on improving

When I’ve had to make choices about energy, oft times blogging has lost out. I went to the Titanic Belfast, to the Warhol exhibition at the new Arts Centre, the Revealed government art exhibition at the Ulster Museum. When the painter was here, I moved to the Linenhall Library to read worthy rare disease papers. I had thoughts about these places and events, and leaflets full of supporting information to enthrall you. I found the leaflets when I was tidying up for the bookclub arriving on Friday.

Oops. So much for the thoughtful, erudite posts I was going to write (it seems I do have an imagination after all…)

Titanic was grand, but I wouldn’t go again. Warhol was wonderful fun and I did go again. Revealed was really interesting and worth seeing. If my brain worked I’d have bought the book which had all the pics and all the stories and diplomatic shenanigans. If you read it, will you tell me all the gossip?

Of course, if you are ever this way, you must go the Linenhall Library. It’s 225 years old, and is everything you want a library to be. It smells of books, has free wifi & internet access and a card catalogue. Members can use the desks that look out at the City Hall. There are huge collections, most significantly the Northern Ireland Political Collection. I feel more knowledgeable simply by visiting the coffee shop.

found at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linen_Hall_Library_Belfast.jpg
found at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linen_Hall_Library_Belfast.jpg

“The object of the Society is the collection of an extensive library, philosophical apparatus and such productions of nature and art as tend to inform the mind and excite the spirit of general enquiry.” The Belfast Reading Society, 1795

Inform the mind and excite the spirit of general enquiry: isn’t that marvellous?

I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen for me at the John Hewitt International Summer School. Bloggy buddies, I’m still somewhat stunned by the news that they’ve awarded me (me?) a half busary to attend. “A five day festival of culture and creativity”, that somebody is paying for me to go to. I’ll not be able to travel by bus every day, so I’ll be staying over. I won’t even have to go home and be civil. My head will be buzzing: I will think either too much or not at all. I’ll get to buy a new notebook. (Small girls grow up, but a need for new stationery never leaves us.)

We will be off on holidays this week and I’m straight in to the summer school when we get back. I don’t have a ready supply of draft posts to publish (see first sentence). I may dig out some early posts and repost in case you were unfortunate enough to miss them first time round. I may post from Nana and Grandad’s. I may not post much at all until after the summer school.

If I’m quiet, I’ll be being informed and having my spirit of general enquiry excited.

Or I could be asleep.


49 thoughts on “on improving

    1. Marie, all that arty culture stuff happened over a few months; I never quite got round to writing about it…
      The bursary has me very excited, and a bit overwhelmed. 5 days of poetry, literature, drama, art, politics. And 3 creative writing workshops!! Such a fabulous opportunity; I just hope my health permits me to make the most of it.

    1. I will be the most diligent note taker in school- it’s the only chance I have of remembering anything at all. Apart from the total awesomeness of it all, I have to submit a report (to reassure them that their money was well spent), so I need to have some record of what it was all about 🙂

  1. The problem with going anywhere near the Linenhall Library or PRONI to look for specific information is that you need to stayed focused. I have huge problems staying focused in places that have realms of interesting information completely unrelated to the reason I am there in the first place. Brilliant but I wander out three hours later realising that I have been meandering; finding something interesting that leads me on to another interesting topic. At the end of the day you realise that you need to go back because at some stage you have forgotten why you went. That’s me anyway. Thoroughly enjoyable way to spend time and relax because you simply get lost in the atmosphere and forget about everything else. I can picture you meandering, searching, learning. Congrats on the bursary.

    1. Thank you, Slightly- we must never go to these places together!
      When I have essential shopping to do I have to a) write a long list and b) stick the list to my purse so that I remember I have a list at all 🙂

    2. A similar problem comes from reading blogs….one read leads to another, and another, and yet another; then tuck in a bit of extra reading off in some other direction where one or three or five of those have sent you, and thoroughly lose an entire afternoon! But, oh, what fun! 🙂 Thanks, Kate Shrewsday for sending me off to read here. Enjoyed this post. 🙂

  2. Oh well done on the bursary Fiona, really well done! It sounds amazing- maybe some day I’ll make it there myself …wouldn’t that be grand!

    1. Emma, you win all the bloggy things, you have an audience- you can sit beside me and show me what to do. We’ll have a grand time 🙂

  3. Congratulations on the bursary to attend the summer school! How exciting! Naturally blogging will need to take a back seat to all these opportunities. I don’t blog very often these days and I haven’t nearly as many good excuses or wonderfully enriching activities distracting me. You go girl!!

  4. What a wonderful post to let out of your tired brain! A library! With a card catalog! I have a 4-drawer oak catalog, where we keep kitchen implements.

    A spirit of general enquiry! Yaaay! Like trying to look up one word in a dictionary and standing there for 5 minutes reading this and that…. !!

    I always say–aim for what you want–you might get it! <:-D Congrats on the half bursary and enjoy staying nearby so you are truly immersed.

    A lovely, lovely, hopeful post.

  5. PS. I start blog posts in my head all the time. Or take pics on a camper trip, but can’t get to posting. The important bit is *living* the moments, blogging is secondary. I’m learning the art of what I call Blurt n Run! A whole bunch of words stay stuck in my head, but at least I’m there in my community. I end up chatting in the comments, er, like this! <:-D

    1. I have uploaded pics, scribbled notes somewhere, and still the moments pass. For telling you all, not for me enjoying the moment 🙂 I still get that- and blogging (or thinking about it) helps me focus on what’s happening. I pay attention because I think I’m going to be telling you all!

      1. hahahaha–me too, telling the story in my head because I think I’m going to post! Your enjoyment of the moments always comes through–maybe I’ve learned something from you–grab the moments. Probably is helping to embed memory, and is much more rewarding than some dumb, serious memory exercise that I don’t bother to do!

  6. How do you do that! Now I am excited too, and my spirit of enquiry is up and ready to be informed – when you get around to it I will enjoy reading – like the comment from Laghitana it must be in the ‘living’ the moments rather than the blogging, that is what gets in to your blogging, I love it

    1. It’s true that the blogging is in itself secondary to the living, but it helps with the living too. I process events partly by working out how to write about them. What is the story I want to tell about what I experienced?
      Of course, sometimes I just brain dump, but that tells its own story.
      Thank you for your kind words 😀

  7. How about “all of the above” as your general direction! Do what you want to do! And when summer ends you can share from a wealth of wonderful experiences. I’m so very pleased to hear about the Bursary and can feel your soul expanding all the way from here. Drink it all in–both with big gulps and little sips. Yay for you, Fiona!

  8. Warhol -no one asked if you were related did they?

    I’ve met a couple of the old bunch who at one time or another hung out with Warhol, heard first hand accounts of the comings and goings at the Chelsea. ‘Fun’ doesn’t quite sum up their experience.

    Enjoy the experience, sounds interesting to say the least. Enjoy the summer with all your critters

    Me, am off to god(s) country, for a few day fishn’.

  9. Oh, Fiona. Yay! Yay! Yay! I can’t wait to hear about your experience with the bursary, and to read the results of your intensive.

    MTM and I saw a Warhol exhibit in Montreal several years ago. It was primarily on his art in relation to music. One whole room was a Velvet Underground experience with bean bag chairs in the center of the room. We all needed illegal substances for that one. 🙂

    1. Warhol was such a shameless self publicist, and such a creative. I really enjoyed the exhibition & the girls couldn’t get over being allowed to play with the silver helium filled pillows

  10. That is such very very exciting news…

    …and the luxury of staying over too – no going home to consider clothes washing/what’s for tea/who’s doing what tomorrow – just lots of time to take in the magic 🙂

    Looking forward to holiday hype xxx

  11. Great news about the bursary, and I am with you on the stationery and Linen Hall Library. That is where my grandmother’s autograph book may end up.
    I think you said you are in London this weekend, the weather is supposed to be warm and sunny. Bring your sun hat

  12. Reblogged this on Kate Shrewsday and commented:
    Fiona. A blogging good friend. A tireless campaigner for those with rare diseases. A humorist, a realist, someone who misses her mum who died it sems only a short while ago. A mother of two beautiful girls and the wife of a man who ran with the Olympic torch. Never for want of a word of the right words to express something. Fiona is a rare and special human being. I talk the talk, but she does that and walks the walk too. Read and enjoy.

  13. I love that the Linenhall has a card catalog. So envious of your upcoming summer school and hope you get to fill a very nice notebook with all that fills your head.
    Health to enjoy it

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