Brushes with Culture

This is a space where I can reflect on the many fascinating things that I experience. Some of the things I brush with are Culture with a capital C. Others are just intriguing moments. Sometimes I am brushing with these moments in a hurry. This is a chance to relive those moments in tranquility. These are the stories I tell myself in those quieter moments.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Quite a Lot about Francis and a Little about Rules

The latest friend to merit an appearance here charged me to decide on a moniker for him independently of his opinion. Well, that's a dangerous thing to do. And because I don't seem to be able to resist a challenge, I just nodded as if I gave people nicknames everyday all day.

Tempted as I was at first to call him The Lord of Misrule, that name really belongs to the late Francis Batten, who introduced the idea of Magister Ludi to me (a different creature from Hesse's in the Glass Bead Game, rather an 'opportunity to be playfully serious and seriously playful' as FB put it). Francis' workshop at Cae Mabon was the first space where I saw clearly how far I play with rules (I thought I was following them and everyone else admired the way that I broke them so freely - something to do with the letter vs the spirit, I believe, and honouring the outcome more than the path most travelled). Francis' essay on the subject is a mix of Gestalt and Morenian advocacy as to how to live a spontaneously creative life, exploring all the roles within one's grasp and developing each to its full potential. There is a bit more about his Magister Ludi figure in the obituaries in Tele (a pdf) and a lot more about his vision.

With Francis' death early this year, I lost a mentor, someone who grinned at the same absurdities as me, and my tutor in Sociodrama. He once had to describe me and his 'Ann of the clear blue eyes and mind' has stayed with me as the finest of compliments. I wasn't intending to write this entry as a memorial to him, but it seems to have gone that way as a great sadness again gathers inside me.

However, it is not inappropriate to think of the two men together - Francis and my new friend. They are both shy, wise and kind (and modest enough to be embarrassed to be so described here). And I have touched on some of the same issues with each. New friend says:

It seems to me that one should try and find a way that is true to as many of one's identities as possible - but it is not necessarily the case that the complex one discovers is right for everyone else all the time.

I understand what he means more fully for having thought about it myself quite a lot over the last few years.

New friend is also an expert on rules and boundaries, though he is far more subversive. And new friend is not fatherly. He is far more the Jack of Misrule. In fact, in most ways he is nothing like Francis, except that they have both inspired enduring respect in me. New friend will get his moniker in another post. Jack of Misrule... it's a possibility.


Post a Comment

<< Home