The Storyteller

14-04-2014 Monday

So, this morning I woke up, got ready for school, only to find out holiday had started. I guess last night’s events really messed up my brains. When I got downstairs, Mum was sitting there wondering why I was dressed for school. I was wondering why she hadn’t made any breakfast. I quickly changed, Mum made me some breakfast, we walked the dog together and afterwards Mum took me to Oxford Street to buy some new clothes for me as ‘summer is just round the corner’. Maybe she should tell that to mother nature, because obviously she hasn’t got a clue which season it is at this moment.
Today is not about going shopping with Mum. Today is about me and not about my ‘adventures’. Well, maybe it’s not even about me, but more about the people behind me. I’ve been getting some great responses to my writing skills and I feel it’s not really fair to take all the credit. Some of us are really gifted at playing the guitar (I’ve been trying for some time now, but I feel that it’s going to take years before I’ve really mastered this skill), some are good at playing football, and others are really great at painting. I guess I am talented at writing (just don’t expect to see me at Britain’s Got Talent or anything). I’d like to take this opportunity to thank some of my teachers as I feel that they deserve a lot of the credit that has been given to me.
Mind you, I’m not really talking about the teachers at school even though they taught me how to hold a pen and write letters, words and sentences and I am thankful for that, too. We’ve all had teachers at school we liked or disliked. School is not the only place of learning. Actually, I find school the dullest place on earth to learn much of anything, if any real learning takes place there at all. There are some great teachers out there for those who are willing to see, for those who are brave enough to listen and for those who are keen on learning. I talk of great books that deserve reading (and mostly between the lines), films that need to be seen, songs to be heard and great people you should take a liking to.
‘The best place by the fire was kept for the storyteller.’ In this case it was Mum reading me bedtime stories. My first love was for fairy tales, but not the Disney ones, mind you. I read Grimm’s fairy tales for they are truly sublime. Most often they’re not only wonderful tales you’re reading, they’re valuable life lessons. The same goes for stories by Roald Dahl, A.A. Milne, Lewis Caroll, Sue Townsend, Frank Baum, Douglas Adams, and George Orwell. I know that a lot of my fellow pupils at school have read some of their books (just some), but I wonder if they have really read them or read them just for the sake of reading. There’s a difference, you know, and if you don’t, I guess that just proves me right.
The opening of the paragraph above was a quote, but not just any quote. I am a big fan of Jim Henson’s. This quote came from one of his less popular TV-series called ‘The Storyteller’. Jim is also behind some great films, like ‘Labyrinth’ (not to be mistaken for ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, also a great film, but not quite the same). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen that one and I still can’t get enough of it. Each time I see something new and I try to memorize more of the lines. Sometimes I quote the film at school just to see who’s also seen it (nobody so far). There’s also something about old black and white films and TV-series like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Laurel and Hardy’ ‘Charlie Chaplin’ and one of my favourite old films ‘The Odd Couple’.
‘It’s time to play the music’. I don’t know whether I should feel blessed or cursed for having parents who listen to eighties and nineties music. I guess it’s a blessing, at least in those days songs actually had lyrics. I happen to like to sing along to songs (even though I can’t sing). Lyrics (as well as poems) have really shown me the power of words and they have taught me how less can really be more. My love for lyrics grew even more when my Dutch friend let me listen to things like Primus, Tom Waits, Tori Amos and a not very well-known musician called Geoff Berner. If only my classmates would stop listening to all that electronic disco and start listening to songs with great lyrics, their English might just improve a little (I’m not going to go into what I feel rap-music has done to my peers’ language).
So, ‘hats off to all the ones who stood before me and taught a fool to rhyme’ – Les Claypool

See me tomorrow.

Evelyn Wow

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03-02-2014 Monday

 

A major breakthrough for me today! I talked to Evelyn and this time it was more than just three words. Even more than five words. It was all because I started feeling really, really sorry for her after having heard people started calling her Evelyn Wow. I was wondering why at first. It could have been wordplay on Evelyn Waugh, but then I figured not many of my fellow peers would know the guy. Then I thought it was just because she always amazes people with her silly answers and she makes people go,’ Wow!’ It probably won’t be long before people will start referring to her as the ‘Wow-girl’. Which is why I decided to talk to her, I guess.

 

I’ll admit, it wasn’t a very long conversation, but at least we exchanged some words together. It started off with the usual ‘How are you?’ and ‘K’ thing after which I fell silent for a minute or two and we just stood there looking round a bit. I was desperately looking for conversation and trying to think of what normal people say to each other that is not about the weather. That’s when I thought of the book ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’. Although I must admit, Evelyn does not look like the girl who’s really into reading much of anything; it was worth a shot, wasn’t it? Maybe she was reading it too.

 

‘Have you read any good books lately?’ I asked her.

 

First she gave me that look. You know, the look when you find out your parents have had to have sex together. That face. Then she figured she might as well just answer the question, and said,

 

‘Not much of a reader. You?’

 

‘Not much of a reader either.’

 

Okay, so I lied to her, which is not a good start of any relationship, I know. I couldn’t help myself and I didn’t want to make her feel any more uncomfortable.

 

‘Seen any good films?’

 

‘Don’t like ‘em.’

 

All right, this was where I started to wonder what I was doing. I was running out of questions (I didn’t have any in the first place) and I really had to find a way to leave her without her noticing me feeling a bit awkward here. That’s when she said,

 

‘Gotta go, meet some friends. Later, dude.’

 

That’s when she walked away and when she turned round the corner, I let out a big sigh of relief. Man, was I scared. Those were probably the five longest minutes in my entire life. Next time I will have to come prepared. Maybe I should write down some questions or topics or anything before I start talking to people again. Aren’t there any YouTube instruction films on how to make conversation with anybody?

 

When I got home after school I took Cheddar for a long walk. Man, was that dog a happy dog. I felt kind of stupid and silly after that conversation. How do people do that: talk? What do they say to each other and how? All these thoughts were going through my mind and I ended up thinking about Valentine’s Day, which is just round the corner. Should I maybe get Evelyn a box or chocolates or anything? It might brighten up her day and it would make me feel a little better, too. I’ll have to think about that very carefully, because I don’t want to jump into things and I don’t want to give her the wrong idea. Maybe Mr Bent could advise me on this. Oh well, I’ll see and you’ll see me tomorrow.