Sunday, 21 November 2010

Through the arch....

We have been reading children's books aloud for the last ten years. It's part and parcel of being a parent I guess. We've been through all the Rainbow Fairies, all the Harry Potter Books, much Doctor Who written merchandise and much more besides. Some I have managed to be mildly entertained by but none so much as the Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton (read to our seven year old son - although he doesn't always really listen) and they regularly make me laugh out loud. There are few books that do that.

Here's a great snippet to give you a flavour if you have not read these books (you have to read it out loud):

Chapter 3
Here's who went through the arch that morning:
First was Old Granny, then Martin Launderette, then the little girl called Peter, a little boy called Rita and a baby called Elsie Wa-Wa. Then a really, really tall bloke called Harry Extreemoleg, then Thora Gruntwinkle with Greasy Ian and their pet monkey Philip the Horror, and then Jonathan Ripple, who got stuck in the archway and had to go on a diet for ten minutes until he'd lost enough weight to squeeze through. Then came David Casserole (the Town Mayor), followed by Charlotte Casserole (his beautiful wife) and Frank Casserole (his beautiful husband). Next was Beany McLeany, wearing a bikini and reading a magaziney. After him came Pamela, Pamela, Pamela, Pamela, Pamela, Pamela, Pamela, Pamela, Pamela and Pamela - or 'the Pamelas' as they were known for short. Then came another Pamela who didn't count with the other Pamelas because none of them liked her. Then came a superhero called the Yellow Wriggler, who caught criminals by crawling along the ground dressed as a banana and shouting at them. After him came an illusionist called the Prince of Illusions. And after him came the Prince of Illusions again. 'Ha ha,' said the Prince of Illusions, 'The first time I went through the arch it was just an illusion!' Then came a few other people I can't be bothered to tell you about, then a couple more and then a couple more. And after them came the heroes - Polly, Friday and Alan Taylor, along with his class of giggling school children. And finally came Crazy Barry Fungus hopping along in his silver birdcage and tweeting like a chaffinch. 'Tweet. tweet!' said Barry Fungus. 'Tweet Tweet,' Wait for me!

Chapter 4

So then I thought. I'll have some go through an Arch. A different arch of course...

First there was Aunt Mo, then huge but quiet Geoffrey Taxidermy and tiny but loud Peanut Smith followed by Harry Flarry who likes to carry loaded up with his wife's annual baked bean shop. Next was Ted McFitwhistle, Jed McFitwhistle, Aled McFitwhistle, and Ned McFitwhistle who everyone thinks are related because they look alike but they're not, followed by Len and Fanny Lazy-Buzzbottom and their boss Graham. Next through was Measuring Matt Metremann with his yard stick who quickly constructed a minimum width warning sign for Frank the hippopotamus with the itchy bottom who turned out to be too wide and so went off looking for another arch. Next through was Dave looking for the Pennine Way, Jane looking for her lost tea cosy, then Humphrey Githead and his leaping giraffe that he had trained to jump over arches but he had a poorly toe and so just walked through. Then came Green Gina, Amber Amber and Red Riding Boot who played traffic lights for a bit causing a momentary queue with Viv Dim and Tom Dum at the front and Jim the decorator looking for work behind them. Once the queue cleared there was Dora Rigworm who got a little of her enormous frizzy hair stuck on the arch hinge and had to be set free by Henry the Chimpanzee who happened to have some scissor in his leopardskin handbag. Then came Ex, Why and Zed the spies who felt sure there was no funny business at the arch and therefore had no need to report to HQ, then Backtofront Brian who walked through backwards followed by Fronttoback Fiona who left before she arrived. Next was Archie Archway who has a PhD in arches who blocked the arch for a while as he took notes, causing Rampant Ruby who was in a rush to get extremely angry because she was late for her ballet lesson. Finally through was Clear-up Kelvin and his multi-purpose cleaning cloth and Claire Clipboard with regulations to shut the arch down because of trading laws.

Did I miss anyone?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Myer Briggs Illustrated

I added these illustations to a post wrote last winter: Myers Briggs and Communication but I like them enough to just brazenly post them, on their own, without any explanation. Perhaps I will get a reputation for being reckless!

There might be a nutter out there somewhere that these might mean something to.

Here goes.....

For those pictures don't work for.....

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Two new books

I have two new books out this month. They are quite different from others I have written but I enjoyed the process of researching and writing about such serious issues. Of course I had to go and flick peas, wriggle like a worm and bounce on spacehoppers as an antidote after each writing session.

It's shameful to admit you google your own name but look what I found on the urban dictionary!!!!

Molly Potter
buy molly potter mugs, tshirts and magnets

A term used by Harry Potter fans to describe someone who has the qualities of both Molly Weasley and Harry Potter, particularly Harry's brains and Molly's loving bubbliness.

In other words, Molly Potter = sheer greatness.

Some also refer to it as the name Ginny and Harry SHOULD have named their child.
"Woah, that girl is such a Molly Potter. She aced the test AND told me my hair looked good today"
perfect smart intelligent molly weasly harry potter loving
by picklejarr Dec 8, 2009 share this

Yes I'll go with that! In line with my self-googling narcissism! I might suggest this as a possible illustration....


I have been having rambling thoughts recently about sympathy and my difficulties with it!

I'll start by saying that I do know it is usually a well intentioned thing. (I have never seen ‘too sympathetic’ listed as a vice.) For me however sympathy usually causes a lot of discomfort and a little repulsion - especially and ironically at times when it is probably most warranted.

If I stub my toe and someone is sympathetic - that's fine. I can cope with that. I probably wouldn't call that sympathy. I'd call that an empathic reaction.

It's all the other kinds of sympathy I struggle with. I'll illustrate and explain.....

When my father died, at first people could be as sympathetic as they liked because I was in shock and unable to properly receive whatever people were aiming my way. But I remember there did come a point where I had to brace myself to receive inevitable sympathy (that would happen for example when I saw a friend for the first time since my father had died) as it was like enacting a whole mini emotional replay in a few minutes. I was made to revisit the whole thing through the other person's sympathy - whether I wanted to at that point in time or not.

And then there is sympathy for less tragic life occurrences - like not getting or achieving something you had hoped for or a forced change in life. I can't do sympathy there either. I prefer the person that tells me I, of all people, will be able to cope with whatever the knock back was to the person whose forehead screws up with sympathy. There's an assumption with sympathy that I don't like. The assumption being that you are feeling awful. You could well not be at that point in time - that needs to be respected.

Perhaps I simply have a strong dislike of being 'a victim', perhaps 'suffering' is a very private thing for me or perhaps it is simply that receiving sympathy is rarely what I am in the frame of mind to do - because of its negative connotations. Or perhaps I have an innate stiff upper lip passed down to me through generations of stoical Brits! Unlikely!

I also think there is a big difference between someone being truly empathic and being sympathetic. I prefer the former; it feels more genuine and ‘with’ me rather than ‘at’ me. I can cope with ‘I can imagine how you feel’ better than ‘you poor thing.’

Perhaps I am concluding that people could sometimes be a bit more careful with their sympathy! Or is that just my need? I guess I would like to know if my response to sympathy is personal to me (and others like me) or commonly felt by many. So over to you...what do you do with sympathy?