I’ve been reading more of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures, and I’m finding it really awe-inspiring and thought-provoking. And I’m not even that much further in (haven’t been doing quite as much reading as I hoped, but such is life, and I read slowly).
Yesterday I read the part where some important guy (I forget who — one thing I’m having trouble with is all the names and titles in this book, but that happens with other books too, so it might just be me) — anyway, important guy (some higher-up in the military) is giving a speech to an assembly of staff from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and he commends them for their work. This is set in the years of WWII, so he tells them that they are helping the war effort as much as the soldiers on the frontlines.
And that got me thinking about how, in all my history lessons in school about the World Wars, no one ever mentions the researchers and scientists and engineers that had to invent and innovate and problem-solve to help “win the war”. I remember being told about the surge in women entering the workforce for jobs that involved things like sewing, cooking, and nursing; and I remember learning about large factories and warehouses that employed a lot of people; but I don’t remember being told about the recruitment drive for scientists and mathematicians.
Continue reading →
My primary school, in the years that I was there, had a sort of miniature forest planted in a corner of the school grounds, near the staff carpark. There was a little dirt path that curved and wound its way through the mini forest, and connected the playground at one end with the little pond at the other. Along the way, there were a few benches, so one could sit and enjoy the serenity.
I hadn’t thought of that little forest in a very long time, but the other day, when I was walking down the street in the middle of the day, and the wind rushed through the trees that I was passing under – at that precise moment, I thought of that little forest, and for a split second, I was back there, sitting on a bench about midway down the path, reading a book. It was exactly as Anne Lamott describes in Bird by Bird – the way random, seemingly insignificant memories resurface out of nowhere years after the fact, and years since you last thought of them.
In this case, however, I think my mind might have been primed toward that kind of memory. This post isn’t actually about memories or forests. It’s about childhood and change. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was giving me a lift home from work. On the way, she kept complaining that she was so hungry and really wanted to eat. Our plan, however, had been to go for a run, or at least do some exercise, and I generally don’t eat right before exercise (it’s just not a good idea), so I was basically trying to get her to stop complaining and get some control over her appetite.
I’d written previously (some time ago now) about the virtues of being hungry, and I pretty much have the same views on it now, so that was what I was telling her that night. Continue reading →
Over this last week or so, I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth. I bought it at the Lifeline Bookfest last week-end. It’s kind of funny because I wasn’t looking for it at all. I was browsing through the paperback fiction tables, being incredibly picky because I have an incredible backlog of books from previous Bookfests that I still need to get through …and then suddenly I saw this book.
Possibly the only reason I know about this book at all is because a friend from work told me about it, and he highly recommended it. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy it or not: it’s in good condition, but a $5 price-tag is kind of a bit much by Bookfest standards; and although it was recommended by someone I know and respect, I wasn’t sure if I’d get much out of reading it – spiritual / self-help books aren’t really my thing…
Continue reading →
At the end of last year, coming into the start of this year, I read Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running; and I’ve left the book sitting by my computer since then, both for inspiration and also because there are a number of things I’d like to talk about from the book.
Within the first chapter, Murakami mentions that he’s often asked what he thinks about when he runs, being a long distance (i.e. marathon) runner. Since I’m not famous, and no one really asks me anything about my running except to ask where and/or for how long I run, I don’t think I’ve been asked this before. I have, however, pondered the question in my own time, and it seems that my answer is more or less the same as Murakami’s:
On cold days I guess I think a little about how cold it is. And about the heat on hot days. … But really as I run, I don’t think much of anything worth mentioning.
He then goes on to talk about running in a void, or running to create a void, and that, I think, is one of the truly marvellous things about running.
This afternoon*, however, I went for a run, and I tried to make mental notes about what I thought about, just for interest’s sake. It’s still nothing really “worth mentioning”, but this is my blog, and it’s already filled with plenty of pointless ramblings, so one more surely wouldn’t hurt… Continue reading →
As I walked to the bus stop this morning (it was my turn to work the Saturday shift today), I had some unexpectedly profound thoughts. I asked myself: What keeps you up at night?
(Side note: Ironically, as I was writing the initial draft for this post, I was feeling really sleepy. About three paragraphs in, my browser suddenly crashed for no apparent reason, so I lost most of the initial draft. I’m not re-typing this, and might take a different angle now that I’m slightly more awake after having brushed my teeth.)
What keeps me up at night?
That was my first response. But what am I afraid of?
So many things. Mostly intangible things.
Things like not having the chance to tell people the things that I should tell them.
Things like maybes and what ifs and should I haves.
And a fear of not knowing.
Apologies if this post sounds a bit despondent or melodramatic. I don’t think that I’m usually sad when I have these thoughts – more contemplative than anything – but, on paper, it can come across quite differently.
And, as a final note, there’s no need to worry: I don’t lose much sleep over this. I only really lose sleep from losing track of time (both intentionally and unintentionally) and going to bed later than I should.
I wonder who else is up at such late hours, thinking, pondering, contemplating…