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Beyond the Lone Islands

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Interview from one island to another

As promised in an earlier post, I have continued to randomly explore the Sea of Blogs. One of the places I enjoyed coming across (jumping from one blog to another) was another brand new island - Pan's Island - started the very same day as mine. What's the odds of that, I wonder?

So when on that blog I found a challenge to be interviewed, I accepted, and here is the result. Question's by Pan's Island, answers by me:

1) If you could take a one night trip to the island of dreams and nightmares in C.S. Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and be guaranteed that you would only be there for one night - would you go and why? if not, why?
For just one night at a time, we all go there, every night - don't we?!

During one period of my life, I actually grew quite friendly with my dreams, nightmares included. The trick is bringing them out from under the bed at dawn before they disappear, and then getting them to repeat the message in broad daylight.

Write down what you remember, save the notes, and go back and compare them when you've gathered a few. If you have a literary mind, use the same kind of analysis as you do with poetry, and you will probably be amazed at your own mind's skills in coming up with images and parallells and wordgames.

Dream interpretation does involve quite a lot of active work, though, so often it seems easier when you wake up to just let the dreams slither away…

2) What is your favourite childhood memory?Some people seem to have their childhood all sorted out in a series of stories. For me it's more like scattered snapshot images and I think they often involve something that seemed a bit unusual or new to me at the time. Quite a few early images are connected with visits to other people's houses.

The surroundings where my maternal grandparents lived changed dramatically while I was growing up. When I was little, their house was one of just two in an otherwise rural surrounding, with a view overlooking fields with cows and haystacks. As I grew older, the town kept coming closer and closer - blocks of flats towering up in the late 60's and early 70's, shopping centres and villas added, until the house my grandfather built back in the 30's was just one among many other houses in a suburban street.

Other people own that house now since many years back. But whenever I am in that neighbourhood, a series of memory snapshots from the late 50's or very early 60's pop up in my head. Me walking with my grandfather over the fields on a sunny summer day, with an old-fashioned metal milk can, to fetch milk directly from a farm in the neighbourhood - "straight from the cows". (This was unusual to me, because in town, the milk in those days came in brown glass bottles with soft metal caps on top.) Opening wooden gates and shutting them. Stopping to pick wild strawberries. On the farm, two huge carthorses inside the stable (I see them from behind, standing in their boxes, towering up high above me - it's dark inside the stable with just some light coming in through the open door). My grandmother (who died when I was six) in their big kitchen, skimming the cream off the milk in a bowl on the workbench by the window overlooking the front garden. Tasting the luke warm milk - I didn't much like it. Grandma making small pancakes in a special iron on the stove - no one else I knew made those. (My parents are not in the picture, I guess they had gone on a short summer holiday on their own and left me with Grandma and Grandpa.)

3) If you found the one ring would you take up the quest yourself or wait to find someone better suited and aid them? And why?
I'm not sure it is always just a matter of choice. Often it seems (in the stories) that it is the ring that finds the bearer, as much as the other way round. Another point of a heroic tale is usually that the true hero does not think of himself as one, at least not from the start. Even Moses reacted with a "Who? You can't seriously mean me!" attitude when God spoke to him out of the burning bush. ("Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh? Who shall I say sent me? I've never been a man of words! Please send someone else!") King Arthur, Frodo, Harry Potter - the sword, the ring, the wand... The essence of the story is the same: They were chosen; in a way you could question whether they even had a choice; and yet their personal choice was of utmost importance…

Myself I'm not the kind of person who goes around looking for rings of power and I don't see myself as a hero(ine). Judging from the stories, that seems to be a very dangerous position! I think I'll just go into my wardrobe and hide - oh, wait - perhaps that's not the safest place either...

4) If you found a portal into another world what would you do? Would you take the risk and go through by yourself? Would you ask someone to go through with you? Would you tell the world or keep it a secret?
I actually didn't have to think very long about this one because it hit me that I'd already "been there, done that"…! I went through by myself, and told people afterwards, and my experience was much like Lucy's after coming back out of the wardrobe: Those who hadn't seen the other world for themselves were very reluctant to believe! I was 16, and my "portal" a simple prayer, no other people present at the time. Neither was I thinking of Narnia back then, because I never read those books until years later. Still, a door was opened to new thoughts, new adventures and new friends.

With Celtic-inspired fantasy now in mind, I'd still say that the thing about otherworldly portals is that if you happen to find one, you can never be quite sure how long it will remain open, or if anyone else will be able to see it. So if you hesitate and go ask someone else first, you might miss the opportunity.

5) If you had a choice between being alone for all of time or never being alone for all of time, which would you choose and why?
Even God started talking to himself after a while and decided he wanted company! ("Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..." Genesis 1:26)

I can often spend quite a lot of time by myself without getting too bored, but total independence of the rest of humanity is always an illusion. Even Defoe's Robinson Crusoe on his island only survived because of things made by other people that he salvaged from the wreck. Books, pens and ink among them…! ;-)
Thanks to Pan's Island for the questions, I quite enjoyed answering them!
If anyone who reads this would like to be interviewed by me in turn, let me know in a comment where to send the questions.

1 comment:

Pan's Island said...

Great answers - I love the way you think. Look forward to reading your blog :)


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