Saturday, November 15, 2008


railway junctions, Lewisham Station, London

Change One

I couldn't help wondering whether Obama woke up, the morning after, thinking [with just a teensy tiny part of his brain]

"oh shit! what have i let myself in for!"

One of the things that struck me most from the coverage over here (no other US election has received such attention and interest in the UK) was the impact of his nomination, campaign and election on individuals. The change in their view of themselves and the world.

No doubt he'll be being hammered, in a few months time, for changes he is or isn't making to the Big Picture. Big Changes.

But little changes - in individual minds and hearts and expectations - are sometimes the biggest changes.

Change Two
The Head of our section at work tried to appeal to Obama's election (ie. 'winds of change', new transparency & honesty blahblahblah ) as a platform for "inviting" changes in our working practices. Changes which are a clear attempt at more control and which conflict with our contracts and Union guidelines.

bleedin' nerve, eh?

an insult, I felt, both to us and to Obama.

Change Three

My book club began this Autumn by reading Ian Rankin's Exit Music - the last in a best-selling crime series about Rebus, a world-weary Edinburgh policeman. I was rather disappointed and found it lacking in description and depth of characterisation - though some of the group liked it and suggested it was better read as the culmination of the series, rather than as a one off. But I did keep thinking "I could just as well be watching this on TV..."

Our second book was Lambs of God, by Marele Day - about 3 nuns, the last living members of a forgotten enclosed community on a remote (irish?) island, who have "gone native".
They live in communion with the island and the sheep, knitting and telling stories and practicing a somewhat altered version of their faith according to the seasons and the moon... And then a priest arrives, thinking no-one left, with business/financial designs on the property...

I love this book, its funny and moving, wonderful use of language and full of smells and tastes and textures and stories.

These are two such different novels and I found it rather amusing that the book orders of the group had changed Amazon's settings.

Current purchasers are being told that "customers who bought Exit Music also bought Lambs of God".

I wonder if we will change anyone's reading habits?


Dumdad said...

Plus ça change...

I love your photo. There's something exciting, sad, mysterious, moving about train tracks. Or maybe it's just me! And, of course, a perfect illustration for your post.

Coffee Messiah said...

At first I thought the book Rebus was actually a book about Rebus, something no one does anymore it seems ! ; (

Yikes, when the workplace tries to gain more control, things tend to go haywire, don't they?

At least, that's what I've experienced. Most of the time they don't know what they're doing anyway.

tut-tut said...

Nice photo. Poor you! Bad bosses.

I rarely like mysteries/police procedurals/etc. but I am liking Still Waters by Nigel McCrery. His descriptive powers are above average for the genre, and according to the blurbs on the back, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Libary Journal. The DCI suffers from synaesthesia, making him "taste" sounds.

Today I have altar guild; knitting (good); sitting out in the cold and rain for two hours this afternoon promoting Recycle America Day (wish we could) to those who already recycle; then the Winter Concert at L's school. I'm ready to get back in bed.

Akelamalu said...

I hate it when employers think they can just implement changes and no-one will notice!

Love the photo!

Reya Mellicker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reya Mellicker said...

At least it could open people's minds , do you think?

A blog post about Obama is forming itself in my mind. It isn't quite word-ripe yet, but it has to do with the impact of Obama all over the world. My working theory of the moment is that somehow he functions like a crystal, focusing energy and then broadcasting it widely.

Some of my mystic friends believe he is Lincoln reincarnated, or Kennedy or FDR. Not so sure about any of those.

He is a marker of a sort, a standing stone, beacon or some kind of icon at the crossroads, a young good looking, African-American Hecate.

Gary said...

I was wondering if, in the days following the election, Obama allowed himself to sleep in.

It has been my experience that change is never what you imagine it to be. Change can happen slowly or suddenly but I never seem to be prepared for exactly what is to come. This is from getting older to accomplishing a goal. Lately I am so inward and sense a big change coming but I don't yet know how that will manifest. I suppose that is what makes life exciting? In the meanwhile there are joys to be had and magic all around - which I do plan to enjoy to the fullest.

I will have to buy Lambs of God. Thanks for the introduction.

R.L. Bourges said...

I'd certainly read Lambs of God before Exit Music based on your comments, lettuce.

"Winds of Change" as a managerial ploy, hm... In my alway-so-humble opinion, your Section Head needs to refine his/her technique somewhat (no, I don't do coaching for that side of the Union Divide.) :-)

The Obama coverage has been wall-to-wall over here, too. You're right, the expectations on this man are disproportionate, specially given the poisoned gifts he's bound to find all over the Administration. He's very smart in choosing his staff though, so that augurs well.

Plus, he's the man I would have voted for so - another round of applause for Obama!

Oh, and great photo, évidemment.

best, letty.

ArtSparker said...

With Obama, I'm hoping people will still feel the platonic love after the passion has worn off - just that the idealization makes me uneasy . The business about your employer makes me angry, the whole approach to language being that it's just a tool there to be used and has no internal integrity. Lambs of God sounds like a good read.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I LOVE your photo - brilliantly composed!
And yes, I think you're right about the small changes having the biggest impact. It's that pebble in the pond and ripple effect. Set one thing in motion and watch others follow - all the energy is moving and shifting.
LOL, did laugh about the amazon settings - I enjoy Rebus on TV but Lambs of God sounds like a far more satisfying read.

herhimnbryn said...

Thanks for the Lambs of God reco. I will have to go seek it.

The image of raiway tracks is haunting somehow.

milly (elephants&redwoods) said...

another great picture!

Squirrel said...

Lambs of God sounds interesting --right now I'm in the middle of reading The Lambs of London (Peter Ackroyd)

Barbara said...

I think Obama is acutely aware of the mess he has inherited. It will be interesting to see just how he goes about making the changes happen. I'm sure he will deliver.

I just finished a powerful book "The Book of Illusions" by Paul Auster. It has changed the way I view created things. An excellent read.

Shammickite said...

I'm sure Mr Obama woke up the next morning with exactly that in his mind, and Michelle was thinking exactly the same thing. Oh no, now we have to move house!!
But I think the American people have to be patient, they may not see the changes that they expect immediately, effective change always takes time, but I think the right man was elected.

I usually make a note of titles and authors that are mentioned in Blogs... and take the list with me on my next library visit. I'll try the 2 you mentioned.

PS... watched the space shuttle launch on Fridaty... FANTASTIC!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I have had similar thoughts about Obama's state of mind...

I like the book club story, it amused me to think how it might affecxt people's book buying habtis...

Queenie said...

It will be fascinating to see how the poor guy copes with all that is expected of him.
The cheek of the woman, I'm sure she was told whats/what...
Thanks for the review on the books.

Pecos Blue said...

Love the photo. Sounds like a good book club.

Chick said...

I hate when companies either try to influence where they shouldn't...or use something to try to make their employees bend to their will.

Thanks for the book recommendation.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I'd love to be a fly on the wall at barack and michelle's house and hear them post election. a mix of great joy and dread.

we all must remember things take time. but let's home not too much time!

thanks for the head's up on lambs of god am off to see if the library carries it - sounds wonderful!!

did they kill rebus off? I am familiar with the character from the tv series....which I've enjoyed. think I only read a couple of rankin's books of the series - a case of so many books, so little time!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

ps love the pic

goatman said...

Seems as if the fellow in change 2 has been to one too many of those management seminars. I hated those.

You are fortunate to be able to bike to work. A treat indeed.

Steve said...

I haven't heard of either of those books -- the one about the nuns sounds terrific! (I wish I were one of those nuns.)

Lynne said...

aargh. I posted (or thought I had) a comment earlier today but now I don't see it. What did I say?

Love the photo!!!

It's been interesting to see the interest among Europeans in our recent election, especially France. What a wonderful thing! TIme to open the doors of the White House wide and let a good strong breeze blow all the dust out its corridors. I have a feeling it's going to be similar to when JFK was president with a young family once again in residence.

Lambs of God sounds wonderful. I guess it's out of print because Amazon does not stock it although it is available through private sellers. Maybe our tiny library has it. I'll have to check. Love the premise of nuns going pagan!!

Change can be good or at least invigorating. (but maybe not in your work place, boo!)

Thanks for the lovely postcard! I did email you about but thought I'd mention it here.

Malc said...

Poor bosses (that's most of them) will always try to dress up bad news as change for the better (better for them). When they start talking about modernisation you're in big trouble.

Exit Music is definitely best read as part of the series - can't see how it would work otherwise.

Robert said...

Those are some crazy tracks Lettuce!! Yet there is beauty and a sense of orderly in place... Just like people. ;-)

lettuce said...

well dumdad, its just you and me at least - i love travelling by train, there is certainly something about the tracks...

CM, i'm not sure this particular manager really knows what she's doing... I've done rebus posts once or twice here - hmmm, time for another maybe?

Tut-tut, i'm generally ready to get back into bed. :-)
(really tho...)

Lamalu, its hard to know what she thinks

reya, he's most certainly iconic. I hope so much you're right about the impact he may have. His global impact already is extraordinary, isn't it?

gary, sleeping in is probably a thing of the past for him, don't you think? would be nice to think not tho. I wonder what your big change will be. The big changes i've been through lately incline me to look forward to change. (mostly)

rlb, i'm not sure she HAS a technique! She DOES have ambition, so may not be with us long... :-)

Artsparker I hope so too - he seems to have genuine integrity, hopefully he can make enough changes to prove his words are not purely rhetoric

Thanks 'nilla. i didn't find Rebus a satisfying read - but then i'm sure lots of people would find Lambs of God a load of old nonsense!

its out of print, herhimnbryn, but is around on Amazon secondhand. I do so like your profile pic.

ta, milly. :)

that rings no bells at all Squirrel, I will go and google.

and ditto, Barbara. So many good books, so little time!

shammie, i'd like to start using the library again - i just have such a pile of books to get through first. :o/

CGP, i wonder how much impact those Amazon suggestions have. we were most amused

Queenie, she was told in very clear terms...

PBlue it is! and a really nice mix (quite randomly really) of familiar and of new books

Chick it leaves me with no desire to "climb the ladder" (or less than the no desire i already had)

Kimy, he's retired rather than killed off. So presumably could possibly return...

goatman I am fortunate indeed, and am truly appreciative

Steve your comment made me laugh so much. (actually, I wouldn't mind being one of them) You'd have to learn to spin and knit tho....

Lynne, its out of print but I just bought 2 copies for friends on Amazon market place for £0.01. + P&P ofc, but bargain, still

Malc i came away from the evening thinking that must be the case. It would certainly be interesting to go back and read the first, and compare

ha! Robert you're right, just like people