KATIE WRITES: When I asked Juliet to write something for Imagine This I was hoping for something creative, unusual, and a little on the weird side. She initially declined, but as so often happens to me, the request sparked an idea and she later contacted me to ask if I still needed posts. I said yes, which later lead to a confession that she hates writing blog posts, to which I replied with merciless laughter. And then this appeared in my inbox.
“How to be Six Weird People” is poetry, art, and impressionist music. It’s an inspiration, thought-provoking, and quaint all at the same time. It is the essence of what Imagine This is about–a fitting description for a post by one of the creators of the system of mapping essence. It is a perfect ending to a wonderful event, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
I don’t guess you like being bored. Or dull or deary or irksome or tedious or gray or pedestrian or bromidic or any other of those vanities of vanity under the sun.
Maybe you’d like to be someone who tends to exist in a – a, well – out-of-the-ordinary way. Like these people:
1. Father Brown
from G K Chesterton
‘The little priest was so much the essence of those Eastern flats; he had a face as round and dull as a Norfolk dumpling; he had eyes as empty as the North sea; he had several brown paper parcels, which he was quite incapable of collecting.’ – The Blue Cross
See all the things.
The world is a big place, and you don’t need to miss your own corner. There are a lot of curious things hanging around.
Father Brown put his head in a dust bin and saw the antique silverware and cruet stand that had just been stolen from the house he was at.
He noticed someone’s hat, that looked like a green beetle.
One night he found that the moon was like a snowball, and another night he found a harlequin climbing in a tree who sparkled like many moons.
Keep your eyes open, and when, say, the sky is blue, let it be blue, and see how blue it is.
Because there is very little boring about the world I’m in, and I dare you to see if there is in yours.
Color: orange with black stripes.
Particular noise: worraworraworraworra.
What he likes: everything. Except honey. And haycorns. And thistles. And all the ordinary food in Kanga’s house. And climbing trees.
The moral of it is, let all things be nice until proven guilty.
It goes like this:
Yellow is beautiful.
If you see something yellow that you don’t think is beautiful, everything else yellow you haven’t seen yet is still beautiful, and every other color than yellow is still beautiful, and everything else in existence is still beautiful; so you can enjoy those things.
And so on.
What’s more, you can even enjoy things you already dislike, if you work at it, like the irritating drone of those half dozen flies on the ceiling or a choking mug of lemonade that makes your eyeballs feel like mustard because someone sneaked apple cider vinegar into it.
And the things you do like, like hard. Maybe all the way to the top of a tree. You’ll probably get down with no trouble… almost definitely.
from Jane Austen
‘Mr. Elton must now to be left to himself. It was no longer in Emma’s power to superintend his happiness or quicken his measures.’ – from Emma
Make people your business.
Emma is the most extraordinary matchmaker who ever tried to marry her friends off to people who were already in love.
But this is one thing she knew that was right: people are some of the most interesting things anywhere.
Most of her most satisfying diversion was created by meddling in other people’s business, guessing their private secrets, and making plans for their future happiness (or unhappiness). Yes, she was irritating.
But she wasn’t all bad, and one of the most fun things about her was her lively interest in the humanity around her and what they did and felt (or at least what she thought they did and felt).
So watch, connive, speculate, sneak, and laugh at people. Ah, and you could try making some friends too…. then you can have company for watching, conniving, speculating, sneaking, and laughing at the rest of the people.
The definition of tedium is monotony – what has always happened; it means ‘to go on the same’.
The definition of stupid is a lack of common sense; it means ‘no one does that’.
Or at least those definitions are close enough to work….
The thing is, sometimes common sense stacks up to a common life.
So a rainstorm means it’s time to step outside your house walls and really figure out what ‘rain’ means. Because that’s kind of stupid… but it’s kind of great.
You can sometimes safely go AWOL from sense without endangering your head.
Calvin nearly kills himself so many times a week it’s hard to imagine you’d want to pick anything up from him, but there you are. He can show you how to be stupid.
from C S Lewis
“All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it.” – Puddleglum
When things go wrong (yes, they’ll go wrong, they’ll all go wrong) you can be as cynical as you like about it. Yet if you value your time, fall up, not down. Even bad can get you places.
So put a good face on it.
When Puddleglum found out that two kids were going to chase a murderous witch into a wilderness of giant territory to find a prince who had been lost for the past ten years, and do it in the winter, he put a good face on it and went with them.
When he discovered they were all going to get eaten by aforesaid giants, and that there was practically no chance of escape, he told the kids exactly how impossible it was, and then put his best face on it and succeeded in escaping with them, and in getting into that crack they were looking for while he was at it.
When he was put under a spell by a witch who convinced him that the outside world didn’t exist, he agreed with her, put his best face on it, and decided that he really didn’t care: the non-existent world was nicer than the witch’s world anyway, and he was going to spend the rest of his life (which wouldn’t be long, he shouldn’t wonder) looking for it.
In other words he didn’t give up and let things do their worst, and you know? Staying alive is more interesting.
from Victor Hugo
I’m no notary
Because of Voltaire;
I’m just a sparrow
Because of Rousseau.
Joy’s my nature
Because of Voltaire;
Misery’s my trousseau
Because of Rousseau.
I dropped from the air
Because of Voltaire,
To the gutter I go
– Gavroche’s song
Be what you are.
Because you’re funnier that way.
Because what’s the stinking use of being somebody, if you won’t be who you are.
Because if you aren’t, you’ll be made out of a broken promise. And those are no fun, you know?
And see, there’s this thing: if Gavroche had not known who he was, he could not have known what he could give.
If he had not known he was a king with a palace he would not have taken two little brothers into it on a stormy night and made them feel secure and fortunate and fathered, bedded in the belly of a rat-infested elephant statue.
Gavroche knew what he had, and let everyone else have it too, because all he would be was who he was. He let all the coated citizens who crossed his path have his snark and his singing, though the bourgeois, I guess, didn’t like either of those much; and he let the half-woman girl on the street have his muffler because her dress was too small and the rain was cold; and he let Montparnasse have his skinny arms and legs and wise head for getting a convict down off the prison wall; and he sat on the barricade and let the soldiers have all the bullets from his gun, and took most of theirs back again before he died.
That was Gavroche. If you’re going to do much, you’ll have to be you.
But that’s six down, and we’re only half finished.
Time is going on, always, and the awesomeness is continuing, busting walls and leaving years behind. So I have an idea:
There’ll only be half the use to what you’ll be doing if you just forget it all after you’ve done it. Write down anything that you think is interesting, or any ideas that happen to fancy you (I’ve always found my relationship with ideas to be rather one-sided one, they’re so pushy when they decide they like you).
Write down the shape of the sky that made you laugh.
Write down what happened when you did something stupid. Write down the ways you’ve stayed alive, even though it was pretty hard. Write down the odd places you always find that certain magazine-seller in.
Write down why you hate hot pink (or… why not).
Because expression double-dyes experience.
And you don’t need to bother to be nice about your notes if you don’t want to. There isn’t a rule for being nice when it comes to notes. Scrabble where you want to scrabble, contradict and insult yourself if you like that sort of thing, be British and add ‘u’s into(u) every(u)thing p(u)ossible, and don’t mind punctuation if you can do without. My notes are so fun I often wish that people could read my notes instead of my finished works. But unfortunately they would never understand them.
When you look over your notes afterwards, they may be like an out-and-out rags mendicant in scarlet and cobalt beside the staid journalistic tomes of your forefathers (or your neighbors); but there’s something else I haven’t told you yet. You probably already know it.
It’s this: You may be odd, and you may never have a dull moment, but more, you’ll be rich with something. It’s a something that doesn’t quite have a word.
But most people call it ‘Life’.
We’ll have a last guest, since it looks like there’s time for one. It’s only just six o-clock.
7. Mad Hatter
from Lewis Carroll
The thing about this gentleman is that he was bored, and you should not do what he did. He quarreled with time – in fact, he practically murdered time – and as a result of time’s bad humor he got stuck at one particular point of the day for who knows how long after and spent the entirety of it having tea on dirty dishes.
So don’t bother time.
“We quarreled last March – just before he went mad, you know – “ (pointing with his teaspoon at the March Hare) “ … And ever since that, he [Time] won’t do a thing I ask! It’s always six o’clock now.” – the Mad Hatter
Time shouldn’t be your enemy; it is seriously awesome when you let it be. And besides, there’s no way to escape it. It’s always hanging around. So go live it – don’t forget about it – because having a life is sort of an art, and sort of a habit.
Juliet is a queen of colorful laziness, writing hard in South Ireland and collecting freckles whenever it stops raining. She keeps house at An Editor, and you can talk with her on twitter and google+.