Quote Of The Week- Thomas Edison

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work” – Thomas Edison

This week’s quote comes from inventor of the lightbulb Thomas Edison, and with good reason. Faced with the new year and the endless possibilities of re-creating, re-inventing, or re-booting yourself, the idea of self-revolutionising can be daunting. Many people can’t bear the overwhelming-ness of it and run and hide under their duvet with a milk tray.

Every journey starts with one step. Every achievement, every success, every medal- these are all the final product of a collective sequence of actions. The people who achieved these things? They worked day in, day out, tweaking, training, trying, doing every little thing possible to make their dream happen. Thomas Edison to Abraham Lincoln, Usain Bolt to Virginia Woolf, Maria Testino to Helena Bonham Carter; hard work makes dreams happen.

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Subtle Tribute to the Fallen

Of all the memorials and remembrance services, exhibitions, and displays this year, I think I have found the most subtle, touching tribute.

The poppies at the Tower of London, The Culture Show,  nationwide parades; England was overcome this year by a desperate longing to remember the hundreds of thousands of British servicemen and women who lost their lives during the First World War. Certain *ahem* supermarkets were even audacious enough to use the World War centenary year as an opportunity to explain how the Christmas Day truce of 1914 between German and English soldiers missing their loved ones and terrified for their lives was similar to said supermarket promoting a message of ‘sharing is caring.’

This aside, 99% of the performances, displays, shows, exhibitions, televised broadcasts and speeches have been genuine, un-manipulated demonstrations of remembrance. Nothing more so that the Royal Shakespeare Company’s interpretation of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

*Collective sigh*

Yes, yes. Shakespeare, really?

Bear with me here! It is a normal (top-notch) production, with a normal (outstanding) cast, and a normal (quality) set. But this, my dear friends, is not the important part. The entire production screams 1910s, be it the dresses or the music or the furniture. Only in the last five minutes as The Princess and her ladies bid farewell to their loves for twelve months and day did the audience notice the change of tone. While the cast were singing, their tones and their faces grew sombre. The lighting darkened and a sense of foreboding seemed to creep into the theatre. We as the audience had come to love the charades of these men and their loveable, friendly natures, and so to see them emerge in British Officers’ uniforms almost had us collectively hold our breath at this horrible realisation. It was only then that we had an inkling, just the tiniest sense of what it must have felt to watch a husband, a son,  a father put on his uniform and walk off into the deep recesses of war. Really, the scariest feeling was a feeling of the unknown, not really understanding what was going on until they were there, in front of our eyes in their uniforms.

As a piece of theatre, Christopher Luscombe deserves a hearty round of applause. As a service of remembrance, he deserves a standing ovation. It is easy to stand at the back of a church service and agree that the concept, the faraway, distant idea of war is tragic. But to even come close to feeling the real, anguished and horrified feelings of British citizens during World War One is a whole other theatrical and social achievement.

In case anyone is curious, Love’s Labour’s Lost runs until 14 March 2015 at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. And no, this is not sponsored in any way.

Quote Of The Week

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Oh, I know I’ve broken the rules. It’s not really a quote a week if I post more than once a week! However, these past few days have been a period of timey-wimey existentialist reflection on all that has come before, and all that I hope to come in the future.

To be blunt, I’m scared. I’m scared of the future and all the things that could possibly go wrong and all the things I may never end up doing and all the people I’ll meet along the way. Not an unrealistic idea when you try and scoop all your plans, dreams, and life aspirations and try to bundle them all into one BIG decision. The BIG decision then becomes overwhelming and I try and hide under my duvet, clinging my knees and convincing myself I can work on freelance jobs forever.

Freya, pull your socks up. It’s all well and dandy have these wonderful life plans, but if I don’t take a step forward- even tiny, baby steps that might as well just be a wobble in place- then I’ll never know what I can do.  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Quote Of The Week

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have” – Theodore Roosevelt

There are points in life, especially when you are young, when you reach crossroads and have to make very difficult decisions. These decisions can weigh up doing the right thing against the easy thing, doing something to keep yourself happy instead of your family happy, and addressing the fact that your aspirations and dreams in life are not going to come easily.

This week’s quote has been chosen to remind you that you are perfectly capable of getting yourself there as long as you understand that you don’t know exactly what there is, or how you’re going to get there. Making big decisions is a scary thing, especially when you believe that this decision is life-changing.

I am facing a decision over the next few weeks which asks me to choose between the easy and the hard, the unconventional and the routine, the desires of my parents and my own desires, and independence or reliance on another body, another institution, or another person.

Just remember, wherever you are and whatever you do, your actions will always carry you one step closer or one step further away from where you want to be. It is up to you to make the most of your crossroad to do what is right for YOU as an individual.

Ten Things I’m Grateful For This Week

1. Thick jumpers and wool socks- my tootsies salute you, fluffy bed socks.

2. Skype- to be able to turn on a little device and see someone you miss dearly who is too far away to see face to face is a wonderful thing.

3. Calm Cabin Stewards- A nervous flier relies on these people show them how to breathe deeply and remain rational.

4. Pets- a cuddle, a lick, a cheeky doggy grin; these small furry things cheer you up exactly at the moment you are about to cry/scream in frustration/ panic. They are unconditional and they expect nothing in return.

5. The ability to run- or walk for that matter. I had one fantastic run earlier this week which put me in a really good place for my marathon in a couple of weeks time. The views were indescribable and I definitely earned my chocolate popcorn.

6. Smiling- it’s a bit like a secret code, isn’t it? Anyone one can do it- you don’t have to be acquainted with a person to brighten their day with a grin.

7. The Exorcist- this may seem odd, especially since I am not a horror films fan, but the quality of production, acting, and music is considerably higher than any other horror film I’ve seen lately.

8. Folk music- this music genre is history embodied, and most songs I’ve heard give me shivers. The different modes, quirky intervals, and powerful imagery all culminate to create a bittersweet melody.

9. My own set of keys- I can come and go as I please! I have been accepted! I am a special person in this person’s eyes! Even if I am getting carried away, not everyone is responsible enough to wield the power of a spare set of somebody else’s keys.

10. Going home- today I’m going home and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been pining for my home, my family, my friends. Now that I get so little time at home, I treasure every single second I get with my ‘V.I.P’s.

What are you grateful for this week?

I give all credit for this blog post idea to Cider For Rosie, who by the way is a very entertaining and creative blogger. Go and have a little read.

Rigoberta Menchú: The Voice of A Nation

I stumbled across this week’s inspiration almost by accident, when I fell into the pages of ‘Me Llamo Rigoberta Menchú y Así Me Nació La Conciencia’. This testimonial had been sitting patiently in my ‘to read’ pile for a good couple of months, and this Monday literally fell on me as I shuffled endless piles of paper. Despite the paper cut casualty, I am so glad this read took over my Monday and Tuesday this week.

It is easy to forget the luxury of the world we live in. A life that is not only free of poverty, oppression and violent discrimination, but also a life in which we can access the rest of the world with the touch of a button, we can have food delivered to our front door within minutes, and we are freely accepted into education purely based on our academic merits, and not our religion/ethnicity/age/gender.

Reading Rigoberta’s testimony turned our Western way of thinking and modus operandi on its head- not literally, this time.

Aside from the poor living conditions of Rigoberta’s early life, she exists in a world where she is continually confined by external forces. Her gender, her race, her spiritual beliefs, her family’s financial situation, and her geographical location continually create limitations within Rigoberta’s life. Early within the testimony, she states that she was “afraid of life” and that her own parents told her her dreams would never be realised. This is less a reflection on poor parenting than it is statement of Guatemalan Indios’ life-long social and political barriers.

Through the immense journey that is Rigoberta’s living testimony, her attempt at inciting the international community into stopping the genocide of Guatemalan Indians, the reader never loses sight of Rigoberta’s own voracious and enlightening energy.

Having sold more than half a million copies across the globe and overcome over thirteen language barriers, Rigoberta’s book is a literal transcendence of physical, political, and cultural limits.

I was left feeling quite humbled. I don’t believe that in my life I have ever acted as selflessly as Rigoberta Menchú, and I didn’t even have to struggle to survive. To me, the most resonant issue is that this is testimony of the recently oppressed. This is a testimony that relates to real-life discrimination and suffering that is still happening around the world. While this suffering may not be racial, war crimes and religious bloodshed is still very prevalent.

This week’s inspiration leaves you on an earnest note, with a quote from Rigoberta herself.

“The world’s not going to change unless we’re willing to change ourselves”

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