Friday, August 27, 2010

the origin of the golden fish (redux)

three years ago i began writing this blog.

this is the fourteen hundred and seventh post.


this is the first blog i posted.

this begins where everything else left off to allow me to write and so i'll be drawn to whatever comes my way in the way of thinking - right now i'm thinking about the golden fish - the painting by paul klee that this blog takes its name from and i'll tell you the story of why i chose those three words to stand/ hide behind.

grade 10 - a new school for me - me: a not very well-to-do boy - at a very-well-to-do-school serving kids who had grown up together knowing success and happiness and money and all that that triumvirate - the holiest of holies at that time in western culture - brings to a person. i was an automatic outsider and so i began to forge a life of privacy, untempered insularity, thinking, to cultivate my sensitivity to both my inner and outer voices, and especially to seek out the obscure or different, the forgotten or simply overlooked.

i discovered that at the centre of the school was a large octagonal shaped library.
a treasure trove in and of itself but most amazingly, filled with catalogues from which students could independently order books, cassettes, films, records and audio visual equipment
for their own use in the library.

i skipped school completely for more than two months - well completely might not be fair because i was actually at school the entire time, i simply didn't attend classes.
incredibly enough, i wasn't caught!

as a teacher myself i find this amazing but there you go - clearly it was intended to be!
so, i ordered books and music and all sorts of stuff about the great architects, great writers, thinkers, artists, musicians . . . . . it was the most wonderful existence!!!
i literally spent my day sitting in a study carrel reading, watching filmstrips, listening to music from all over the world, and waiting for shipments to come in
from the school board's head office.

the librarian who handled all the orders and shipments said nothing!!
i can never thank him enough.

it's from this intense two months of self-education that a lot of what i know and from which so much of what i still pursue originates. it was as if i was being given the tools or the knowledge to begin to understand what i might be here for and what i might be able to do with my time and gifts.

the knowing that the difference i perceived in my self was actually alright - that it had a broader context was huge as i finally came to see that while i didn't fit into the school or world of which i was a part at that time, i would find a place or pass through other worlds in which i would be recognized and would recognize others like me and perhaps most importantly i would be able to share the difference - and let's call it creative energy - that flowed through me like a river.

my "crime" was eventually discovered of course, and there was an awkward meeting with the principal and my parents but the damage - or as i now prefer to see it, the creative force that flowed through me in those two months - was done. this in part explains why am i am writing this today.

the golden fish?

well, one day i was sitting in my study carrel looking through a beautiful book on "modern art"
and came across the painting by paul klee entitled "the golden fish".
it resonated deeply within me then as it does now.
artistic representations of fish have always resonated within me
and i can't say i understand why. i am aware of their symbology and yet none of the various meanings of the fish or uses of the fish as a symbol have ever actually spoken as "the one" that i can ascribe my self to.

i have had many dreams of my self as a fish
but that's for another time.
and another place.


dear golden fish visitors:
on the occasion of my third anniversary as a blogger i'd like to tell you
something of the experience in this moment.
firstly and most importantly,
i've enjoyed the changes i've experienced as a result of writing and sharing images here.
my writing and my photography have evolved as a direct result
of the opportunity this somewhat public forum has offered.
for that i am deeply grateful.

i have created two other blogs to allow for research and development to take place
("flow" and "gone to earth")
as well as one other blog to allow the special place that bicycle riding has in my life to have a forum.

i am very grateful to those who have chosen for however brief or lengthy a period to "follow" this blog and especially to those who have left comments that have either supported or challenged me.
visiting the blogs i have come across by chance and then developed closer relationships with has been an extraordinary privilege usually accorded only the most intimate of friends.
i'm heartened that despite the dire prognostications of many futurists, a quality of intimacy is available in a digital medium without condition among clever, creative, insightful, compassionate,
and generous people such as yourselves.

in closing then,




Golden West said...

It's always a pleasure to stop by and see what has caught your attention on any given day, Steven. Here's to three more years of inspiration - all besr wishes!

Dan Gurney said...

Wow! It's been an honor to follow your blog, steven. What a golden education you were afforded in that library!

Caroline Gill said...

I heartily agree!

Klee has always fascinated me since Klee-like figures (I'm not sure if they were actually his) featured on our family set of Pelmanism cards. (I always thought it was Pelmonism - but the man was Pelman).

Here's to more blogging anniversaries, Steven, as (in Klee's famous words) you continue to 'take a line for a walk'.

Congratulations! ... and a fascinating post.

ellen abbott said...

What a rarity, an administrator that recognizes an education in progress. Or should I say an alternative education in progress. I'm sure you learned more in those two months than most those kids would have in the whole year. If only schools would have as part of their curriculum a span of time for self education. A period of the day when each student gets to choose what they want to learn about. It should be mandatory, along with reading, writing, math and science.

TechnoBabe said...

Happy Blog Anniversary.

Linda Sue said...

Dear Steven, I am reading this post and re-reading this post and then reading it again, unable to leave a comment at the moment because I am all GAH! Every line so rich- your wisdom at such an early age and what you have done with it all, your clear genuine perspective . So lucky to have found your blog- you give entirely and it is WE who are grateful.THANK YOU!and THANK YOU and THANK YOU!

Okie said...

Congratulations on your progress over the past three years and thank you for the many wonderful posts you have shared.

Thanks for this cool "origin story" and best of luck as you continue

Meri said...

What a gift this is, this peek into your evolution, the birth of your blog, the "then" and "now" aspect. I feel blessed to have found your little corner of the blog world.

Annie said...

"I'm heartened that despite the dire prognostications of many futurists, a quality of intimacy is available in a digital medium without condition among clever, creative, insightful, compassionate, and generous people."

Dear Steven, I think such communication is possible, when a person truly shares themselves in this public forum. I've written posts about the very real connection between bloggers who have never met in person. The connection does exist.

Thank you for sharing your story about your two months, learning to know yourself through your response to music, art and literature. I think that is what it is all about, this sharing of the self. Nature brings our true selves into focus, as well. I'm a librarian, so I'm glad you found a librarian who understood your need.

Noelle Renee said...

I was deeply touched by reading this. I didn't know the history of your blog and it helped me to gain some insight into your particular worldview ands sensitivities. I am honored to have had the privilege to share what you have written and offered in word and image. I was also one of those children who wanted more, had less and didn't fit in. I think that those of us who are bright and deeply intelligent find our own way and you certainly have done that. Thank you for sharing your emotional and intellectual intelligence with your readers.

Titus said...

steven - such an insight, and I now know why the golden fish.
Love coming here - always a feast for the eyes and consciousness.

Kay said...

I think it is me who should say 'thank you' to has been a complete pleasure to come to your little corner of the world and read your beautiful words and view the fabulous photographs and even though i may not always comment, i always read!!!..sometimes your words just make me silent and thoughtful.
happy birthday in blogland steven...xx

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Steven, it has been a great privilege to follow your blog(s). You, along with others in blog-land, continue to challenge my thinking and allow me to know there are insightful and expressive individuals who are somewhat tangible (even though we may never actually meet) and not just to know through books. Thank you.

willow said...

Your beautiful blog has been a constant source of inspiration and peace. Happy Blogoversary, my friend. I raise my glass in a toast to many, many more lovely years. xx

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh! I love reading your first post. It's beautiful .. and wow. How your blog has evolved. Wow.