September 1st, 2006

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

"My parents, Ayn Rand and God"

For those who don't know (are there those who don't know...?) the above is one of the most famous examples of how a comma or lack thereof can change one's view of the world. Dedicating one's new book to one's parents, Ayn Rand, and God is one thing - but dedicating it to your parents (Ayn Rand and God) is, well, something else entirely and something that most people would prefer not to think to closely about...

I do not spring from such illustrious loins, to be sure. My parents are lovely and sometimes gloriously idiosyncratic,as human beings ought to be. It is to the mingling of their genes that I owe my hair, my eye colour, my height, much of my worldview before I grew up enough to start cultivating my own. To them I owe a world that was safe and loving, protected, surrounded by magnificent life experiences and books and my addiction to coffee and my weird cross of dreaming of the best, however unlikely (thanks, Dad) but nevertheless bracing myself for the possibility of the worst case scenarion so that I won't be caught left footed if it does happen (thanks, Mum).

But they are not the only "parents" that I've had.

In my life...

...I've been the daughter of Alice in WOnderland and Peter Pan, a child of wonder, someone who lives in a plethora of fantasy worlds, knows how to sing lullabies to the stars, knows how to fly, and can recognise the deeper truth when it's wrapped in the sugar-coating of dreams. I know how to dream big dreams, and I also know how to pass them on to others - I'm supremely grateful for the ability to own words in the way that I do, and the ability to shape them into something that might give someone else a glimpse into a sense of wonder. My world has always been only partly anchored in what other people call reality - I dream things every night that are coherent and vivid and every bit as "real" to me in their context as the "real" world is when I wake - in fact my husband refuses to accept, when he asks me "what's new" in the mornings, my reply of , "I don't know, I was asleep". "You weren't asleep," he tells me, shaking his head, "you were in another world". I have the joy, the ability, the responsibility, of living in those other worlds. And of bringing back bits of treasure from there, to share with the folks in THIS one.

...I've been the daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Thor the Thunderer - or their metaphysical equivalents. I have this passion for living, despite being such a relatively shrinking violet in reality - I embrace my experiences and let them come into me any way they can, through my eyes, through my ears, through the palms of my hands. I live. I take joy in birdsong and in snowfall and in sunlight on wet leaves after rain. I have been known to weep and whimper at the sight of a majestic mountain, or a tall old-growth tree. I have deeply held beliefs, and I will be passionate in their defense. I love deeply. I remember for a long time.

...I am a child of North and East, nurtured by South and West - born in the Northern hemisphere, in Eastern Europe, growing up below the equator and in the Western WOrld. I am a queer mixed bag of accents, experiences, ethics, impressions, memories, beliefs. I have walked in blizzards and I have seen the savannah; I have touched the mossy trunks of trees in temperate rainforests and I have swooned at the scent of the lilacs in springtime. I've celebrated my July birthday in sweaters and fur-lined boots, and I've met New Years at barbeques on the beach, and I've also watched leaves turn copper and gold in the right season and I've swum in tropical oceans warm with liquid sunshine. I am touched by this world, all of it, all of its beauty and its ruin.

...I am the child of star and shadow, of brightness and light, of day and night - I am the twilight, or the pearly light of just before dawn. I can look forward and back and see what is black and what is white, and I understand that I am grey, something in between, a complex, strange, alien creature which has known both beauty and ugliness and KNOWS that both exist. I have lived in many places, seen many choices being made, and it is is either a gift or a curse that I am able to understand why those choices had been made in that particular moment. I believe that there are people who are good and people who are bad but that nobody is wholly one thing or another, and mostly the bad people don't think of themselves as evil any more than the good people believe themselves to be saints. We're all... human.

Forgive me for waxing lyrical. It's September. Summer is over, my favourite time of year is about to begin. I feel... a quiet joy, and an urge to dream.