I find myself contemplating Penny's sudden death. Not to be morbid or weird, but she really touched me. I can't help thinking of her, as she was a loving mother/wife with three teenage daughters...one handicapped. One never wants to die before one's children. Her "Mum" is in her 80's, as is mine, and I think of their monthly "Girls Day Outs" they will no longer have. No doubt, she will step in and help with her grand daughters...
Years ago, in the 70's, I read a book entitled, CELEBRATE THE TEMPORARY by Clyde Reid. Basically he promotes living in the now...celebrating the temporary. "To rid ourselves of "self-afflicted bondage." Celebrating life, means contemplating death, which makes life much sweeter. He writes about really tasting one's food, really taking in the scenery and people around you and to not dwell in the past or rush too quickly into the future; because each day we wake up, is the only time we have for this one day...we need to make the most of it.
Penny used to ride the computer train to and from work. I think they had one car. For her to be driving, she had to be going some where special, possibly with her camera to take pictures for her blog, to the village coffee shop she used to frequent, or to shop for interesting textiles to work with. Penny really seemed to celebrate her days.
I have been re-reading our emails and her posts I had subscribed to. I can no longer view her wonderful photographs, because they are deleted along with her blog. I have emailed some of the bloggers who also knew her by following her blog...several have left comments on my blog or email. We all seem to have this common thread which weaves through our lives and ties us all together...the love of the written word, to write, and to express ourselves.
A month before her accident, she wrote the following...
Answer me this...
July 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm
Categories: lifestyle, opinion
"Is blogging the pastime of the privileged? Like the luxury of learning to read in the Middle Ages or the time to sit and paint during the Renaissance? (And by 'privileged', I do mean pretty much all of us lucky enough to be toiling away here in first-world countries.) Because as I scroll through (well-written) blogs about various people's lives, their struggles and fears, their kids, their gardens, their ideas and their photos, it occurs to me that it is.
Because it's self-indulgent, isn't it? It can be borderline narcissistic, as social and personal media platforms like Facebook and Flickr can be. We want to record, record, record. In a society ever more inundated with images, words, and graphics, in which it's become harder and harder to hear through all the noise, we shout: Look at me! Look at my life! Look at my garden! The world gets smaller and smaller and we struggle and squirm in an effort not to be squeezed out by the sheer amount of information, headlines, photos, and anecdotes.
Not everyone has the luxury of this daily, weekly, or bi-weekly self-indulgence. But that doesn't make it a bad thing. Because not everyone has the inclination, either. And someone needs to: if statistics of blog readership can be trusted, we evidently crave that peppering of philosophy and psychology in our daily grind, that reflection of our lives, that finger on the pulse point of what we do each day: the mothering and the working, the discord and the perfectly rising bread. I know I speak for myself when I say we want that depth to the ordinary. The current under the surface.
We want someone, somewhere to be monitoring it all. Confirming our fears. Echoing our opinions. Have you ever marvelled at all those postage stamp-sized glimpses of random people's lives? All those snippets of gardens and kitchens, cropped family portraits and slivers of trees or cloud? It's stunning. And inspiring. And crowded. It makes you want to hold hands with these people and throw an elbow for some breathing space both at the same time. It might as well be me. You. Your neighbour with the cooking blog. Your kid's English teacher with the poetry site.
We're self-obsessed, sure. But the musings and the over-analysing of, well, everything has always been left to the ones with time (even if that time is in short supply). Or more accurately, the ones rushing to schedule a post amid the chaos of family and working life. The ones with the burning need to document.
We think we know why we record, write, photograph and share this cyber-space with one another the world over, but if we know why we write, then why do we read? Why are we drawn to our favourite blogs day after day? What do we gain?
As far as I’m concerned, this place and all that goes with it (reading, commenting, discussing), has become a substantive conversation. And though it has really only taken on an important place in my life in the last several months, it has in a very big and important way. It doesn’t surprise me, I like what I do here: thinking and sharing and discussing. I don’t know why I didn’t discover it earlier except that it's probably because I didn’t have the right inspiration.
And that’s what has happened: a renewed desire to discuss issues, to think and write about life, and the things that make me happy and unhappy. Perhaps a self-indulgent luxury, but one I needed.
However, it does puzzle me why I’ve found this here and not in my real world (how I hate that painfully inadequate way of differentiating the two). I know that the connections I make here aren’t real. I worry about even saying that and don’t want to offend, because they truly feel real but I’m very aware that they are tenuous. The time we spend with one another is different, enriched and concentrated. We learn things that some of us choose not to share with others in our life. But why?
Blogging is without borders, real or figurative. We can choose who to connect with in a different way than perhaps we can in our real lives. It’s easier to surround ourselves with like-minded thinkers because we can simply turn off those that aren’t. And we all need to write or record, so we all get what this is about. Do you suppose that’s what makes the difference? And by virtue of our ability to do that, does it make it less real or more real? I’m not sure. I’ll continue think about these things as I write here and read other blogs. And I’ll hope it is real because it matters to me and I don’t want to lose it. " ~Penny Westlake~
I want to believe, instinctively, she chose to blog, to put herself out there, maybe because some where in her subconscious, a higher power was preparing her, nudging her to follow those deep inner dreams... To bring those thoughts to the surface and allow it to blossom. She reached out and was heard from all over the world. I am glad we were there for her. We read her words and heard her voice. We related to her and remember she was here...
I know I do...