Saturday, March 08, 2008


wondering what to blog about (i have some ideas in mind but they don't really engage my enthusiasm)

i sat down to start writing, thinking i might say something about inspiration

as its something i seem to be lacking.

i think i hoped that thinking about inspiration might inspire me...

...nope, nothing here though.

I was reading something yesterday about John Milton who named a specific muse, Urania, as the heavenly source or inspiration of Paradise Lost. Urania, like a brooding dove with mighty wings.

Blake also claimed divine inspiration for his creativity and imagination - especially the angels who visited him.

I wonder if their poetry came easily to them, or if they had to work hard at it.
Is it less inspired if it takes a lot of effort?

"inspiration" suggests a sort of "gifting" - ideas, words, connections, images - simply there, available and waiting to be captured, written, expressed.

Which seems not too demanding a process - sounds appealing, a bit like unwrapping a gift.

Poor LG is finding school extremely uninspirational at the moment. Even in the subjects she most loves it doesn't seem that she is being encouraged to explore or express herself. Her Engish class began well this year with some classes on Shakespeare (Much Ado) which she thoroughly enjoyed. But now they are "doing" Jane Eyre.

Reading around the class.

I couldn't quite believe that english literature is still being "taught" like this. I was thoroughly put off reading Dickens at school by lessons where we took it in turns to read aloud from Great Expectations. I've not read him since, though he's on my "to read" list...

It seems to me that young people who enjoy reading will gain little from this tedious process, and those who don't aren't likely to have their minds changed.

I wonder who the muse of educational inspiration is? I think she's needed in England.

If something is "inspired" i think that is (partly) a way of saying something about its effect and impact, whatever its source.

I thought this was fairly inspired. (just click where it says PLAY)

Also this, which i saw last night.

and here is some Muse, one of LG's favourite groups, and i like them a lot too.

And these are inspired - vintage chocolate buttons.

Really good quality chocolate, in the shape of vintage buttons.
An inspired product and an inspired gift from my sister and nieces.


Squirrel said...

What adorable buttons!

As for Dickens--we did "reading round the class" with Great Expectations. After painfully getting through 2 chapters, I simply read the whole book one weekend, enjoying it thoroughly--then i just coasted in class.

I love all of the characters in "A Tale of Two Cities"
"The Old Curiosity Shop" and "David Copperfield"
For some reason I could read those books over & over...

I thought of you the other day when cleaning out a closet--a smallish plush armadillo fell on my head.
(gift from a Texan)

Squirrel said...

here is your chocolat button link-- The UK is lucky to have these chocolatiers--this is quality.

d. chedwick bryant said...

I couldn't believe the chocolate buttons were real--but they are! And lucky me--the company has "a presence" in the USA (I wonder if that means a store?)
Anyway they have a US website and I just ordered some drinking chocolate, some Buttons (!) and some chocolates with flower oils inside and flower petals on the outside.

I will photograph them for my blog before we savor them.

The drinking chocolates are really interesting--one has orange and one has Aztec chilis --

sorry to be all agog.

Re: the muse part of your post (got sidetracked by chocolate) I have had little inspiration for my artwork, but my better half just gifted me with more paints and canvasses. The inspiration will come eventually.

dennis said...

Dennis liked the ducks from before

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

I hear a lot of good things about the movie "Once". Hope to see it when it crosses the channel. The stick figure cartoon was quite amazing.
Strange about the reading in class: I have great memories of one particular teacher who made the experience truly inspirational. I loved reading out loud and still do when some passages just call for a spoken voice.
inspiration - I take it quite literally. As in something that makes me draw an inward breath. It can be a small breath or a big one but definitely, I feel the need to draw in that experience and make it part of me.
Things that don't inspire may be admirable in every other respect (and may inspire others) It's quite serendipitous, really - what works for one person doesn't work for another.
Long answer, I know. But you DID ask ;-)

Donna said...

Inspirational as always Letty. What fab animation and I shall look out for that film.

Those chocolate buttons were indeed delicious and I was lucky enough to get a box from YOU :-) xxx

Sally Crawford from London said...

who is it who said inspiration is 90% perspiration?

I think of it as like going for a run (which is *not* something I do) to get the body warmed up - then (allegedly) you start feeling brilliant because of the endorphin rush.

Same with what we call our brain: you gotta get it warmed up and then it starts to get excited about things.

Re: reading. I got all my analytical skills from reading exercises. We had to (a) work out what the writer's intention was in the passage we were reading; then (b) whether or not they had succeeded.

Really made the big boys (Shakespeare; Milton, etc.) merely human.

Lynne said...

How odd Letty, because we just watched ONCE last night as well! Loved it, loved it, loved it.

You made me laugh this morning with the animated clip. Thank you for that. It was brilliant!

I am definitely going to check out the chocolate buttons as soon as I am done with my comment!

trac said...

Oh dear... secondary schools!
I'm still trying not to think that S11's future as a crack dealer and knife wielding gang member is mapped out for the future now.

Or maybe I am over reacting??

Just a little!


PMT and school admission results do not go together too well in my opinion. (I highly suspect Nick would agree! hehehe)

Brilliant brilliant little film that! :O)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

muses can be such a fickle lot.

amazing the creativity that is out there in the world - animator vs animation was quite brilliant!

good chocolate is always very inspirational; and in the evening inspiration is doubled when the chocolate is accompanied by a nice glass of wine.

deb said...

"Once" was a lovely movie, I especially loved the music.

Sivle said...

p.s. When I said brilliant brilliant little film, I was talking about the animation.
I don't know 'Once'

'Till tomorrow...

Akelamalu said...

That animation film was really good. I enjoyed the music, I've not heard of Muse before. The chocolates look delish but I can't have any 'cause I'm on a diet! :(

zquilts said...

I think a dearth of inspiration on March 8 must have been a gemini thing! The muses' were on holiday! Terrific post - ummmm... one might say even inspired !

tut-tut said...

I'm in the same boat; perhaps we can share a paddle . . . yesterday was a sad anniversary, but I kept busy. School will get better. This is the most difficult period.

Steve said...

I've never understood reading out loud. What's the point? Except that it keeps the class busy and the teacher doesn't have to plan an actual lesson.

I've never read Jane Eyre, believe it or not. It's on my shelf, though, so one of these days...

I'm glad it's the buttons that are vintage...initially I thought you meant the chocolate!

Gledwood said...

John Milton: not so sure about. Like them chocolate biscuits tho..!


Gledwood said...

ps where did you purchase such lovely seemingly chocolate-heavy biccies from?

surely you did not bake them yourself?...??

John Eaton said...

Lovely post, Letty.

Of all my formal studies, the best time of all was a little trip we made to England one summer, a week in the country and a week in London.

Long enough to drink the best milk I ever had, and long enough to see what had always just been in words and pictures.

I can still feel the wind at Howarth.

Maybe we should just take the books to the hills,

John :)

lettuce said...

squirrel! we have a little plush armadillo from texas! and yes, its really good chocolate, i scoffed the lot in nearly one go.

(i said 'nearly')

ched i'm sure you'll enjoy it. i've got some not-quite-eaten (see i don't always scoff it at once in one go) Hotel Chocolat choc. with orange and chilli, its exceedingly excellent.

dennis i will try to post some more ducks for you soon

lee i always liked reading in class/reading aloud - but a lot obviously didn't and struggled. inspiration - yes, def. to do with breathing i think.

hello donna dear. yes i think you'd enjoy Once. have a listen to the soundtrack on iTunes, i bet you'll feel the need to download it straight away.

sally i think you're right about the warm-up. its just a shame LG's teachers don't seem to be getting close at the mo to either the warmup or the endorphin rush.

lynne isn't it great! :o)

trac what does go well with PMT is chocolate. and red wine. i think S11 will be fine but i know thats easy for me to say. so stressful, isn't it. :O(

wine and choc, yes indeed mouse. (i like your new avatar)

deb me too, i'm just playing it on a loop at the moment.

lamalu, Muse are pretty rockin'

zquilts - you too? you could be right, i am also gemini.

oops, time to go off to work, will respond to you others later!

lettuce said...

hello you others (hee hee - was that rude?)

Tut-tut i'd be honoured to share a paddle with you.

Steve thats my suspicion about the teacher's motivation. Little chance of good chocolate becoming vintage in our house. ;o)

Gledwood - no. Not home made - not biscuits either - 100% chocolate. (100% at least 70% chocolate!) from Hotel Chocolat. yum

oh yes john - some books should be read out-of-doors.

d. chedwick bryant said...

My buttons etc arrived today! That was fast service!

(from a Boston locale? --Franklin, Massachusetts)

The violet and rose cremes I recommend! The buttons are delish and the drinking choc. will be tested in moments.

Your post has enriched my life.

d. chedwick bryant said...

they enclosed this note:

"Enjoy your journey to your chocolate bliss point."

Jay said...

I think we could all use a little inspiration these days.

Ex-Shammickite said...

The chocolate buttons are divine, but I think I would eat them all and then I couldn't do my shirt up...
I was recently nominated for the "Big E for Excellent" blog award... and I'm supposed to nominate 10 bloggers to share it with me... you're on my list! And then the winners share with 10 more bloggers, and so on and so forth, until we all get one, whether we are Exellent or not!

Reya Mellicker said...

Moby Dick was my least favorite read aloud book. Yuck!

Dickens makes me want to commit suicide.

Inspiration? For me it's a current in the great ocean of the world. Sometimes I can catch it and ride it and man, those times are so fun. But sometimes I lose the current, get hung up in stagnant energy or turned around backwards or caught in the coral. It seems kind of random to me.

Do you believe in muses?

Fizzy said...

Hello came here by way of Rooks Nest... After reading/looking at your previous post I am glad (have a look at my blog)

I often do not know what to blog about and although my blog is three years old I still find things in the end.

I hate my kids going to High School to hear that they can "kill2 a classic by doing boring reading out loud is ridiculous. In primary we show children how to read a book how to put expressions in to a story. When I read stories to my class (older primary school age) I deliberately do the reading so that they can do the listening and enjoying. However I do love reading out loud.

Where did you get the chocolate buttons?

xxFizz xx

lettuce said...

ched! i'm so glad! how was your chocolate bliss point?

jay your blog always seems inspired.

thanks shammie! (and ha ha - excellence for everyone, why not?)

reya you are funny. do i believe in muses? interesting question, i'm really not sure. i like your view of inspiration, thats certainly how it feels.

hello fizzy, i will come and look. Its true - reading seems to be taught so creatively in primary school, and then at secondary.... often it all goes out the window!

lettuce said...

fizzy, sorry i didn't answer your question. They are from Hotel Chocolat

kate said...

I think I need to have lunch - those chocolate buttons have me mesmerised. I also love the plate that they are on.

Having a 15-yr.-old son, with asperger syndrome, I am realising how often subjects are taught in a way to make kids want to yawn rather than be engaged. History is another subject, besides English, that is destined to bore kids rather than turn it into the fascinating study that it is.