, the restraint of unnecessary words and proliferating ideas.

At the age of four, certainly before I reached five, it was the nanny, Nina, employed by my mother and father, of Scottish strictness and likely lonely in the east-midland far from her home in the north, that compelled, commanded, me to write with the right hand, taking the crayon or pencil out of my left hand, which seemed the side I had naturally preferred for writing, at least so far as my memory of childhood is able to recall, and putting it in my right hand; for the purpose of daily practicing the formation of letters along the squared lines of exercise books, in preparation for the coming task of beginning first school at Stamford High in Lincolnshire.

In conversation two weeks or so ago, telling the memory of the same experience to a writer friend, or at least the story of the past moment that is more than half imagined, the thought was expressed together – "Why not take the pen up in the left hand again?"; about a process of practicing the formation childish looking letters, and making the journey accross the page with child-like uncertainty; at the same time free-handed, and with the amazement as each new letter emerges and unfolds in advance of the following hand (rather than behind as when the right hand holds the pen).

But not begun until compelled, commanded, this script written out (as I think it now) by my left hand -
My Garden.

in my garden
there are tulips and begonyas…

… and we have botatows and carits
and all sorts of things

- the journey accross the boundaries of time, at the age of four, on a small piece of paper which my beloved now keeps safely stored; the original lay for more than forty years along with other precious photographs and things under the glass top of my mother’s bedroom dressing-table, until she died on the last day of 1994; my gift to her, the best of gifts for her who also loves writing and gardening, the pleasure, texture and currency of the deep world’s gift economy.

But unable literally to remember or simply to transcribe, the words withheld, the paper on which they are written hidden, there is the freedom of beginning again, and I am also compelled, commanded, letter by letter, the sight and sound; an opera, the childlike practice of attempting to find the exact words again, of which this walkingtalkingwriting also acts as a representation, making the journey accross the boundaries (this weblog about literature, politics, and religion); with the restraint of writing with the left hand, the practice of patience, of slowness and silence, and uncertainty; of who or what we meet – at the meeting place, in my garden – making the journey accross the boundary of time.

On this Christmas Day.


By way of a post script

 Posted by at 11:52 am  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
Dec 232006

This morning’s Guardian carried the headline:

“Religion does more harm than good – poll

82% say faith causes tension in country where two thirds are not religious”

No wonder I often feel like keeping quiet about my religious leanings!

Yesterday, sitting on a train and coming to an end of a very slow read of Anne Carson’s Economy of the Unlost, I found the following:

“Simonides advises us ‘to play at life and to be 100 percent serious about Nothing.” (Page 119)


“. . . the human condition is an irretrievably mixed one. . . . Gods fail to love us. The All Blameless Man turns out not to exist. So where can we go for news of truth? To words. The poet’s words remain.” (Page 126)

And I was heartened by the piece in last week’s Guardian Review, A life in writing, about the novelist Wilson Harris (a writer I’ve been unfortunate enough neither to have heard of or read) who appears to have been writing from the interface of the secular and the religious, the conscious and the unconscious, in the area he likes to call “cross-culturality”. In other words not this or that, but rather, this and that.