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 four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. 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.
This entry was posted in memories, miscellany, thought piece and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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!

    Like

  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.

    Like

  3. Ritu says:

    Deep thoughts His Geoffleship 💜

    Like

  4. Mary Smith says:

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

    Like

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

    Like

  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.

    Like

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

    Like

  8. JT Twissel says:

    Experiences all worthy of a good cry.

    Like

  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.

    Like

  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.

    Like

  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.

    Like

If you would like to reply please do so here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.