Yikes.... I've just realised it's been three months since I've shown my face around these parts. Now I do know that one of the golden rules for bloggers everywhere is to never apologise for failed or infrequent appearances. Plus the word is also that bloggers are not supposed to even acknowledge that they may have been absent for an extended period of time, let alone apologise. Just bounce back again, as though it was just yesterday that you last posted something.... (So I now expect to have the full weight of the Bloggers Union pursuing me, with some strongly worded emails for disclosing the contents of the Bloggers Code of (Non)ethics... )
I'd like to think that I have a half reasonable excuse to offer for my absence. Other than claiming that the dog ate my homework, I have nothing in my defence. But some things that may vaguely resemble excuses are that I travelled a bit, and then when I got back, I discovered that after six years, Richard Ford had finally published another book. I was initially very excited, as I'm a big fan.
But then I heard the book was called "Canada," so I was immediately worried to think he had this time written some sort of travel guide. Don't get me wrong, Canada's a great place, and I was in Vancouver just a few weeks back. But Ford's focus is usually on people, and he does this so well, so that's what I was hoping for. It turned out I had nothing to worry about.
So back in the Excuse Department, the reading of 'Canada' took some of my time, as it's pretty lengthy. And like all of Ford's earlier stuff, it's superbly written. Like all great writing, (he's a Pullitzer Prize winner) it had me in the bind of wanting to read it quickly, because it is so good, but also wanting to read it slowly, so that I don't finish it and can continue to enjoy it. Like most of the fiction I'm drawn to, this is about families, and in particular the strange family events that transpire for teenage Dell Parsons, as he looks back, aged late 60's, on this formative period in his life. If you are a Ford fan, and you haven't checked this out yet, have a look here: 'Canada' by Richard Ford.
This whole idea of reading got me thinking about what we actually read and why. People reading not only these pages,but also the billions of other pages that populate the internet, are testimony to the value that is inherent in the written word and how much we are drawn to it. As clever as the internet is, and when we think about how it has transformed our lives, it never the less revolves around the use of the good old written word, which has been with us, ever since early humans figured out how to write stuff down. Still the written word continues to shape our lives in so many different ways. Certainly Richard Ford's written words have me hooked in, each time I discover something new he as written.
The world of therapy where I spend my working week revolves around the use of words. Sometimes written, but mostly spoken. Clients bring their dilemmas and their concerns, which they share with me, via their choice of words. Ideally those words which then come from me, will have some sort of value or relevance, and when they are the right words for a particular client, will give them the energy and the confidence to begin to do some things differently, so that their lives can somehow become more satisfying and more rewarding.
Mostly the words in therapy are exchanged verbally, between the client and the therapist, although therapy increasingly relies on the use of the written word also. What is also of supreme importance in the lives of clients (and in fact all of us), are those words they exchange with those people who are significant to them. And often it's not just the words, and what they mean, but the way they are delivered. I notice that I've been alerting quite a few client couples recently to the way they express themselves, that especially with a gripe or a complaint, the delivery is crucial, if they want it to be heard and responded to well. In that sense, delivery is everything. If words are delivered as an attack, sure as eggs, they are in turn likely to generate a counter-attack, and so it goes....
But back for a minute to the world of words beyond the therapy room. Lately I've been paying extra attention to the wisdom in the written words of others. I'm the first to admit that quotations, especially from famous people, often sound a bit cheesy. But sometimes too, they can really resonate and be almost uplifting. Here are a few that have caught my attention:
"Angels fly because they take themselves lightly." Arianna Huffington
"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller
"I don't like people who have never stumbled or fallen. Their virtue is lifeless and isn't of much value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them." Boris Pasternak
" Don't let the noise of others drown out your own inner voice." Steve Jobs
" No one told them it was impossible. So they did it." Mark Twain
" In being what we aspire to be, we become that person." David Schnarch
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen
This last one is a really good reminder for me, and I think I've mentioned it on these pages before: " Most of us spend our lives as though we had another one in the bank." Ben Irwin
In the meantime, go well with your own words and observe the impact they can have on people and the relationships in your life. And watch your delivery...
"Some occasional thoughts about families, relationships, and other things that distract us...."