Elephants and Gazelles

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I am not blogging ‘properly’, I’m sure. I have told my daughters that I am too text based. Who wants to read reams of text? I need to include images, but the only images of significance to me at this time are those in my head, or the ones I find in recent family photos and they feel a bit too much like my children’s business and not mine alone, so I continue to settle for text.

Besides I’ve yet to learn the art of all this tagging and including photos and all the other wonderful things I see in other people’s blogs.

Another voice in my head says, forget it. You’ve too much to do already. Get on with your thesis, your serious writing. Blogging is like television watching. It’s addictive.

We got rid of our television fifteen years ago and now I limit myself to watching the occasional DVD on the computer screen, as do we all in this household, of mainly grown up daughters, along with my husband and I, three cats and one dog. But blogging is more than that. It demands an active readership. It demands a response.

I had thought to tell others in the comment sections of their blogs, those that I read regularly that I am so concerned about the unspoken, unwritten rules that I am at times almost too shy to comment. I feel like an elephant who enters a graceful dinner party conducted by gazelles.

So many people write that they want comments and I am sure my comments are not hostile, at least I hope they do not read as hostile, but you never know. And then there’s always the question: what is real, and what’s not.

There’s a company here in Melbourne that for a price will take you or your loved ones for a day, treat you like a movie star, dress up your hair, pile on makeup and turn you into one. You bring along your best clothes from your wardrobe, a sample of day wear, casual and evening wear and the various photos taken will be pitched at creating a certain image of you.

Your best shots, your best foot forward, the you that lies beneath, or an exaggeration of you – a simulacrum. It seems we want to find what lies beneath; but we also want to cover up all the blemishes and see only perfection. We hide our secrets.

I ask myself another question now, this time from my childhood. How could I not have known certain words: bodily words, private words, like penis and vagina?

I knew that a thing called penis existed. I had seen it on Roman statues, fig leaf covered and imagined it from the sight of my baby brother in the bath. There was a photo in our family album. Someone had covered my baby brother’s penis with a slip of paper glued down on one side so you could lift it to look underneath. Written on the slip of paper in grey lead was a large question mark, no different from the question mark placed on a similar strip of paper across my mother’s stomach. The question mark stood alone alongside a row of photographs of each of us as children, one after the other in order of age, biggest to smallest, and in order of height. Photos construct certain versions of reality.

But how could I have not known these words? For my memory is that I did not. Could it be that even then I was selective about what it was that felt safe to know and what needed to be kept hidden?

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55 Comments on Elephants and Gazelles

  1. Eryl Shields
    February 6, 2010 at 1:41 am (8 years ago)

    We got rid of our TV fifteen years ago too, snap!

    I can agonise over comments on people's blogs: I know lots of bloggers hate the idea of 'lurkers' (people who read but don't comment) but sometimes I have nothing to add. This can often be because the post seems complete in itself, and is rarely because it's not interesting or well written. In fact, the better written ones are often the hardest to comment on.

    I didn't know the words penis and vagina either, though I have a vague memory of asking my mother the meaning of what must have been one or the other and having my face slapped. I was in my late teens, if not early twenties, before I knew them, and probably in my thirties before I could say them without feeling shameful. Seems so bloody weird now.

    Reply
  2. Ces
    February 6, 2010 at 1:43 am (8 years ago)

    WHAT???!!! There is a proper way to blog? Who says? Then certainly I am breaking all rules. Over at my blog, we love elephants. All my blog sisters are pachyderm lovers. Since you feel like an elephant among gazelles, you are welcome to join us, anytime. Also over at my blog the comments take on a different form. Sometimes the comments have nothing to do with my post. My bog friends are too bold and free to do as they please because they know I love whatever they do EXCEPT, I do not like "mental", toxic and arrogant people so pretty soon they drop out of sight. I have been blogging for many years. This is my third blog, the first two I deleted and I don't think there is a proper way to blog. Also, if you write well, people will keep on reading. I hate blogs that go on and on about their boring lives but boring, you are NOT.

    Reply
  3. Nancy Devine
    February 6, 2010 at 1:53 am (8 years ago)

    i appreciate the text here, something i must read and think about in a deliberate way.

    Reply
  4. Ces
    February 6, 2010 at 1:57 am (8 years ago)

    Oh BTW I knew about these words because we read anatomy books when we were young. I also read Lady Chatterly's Lover when I was 10 and I searched for the meaning of words but could not find them in the dictionary so one day at the dinner table I asked the meaning of the f word and I heard my older sisters and brothers gasped. But my mother nonchalantly said it was a slang term for copulation and we did not speak slang. Also in our culture the children could not even say the word "pregnant", it was not the children's business to say that word and we followed the rules. Instead we were intentionally periphrastic and said "She is going to be a mother."

    Reply
  5. Marja
    February 6, 2010 at 2:21 am (8 years ago)

    Hi Elisabeth, I like your posts with or without photo's. I post a lot of pictures because I love making them. I also used my blog for poetry and stories and to collect quotes. I recently got another job, which is taken up more time than I've good have forsene so I am going to stop blogging. I knew that this time would come but I kept hanging on yes because I was addicted. It was nice to get to know you a bit, If you ever feel like it just email me
    and good luck with your blog

    Reply
  6. June Calender
    February 6, 2010 at 3:06 am (8 years ago)

    I imagine there are many households in which the words penis and vagina are not used, not only in front of children, but simply not used. I certainly never heard them at home and as far as I can remember didn't use them in the presence of my children. [We were not prudish nor ignorant and my ex-husband, who was on the scene through their adolescence, is an M.D.] I suspect many Melbourneites [what's the right word] equally avoid the words.
    Somehow I learned them, I can't say I have every used them much, nor have I frequently heard them in convesration. No conjectures why. We need words like underwear and toilet paper and candy and automobile, to name only a few, much more frequently.

    Reply
  7. Ocean Girl
    February 6, 2010 at 7:33 am (8 years ago)

    I guess blogging is like turning up at a tea party. You don't know why you are there, not sure who you should mingle with, which group to join, what to wear (well you are already there so you better put on something), what to say, whether to show your witty self, share your wisdom or put on a show. And you don't know how long you'll stay. You know you'll leave at some point. No tea party could be that fun.

    But whatever it is, I like mingling with you:)

    Reply
  8. Jim Murdoch
    February 6, 2010 at 8:57 am (8 years ago)

    I’m afraid I still have a TV and watch far more than I care to but since Carrie leaves me in charge of what we watch I make sure it’s not all vacuous nonsense. Last night I slipped in a documentary on the composer Ottorino Respighi, for example. The day before a programme about the war poets. And I try to make sure we get drip-fed as many ‘real’ films, quality dramas, as I can. I’m not a fast reader and so I have always relied on the small screen as a supplement.

    Your daughter is talking sense up to a point. There are arguments, and quite convincing ones too, about how people read differently online and long blocks of text are frowned up. These need to be broken up with white space and images. Most of the images I use on my site add little to the text but that’s not why they’re there. At the very least try and stick in one at the start of your post because that’s the first thing people see.

    Tagging is important because of how people search for information. I am frankly surprised – and pleased for you – that your blog has picked up so quickly and with no heavy promotion on your part. The reason for this is that you have actively gone out there and courted readers on a one-to-one basis by leaving comments. This is still, obviously, the best way to attract new readers. I don’t have the energy to keep up a high level of commenting (mainly because I write comments the size of most people’s blogs) but I do promote my blog in sites like Stumbleupon. My entry for my last post brought me 163 visits and every one of those has the potential to stick around and become a regular. Tags are very important there; they classify a post and take seconds to do.

    My problem with comments is that I always feel I should say something meaningful and that takes time. So, with most people, I don’t try to comment on every post but I do try to make what comments I do make count. In that respect I do try to put my best foot forward which must make me seem cleverer than what I am which raises people’s levels of expectations but personally I like rising to the challenge. Is that me pretending to be what I’m not or aspiring to be what I’d like to be? There are secrets and there are private things; a private thing is not necessarily a secret.

    As to the naming of body parts, for most of my childhood my genitals were referred to as my ‘old man’ even before there were ‘whiskers’ there; I don’t recall ever referring to the private parts of women although I do recall a conversation with my first girlfriend about the various euphemisms in use to describe breasts; she preferred ‘boobs’ to ‘tits’ and so that’s what hers were called. I probably knew the proper names for everything quite early on but since we never talked about it these felt like scientific terms like saying ‘humerus’ instead of ‘funny bone’, I mean, who does that?

    Reply
  9. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2010 at 10:14 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Eryl. We non TV owners come out of the woodwork at times like this. It's like a badge of honour, though one of my daughters still feels a tinge of shame. It was not on to be without a TV during her adolescence. She tried to keep it secret.

    Having read through yours and other people's comments thus far, I'm also amazed at the number of us whose language as children was limited to exclude the correct names of genitalia. I thought it was only me.

    Thanks, Ces. You give me heart. It's only a thought this idea that there's a correct way. I'm getting over it but it lingers still whenever something uncomfortable happens.

    Of course you love elephants. you've drawn them. I can see one in my mind's eye right now. Clumsy, ungainly awkward wonderful elephants. Perhaps I should not be ashamed to identify myself so.

    I, too, could not say the word pregnant as a child. We used the word 'expecting'. Whenever I hear the word 'expecting' I think of swollen maternal bellies. Thanks again, Ces.

    Deliberate away Nancy. I'm pleased to hear, you're thinking about it. How did your parents refer to women 'in the family way'?

    Reply
  10. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2010 at 10:23 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Marja. I'm sorry to hear you're leaving so soon.

    It's spooky. I feel as if I only just started blogging recently and then I come across these people – a few of you – planning to retire or take leave of absence.

    I understand, of course. Things happen, things get in the way. We can't all do this forever. Still it's sad to see you go, my Dutch New Zealander friend.

    Please drop in from time to time and I'll keep checking on you in case you pop back unexpected.

    Thanks, June. You make a good point, about the words we need to use, the difference between underwear and toilet paper and our genitals. Funnily enough, I had thought the limited use of the genitalia words had more to do with their over determined quality.

    I don't have a problem showing a sprained ankle or some such injury or ailment to a doctor but when it comes to breast examinations and pap smears i prefer a female doctor and I prefer my regular doctor.

    It makes me think there must be something in certain body parts that is more loaded than other parts.

    Reply
  11. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2010 at 10:26 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Ocean Girl. I enjoy the analogy of bloggng to a tea party. And you're right we have strained times and good times at dinner parties, tea parties whatever and they do not last forever.

    I hope you stay a little longer than some whom I've met lately, bloggers like Marja above, who are about to leave.

    I know there comes a time for any party to end, but not too soon, I hope.

    Thanks

    Reply
  12. Elisabeth
    February 6, 2010 at 10:36 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Jim. I looked back through my archives today and found that you have been helping me with my blog from early in the piece. You gave me the courage some time ago to keep going. You laid down some of the 'ground rules' and since then I have had more courage to proceed. Thank you again.

    As for not having a TV, I find my computer fulfills most needs. I watch DVDs on the computer screen and although it's not a huge picture it's good enough and I'm used to it.

    It's funny too that your genitalia should have been honoured with the title 'old man'. We used to call my father 'the old man'. I'd have called it old boy in honour of your youth.

    I'm glad we're operating in euphemisms here. I've read somewhere that it's best not to use too many literal words for genitalia because it can get picked up and you wind up with a whole lot of unwelcome messages.

    Best we keep silent on this from here on in, perhaps. Though let's not get too paranoid.

    Thanks again, Jim.

    By the way, I am amazed by your wonderful comments. Everyone else who gets one must feel honoured. You always have something worthwhile to say, you say t at length and you say it well. for all your self disparagement.

    Reply
  13. Ces
    February 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm (8 years ago)

    Good morning! Visiting and reading your blog is fast becoming a habit of mine! Hahahah!

    I am the seventh child, the second to the youngest. Wow! You have a lot of brothers, I am glad to read you are close to your sisters.

    Reply
  14. Dominic Rivron
    February 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm (8 years ago)

    Nowt wrong with a good wodge of prose if you want to write one, if you ask me. The challenge is to make people want to read it, keep them scrolling down…

    Reply
  15. steven
    February 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm (8 years ago)

    hi elisabeth – i really enjoyed reading this post because it mentions two features of life that i have some conenction with.
    tv. well i watch ice hockey. otherwise, i watch films. old films. new films, series.
    blogging. i didn't know the rules either. then i saw that there seemed to be some and ignored them. i write, i up pics, i think out loud, i think quietly. actually, i made rules for myself. to write in lower case. to answer as many comments as possible. to visit as many of the amazing blogs i follow as possible. to be inside the moment of creating each post to whatever degree is possible. it's that serious!!! it's that happy-making!!! have a peaceful day. steven

    Reply
  16. Mim
    February 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm (8 years ago)

    Just the thought of hiring a company to design me gives me the heebie jeebies. Terrifying.

    I'm happy to read your posts!

    Is perfectly understandable that you didn't know the words "penis" and "vagina," since you were brought up in a family that covered a baby's innocuous penis with a slip of paper. Did you know any slang names that your friends or brothers and sisters might have used?

    Reply
  17. melissashook
    February 6, 2010 at 4:19 pm (8 years ago)

    I am staggered that you are so gracious and supportive in your blog notes to others.
    I've never thought your blog needed images at all…
    and I was quite in the dark about everything…words included…
    thank you..

    Reply
  18. Von
    February 6, 2010 at 8:36 pm (8 years ago)

    Always knew those words I guess in our household as well as expressions like 'down there' Of course I was given Edith Howes "Cradle Ship" to read as a young book-worm.
    Drop by sometime……

    Reply
  19. Kirk Jusko
    February 6, 2010 at 8:55 pm (8 years ago)

    There's only one blogging rule that matters as far as I'm concerned:

    IT'S YOUR BLOG. DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH IT!!!!

    Reply
  20. Vatche
    February 6, 2010 at 11:46 pm (8 years ago)

    A beautiful read really.

    We all ask these questions and endlessly search for the answers. At times, we forget the questions, forget the search, and continue on with our lives, but this post of yours has made me think really.

    This post has made me think about the idea of the inner me asking, "Why?"

    While MY answer to my inner me's question is, "Why not?"

    So, that is why I write this comment to you now, because there isn't anything to stop me.

    I like your blog for being simple because your words are your photographs and you create the tags in people's minds by making them remember and not forget.

    Don't ever quit blogging, keep at it!

    Reply
  21. Anthony Duce
    February 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm (8 years ago)

    You don't need graphic images, photos, or whatever other visuals are out there. Your writing creates images that would only be compromised by a visual.

    Reply
  22. Elisabeth
    February 7, 2010 at 6:55 am (8 years ago)

    A 'good wodge' of text, Dominic, is also fine by me. It's the keeping them interested bit that's hard. Thanks for your encouragement.

    Thanks, Steven. Clearly blogging can/should be 'happy making', it's not meant to be a torture, but sometimes it seems that way to me, in part because it's so unknown.

    In a way it reminds me of breast feeding. When a mother breast feeds her bay she can't see whether the milk goes in. She has to trust to the baby's sucking, growing and the way her breasts feel between feeds.

    It's different for bottle fed babies. There the milk consumed is evident. You can measure it in the bottle.

    It's a strange metaphor perhaps but it comes to mind when I think about part of my difficulty with blogging, not just mine presumably everyone's, though some don't seem as fussed as others. It's a question of how much of your milk goes down, and how it's received, whether it gives the baby colic, or nourishment and satisfaction.

    Reply
  23. Elisabeth
    February 7, 2010 at 10:44 am (8 years ago)

    I don't think I knew any slang names for genitalia ether, Mim. 'Down there' is about all I can think of. We learned quite early on that you do not speak about what lies below your waist, except for the usual toilet talk. Thanks, Mim.

    Meliisa, thanks. so you were in the dark, too. i think it may have been afeature of our times, our generation. I can remember watching television as a child and wondering why they never showed people going off to the toilet, and why they never spoke about bodily things.

    Nor did they speak about money, not much. People seemed to live amazing lives and they never seemed to worry about where the money came from. Maybe I wasn't looking closely enough when I was a child.

    Reply
  24. Dave King
    February 7, 2010 at 10:45 am (8 years ago)

    I do not see why you think you must have images. Some sites overdo them, I think – and take ages to load, for example – but I don't see why there should be a rule about it. Do what means something to you. If it's text, let it be text. If it's meaningful to you it will be meaningful to your followers.

    You've got me wondering about when I first knew those words. I honestly can not remember encountering them for the first time…. what does that say, I wonder?

    Fine post, by the way.

    Reply
  25. Elisabeth
    February 7, 2010 at 10:48 am (8 years ago)

    I'm pleased to meet you, Von.

    I have visited your blog briefly and plan to go back to comment there. The business of adoption means a great deal to me. It's another one of those holes that people experience.

    If sex is confusing as a child, then the business of where the child came from is even more so.

    I haven't heard of 'Cradle ship'. I must look it up. Thanks, Von.

    Reply
  26. Elisabeth
    February 7, 2010 at 10:59 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks Kirk. You're right. It's my blog, I should do with it as I see fit.

    But there must be rules…some rules…aren't there? Otherwise there'll be 'online anarchy'.

    Thanks, Vachte. I'm not planning to stop quite yet, but the questions continue to rattle through my brain.

    I'm glad that you ask yourself questions, too. It helps to question ourselves, but maybe there's a danger of too many doubts, too many questions. They can lead to paralysis.

    Thanks, Anthony. It's good to hear that you think that the inclusion of graphics might compromise the images my writing conjures up. I'd like to think this myself.

    I'd like to think that my writing might have the same effect as your drawing and painting; that my writing can set people's minds wondering, and can set people's minds working on their own images; that my writing can build up other people's imaginations.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  27. Annotated Margins
    February 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm (8 years ago)

    Rules to blogging? I guess I better find that book, 'cause I've gotten into this business only six months ago. Your blog is fine; I look forward to reading it. Heck… I even took your suggestion for writing a blog entry, and that entry received a number of comments. As for graphics, I don't do it that often because blogs with too many graphics gum up the works. I look for blogs that I can read. I posted three photos on my last entry, and that was too many. One would have sufficed.

    Reply
  28. Kirk Jusko
    February 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm (8 years ago)

    Let me comment on commenting.

    I don't think anybody should be DISCOURAGED from commenting, which is one reason, time permitting, I try to answer all my comments. Have said that, I don't want to FORCE people to comment against their will. I have no problem with lurkers. Just knowing I'm not talking to myself on my blog (which I did for a very long time) is good enough for me.

    Reply
  29. ρομπερτ
    February 8, 2010 at 2:19 am (8 years ago)

    You for sure own the ability to "paint a picture" with words.

    Please have a wonderful start into the new week.

    Reply
  30. Elisabeth
    February 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks Mike, of Annotated Margins, I'm glad that you too don't know the rules and that if you did you would most likely not worry about them too much.

    Maybe it's okay to stick with simplicity after all.

    Thanks Kirk, I don't mind 'lurkers' either. It's dreadful term though, as if people are unwelcome unless they make their presence felt when in fact they're most welcome. Unless of course they are machine driven and envious 'trolls'. Another terrible term, but this time warranted.

    Thank you, Robert, for your kind words.

    If you can see a picture in my words then I am happy indeed. sometimes I fear that all I do is hector people into seeing it my way when I'd far rather leave people to make up their own minds.

    Reply
  31. A Cuban In London
    February 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm (8 years ago)

    No telly fro fifteen years= an amazing capacity to make the mundane look extraordinary. I'm never tired of reading your posts. The second part of this one reminded me how I, too, was oblivious to certain terms I ought to have known by secondary school and yet I was ignorant about. Well, it goes to show, doesn't it? Many thanks for sharing your stories and wonderful tales with us, lucky bloggers.

    Greetings from London.

    Reply
  32. Gabriela Abalo
    February 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm (8 years ago)

    We are all different, then our writing and our way of blogging is also different. Each of us do it in our very own way.. that determines the type of audience we have.
    What is important is to be authentic and faithful to yourself, instead of becoming someone you are not.
    People like your blog the way it is, they find it honest, written from the heart and realistic.
    Being you is what inspire others.

    Elephants are welcome at my blog, as well as any other type of animal 😉

    loveNlight
    Gabi

    Reply
  33. Kass
    February 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm (8 years ago)

    It's funny how the etiquette for blogging kind of spontaneously evolved to the point where I find myself getting irritated at people who don't have the courtesy to follow rules that were never formally defined. But the great thing about blogging for me is my ability to dismiss my irritation, or any emotion for that matter, immediately – so unlike the me of real life.

    I was never told the real words for down there body parts. When my older sister caught a glimpse of my dad's penis, she pointed and asked what it was. Dad quickly covered himself and said, "Oh, it's just something I have. Isn't it goofy?" From then on, a penis was a goofy. My sisters and I always made the association of the shape of the Walt Disney Goofy's nose with the shape of a penis. His ears came into question, though. We didn't stew over whether Disney's Goofy was a mouse or a dog. We knew what it was.

    Reply
  34. Liosis
    February 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm (8 years ago)

    This may be breaking some of those unwritten rules but it always baffles me to see a person like you, who is brilliant and wonderful and competent, having the same doubts about themselves that I do. I know that everyone can learn more, but in my mind there is always a boundary marker beyond which some people travel and beyond which I have not yet gone. To hear thoughts from the other side of that line and have them be the same thoughts is disorienting.

    I like including pictures as an obedience to those rules of blogging, but it took me a while to realise you didn't because I always go away from your blog with vivid images in my head.

    I also want to take a moment to thank you for your comments on my blog. It warms my heart to read them.

    Reply
  35. LimesNow
    February 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm (8 years ago)

    Elisabeth, I am sorry to be ringing in on this so late, but it struck such a chord in me . . . you know I've suffered some of the same angst about the blogging "rules" and etiquette. I like things to be well defined and I read instructions and rules and I feel very secure in a setting with highly visible outlines. Blogging doesn't have any of that. We get brave and we just make our way. After you and others helped me out about this on my blog, here's where I've landed: Say something if you have something to say. Don't if you don't. Be as kind as you can be to people. Just like in life.

    As for the tagging and linking, here's my take: I know how to do all of that stuff because I am very computer literate. It didn't take any stretch for me to include that in the blog. It doesn't make me brilliant. It's just what I know how to do.

    I think we go to the blogs of others, drawn by what the blogger does that is special. People come to you, Elisabeth, because you are an awe-inspring writer. That's what you DO. Would we all enjoy looking at a picture you posted? Sure! Will we fail to come back here if you don't post a picture? Ha!

    You're right about it being addictive. And it does eat up our time. I (mostly) have felt blogging has been time well spent. I've connected with some of the most wonderful people whom I truly value.

    And I should like to thank you for the times you've commented on my blog. You have not once failed to miss the exact point I tried to make. Your comments are meaningful and I have felt a closeness because you understand me.

    I appreciate you. I share that tendency toward "I don't need to know everything there is to know."

    Reply
  36. Phoenix
    February 8, 2010 at 11:15 pm (8 years ago)

    I don't think there is one correct way to blog (or to leave comments, for that matter.)

    We write our thoughts, our hearts, and our words and let them go into the universe. That's all we can do at the end of the day.

    Beautiful post.

    Reply
  37. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Cuban. Was it the Russian formalists who spoke of the task of the writer/poet to 'make the stone more stony'?

    It's always stuck in my head, the idea of making the thing that you walk past in your street everyday, the thing you scarcely notice, to make it into something that you see with fresh eyes. Thanks for your support.

    Thanks Gabi for the invitation to my 'elephant' self at our blog. I agree it's important to be yourself and yet I still find this monkey that creeps onto my back from time to time and weighs me down, sometimes almost topples me over.

    Well Kass, so you agree, there seems to be some sort of unspoken etiquette for blogs, although people don't necessarily adhere to the rules all the time. I suspect that were someone to flagrantly break those bogging rules then perhaps no one would read them, or else they might become extremely popular.

    I enjoy your story about your father's 'goofy' penis. Its amazing how embarrassed we become as parents when it comes to dealing with the sexual. I suspect it's because it stirs up our own uncomfortable childhood feelings even when we are grownups, a bit like your embarrassed father.
    Thanks, Kass.

    Reply
  38. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm (8 years ago)

    Thank you Liosis, for your kind words.

    I fear you overestimate my capacities. I have long considered myself fairly ordinary when it comes to matters of the intellect and especially when it comes to matters philosophical.

    I could never get my mind around philosophy and when I was young the very name Nietzsche struck terror in my heart. Why Nietzsche? you might ask. It's a long story.

    I've noticed that we, you and I and others, start off timidly in our blogs and gradually we get more confidence. Our writing reflects this.

    I thought reading your last post that you write like a person much older than her years. Your capacity is shining through your increased blog confidence, and I'm glad that my comments may have helped.

    There have been a number of bloggers who have heped me to gain confidence. It's all that stuff about 'finding your voice'. Thanks again. Liosis.

    Reply
  39. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm (8 years ago)

    Lesley, thank you for reiterating all those things I need to have reiterated. If I were more confident with the technology I might not mutter about my dreadful fears about tagging and images etc, but I'm not.

    Did you ever read about a book called the Admirable Crighton. It's a book I often think about. It tells the story of a cruise ship full of wealthy people that winds up shipwrecked on a deserted island. The survivors, most of whom in their usual lives have all the power become utterly powerless when thrown onto their own resources and so they rely on the admirable Crichton the butler, 'a mere servant', to keep them alive.

    It happens often, this reversal of roles and I like to be reminded of it. We can sometimes be good at things we don't notice and yet others value our skill because they lack that skill. Thanks, Leslie.

    Reply
  40. Elisabeth
    February 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for your generous words Phoenix. You're right about the need to be ourselves and to offer of our best, but how easy it is to get sidetracked.

    Reply
  41. David Cranmer
    February 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm (8 years ago)

    This is one of the best blog posts I have read this week.

    And never worry about commenting. People love to see their comments numbers go up no matter what is said.

    (I had my mom toss all my nude shots of me at that tender age but now I regret it)

    Reply
  42. Momo Luna
    February 9, 2010 at 9:58 pm (8 years ago)

    As the above comments also point out: you don't need no images because your words are creating their own in the readers mind. I don't miss images on your blog. Sure when i see many, many words on a blog i sometimes haven't the time or feel like to read them, especially when it's not in my mothertongue. But here on your place (where you make your own rules ;-)) i don't have this feelings at all. I begin to read your post and want to read it all. I like your writings a lot! That's what i wanted to say…. 😉

    Sweet greetz for you!

    Reply
  43. Elisabeth
    February 10, 2010 at 10:41 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks David, high praise indeed, but I suppose it depends on how many blogs you've read this week.

    Still I'm grateful for your kind words and I should not be churlish.

    Momo, thanks to you, too. I am so aware that English tends to be the 'dominant' language on line. This is unfair.

    I appreciate comments and ideas from everyone whose first language is not English because I can imagine what a struggle it must be and I recognize you are all smarter than me by miles.

    I can only speak English fluently and can only understand a smattering of French and a little more Dutch. Thanks, Momo.

    Reply
  44. A Cuban In London
    February 10, 2010 at 11:13 am (8 years ago)

    Is that your nephew? I skimmed through the Guardian review when it first came out (to be honest with you the Edinburgh Festival never really resonates with me) but I did read it more carefully now and saw the media section on their website. Amazing stuff. As you said, it sometimes blows my mind what some people can do with their bodies.

    Greetings from London.

    Reply
  45. Elisabeth
    February 10, 2010 at 11:31 am (8 years ago)

    Yes, Cuban, this is my nephew, Christian Schooneveldt-Reid, the one with the blond dreadlocks. He's immensely talented and as well he's a terrific person – generous, humble and understated.

    For anyone else interested who might happen to read this see: http://www.thissideupacrobatics.com

    It is amazing what the human body can do. That first photo of yours Cuban, the one with the dances mid air, looks for all the world as though they are indeed flying. Wow.

    Reply
  46. The Grandpa
    February 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm (8 years ago)

    The image of an elephant entering a graceful dinner party conducted by gazelles is priceless, and why you shouldn't stop entering text,

    Reply
  47. Studio Sylvia
    February 12, 2010 at 5:31 am (8 years ago)

    Hi Elisabeth, I didn't realise there was a prescribed format for Blog posts. I enjoy reading your posts. Since I don't have a lyrical or great mastery of literature, I write, using photos, and I write about Melbourne or my art work, as this is the area in which I feel confident. How boring would Blogland be, if we all posted in the same manner?
    I appreciate comments, as I value the time taken to write them down. I sometimes don't leave comments, as I feel that all has been said and my words would be superfluous, or I can't find the words to write whaty I feel.

    Reply
  48. Elisabeth
    February 12, 2010 at 11:47 am (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Grandpa. I'm glad you see the humour in it.

    You're right Sylvia, there are no prescribed blog formats. It's more a hunch I have, an anxiety perhaps that maybe there should be if there aren't. I'd hate it if there were.

    Reply
  49. Beth Niquette
    February 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm (8 years ago)

    I think you are well-spoken. You have a gift of writing. That kind of gift is quite rare.

    I had to smile at your comment about the melancholy cloud man.

    My precious Daddy is short, cute and bald. The man in the clouds has a long face rather like my Grandfather, or the man I drew in chalk on black constructino paper, when I was in fifth grade. I called that one "Tears."

    The reason it is called Tears is because when I took it out of the frame (it had been in that frame for over 30 years), I noticed the tracks of tears coming from the man's eyes trickling down through the chalk.

    It was the oddest thing. I posted it awhile back under chalk…you'll see the resemblence.

    Reply
  50. Denise | Chez Danisse
    February 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm (8 years ago)

    There are plenty of photographs out there. If you prefer text, go with it. Of course, that's just my opinion… You've addressed a lot of topics here, I'll respond to the topic of television. We ousted our television many years ago. It opens up so much space (mental and physical) for other things. Like you, we watch on our laptop sometimes, so we are not purists.

    Reply
  51. Radish King
    February 18, 2010 at 7:33 pm (8 years ago)

    Elisabeth, But blogging is more than that. It demands an active readership. It demands a response.

    I write purely for my writing practice. That is to say I ignore my audience for the most part because it's the only way I can stay honest with myself. I like to play, frequently, but for the past 5+ years my blog has simply been that, my practice.

    It helps to write every day the way I practice my violin every day. I believe strongly that mastering practice is the only way to master any art.

    I didn't know those words either even though my mother claimed to have been a former nurse (she lied about this.) We said "front" and "back." I made the mistake of innocently calling the front of the breakfast cereal box the "front of the box" and got a good smack for it.

    Rebecca

    Reply
  52. Jay
    February 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm (8 years ago)

    Of course you blog properly! I wish I blogged as well as you do — thoughtful, well-written posts that linger in my thoughts for the rest of the day.

    I try to include images or videos or sometimes even graphs in my posts to distract away from the poorer content — you don't need to.

    Reply
  53. Elisabeth
    February 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Rebecca. I responded to your comment here on your blog, as you know by now.

    To add to is, I am amazed at how tough it us for children when parents use euphemisms of ordinary objects as a means of referring to that which is taboo and children get it wrong.

    What happens for children when words do not signify the things they're meant to symbolise? How confusing.

    To be smacked for such an innocent expression as 'front of the box' is amazing – a double entendre. Here in Australia, the term box is also a slang word for women's genitalia.

    In my family we were not allowed to say pregnant. My mother was forever pregnant throughout my childhood. We were only allowed to say 'expecting'. That word puzzled me a great deal. Thanks.

    Reply
  54. Elisabeth
    February 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks, Jay for your encouragement here.

    I am beginning to feel better about blogging given all the supportive comments I've received from people like you and my other fellow bloggers, so once again thank you.

    Reply
  55. Beth Niquette
    February 20, 2010 at 7:08 pm (8 years ago)

    No, I did not know those words either. I didn't know my mother had any name besides Mother.

    I think back in those days it was a different world.

    Reply

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