Channelling Burns, Dickens and Winnie The Pooh #thoughts

Sometimes ideas come at one for a variety of directions at the same time, coalescing in something I can’t really explain. And that’s good.

It started with this post of Mary Smith’s, about being in Robbie Burns house, in the space where the great man wrote and lived and ate and thought. And Mary swept the same floor as Rab’s wife, Jean, standing as if in the same shoes, decades apart.

And I thought about Dickens and his museum in Bloomsbury and his desk and me standing there, looking over the chair, imagining the shoulder hunched, pen poised, searching for a word, imagining him there, not there. And me there, not there. Like Mary. And Jean. And Rab.

And then there was Stephen Hawkins, as severe a scientist as you’d imagine, positing the existence of parallel universes, multiverses and whether in one such, Burns is drinking, watching Mary sweep and in another Dickens is glancing back at me, watching him write.

And my mind went back to a memorial in Christchurch, New Zealand that stands on a bare plot in a destroyed part of that fine city that was ruptured by the monstrous earthquake in 2011. It’s an ’empty chair’ memorial, each white painted seat representing one of those lost in the quake. The idea of the empty chair comes from when Sir Samuel Luke Fildes RA stayed with the Dickens after his death. He was the illustrator of Edwin Drood and, seeing Dickens’ study conceived the idea of the empty chair and desk. His painting of Dickens ’empty chair’ is as if the great man had just popped out. Much like in Christchurch and at other similar memorials – something similar was done after 9/11.

And in Christchurch we were encouraged to sit on any chair and, well, just sit.

And then there was Winnie the Pooh, and I remembered that great fluffy-stuffed philosopher’s advice for these occassions

Sometimes I Sits And Thinks

And Sometimes I Just Sits

And cry a little, and not really know why, because that’s good too, because if there are those multiverses, those chairs might not be there, or they might still be filled and people might laugh and live and visit old places and be inspired.

Or just sit and think a bit.

So if, when, I make it to Rabbie Burns’ House, in Dumfries, I may also cry a little and, really, not be able to explain why.

And that’s good too.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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12 Responses to Channelling Burns, Dickens and Winnie The Pooh #thoughts

  1. Wow–really lovely. The chairs, so powerful. Love how you brought these threads together here!


  2. noelleg44 says:

    Some real power in your thoughts. I am a huge Winnie fan – caught myself reciting some of Milne’s poetry to a five year old the other day.


  3. Ritu says:

    Deep thoughts His Geoffleship 💜


  4. Mary Smith says:

    I teared up reading this, Geoff. Those empty white chairs. I’m glad my post triggered this one.


  5. Very moving post, Geoff. I’m glad there is someone else in this world who can tear up for no explainable reason.


  6. Elizabeth says:

    We live about an hour from Emily Dickinson’s home. Here people actually pay good money to be alone in her room for an hour.We are all fascinated by imagining our lives intersecting with earlier ones I imagine.


  7. Wonderful – we all tear up together! Then sit and think a bit……..


  8. JT Twissel says:

    Experiences all worthy of a good cry.


  9. Very profound, Goeff! I did not know about the empty chairs in New Zealand. This did bring up tears as well for me. I think we just move on to do other work. At least I hope so. Still working on Pooh stories. But I think it’s a good idea to sit and have a think.


  10. Norah says:

    Moving post, Geoff. I enjoyed visiting Dickens’ house too. I’d done that the day I met you. 🙂 Those empty chairs in Christchurch are very poignant and could certainly bring forth some tears in those who decide to sit and think. I was moved to tears when I encountered Monet’s waterlilies – such an amazing emotional experience – my favourite paintings. Or is that Starry Night? So many beautiful impressionist paintings.


  11. Charli Mills says:

    Magnificent writing to catch such ephemeral moments when we brush against the solidity of multiverses. The empty chair memorials are so powerful. In Idaho every year, the Sunshine Mine sets up 90 empty chairs with 90 miner’s helmets. It’s such a captivating remembrance of the disaster. You expressed the feeling well, though hard to put to words.


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