Thursday, 29 May 2014

on connections and Alison and Jane and Maya...

Wow, having not written for days and days I suddenly can't stop. Maybe it is all this rain. A thought...maybe the reason that England has produced so many incredible writers over the centuries is because is rains so bloody much people stay inside and write out of sheer frustration. Ok, ok, I can hear all you fans of great literature gasping for breath, at a loss for words, shaking with, no, not for a second do I put myself in the same class as Austen and Chaucer and the Brontes and my main man Will and all the others. I simply suggest that for those of us with a passion (regardless of actual talent) the act of writing is made easier when it is too wet to play outside.  Moving on.

How is it that so many of us experience that big city, small world phenomena. I do. All the time. Just today I received an email off the back of the recent Jane Goodall and WIJABA news from my friend Alison. Of course she and her sisters played with Jane's son, Grub, when they lived in Africa as children and both Jane and Alison's Mum are turning 80 this year. Why not? By the way, this is the third time that something from Alison's childhood has come to be relevant to my current adventures. The earlier two were both discussed in my blog on climbing Kili, if you are interested. And why Alison and I are both in Wandsworth with girls who share a birthday and attended the same school, well I really don't know. But out of that have come all these connections. And connections come through sharing. When I share a bit of myself with you and you share of bit of yourself with me our little worlds get that much bigger, making the chance of a "small world" moment more likely.

What does any of this have to do with challenges for building a library. Well, let's see. We are building this library under the auspices of the charity founded by my husband's friend James. And James is notorious for collecting people and keeping in touch. Exhibit A: Jane Goodall. If you believe in the 6 degrees of separation we are all much closer to the incredible woman than that now. Connections, connections.

Only yesterday the great American writer and activist Maya Angelou died. I can still remember the experience of reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for the first time.  Horrifying yet beautiful. I had to read some parts through squinted eyes, not wanting to take in what was written.....and yet, and yet, and yet, rooting for her the whole way, and that sense of unparalleled hope in what she becomes. This morning on the radio I heard this quote, in her own voice, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." 

And isn't that what sharing and connections are all about. Making people feel that they are a part of your life. We have all had that awful moment when a gift we have given with thought hasn't been appreciated or understood. That sense of failure in having misjudged the situation or level of intellectual curiousity. For this same reason, something small, like a take away coffee, given at the right moment by the right person can be overwhelming in its kindness. And maybe that is the crux of the matter. The small gestures, that sharing of ourselves, can mean more than the grand public gesture. 

Which does NOT tie in so neatly with the idea of building a library in Mexico, at all. Except for this. The more we share of our ourselves, the more we seek connections with others, the smaller we make this big world, and in turn the bigger it becomes. Awww. It really needs to stop raining now.


  1. Loving the connections and serendipity Anne. And the way you link it in to the experience of reading Maya Angelou also resonates with the my first time reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" too. Time for a re-read. Carry on sharing, inspiring stuff :-)

  2. Excuse the typos - got carried away!