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Saturday, 29 October 2016

Aiyæthron Updated.

These are my notes and translations thus far for this language that I'm making, which I've called Aiyæthron. Pronunciation of vowels can be found just below. Hopefully, should be reasonably self-explanatory. That one, however, is pronounced Are-ear-yair-throrn. (Short r sound at the end; don't emphasise. Implicit in vowel sounds in this language, but not emphasised unless written.)
Also, not all words will necessarily follow all rules, particularly ones written earlier. I may have to figure out how to make them fit in later. But this is primarily a sound-based language, so it really is about making sure it sounds right. I want it to work right as well, but the sound is primary.

* Italics are currently ponderings as to possible solutions to difficulties encountered.
** [Comments in square brackets are added in to aid in reader understanding of my logic.]

Open/vowel sounds
A - ar - "are"
E - er - "err"
I - ir - "ear"
O - or - "oar/ore"
U - ur - no Eng. equiv. (N.E.E.) [oor]
Æ - ær - "air/e'er" [I do realise this is not the typical pronunciation of this letter]

Apostrophe ( ' ) cuts short; write h afterwards for a h sound instead of an r sound? [ah, eh, ih, etc.]

Closed/consonant sounds
Combiners - L R W Y S Z
DR => JR [compare dive/jive to drive/jrive)
TR => CHR [compare tane/chain to train/chrain]
K/Q => C/CW [All K sounds replaceable by C, as well as hard Q sound {e.g. Qatar, Iraq}; QU sound replaceable by CW - almost is for Qwerty]
X => Z/CS/GZ [Initial X {e.g. Xavier, Xanadu} replaceable by Z, intermediate/ending X replaceable mostly by CS {e.g. Hex, Explain} and in some cases by GZ {i.e. Example}]



ai - life/spirit
yæ - love
thron -> thro-on
                I      I
     (sounds) + (perspective) = words
Aiyæthron - words of life and love
urmdwur -> urm-dwur
                      I      I
       (plant life) + (guardian) -> guardian of plant life -> earth
oayio -> encircler of life -> air
oyo - circle
leæl -> le-æl
             I   I
 (animal) + (provider) -> provider for animals -> water
zhrng -> zhr-rng
                I     I
   (destroy) + (heat) -> heat that destroys -> fire

Cwulrun -> cwul-run
                      I       I
             (noble) + (man) -> nobleman -> prince

Cwulrohn -> cwul-rohn
                         I       I
                (noble) + (woman) -> noblewoman -> princess

Maizwæshiainnaiah -> I see life in your face -> you are beautiful
Shiain -> life in face
Shin -> face
Urmaidwur -> human/person [life in earth]
Mai -> I/me [shortening of above]
Nai -> you
-ah -> only, just, one, singular [e.g. particularly naiah, intimate you]
Zwee -> vision/sight
Zwæ -> see [æ is verb]

Frumshuhng -> frum-shuhng
                            I           I
                       (right) + (true) -> It is right and true -> It is good
Shuhngya -> truth
Grinai -> thank you
Gri -> thank
Prinai -> please Poss. lesser form of “beseech you”?
Tri -> dear

Amairdwum, ca nairah -> Not my will, but yours
a- -> opposite of what it precedes
Dwum -> Will
Ca -> But/etc.
Mair/Nair -> Mine/Yours [r on the end changes it from me/you to mine/yours]

Dt’ung -> Hand
Dt’ungoyo -> Circle of hands -> Family
Dt’ungoyoaidwur -> Life that is the guardian of the family -> Father (+ Bær -> Son)
Dt’ungoyoaidæhn -> Life that joins the family -> Mother (+ Bær -> Daughter)

Narun -> Big
Nin -> Small
Rohnin -> Small + Woman -> Girl
Runin -> Small + Man -> Boy
Wehoayio -> Move + Air -> Wind
Wehoayiorunin -> Boy of the wind (Ijtro)

Dt’ah -> Mouth
Thræ -> Sounding
Dt’ahthræ -> Mouth + sounding -> said/say
Yat -> May
Prinai, yat thron mai dt’ahthræ nor shuhng -> Please, may the words I have said be true -> Amen

Dt’uh -> Eye
Dt’uhæ -> Look (v.)
Dt’uhin -> Look (n.)
Naiah dt’uhin nwunyo -> You look beautiful

Yat ai dahn yæ bærnaiah jrinihl nair æi. -> May life and love follow you all the days of your living.
Bur -> to be behind
Bær -> follow
Jrin -> day, single day, 24 hours

-ihl -> all, together [e.g. naihl, all of you]
-un -> masculine, denotes belonging
-ohn -> feminine, denotes belonging
-an -> gender-neutral, denotes belonging
-a, -la -> present tense, currently happening [used sparingly]
-e, -le -> past tense
-i, -li -> future tense
-o, -n -> plural
-u, -y -> -r, -or or -er [i.e. make to maker, protect to protector]
-ya -> proper noun [i.e. righteous to righteousness]
-yo -> -ful [i.e. colour to colourful]
-yi -> -ing
-yu -> noun/verb to adjective [i.e. love to loved]
Weh -> moving/movement
Nwæn -> seek, pursue
Nwun -> beauty
Jah -> first
Zh- -> emphasised the, i.e. The Aiyædwur, The Will, etc.
Zhah -> the one
Aiyædwur -> guardians of life and love, those who speak this language [possibly also guardians that live and love]
Gwun -> king
Gwohn -> queen
Gor -> place
Gwungor -> king + place -> kingdom
Dahn -> and [used sparingly]
Dæhn -> join
Vræn -> make
Vrænefrum -> made + right -> righteous
Vrænefrumya -> righteousness
Svit -> thing
Teh -> this
Nor -> be
Mæn -> give
Po -> also, as well, in addition to 
Dahndehn -> and + two -> with,  two together
Zohc -> wax
Je -> by [as in X by Y; not as in, ‘it was by the lake’]
Plu -> [as in, ‘it was by the lake’]
Dwæryu -> Guarded/protected

Bah -> One [number]
Dehn -> Two [number]
Fih -> Three
Hohn -> Four
Juh -> Five
Lahn -> Six
Neh -> Seven
Zuht -> Zero
[Base-eight number system; so only digits 0-7]

Mai yæ nai -> I love you [to friend/family]
Mai yæ naiah -> I love you [romantic, I love just you]
Jun -> are
Gæ -> to call [more to name, call out as, rather than physically calling out]
Vrænzwæli -> to make seen -> show
Vrænzwælishuhngya -> to show truth -> light
Wælis -> shine
Awælisiyi -> shining in life -> light of my life [ish]
Tuhn -> am
Dahnyu -> together
Svol -> wisdom
Svolyu -> wise

Names for God:
Zhah -> The One
Yæyi Dt’ungoyoaidwur -> Loving Father
Zh’jah -> The First
Aivrænu -> Maker of Life
Bahfihdæhnyuya -> Three joined in one-ness (Trinity)
Zhai -> The Spirit
Urmaizh’throndwur -> The Word in person/human (Jesus)

Ænu -> God

On Creating A Language: Part 2

I realised recently that I haven't given people much of an update of the language I've been creating, Aiyæthron, since the initial two posts that I did about three and a half years back. Wow, it's been that long. Scary. At that point, all I had written out was the original letters I was using (an alphabet of sorts, though not with the actual characters - this primarily being a spoken language, and not having come up with those as yet); various ways that they did and didn't combine; and the name of the language, as well as the words for earth, air, water, and fire. I've come rather a long way since then. Not quite as long as some, perhaps, but a fair bit. I think I'll put the update of my notes in another post, otherwise this post will just be much too long. But I thought I'd write some further comments on what this process has been like, now that I'm a bit further in.

It's been very on and off, funnily enough, being me! I've found that I've had most headway when I've had a particular goal I'm aiming towards - for example, when I wanted to translate something in particular into Aiyæthron, like a Bible verse, or a poem, or even a song (because I wanted a challenge, you know!).

I've had a lot of fun shaping different ways that the language goes, and even creating a bit of a story with the language - very Tolkien-ish, which was almost part of the point. For example, I decided a little way in that the æ letter was a bit of a verb-er; it turned non-verbs into verbs when I subbed out other vowels for that one. For example: "bur" is to be behind; "bær" is follow. I also drew influences in the language from lots of different areas, and basically have different sub-sections of language that actually draw from specific places. For example, all of the anatomical words (hand, mouth, eye) are actually sounding quite African, nearly having the click sound - "dt'ung", "dt'ah" and "dt'uh", respectively. (That's a hard "g" on the dt'ung, by the way. The best way I can spell it phonetically is 'dtoonguh'. The best way I can describe the difference between the 'dt' and just a 't' at the start is that it starts more from the back of your mouth, using your tongue more than your teeth.) But then I'm using word for prince and princess that sound positively Welsh - cwulrun and cwulrohn, respectively. Love that 'cw' start!

There's also been all those little annoying bits - like figuring out tenses, plurals, genders, proper nouns, verbs, adjectives, numbers! All quite fidgety, but I've managed to do most of that alright, and a couple of other things besides. I'm probably terribly inconsistent with it, though. Isn't that the case with all language? Ha.

I also love that I'm now starting to build the story of the people that are using this language. They're called the Aiyædwur - either the guardians of  life and love, or guardians that live and love, I'm not quite sure yet. I'm sure both would be true, but I'm not sure which I want that word to mean as yet. They use a base eight numbering system - we use a base ten, for those not aware, which means we have the digits 0-9, and then it starts round again; but these folks have the digits 0-7, and then start back round again. I rather like the idea of a base eight numbering system, because it's a power of two. But it may also well be that that will only be a significant thing within a base ten numbering system - I haven't gotten quite that far yet. I also don't like the idea of figuring out how on earth base eight decimals work. I also think that since they have a base eight numbering system, it would make sense that they'd have four fingers on each hand. Or perhaps they use something else to count, not fingers. We'll see.

I've also come up with both a standard greeting, parting blessing, and a prayer that they use. The parting blessing is this: "Yat ai dahn yæ bærnaiah jrinihl nair æi." Which roughly translates to - "May life and love follow you all the days of your living." Last phrasing is a bit funny, but that's okay. All the days that you live or of your life would probably be more appropriate in English, but it's a different culture, and a different understanding of life! To them, it's always a verb, when it's referring to what we actually live. They don't talk about 'your life' or 'my life' they talk about your living. The prayer is actually just my attempt to translate 'Amen' - which ended up blowing up to this: "Prinai, yat thron mai dt’ahthræ nor shuhng." Which means, "Please, may the words I have said be true." Which is actually more or less what 'amen' is actually meant to mean. So that's all good. Just a tad lengthy. I may be unwittingly composing Old Entish here.

Lastly, in this post, I'll talk about their greeting, because I very much like it. It's one of the longer words that I've constructed in the language, and it's this: "Maizwæshiainnaiah". Not quite pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, but still quite a mouthful. It literally translates as "I see life in your face," but actually means, "You are beautiful." And that's not meant in a romantic sense - I wrote that one out a bit later, "Naiah dt’uhin nwunyo" - "You look beautiful". But there's a distinct difference between those two phrases. You are beautiful; and you look beautiful. The second one is a personal opinion, expressing your particular appreciation for someone's physical appearance; it's inherently biased and individual. Who I think looks beautiful, you may not, and vice versa.
The first statement, however, is completely different. It actually starts from a completely unbiased observation. The fact that we are each made in the image of God; that God is a beautiful God; therefore, each of us is beautiful. So, in part, this is a nod to and reminder of that in their culture. However, it goes deeper still than that! Because these people (and me) believe that each person has a purpose and a point to being here, whether general or specific. And when they are living close to that purpose, you can actually see that in them. The closest way I could put it into words was, "I see life in your face." Because you do. And so this phrase, "Maizwæshiainnaiah", is saying - "You are living in the purpose that God has made you to live, and I can see the beauty and life that that has brought you in your face." And I love that. And this is their common greeting! This isn't just something they do sometimes, here and there. This is something they do all the time. Admittedly, that probably says that they're somewhat of a utopian society - elves much? - but yeah. Just thought that was pretty awesome :)

I'll post all my updated language notes shortly after this. Any comments and feedback would be most welcome.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Human Rights That Should Be.

People should at least be moderately familiar with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. (Do you realise that was back in 1948? Yep, 68 years ago. Wow.) But I think there are some other things that should be human rights as well. Some people might argue about whether these fit the definition of 'rights' - let's just say that I think these should be truths, universally recognised, for every human. They aren't in any particular order. Just as they come to mind. Some are also more serious than others, as you'll note, but I think they're all still worth saying, for various reasons. These also may overlap with rights that actually do exist, I'm no expert.

  1. Nothing that a person may do, say, or think, can detract, or add, in any way, to their humanity.
  2. Every person has the right to good food. Not just enough to get by; but eating healthily, and well. Having a variety of food available.
  3. People can never be bought or sold, bartered for, or given in exchange for services rendered.
  4. All individuals, countries, races, or tribes, have the right to have their story told and recorded.
  5. All individuals should have choice over what media and information they are shown, including advertising material, excepting critical news from government bodies and emergency services.
  6. An individual that receives any ongoing service or subscription has the freedom to end the service or subscription at any point in time, and must be able to do so in a way that does not require the individual to make personal contact with the provider of the service or subscription.
  7. People should not be restricted (whether directly or indirectly) from entering or leaving a country or area because of circumstances of their birth, such as nationality, political ties or affiliations, family background, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and personal wealth, or any other reason.
  8. No person shall be killed as punishment for any crime, no matter how heinous or horrendous.
  9. When entering a country, any individual has the right to free and accessible language tuition to learn the language of that country.
  10. Wherever a person may be, they have the right to whatever emergency healthcare and treatment they require.
  11. a) No person has the right to treat another as 'less'; for example, using insulting and hurtful language, name-calling, bullying, for any reason - be it associated with nationality, gender, religion, looks, past or present actions, sexual orientation or identification, or otherwise.
    b) Every person has the right to disagree with other people, and voice their thoughts. This may not violate 11a), but must be done in a way that is truthful and without malice. Though truth can and does hurt in many cases, it can be shaped to not do so wilfully.
  12. Every person has the right to creative expression, including satire and parody, and should be given opportunity to practice and learn various creative forms and techniques.
  13. Every person has the right to live.
  14. All individuals have the right to free and accessible education, in any and all subjects that they wish to pursue.
  15. All individuals have the right to clean, fresh water that is easily available, and that does not easily run out.
  16. a) Every person has the right to a private and comfortable residence, that provides adequate protection from the environment.
    b) Those unable to provide this for themselves - because of unemployment, ill health, tragic loss or other extenuating circumstances - will have it provided for them by the State or Country in which they reside.
  17. Every individual has the right and freedom to pursue their own passions, interests, or hobbies, provided that these do not contravene national or international law.
  18. Every individual has the right to claim their own personal space, and request that other people refrain from touching them.
  19. Every individual has the right to free hugs.
That's the most important one ;) I'd love to hear your thoughts on these! Please let me know what you think about them, if you think they're stupid or great, what you would add or take out.

The Oldest Obsession.

In my last few posts, I've been talking about some of my experiences and bits that happened at Beyond Festival. But there's one that I said I'd do a post (or two) about, that I haven't gotten to yet. I think now is a good time for that.

At Beyond, there was more than just music and song. There were also workshops, and some great talks too. One of those was given by Melinda Tankard Reist, a writer, researcher, and campaigner for women's rights; particularly dealing with issues like pornography (though this is becoming increasingly an issue for everyone), violence, sexualisation/objectification in media (and generally), sex trafficking, and sex work/prostitution. It's this last one that she was focussing on in her talk.

There was a lot that she talked about which I either already knew, or guessed. But it makes your blood boil to hear first-hand accounts of it from people who have 'worked in the industry', as you might put it. Something she kept coming back to - it's often called the oldest 'profession', or line of work, that there is. But what other professions do you know where people are regularly treated violently, sworn at, constantly degraded - and then told it's just 'part of the job'? And it's possible that you may know others who work as strippers/prostitutes/escorts who enjoy it, and are doing just fine. And there probably are people like that - but if there are even a few cases where this is happening, that's NOT okay. Not even remotely okay, no matter how much money that they pay. You can't buy the right to hurt someone, and abuse them however you like! Argh! Okay. Attempting to calm down. This gets me a bit emotional, as you may be able to tell. So yeah. It was a pretty powerful talk.

More awesome, was she actually had someone there who had contributed one of the chapters to the book that she was talking about, where she told first-hand accounts of people in the sex industry. Her name was Alice - possibly (probably) a fake name, like the ones in the book, to protect her. They attract a fair bit of the not-so-good sort of attention.
Anyway, she had a pretty incredible story. It's not really one I can tell here, but you can read a bit of it in the blog two links back. It's....yeah. Pretty crazy. And she's incredibly brave to be able to share that, which was really awesome for us. She really went in deep into how it all effected her emotionally, and psychologically, even now, after she's been out for a little while. Because when you've been creating highways in your brain - it's hard to change their course. You have to create new highways; and that takes time, unfortunately. It's not an overnight thing.

What was probably one of the best things about it, was that it was the fullest gig that I saw in the venue that I was running sound for. It got pretty packed - the guy that played afterwards had it pretty tough! He did well, though. What disappointed me, though, was that there were almost no guys there at all.

And the thing is, this needs to be fight for the men as well, not just the women. But the hard part is - though there are certainly cases of men being victims of sexual abuse, and that should never be ignored - much more often, we're on the other side of the coin. Rather than sharing a story of what's been done to us - we're sharing the story of what we've done. Even if that's just porn, masturbation, fantasy - that's something that can be really hard to do, particularly if it has us in over our heads. Porn is made for addiction - and it does the job very well. And it keeps getting darker and darker; getting more violent, less personal (though now we have equality - there's plenty of porn that objectifies both women and men!), and more extreme in any way it can. All of it just a Google search away, in our world. It's all about lust - the oldest obsession.

And that's not even touching the surface - what about guys that have gone from the screen to actually doing things in person? Taking advantage of people, sexual exploitation, slavery, or manipulation, trading money for sex, rape - I could go on. There are people who have done all of that, and worse, some of whom you may know without realising it. The problem isn't so much that we have so many of these people. Well, that is a problem, yes, but that's actually maybe not the big one. The problem is, there are still way too many people that look at what I've written there, and are still thinking in the old way.

Still going, "Lock these people up! Put them all into a deep, dark hole, that they can never get out of!" Some of you might want to bring back the death sentence - or for those of you reading in a country that still has it, implementing that. I'm rather glad that I live in a country that doesn't have it, and I very much hope that the rest of the world will come to their senses before too long. But that's another blog post.

If you didn't watch the video - we need to change our attitude. Because addiction - even addiction to porn, or sex, of any type - is actually to do with a lack of connection, and good relationships. Not people being crazy and deranged or psychopathic. The more we're locking people away....the worse they're going to be. That's a general rule, by the way. We totally need to rethink prison. Another blog post! (Though I'm really not educated enough on that to comment.)

I've been rambling for way, way too long already, and I've still got another post to go. *sighs* If you've come this far, you're either very patient, or about as interested/invested in this as I am. Probably both. I'll wrap it up.

Whether you're talking about porn, the sex industry, or sexualisation of women/people in general - this is something that is permeating our society. You can't avoid it unless you're a hermit. It's in advertising; movies and TV; magazines; how we talk, dress, and act. If that's something that we want to change - and personally, that's a rather big YES for me - that's going to take some gargantuan effort. Because some people have invested rather a lot of time and money into making this all work, and they don't really like it when you take that away.

But for what we might be able to get out of it - a better chance at real relationship, and actually perceiving people better; I think that's well worth it. :)

And because you got through it all, here are some photos of cute baby animals! :D

Saturday, 8 October 2016


As I mentioned in my last few posts, I was at Beyond Festival last weekend. There's still at least one more post I'm planning to do from my time there, maybe two. Then I've got another random one, because there's been too many weighty ones recently....anyway. It was pretty awesome, but there was also something that got me thinking.

Before it was Beyond Festival, there was one called Black Stump, which was pretty much around the corner for me. And each year, I'd apply to play there. Each year, I wouldn't get in, but I kept trying. I'd had friends play both there and at Easterfest, so it was something I really wanted to do. Playing in the talent shows at them was fun, but not really the same as having your own slot.
This year, I didn't even try applying to get in. It was out in Canberra, and I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to get there - whether I'd end up carpooling, or bussing it, or something else. Keyboards are not conducive to either, unless you've got a van. So I just volunteered to do sound. Ended up doing the sound for quite a few different performers - one of which was a young girl, about 16, who was playing the guitar and singing with the skill of some of the people I did a uni course of music with. And she played the keyboard as well (one of my only two keyboard players the whole time).

It got me a bit....thinking, I guess. Not the right word, but I'm running with it. Since late high school, music is something that I've been interested in really focussing on in what I do. I did something fairly radical in deciding to do it as my uni degree, when most people expected me to go for something sciency. But I didn't do much in terms of gigging. I went around a few different songwriter's nights and open mic nights, but that was about it; there wasn't a lot near me. Transporting a keyboard isn't fun. I also wasn't keen on playing in bars and pubs - partly because they were bars and pubs, which I just generally didn't like (not being a drinker), but also because that's where you play covers, and I wanted to play my own songs. Not that I couldn't play covers. But I wanted to perform my own songs, and share the stories that I had written with people. I think I did busking two times with my ukelele in Camden, and that was about it - got maybe $10 in shrapnel off it. I never really looked into getting a busking permit, which I'd need for busking in Campbelltown (where I live now) or in Darling Harbour, for example, which is usually where you see them. Besides which, I don't have a ukelele any more!

I kept writing songs, though. Here and there, I recorded bits and pieces, some at a pretty good quality. (Though not compared to what they expect for radio, for example.) I've currently got over 200 songs written, three albums released, and ideas for at least six more albums ready to go. I am, however, terrible at selling myself. Always have been. I hate trying to put a price on myself or what I do, because for me there really isn't a price. You can't put a number on it that accurately represents what it's worth, and what I've put into it. (Reason #3897 why I hate money and wish it didn't exist - but that's for another post!) So I ended up not going very far at all; I don't have many people that know about or listen to my music, and very few that I don't personally know. Whereas I know quite a few friends that have done quite well - a couple from school, but mostly from uni (funnily enough, being a Bachelor of Music). And there's always the niggling thought - could that have been me?

Then I see a 16-year-old, that's already doing as well as some of my friends that I know. And it makes me pretty seriously question if maybe I just never put enough effort into it. I divided my attention too much; held to my idealised view of how I wanted it to be, and wasn't willing to compromise. So this is what I get. And now it's just too late.
And part of me really hates that and is scared by that, because these are stories that I think are important - stories that I want to be able to tell, and share with people. I don't want to think that they have no purpose or meaning, that these stories will just fade out of existence like nobody knew they were there in the first place.

Then another part of me takes rather a different tack. It says that I'm putting way too much of my identity into this, and if I'm so scared by the idea of it fading away - then maybe that's exactly what it needs to do. Maybe I'm too tied up in the idea of being a singer, being a songwriter, being a performer, being a musician, being a pianist. My identity needs to come from God, not anything that I do, not any skills or talents or passions that I have. And that's super-duper hard for me to think about it like that. And I know that there's certainly some truth to that - that I have been finding a lot of my identity in this. And so maybe that is what I need to do. I don't know.
Perhaps my songs were only ever cries for attention from a place of unhealthiness - feeling unseen, and unloved (ala Shake It, for those of you who were at the album launch; for everyone else, I'll link it here once I get that song up).
And perhaps I'm too good at saying "Yeah, I've got problem X, Y, and Z" but never actually doing anything about it. It's one thing to say that you're struggling with something. It's another to actually take action. As pretty much anyone who knows me well enough can tell you, I'm terrible at being proactive. Absolutely terrible.

I don't really have any answers at the moment. Perhaps my chunk of time at the end of this year/start of the next will help with that. I'm not sure. But this is a song that I wrote while I was away on Black Stump around this whole question and issue.

If you have any comments or thoughts on this, would be more than happy to hear from you! :)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

I Get You.

This all started when a friend of mine, Jason, pointed out that I use the phrase "I get you," rather frequently. And he's right, I do. Both in verbal and online conversation. He's actually been encouraging me to do some talking in schools and the like, and joked that I could use it as a bit of a tagline. Then - my brain working the way it does - I started to think of the philosophy behind the phrase, and actually came up with the end of a speech centring around that idea. Then, at the Beyond Festival I was at last weekend, another friend of mine, Chris, led a creative session where he had a pre-cut lino print that we had to print out, and then fill in the image with what our 'social justice movement' would look like. What we'd get out on to the streets and shout about, wave banners saying, etc. Those who know me well enough might know that I'm not really the type to be waving banners or shouting on the streets - I can be fairly shy, and I'm also not very confrontational. To me, banner-waving is very "us vs them" thinking, whereas I like to try and work in a more inclusive way, that doesn't force people to one side or another. But "I get you," is straight away what my mind went to. And so we have the print below.

You can't read the text too well, except for the bigger banners. That's what I'll get to now, by talking about the actual thought behind this phrase. As a side note - this gives you a bit of insight into how much thought I put into everything that I do.
Part of the idea very much comes from a quote by Dr Stephen R. Covey, when he was talking about one of the concepts in his book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. It was his fifth habit, Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. This is the quote: "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply." The basic meaning of "I get you," is "I understand you." I get where you're coming from. I'm listening. Note; this does not presuppose that you agree with whoever is talking. That isn't required. And that isn't what's most important. What's most important is understanding, and compassion. These are more important than agreement and consensus.

Across the top of that poster, I wrote this:
Disputes are fuelled by misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is fuelled by a lack of listening. A lack of listening is fuelled by a lack of compassion.
Compassion and understanding can solve near any dispute.

So much of the time, discussion and argument happens because everyone is clamouring for their side to be heard. They're not ready to listen, much less understand, to what the other people are saying. They're just thinking about how they're going to reply. They're just thinking about the "but". The rebuttal, the counter. And I know there are times when I've been guilty of this as well. Even in times where I've been wanting to help someone - because I'm wanting to help, when I'm listening to them, I'm just thinking about what advice I could offer, or how I could help them in other ways, rather than actually engaging in what they're saying and trying to understand the situation.

There is a time for advice and help, yes. But first - let's get understanding and compassion right. Let's learn how to listen again. Let's start saying "I get you," rather than focussing on whether we're going to say "I agree," or "I disagree". If we did that a little bit more - then maybe the world would be a better place. #IGetYou

And that, folks, is how much thought I put into those three words. Yep. That's also bits of the speech that I came up with, and all the bits from the poster are in there. I've joked with Jason that we should have #IGetYou t-shirts made up. Reminds me a little of the Free Hugs movement. Though they're certainly not mutually exclusive. Hugs are awesome.

Anyway, that's enough from me for now. I think I'll have a couple more posts up over the next couple of days (hopefully) to do with one of the talks that I was in at Beyond Festival as well, and it gets into some pretty heavy stuff. So we'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Writings From Beyond #5 - Running With Koalas

This last one I actually did after the workshop. When we did that previous one, Cameron asked us to write down a few abstract ideas that we might try and write about. My instant idea was 'fear is a magpie', and I really liked how I could use that. But the next thing that I thought of that I wanted to write about was self-worth - it's something that's been on my mind a lot lately, and I think it's important to talk about. But I couldn't for the life of me think of an animal to give it, so I did the magpie one in the workshop. I managed to come up with this one later on, but I think it might be a little too similar to Cameron's 'Kindness Is A Guinea Pig', though I tried to make it a little different. I started with the idea that bad self-worth is essentially trying to run away from yourself, and just continued along that track. Anyway, I'll let you have a read, and let me know what you think. Hope you enjoy :)

Running With Koalas
I'm running, running.
Then someone says I did really good work today. 
I go back to running, but suddenly I've got a little koala on my left leg, weighing me down.
It makes running rather more difficult. I keep going, regardless.
Someone else thanks me for helping them out - and before I know it, I've got another koala hitchhiker on my right shoulder.
But I'm determined to not let them slow me down. 
A person tells me that I'm beautiful, and they love me.
A massive koala comes and tackles me right in the chest!
 I can't run - they're too heavy. 
 But then, I realise - they're not dragging me down. They're hugging me. And I don't need to run any more.
 Self-worth is a koala.

Writings From Beyond #4 - Click And Swoop

The second thing we did in the second workshop was about tying an abstract idea to something concrete - the latter being an animal. Cameron did a whole book of these in The Zoo In You. My immediate idea was this one here, and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Hope you enjoy :)

Click And Swoop
I glance over the terrifying drop.
Suddenly, I hear a swoop and a click near my ear -
A magpie has made it clear that I shouldn't be here.
I'm in amongst a group I don't really know.
I see a magpie - and I duck my head down;
Perhaps he won't see me if I can't see him now.
I walk up to her door, I raise my hand to knock -
Was that a magpie? I don't wait to find out.
I run back down the path - it would have hit me, I don't doubt.
Fear is a magpie.
And if you let it have control, 
Pretty soon you can't get anywhere
Near his tree, when the magpie is on patrol.

Writings From Beyond #3 - Master Of Motion

In the second workshop, we focussed in on animals. We had to think of our three favourite animals - and order them - and then write about one of them, in a particular way; he had us go through a bit of an imagination exercise first. Then it was the burst writing first, this time. Again, it's more narrative, and I'm not a big fan of it; the turn was again quite difficult. I don't think this is as good a one as the other bit of burst writing, but it has some nice moments. I know it ends quite suddenly - I ran out of time, and that was the line I needed to end it on, but didn't know quite how to get it there. The imagining was feeling yourself become the animal, and then moving as the animal, and then facing a challenge, and then seeing yourself in the mirror, and the animal speaking a line to you - that last line was that line, and it's something I really wanted to use. But yeah.

Master Of Motion
The water streamlines past. I am the master of motion; there is no wasted movement, no clumsiness. Everything is sleek and perfect. Where my bottlenose turns, so do I. I move my tail up and down, and I burst out of the water in a graceful arc. As I come back down, I notice something - is that my brother? No, the fins aren't right. This one isn't from my family. I challenge them, but they are not deterred - so I charge at them! They don't turn away, but instead charge at me as well - we get so close, and then SLAM! My bottlenose crumples and my body spins into some invisible wall. I don't understand. What is this? I am hurting, but more confused than anything. I am meant to be free.

Writings From Beyond #2: The Echo

This is the second in a series of writings I did at Beyond Festival in Cameron Semmens' workshops. In this one, we did a burst of writing, and were encouraged to explore the different senses, as well as talking about an issue in the world of today. I think the idea that I got was reasonable, but I struggled with finding a reasonable turn (point where it changes and surprises you, like the 'colour wars' in the previous poem). I did manage to get one in there, and I think it's okay - but this is more narrative, not poetry as such. Hope you enjoy :)

The Echo
The turn of the jailer's jangling keys reminds me of that echoing gunshot that reverberated through my whole life. He smelt bad - it had obviously been raining outside, but those brown stains from his shoes clearly weren't just mud. His squelchy, heavy footprints came closer, until I could almost feel the humidity coming off his soaked dark clothes. He says it's time. I turn to my little brother, and tell him that I'll see him again soon. Will it be soon? I don't even know. I hug him for the last time. I make it a good one - people call them bear hugs, but I must have been more boa constrictor. Too quickly, the jailer steps in. And takes my brother away.
I can still hear the echo. 

Writings from Beyond #1: Which Colour?

I was at Beyond Festival over the weekend, and was fortunate enough to have some time in a couple of workshops with Cameron Semmens. If you haven't heard of him, look him up! He's a great performance poet, and in each workshop he took us through a few different things to get some writing happening. The first one was around several key things to remember when writing, which he talked about a bit, but I'll just list here:

  • Be invitational, not confrontational
  • Ask good questions, rather than giving answers
  • RE-humanising, not DE-humanising
  • Raw + personal + honest, not preachy + idealised
  • Light touch, not sledgehammer
  • Metaphors, not commands
And then we did some writing, keeping in mind those ideas, but particularly looking at the idea of just using questions. You can read that one below. There's a few other bits of writing that I did in the workshops, and I'll be posting them all up in quick succession! This one I rather like, and I hope you enjoy it too :)

Which Colour
Why do people not like grey skies, when it makes everything more green? Or do people just not like green?
Why do people like one colour more than another? Is my colour better than yours? Are we going to have colour wars?
Would you fight with balloons of coloured powder, or super soakers that spray colour everywhere?
Do all colours fade - or do some get brighter? Which colour are you?