Saturday, 24 March 2007

Interview Me Meme

This Meme has an honourable roll of previous Interviewers and Interviewees, most recently Charles Dawson and Goldfish. I volunteered and asked Charles to Interview Me.

The Rules of the Meme:
Leave me a comment saying: "Interview Me". I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better. If I already know you well, expect the questions may be a little more intimate ! You WILL update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else, in the post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

These are the five questions from Charles Dawson:

1. Is there a piece of music which has particular associations for you, bad or good?

Inevitably for me its a choral piece, Gustav Holst's Hymn of Jesus. Inevitably it has a religious theme, as most choral works have that basis or inspiration, but these words are from the Gnostic gospels*. Because I sang it in rehearsal week after week, hummed and sang it to myself daily, then performed it in a choir in a magnificent space with orchestra, it lodged itself in my soul. All this at a time when I was struggling with the end of my marriage, which was physically, emotionally and financially exhausting; aware of but unable to do much about my Bump's desolation, or my own. Singing the gnostic Christ's words: I am a couch, rest on me threatened to reduce me to sobs every time. (The Christ figure as the positive animus, you understand.) It has settled into my life as a beautiful inspiring piece, that now I have joy in listening too and a few shivers down my spine at the divine scoring and choice of texts.

2. People of our generation in this country were usually brought up in a religious tradition. Have you shucked all that off or would you still describe yourself as a believer.

Well and truly shucked off. However, my upbringing was non-conformist, then in my mid 20s I joined a choir and discovered Christian beliefs in an ancient and entirely different, more subtle, setting which offset to some extent the loathing I felt for all things religious.

Now, certainly not a believer in the figurehead of God the Father who directs our lives and gives us what we want if only we are good and ask nicely; which figurehead restricts, actively prevents, the maturing of many souls. What I think of as 'God the Bottleneck' constricting evolution; the churches's teachings discouraging consciousness and preventing individuals from taking responsibility for themselves and others.

Nor am I believer in a religious faith or practice but, nonetheless, I consider myself a convert from non-conformism to anglican, for the space, peace, ritual and distanced impersonal prescribed services, often with intelligent sermons, safely removed from the dumbed down teachings and happy clappy evangelism that threatens to invade one's personal and spiritual space, at every turn. Which is where my dysfunctional family landed young teenage me after one of my father's catastrophic breakdowns, which was viewed as a religious conversion.

However, I think a belief system is a good thing, once religion has been sloughed off, and the most effective ones, in keeping us afloat in this life, are those belief systems arrived at individually, a pick and mix if you like. So mine is based on Jung, with a smattering of Celtic Christianity and a good dollop of Quakerism. All richly stirred together and sweetened by music, art, architecture, stained glass and communion wine in a silver goblet; taken those rare times when I visit one of three places where I feel safe and at ease; a school chapel, a tiny 12th century non-parish church, and the Cathedral. Here, comfortable knowing that I will not be descended upon by evangelising nincompoops; able to contemplate the sermon and not be preached at, and at ease with the people, the service, I take Communion. Most definitely not as the body and blood etc. but as a communal companionable act; at the school chapel among people I know and respect or in the cathedral where all are strangers. In both places I am in communion with my fellows while we contemplate what it is all about, what we are and how we are to live honestly and keep on keeping on.

Which is all quite a surprising thing to find myself doing; a surprising outcome given that I believe I have most certainly shucked off all my religious upbringing. I am not part of the life of my or any parish church, so many would not consider me a practising Christian; myself included.

3. What is your worst nightmare ?

Nightmare literal or nightmare metaphorical ?

Literal - the recurring one through childhood, of being completely disorientated and dizzy in a moving heaving sea of linking staircases going up, down and around. That probably came from being born and raised in a prefab/bungalow, so I didn't learn ascending and descending on a daily basis. Also, that nightmare told how disorientated I was as a child in my chaotic dysfunctional family, where nothing was as it seemed, nothing was told as I experienced it and nothing remained where it had been. Also perhaps it may have hinted at the first signs of Meniere's; as a child my brain and balance system only very slightly unable to cope with sloping surfaces.

Metaphorical worst nightmare is being unable to fight for my right to be enabled, and funded, to live independently in my own home to my own standards. To no longer be capable, physically or mentally, of looking after my needs and being conscious of it but unable to do anything about it to protect myself from the mindless thoughtless heartless bureaucracy that already threatens to sink me. I think all crips should form local unions of the like-minded, and provide for a future lived in a commune directed by themselves (I'm thinking battlements and draw bridges), hiring and firing the staff as needed. Which could turn into anyone's worst nightmare !

4. If you could have any living creature as a pet, which would it be ?

My Airedale Sally (after whom I am here named), reincarnated into life, exactly as before, to be my companion animal. With her humour, grace, wit and style intact. With her ability to sense and see off any male who didn't smell right, whether it was the nosey postman or the potential (potentially catastrophic) date, and her total lack of shame at climbing onto the lap of all other human males who came into our lives. She was warm hearted, loving, solid and big, and always listened to me kindly and groaned in the right places. She would keep the damned cats out of the garden so the birds could visit safely. She would be the perfect wheelchair companion.

5. Who do you think has influenced you most in life (personal contact, reading, whatever) ?

'Personal contact' - Alexander, deceased. Too private.

'Reading, whatever' - Carl Gustav Jung, as a theoretical training and as experienced in personal therapy and later in training analysis. I would not have survived without the knowledge and insight his research and writings have enabled in me. Via Jung I have met people who I can be myself with and rely on. Through the study of Jung I am now mostly a 'good-enough' mother. Through the experience of Jungian therapy I am becoming, will continue to become, the person who I am meant to be. Through the Jungian lessons I have learned I hope never to make the same mistakes again. The only problem with Jung is I end up sounding pretentious.

As my answer to this question is 2/3rds male, I add, as a third, the wise old lady who founded the Jungian study group and training organisation in this part of the world, who I was at first in awe of, who then approached me with an invitation, and who now I am blessed to have as a wise old woman friend.

* see Elaine Pagels's The Gnostic Gospels.

~~ Thank you Charles for giving thought to your questions to me ~~

If you wish me to interview you; in depth or lightly (I get to choose), and whether you are new to this arena or a well known fellow blogger, please let me know in the comments box.

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Blogger Lily said...

Clearly there's a lot of nervous people out there! Oh go on then, interview me (but please be gentle!)

Monday, 26 March 2007 at 07:59:00 BST  
Blogger Timmargh said...

I would be honoured if you would interview me, please.


Monday, 26 March 2007 at 13:08:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Thank you Lily, for disregarding the 'Psychiatric help' pic below the comments thingy. I am delighted to be invited to interview you. Are you sitting comfortably ... then I'll begin.

1. What one non-essential aspect of your daily life would you happily give up ?

2. If living in the UK was no longer an option for you, where would you happily resettle, and why would that be your choice ?

3. Tell me your very earliest memory, and the feelings that memory holds ?

4. What piece of advice would you, at this stage of your life, give to yourself at the age of 16 ?

5. When you began your blog, was it a considered decision, or a spur of the moment act, and how did you feel after you had posted your first page ?

Monday, 26 March 2007 at 18:38:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Hello Timmargh, good to hear from you. I am very pleased to be invited to interview you and get to know you a little more in depth. Here are your five questions.

1. Your recent birthday list of 34 things you like was wide ranging ... but what 1 thing isn't on the list because it was a secret but, what the hell, you will tell here ...

2. On your web site is a photo of you age 5 sat in what looks like an old Land Rover. Do you consider yourself a townee or a countryman or something - what - in-between ?

3. You describe yourself as a 'full time animal lover' - what is the first animal you remember meeting ?

4. Your profile says you were born under the sign of Aries, and my I SPY book of the Zodiac says Aries is the pioneer of the zodiac, convincing others there are no complications whatsoever to what they suggest. Can you give an example that either proves or disproves the description ?

5. What has been your favourite excursion to date in your new Kangoo WAV ?

Monday, 26 March 2007 at 18:56:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Very interesting! The whole interv-me-meme thing is very interesting. I will visit the other blogs to see what the answers to your questions are.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 15:12:00 BST  

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