Star Child *

I have a friend (crazy, I know). Her name is Alex. Hi, Alex! *waves*. She has read my book, and she likes my book. This makes me happy, of course. Alex is a writer herself (a fantasy one, at that), and it is so lovely to have a friend who can share such things with you, who understands, and who actually knows what you’re talking about when you say ‘Sta’reghiime’, for example.

Do you know what that is? I highly doubt it.

It’s something in my book.

Which you would not know unless you have read it.

Funny how these things work…

A good while back, I was moaning to Alex about the languages I have created for my fantasy world. I wondered what possessed me to do three. Woeful. One language is simple enough, I suppose: that is Kurpian, the language of the Ilimoskus (my main language). The other two are… Well, one is the hardest thing in the world to pronounce/the biggest mouthful language going, and the other has the worst grammar. But who do I have to blame but myself? Why, Jenny? Whhyyyyyyyy? *falls upon knees and howls in despair*

But anyway. I was talking about my languages. Specifically Kurpian. Alex said that it would be cool to learn Kurpian (or something like that), to which I replied, “I’ll give you a lesson someday 😉

(An aside: The Kurpian language is traditionally a syllabic alphabet with limited logograms, which, in English, basically means there are symbols that represent syllables. There are always two symbols that make me smile, though, because “xu” looks like a smiley face with a massive nose, and “ly” looks like a man doing some funky dance. Behold: )

ohk

((An aside aside: Apparently one of the most ‘hated’ fantasy clichés is ‘Authors who go overboard in creating a ‘language’.‘ Oh, and also Anthropomorphism‘Non-human’ or sentient animal races that act, think, and socialise just like humans.’ Pffttt. Well, if that’s the case, AVOID my story at all costs. WARNING–WARNING–I tell you! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES LEST MY TERRIBLE, AMATEUR FANTASY STORY DEVOURS YOUR MIND INTO A STATE OF UTTER PARALYSIS FROM ITS SHEER ATROCITY TO THE FANTASY NAME. I love fantasy. Fantasy is my life. But I hate the fantasy ‘circle’ more than anything. It is the most critical, judgemental and contemptuous of all fandoms. Obviously, I’m not speaking for everyone here, but that’s the general vibe you get. Oh, and by the way, I actually have a very detailed explanation as to why my Ilimoskus are so humanoid, yet if I put such an explanation into my story I would be criticised for rabbiting on about information no one cares about, or for focusing too much on needless history as opposed to storyline. You can’t win, right? Which is why you should live your life true to yourself and write only from the heart. That’s my lesson for the day.))

So. There is a character in my book called Gnotsu Teeze (“NOTE-soo”, by the way – everyone pronounces it wrong). Gnotsu is the wise, wizened, wise man of the story. Obligatory in fantasy, no? A trope, not a cliché 😉 Though, if you ask me, he is more than just a wise elder: he is immensely powerful and mysterious – so much so that his kin do not even realise the extent of this. Gnotsu has dedicated the majority of his life guiding others in their greatest time of need – a carer and protector to all the sad hearts who come his way.

gnot-tt

This is a sketch I did of Gnotsu

Due to this, I often say, “Everyone needs a Gnotsu in their life.” We do. We really do. We all need a mentor to teach us the wonders of life, of nature, of the soul. Oft times I find myself pining for a Gnotsu conversation, to be before his exuding aura of perpetual wisdom *wistfully sighs*. But, it is precisely this teaching nature of Gnotsu’s that led me to write this post. Combining both things together (Alex and Kurpian), who better to consult than dear old Gnotsu?

And so, my friends, I share with you a fictional scenario between Alex and Gnotsu as she has a Kurpian lesson. Perhaps some context is required. Let’s just pretend that Alex woke up, drowsy and bewildered, thousands of miles away from home in an English wood which just so happened to be Kaxenff (that is, the home of Gnotsu). Gnotsu, being the compassionate soul he is, took Alex under his wing and taught her the ways of the Ilimoskus (and we shall ignore technicalities within the story itself, such as humans not being able to see Ilimoskus, but sshhhhhhhhh. Alex is special. She can see the Ilimoskus, ’cause I say so 😉 ).

(To people who do not know the story: There are going to be many strange words in this piece. I shall briefly explain them at the end. Strange words shall be underlined.)

Dear Alex, I know you could do with a Gnotsu conversation. I hope you enjoy this.

Love and light to you, x

***

Alex rushed through the holid, swerving past the kus coming her way as they gave her an array of curious looks. She was late.

She had not slept well, awaking before the dawn, and so she had decided to leave Gnotsu’s hohot and go for a quiet stroll through the woods. It was strange to be out in the Ilimoskus’ holid when it was so silent, so deserted, but she could not deny the sense of relief that filled her, for the lack of the foreign beings – kindly as they were – watching her every move meant she could dally and inspect to her heart’s content. She had absent-mindedly watched the sunlight burn the woodland in golden fire, beckoning the Flamikus to awaken, and, while sitting on a log near Idimis, observed kus undertaking their morning duties. She had not been here long, but she had already discerned just how diligent the Ilimoskus were. She had also discerned that they were seriously nosy, yet politely so, if that was at all possible; they forever peered inquisitively over her private doings, and she caught wind of gossip about her, such as, ‘She speaks very weirdly. Do you think she has something wrong with her?’ As gossip went, it was harmless enough, and she could hardly blame them – after all, she was as good as an alien to them, and she did speak very differently to them: her accent was Canadian, and theirs was a rather curious blend of English and… Kurpian? She supposed, were she with another human, she would be gossiping about them, too. It was only when some kus passed close by her, chattering away – and, of course, giving her a lengthy perusal – that she thought about their accent again. But then it suddenly hit her. She had agreed to have a Kurpian lesson with Gnotsu at first light. Dammit! She leapt up and darted away, giving all nearby eyes even more reason to look at her.

Once she had rushed back to his hohot, she saw that Gnotsu was waiting outside, his hands clasped together. Why did that make her feel so terrible? She continued to approach, now at a brisk walk, and Gnotsu spied her from a distance; he watched her every move with a placid expression, and when she was near he bestowed a warm smile.

“I-I’m sorry, Gnotsu!” Alex puffed, stopping before him. “I forgot!”

“Indeed you did. But then you remembered. Do not fret, Nieeb, for the recollection of our minds often fails us when our hearts are preoccupied with deeper things.”

“But… What deeper things?”

“You are new here,” he kindly replied. “This is a strange place to you, and you are in the process of adapting. Do not be hard on yourself.” He turned, holding back the door for her. “Come now, let us begin.”

She pulled a small but grateful smile and stepped inside. She saw that there were two wooden chairs – or, rather, stools – positioned to one side by the unlit fire, and so she headed over and sat on one, feeling much like she was back at school and about to take an exam. Ugh. Thank the gods the Ilimoskus did not have exams as she knew it.

Gnotsu wasted no time in getting down to business, as often was his way, and as he shut the door he spoke in his gentle, yet husky, voice, “If I were to say to you, ‘Ihmoiyon’, what would I be saying?”

“Oh, umm…” Alex sat contemplating, though she felt slightly bewildered after her rush and tried to rally her thoughts into some order. Ihmoiyon. She knew that. Come on, brain. WORK. “Err…”

Gnotsu smiled at her patent forgetfulness. “Shall I help you, Alix?”

She looked to the floor, thinking it would be better if Gnotsu did not see her trying to restrain her own smile. Alix. It did amuse her, how the Ilimoskus pronounced her name. “Uhh… Yeah, that would be really helpful, Gnotsu, thank you.” She looked back at him, having banished her smile for good.

“We greet one another this way in the morning,” he simply said.

“Oh!” she cried. Duh. It was so obvious now. “‘Good morning!'”

He dipped his head ever so slightly as his indication that she was correct, then moved closer to her, but still made the point to stand. “Now, I am going to speak to you in Kurpian, and you are going to tell me what I said in Akklun.”

“You mean English,” she automatically corrected, but then felt a wave of horror wash over her. Did she just imply Gnotsu was wrong about something? Could she be any more moronic? She had only been here a short while, yes, but she knew well enough that Gnotsu was considered the wisest elder in the holid, and no one dared to question him. Though, thankfully, Gnotsu was the most serene and forgiving kus she had met, and his eyes delicately smiled as he clasped his hands together.

“Lopa,” said he.

“…Hello,” she replied somewhat warily, for ‘lopa’ was the only Kurpian word she definitely knew, and all else he said would undoubtedly send her mind reeling.

“Yestana’asko-a Gnotsu od Teeze hon,” Gnotsu continued.

In Alex’s mind, the beginning of that utterance sounded like a complete load of babble, yet it was a particular strain of babble she recognised. She remembered Gnotsu teaching it to her before, and how she had fumbled over the syllables as if it were a tongue-twister. It did not help that Kurpian was spoken quite quickly.

“Every letter ‘a’ in the Kurpian language is short, without exception,” Gnotsu had said. “Like the ‘a’ in the Akklun word ‘apple’.

Alex tried to speak it once more. “Yes-tan-ahhhhs-ko…?” 

Gnotsu grinned, and then broke the sounds down slowly for her. “Yeh-stah-nah-AHSS-ko-ah.”

Alex sighed. “It’s a bit of a mouthful just to say, ‘My name is’, isn’t it?”

“My name is Gnotsu Teeze,” Alex repeated in English, having relived the memory of trying to speak that darn word, or phrase, or whatever it was.

“Yeestona’as-a pleh?”

“What is your name?”

“Very good,” said Gnotsu with a warm smile. “Now, Alix, I would like you to repeat that Kurpian question.”

Her heart plunged into her stomach. Oh, gods. “Err…” she paused briefly, trying to allow Gnotsu’s pronunciation to echo in her mind. “Yee-stoh-nah-AHSS-ah leh.”

“Valeciivie, Alix!” Gnotsu brightly praised. “Much better! Now, I shall speak in Akklun, and you shall repeat in Kurpian.”

Oh, GODS. Why? Resigning herself to what was sure to be the inevitable butchering of the wonderful, exotic Kurpian language, spoken from her stupid tongue, she softly sighed and nodded, noticing that she was pressing her lips together unusually firmly. Perhaps this was as bad as an exam, in its own, unique way.

“How are you?” Gnotsu asked.

Damn. Damn, damn, DAMN. In world-record fashion, she had already failed. She could never remember how to say ‘How are you?’ in Kurpian. Never. It was yet another mouthful phrase, and she remembered Gnotsu saying that there are actually two ways of asking this question: a formal way, and an informal way. Not that such a recollection mattered, because she could not remember either of them. She slapped her hands to her cheeks and pulled down at them. Why was Kurpian so difficult?

Gnotsu, observing Alex’s blatant struggle, calmly offered some assistance. “Do you remember that we focused on how to say it formally? Since you are not an Ilimoskus, and to appease the unsure minds of my kin, they would appreciate hearing the formal phrase from you. It goes, ‘Aa…’.” He paused, and a hopeful light glinted in the depths of his eyes that this would be enough of a recollection for her.

Alex sat, blankly staring. She feared that his hopeful light was soon to fade, since, even with his help, she could not remember. Though, from his helpful pointer, she remembered that the formal phrase did indeed contain the Kurpian diphthong ‘aa’. Oh, how she hated that diphthong. She could not pronounce it at all – at least not properly. It was the sound of a broad ‘a’, like ‘father’, but combined with this accursed rolled ‘r’ sound. It was like, ‘aaaaaaaRRR’, and she could not roll her tongue, no matter how hard she tried. She always sounded like a growling dog, or, if she did manage to roll her tongue properly, it went totally overboard and she sounded like a speed boat engine.

Gnotsu peered at her closely. “I sincerely hope you are not becoming stressed, Alix,” he judiciously spoke.

She shifted slightly in her seat. How did Gnotsu always manage to make you feel guilty about any emotion or thought you had just by looking at you with his dark, gentle eyes? “I… can’t remember, Gnotsu,” she muttered.

“No,” he said as if he already knew. “It is, ‘Aa-vickarvee pleh?’ Repeat it.”

ARR,” she tried to pronounce with all her might, though she knew she sounded just like a swashbuckling pirate, “-vih-kar-vee leh.”

“You are still struggling with the pronunciation of ‘aa’, but do not fret about it, Child – it is one of the more difficult letters to pronounce, and Kurpian is not your native tongue,” said he. “Therefore, to differentiate between ‘aa’ and ‘ar’, I would suggest you continue to put a greater emphasis on the ‘aa’ sound while you are still learning to perfect it.”

Had Gnotsu just told her to sound like a pirate?

“So, Alix,” continued the old kus, “tell me how you are.”

“Oh, I’m okay,” she casually spoke.

He smiled. “In Kurpian, Alix.”

“Oh! Right. Err… Fo unsc?

He chuckled most delicately as he cast his eyes to the ground, but then he stood in silence, frozen in his stance. “Are you okay, Alix?” he asked with atypical sobriety.

She frowned at his sudden shift of temperament, as well as at the question itself. “Yes…” answered she.

He peered at her with his head angled down most discreetly.

His penetrative gaze cut straight through her and she glanced away uneasily. How did Gnotsu do it?

“What can be gained from lying to your heart?” he quietly questioned.

“I’m not…” she began to reply, but she knew that she had no sharp rejoinder with which to respond. Besides, even if she did, Gnotsu would undoubtedly know it was a lie.

With the softest of sighs, Gnotsu walked over to the empty stool and sat himself down beside her. “All hearts hold sadness from time to time, yet, for one reason or another, we believe it necessary to hold onto it continually by means of denial. This weighs down our hearts, my dear child, for the burden of denied sadness is a heavy one. There is no shame in admitting sadness in the heart, for in this weakness we discover our strength. Tell me, Alix: do you know what happens when we deny the sadness in our hearts?”

Alex was taken aback somewhat by his direct question, so intent was she on listening to his wisdom. “Um… No…”

“It tries to escape,” said he. “In its desperate plight for freedom, it seeks to flee only to discover that the heart resists and prevents it from doing so. Thus, an inner conflict rages, and our souls then intervene, calling out to the heart in an attempt to convince it to set this sadness free. But the noise of the conflict is too loud, and our quiet souls cannot be heard. And so it is our souls are weakened, and, as I am sure you will agree, nieebko, this is not good. We Ilimoskus have a word for such an eventuality: diitharedan – the conflict in the heart and of the soul.”

Alex looked at her lap, feeling overwhelmed; she felt the sadness stir within her heart, clawing at the walls in its bid to escape. She found the courage within herself to look Gnotsu in the eye, beholding his benevolent face radiating solace as brightly as the sun. “How… How do you set your sadness free, Gnotsu?” she weakly asked, blinking numerous times to ward off the watery sheen in her eyes.

He took a moment to reply as the faintest origins of a smile emerged. “Cry,” was he simple answer. He placed his hand on her knee, and Alex felt the fiery heat of his skin even through her trousers. “Tears are the silent expression of our sorrow and our grief, are they not? The sadness flows out from our hearts, and so the heart is empty, but only then, when the sadness is free, can understanding take its place.”

“…Understanding?”

“Indeed, Nieeb,” Gnotsu softly spoke, clasping his hands together once more. “For when our sadness is free, the heart hears the soul once more and this harmony opens many a door for understanding ourselves and the world – this, we Ilimoskus call etalaresan. There is much wisdom in sadness, dear one. Perhaps sadness comes merely to teach us, and, in turn, help us be at peace.”

Alex indistinctly nodded, feeling her sadness swell in her eyes. “It’s a comforting thought…” she quietly said, too busy reflecting on what Gnotsu had said to be attentive to the volume of her voice. “But… if sadness brings us peace, why is it so… un-peaceful?”

Gnotsu chuckled. “We can look at the night sky and lament at the darkness while we wait for the sunrise, or, we can admire the beauty and wonder of the stars.”

“So… it’s up to us?” said she. “It’s our decision whether the process is a peaceful one or not?”

Gnotsu dipped his head so minutely Alex questioned whether he had moved it at all. But Gnotsu did not answer. There was quiet for a while as Gnotsu allowed her the time she needed.

She sighed, releasing the tension within herself. She could be peaceful. She could let her sadness be free. For in this weakness we discover our strength. But then she found herself thinking of the stars. Were they strong to shine amongst the darkness? “Gnotsu…” she said. “What’s the Kurpian word for stars?”

Gnotsu smiled warmly at this. “Ilckiido.

“Ill-kee-doe…” she slowly repeated.

“Elu’amel, niee’ckiido-niia.”

Alex stared at him blankly. “What?”

“Be at peace, precious child of the stars.”

This stirred her sadness more than anything else thus far, to such an extent that she knew she could no longer hide it, deny it. And so, looking at her lap, her eyes welled from the pain in her heart, and a tear trickled down her cheek.

***

Thank you for reading, my friends, I appreciate the time you have taken to reach the end.

I can only hope that you may take something from this little story, from Gnotsu and from Alex.

We can reconnect with wisdom in the subtlest of ways, if only our minds our open to receive.

Peace be within you,

~ JKM


Brief explanation of strange, underlined words:

Holid -> The equivalent of a city, in its way

Kus (Ilimoskus) -> The Ilimoskus are a race of elemental beings, at one with nature. The word kus is an abbreviation, but it can also mean ‘folk’. 

Hohot -> The equivalent of a house, or building

Flamikus -> The folk of fire specifically

Idimis -> A place name, a location, the heart/centre of a holid (‘city’)

Nieeb – or nieebko -> Nieeb means ‘child’, but it is often used as an affectionate term of address to anyone younger. Nieebko means “my child”, and is again used as an affectionate term. The ‘b’ is not pronounced: “nee-koe”

If I’ve missed anything and you’re wondering, please feel free to ask me and I’ll add it to this list!

Moonflower

Moonflower

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2015

There once was a man so holy of heart,
though oft times he wondered when his life would start;
he roamed through his town with his shadow forlorn,
beset by a sense that the world he must mourn.
For, though holy his heart, a piece was misplaced,
which could not be found with imprudent haste –
like flowers that blossom with each merry spring,
the timing of Grace is a delicate thing.

And as this man rambled through well-trodden streets
he yearned for a beauty for his eyes to greet,
but where could he find such delight to the eye
when all his surrounds were a joy so denied?
How this man yearned for the blush of a flower
to inspire a smile through his lonely hours!
And so with a sigh and a drop of his head,
he wandered away to meet what lay ahead.

His feet led the way, knowing not where they went,
but being a vagrant bettered silent laments;
he would wander afar to seek what had been lost,
through valleys and tors, and sunshine and frost.
Perhaps, so he thought, if he ventured these lands,
someday he’d return with a flower in hand,
for with hope in his step and with faith in his soul
he would find the stray piece to make his heart whole.

Ever onwards he went, though the flowers he saw
were pretty and special, and yet nothing more –
he saw flowers of peach, of pink and of blue,
but knew that in spirit for others they grew.
Though he was perplexed by the flowers in sight,
for they wilted not beneath the blazing sunlight;
they were as gentle and as fair as could be
and suffered none in the heat – which was not so for he.

How he longed for the shade as he journeyed the dale!
Alas, no trees he found to offer avail.
The sky above had not even a cloud
to ease the travail he felt on the ground.
Only woe he had found as he travelled abroad,
and so, with despair, he cried out to the Lord:
“Why must my heart bear such sorrow as this!
Why is your Grace not enough for my bliss!”

So passed the day ’til the sun’s fall was due,
for the dusk welcomed he with a heavenly hue.
Relief was his own when the heat fell away,
and so he awaited the nightly display;
soon he would see the diamond dance of the stars
and moonstruck he’d be by the light of afar.
His wonder so grew for the dark mystery –
a vision of glory so melancholy!

But then as he trod ever marvelling still,
providence sang over wind-smitten hills;
it taught him of patience – his heart would soon sing! –
for he was so blessed, and a lover of spring.
The truth of these words he could not deny,
but his heart still wept for a flower to find.
But then his eyes met, on the horizon faint,
the shape of a tree that compelled to acquaint.

The tree greeted him with a smile and said,
“Hail, weary traveller, may my roots make your bed!
Dear child of God, I bid you rest beside me,
for you are my keeper and in return I keep thee.”
The man offered his thanks, expressed humble and true,
but the tree spoke again, for foretelling he knew:
“I have heard word that a flower you seek:
Turn and behold! The Lord’s flowers are meek.”

The man turned and beheld but he could not admire,
for this flower was frigid and stirred no desire;
she hid her bloom from the light of the sun
and retired her beauty to instead only shun.
But though this was so, he was caught by intrigue,
for what flower can hide with such quiet mystique?
How would she be if she opened her heart?
Would she be fearful, or broken, or dark?

The tree chuckled and said, with much good intent,
“You know in your heart this here flower I meant!”
The man did respond, “But how is this so?
For she is no heavenly image I know.”
And the tree so replied, “And so that should be,
since her beauty is only for your eyes to see!
She has been waiting for her sacred spring,
for the timing of Grace is a delicate thing!”

He sat down in thought, pondering over his plight
as he was amongst the ever darkening light.
So came to be the sky faded to black
and the stars sparked to life for him to gaze at;
they waltzed around the moon’s silver throne,
but how could it be the moon seemed so alone?
And yet, even so, it was the sphere of peace,
and night brought him many a sentiment sweet.

But then he noticed amidst the gentle moonshine
that now arose Grace, for the timing was nigh:
the flower, with care, did open her bloom
beneath the pale light of the moon.
Her petals were bold in a delicate white –
an angel that shone in God’s holy light!
Her beauty was more than he could ever tell:
she was the moonlight’s own precious belle.

But what did he see when she opened her heart?
She held a fragment – his heart’s missing part.
She was of heaven, this he now knew,
for within her the Holy Ghost surely grew;
she was his gift for his heart so divine –
the piece he had always been yearning to find.
With blessings abound the Lord showed him the One,
and his heart was anew – a new life had begun!

Nevermore would this man pine through the hours,
for he had found her – his little moonflower.

moonflower


It has been a while since I have done anything on this blog, and an even longer while since I have written/shared a poem. I believe I’ve said before that I never write poetry unless deeply compelled to, and ‘Moonflower’ came to be in quite a… Well, I was cleaning the house when out of nowhere the idea popped up in my mind. I knew I had to let this one out. I don’t think I’ve ever written such a long poem, either – it just kept on going and going! Still, it tells a story, so it’s okay.

As for the odd (and not desperately wonderful) sketch I did to accompany the poem… I’m not quite sure what happened with that, to be perfectly honest. It wasn’t supposed to be what it ended up as. I planned to draw a tree with a man kneeling by it, admiring a blooming flower in the moonlight, but, when I sat down at my desk with pencil in hand, the above happened. For whatever reason, I drew a woman’s hand with the flower coming out of it… And the rest is history. Make of it what you will.

We have all heard of the glorious sunflower, yes? It is sunshine in a flower, blooming and flourishing in the sunlight.

But did you know there is a moonflower? What a gentle thing this flower is! It does not bloom during the day, but rather once the sun has set. It blooms throughout the night.

Lovelovelovelovelove

I want a garden full of moonflowers, so I may see its white beauty, and feel as if the moon’s essence dwells before me in a delicate flower once the night falls. And maybe these moonflowers can be grown amongst some sunflowers, for when one opens the other rests, and the sun is a joy to behold! The sun and the moon, different as they may be, are very much one. Though, for me, my heart lives on the moon.

An aside: I wrote a little song about the sun and the moon once – a ‘love’ story, if you will, between the two. 

‘So the two share the sky, though at differing times,

yet they long to know something more.

Can the sun hide away?

Can the moon see the day?

Would their yearning soon make them fall?’

***

I feel very much like the man in the poem at the moment. A wanderer. Lonely. Mourning what is not there to be mourned. Maybe I too should wander away in pursuit of my flower… *sigh* 

*

May you find your flower, be it one of the sun or the moon,

and be at peace, my friends.

Blessings keep you,

~JKM

When Life Punches You, Smile at Gazelles

Hello! *waves energetically*

Goodness. It seems like a long time indeed since I’ve sat down to write a blog post about nothing in particular – just life. I know I shared a poem not too long ago, and also what spring means to the Ilimoskus yesterday, but they only took a second to do because it was mostly copy-and-paste. It hasn’t been that long really, it just feels like it. Or has it been a while? I don’t even know. Time has blurred for me these days. One indistinguishable haze.

Anyway, I am having a very active weekend blog-wise. Two days in a row, good heavens! Though, I will be running away again after this post, but will be back on 2nd April. Why? You shall have to wait and see.

But let us focus on the here and now. I’m just going to update you all on some things. Don’t you think it’s funny how life can sometimes seem to hand you something so wonderfully fated, but then decides to go, “HAHA, not really!” and then gives you a charming punch to the gut? That’s totally happened to me recently. I shall explain…

…It all started about a week and a half ago…

Regular readers of my blog might remember that I wasn’t desperately happy not too long ago. I felt so lost and confused and lonely because I’d recently moved away from everything and everyone I knew and blah blah etc etc. Anyway, I was getting really angsty about my life and how I seemed to be so forever aimless. I still feel aimless, truth be told, but nothing like before. Well, I won’t go into boring details, but to cut a long story short I basically got a new job. Good news, right? This was the wonderfully fated bit, ’cause I still don’t understand how on earth this happened, but there we go. So, what is this job? A teaching assistant in a first school. With children, aged 4-9. In a school. With children. Did I already say that? Sorry.

I find myself, even now, questioning what I’m doing. Why am I working with children? I thought I didn’t like children. I have forever said “I dislike children, I am never having children, ugh children.” I have also said so many times that I am never going back to an educational environment. Ever. Well, that worked out didn’t it.

The ‘interview’ (if you can even call it that) was… interesting… shall we say? The most informal interview in the history of interviews. I was sprint-walking (is there such a thing? There is now) across the school playground to keep up with the headteacher, and then we went into a classroom and ended up speaking with her in the middle of the room with noisy reception children (4-5 year olds) charging about doing their thing. And then I was just thrown into it. I kind of wish I was joking.

So yeah, I started on the Monday. Now, here is where life punched me in the gut. On the Tuesday, my knee decided to just… pop. And now I am a crippled old lady hobbling around the place in tremendous amounts of pain. I mean seriously life. Why let me sort things out with a job and then bring me down on the SECOND DAY. *sigh* I’ve been drugging myself up on pain killers, and also been wearing a knee support, but still I am in such pain throughout the day, and by the time I get home, I am nearly in tears. It’s so bad. I don’t even know how I make it through the day, quite frankly. But somehow I do. It is not ideal when working with children, constantly being on your feet or kneeling on the floor, but I’m not letting my knee ruin things, the stupid thing. Needless to say, a trip to the doctors is on the table…

But besides the knee, things have been going okay. Although I’ve lost my voice this weekend, which again is not ideal. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t talk much. I’m still not sure what to think or how to feel about his job, though. Considering my alleged dislike for children and educational environments, I find working there rewarding indeed. I do feel strange there, though, but I think that’s just me. I feel unsettled and restless whatever I do and wherever I am.

So, shall I share some work stories with you?

Yes, I shall.

I’m not the most sociable person in the world… I’m quite quiet and shy initially, for it takes me a long time to come out of my shell; with the children it’s different, but when it comes to break and lunch and I’m sitting in the busy staff room, my usual seclusion returns to me. But that’s fine. I’m happy to simply sit and listen to all around me. I like quietly observing the world. I usually have my nose stuck in a book anyway, minding my own business. I barely know anyone’s names yet, and it’s been over a week,  because I don’t talk to people (how I get anywhere in life is beyond me). But, one day, in my sitting and listening, the only male teacher in the school (it’s always the way, isn’t it? There are hardly any male first/primary school teachers) came into the staff room and, unsurprisingly, started talking – like a normal, sociable human being – to other people.

There is a YouTuber called ‘charlieissocoollike’; he himself is not important right now – his voice is. He has a very distinctive voice. This only male teacher in the school, called Mr. Catley, sounds JUST LIKE HIM. Now, for anyone who doesn’t know who ‘charlieissocoollike’ is, this will mean nothing to you, so, I am sharing a video with you. Just listen to his voice.

(This video is for all fellow Britons out there)

A pretty distinctive voice, right? I really, really don’t know why, but I find the fact Mr. Catley sounds just like this YouTuber so amusing. Thinking about it now, I’m not laughing, because it’s not funny, but when I actually hear him speak, I cannot tell you how much I have to restrain my laughter. WHY DO I FIND IT SO FUNNY?! It’s awful, because it’s not funny. There is nothing funny about the voice, so I just do not understand what comes over me. I seriously end up hiding my face with my book and discreetly sniggering into it, pulling all manner of ridiculous facial expressions to hide the fact I’m smiling. I’m sure you know those faces you pull when you’re trying not to laugh. Awful. Mr. Catley is one of the few members of staff I’ve actually spoken to as well – only very briefly, but I’ve spoken to him nonetheless. It was about reading, funnily enough, because he saw me with my nose in a book and asked about it. It was a dire situation I found myself in. Maybe, if I was lucky, I just came across overly smiley to him… That was also the first time I properly saw his face. You know some people have such bright blue eyes that it’s genuinely like a slap in the face when you see them? Yeah, this Mr. Catley has those kind of eyes. I’ll admit, that did help somewhat with me restraining my laughter, for I was so distracted and taken aback after being slapped. As anyone would be, right?

This Mr. Catley seems to be quite a character, mind you. You always know when he’s in the room. Maybe that’s just because he’s the only man, but even so. I feel quite sorry for him, actually – being so horribly outnumbered by women must be a bit disconcerting sometimes. On Friday it was Sports Relief, and a few days before they were discussing in the staff room that we were to dress in sporty clothing; the other women were saying (laughing) how Mr. Catley should wear a dancing leotard. Poor man. But anyway, you always know when he’s around. For example, during class I was in the outside section patrolling the area (as usual), and from there you can easily see the staff room. There are two ways to get into the staff room: one door has steps to it, and the other door has a long ramp. At the bottom of this ramp there’s a wooden bench (if you’re wondering why there’s a wooden bench at the bottom of the ramp, it’s because there is this child in the school who has bad social/learning difficulties and he spends a large proportion of his time running away, and he often runs up the ramp and into the staff room, so the bench is there to deter him from doing that). But on this day, I saw Mr. Catley run into the staff room – clearly on a mission – via the step door, and then after a little while, he came running down the ramp and leapt over the bench – like a serious leap, I haven’t seen someone jump like that in a long time. It’s a big bench as well, and he sailed over it. He was like a gazelle for goodness sake, or an Olympic hurdler. I mean, what was so urgent that he needed to be a gazelle? Either way, it was quite impressive, for I could not help but think if that were me, I would have just charged straight into the bench like an elephant, and then fallen over and basically just killed myself. Especially with my cripple knee at the moment.

^ That is actual footage of Mr. Gazelle-Catley

I really hope Mr. Catley never reads this, or else that would be slightly awkward. But yes, besides gazelle members of staff with slapping eyes, I don’t really have any other stories to tell. I suppose I could say that the children insist on calling me MRS. Marsh, despite having been corrected by myself and other members of staff about a thousand times. Do I look married to them? I am not married. I’ve given up, quite frankly, and so I just accept the fact that I am now, apparently, a married woman – Mrs. Marsh-Mouse, isn’t that right, Steven! 😉 (if anyone’s wondering, I’m married to Mickey Mouse. Minnie isn’t too pleased with me) You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve been called Mrs. Marsh before: when I lived in Salisbury, my hairdressers thought I was married… On my receipts or appointment slip things, it ALWAYS said Mrs. Marsh. I was like… ?? When have I ever called myself Mrs. Marsh?! And then another time, I answered the door to someone and they kept calling me Mrs. WHAT IS THIS.

***

I think I’ve rambled on enough. So there we go, you are now up to date with my life. Please contain yourselves, I know it is terribly exciting. With regards to writing Ilimoskus, that’s not going very well at the moment. And you know what? That’s okay. I used to put myself under such pressure; ‘I need to get this done NOW oh my goodness I’m the worst person ever if I don’t write one day WHAT AM I!’ – that kind of thing, constantly. But then, not too long ago, I just went… It doesn’t matter. If I force my story, I’m never going to be happy with it, and I’ve finally realised that just because I don’t write often these days, that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on the story. I’m never going to give up on it, and I know that deep down. I may be fifty by the time I finish it, but I will finish it. And that’s all that matters. And so, when I see my notes and sprawly handwriting staring at me on my desk, I poignantly smile and think, ‘I’m coming back to you, don’t worry.’ Always on my mind, always in my heart, but it will come out when the time is right.

Sometimes life can be a bit of a bastard, let’s be honest. Sometimes it can seem to be going very well, and then all of a sudden, BAM! Not so great. In such instances, you could quite easily break down and give up. But no no. We do not give up. So what you do is laugh, and smile, and think ‘Well, that was a bit sucky, but I’ll just laugh it off.’ Some days when I’m at standing around at work and I feel that I would rather chop my leg off than deal with this knee pain, I think back to Mr. Gazelle leaping over the bench and I smile to myself. It’s such a simple thing, really, but it’s enough, for it then reminds me that I smile more at work than not. Surely the discomfort is worth it. And why shouldn’t he have leapt over the bench? He can, so why not! And when I’m stuck doing something I hate and I think about how I’d rather be writing my story, I daydream about my world and remember that just because I’m not writing about it, that doesn’t mean it’s not with me, and that it will come in time. There is no rush. The Ilimoskus are peaceful, and so the greatest justice I can do myself – and them – is be peaceful about their story.

So, if life punches you, find something to smile and laugh about. There is always so much around – you won’t have to look far.

***

Have a great week ahead of you, everyone!

And remember: laugh and smile your way through life 🙂

Gu’cuqeqa! As the Ilimoskus would say:

until we meet again, my friends

Just Listen…

I know I said I was not going to post again until the new year, but this doesn’t really count. I went to a Cathedral Service last night and I simply had to share what we Anglicans experience throughout it. We hear those who are blessed by God with the voices of angels.

I know of and am friends with many people who are not religious, yet still they are moved by the sheer and often haunting beauty of a church choir. How can you not be? The sound speaks to everyone in some way or another. Deep in our hearts it resonates peace and love. The call of God in carols brings mankind together in this festive season, at this most special time.

King’s College, Cambridge, is a world-renowned choir, and they are truly, truly magnificent. This is them singing a carol that was sung at the service I attended last night. I could listen to it forever. Even if you are not religious in any way, I ask you, please, to just listen. You need not even look. Close your eyes and just listen… Listen to the peace and the beauty, and let this carry you warmly into a merry spirit so you have a most wonderful and blessed Christmas with those you dearly love.