These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages. Discover life as a York St John student by visiting us. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course. We welcome international students from all over the world at York St John University and have a vibrant international community. Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team.
Alternatively, you can call us on Course overview At the heart of our course is a commitment to socially engaged practice, which means that you will make empowering, vital and important drama experiences. You will learn how to respond to the text and work collaboratively to generate a version of the play.
This module culminates with a large scale production where the ensemble generates the content and builds the set, getting involved in every aspect of theatre production. This module will offer a practical introduction to mainstream Western European acting. Workshops explore spoken word, dramatic monologues, sound poetry, and theatre readings for audiences. Students will be encouraged to share skills across their specialised subjects allowing for a broadening of skills e.
You are given the opportunity to make performances that engage and experiment with interactive technology and digital performance practices. You will study contemporary practitioners from a wide range of comedy forms including stand-up, dramatic plays, fiction and monologues. This is an exciting module that challenges us to consider the power of language and its place in comedy performance. Previous projects have included full scale productions, directing plays, solo performances, a cabaret, installations, site-specific performance situations.
This means you are able to see professional live work on campus and meet the performers, and its Free! Core Field Trips — Each year group has at least one field trip. Recently these include a three-day site-specific devised course in a castle in Northumberland, a four-day trip to Krakow in Poland and a three-day visit to London. Theatre Pages — Out in-house magazine has been running for over 10 issues and is facilitated by Staff and Students who work together to edit, compile and craft each issue.
You can read all past issues online. Student Internships — As well as teaching you the drama and dance staff are all engaged with their own projects that include touring work nationally and internationally, writing for publications, organising conferences and developing long-term projects with a range of partner institutions. Within these projects there are often opportunities for students to support and learn as an intern. This memoiristic work is a complex interplay of now-blackish content, of now-iridescent fact with my now-mercurial and my now-intransigent mind. It contains trace elements of the poetic, of riddles, of quizzicality, of quirkishness; instances of spiritual aspiration and performances of a sportive mind.
Hopefully readers will find here Narcissus touched by Mercury. As the early years of my late adulthood became the middle years of late adulthood I like to think my life was characterized, as Alexis de Toqueville put it, the quiet possession of something precious. He wrote: "that which most vividly stirs the human heart is certainly not the quiet possession of something precious but rather the imperfectly satisfied desire to have it and the continual fear of losing it again.
My memory browses and grazes at will stringing apparently dispersed and disordered parts into a fine thread of many colours. As I contemplate my past and write I lose myself under the whole pressure of the spring of my memory proceeding from my most recent revisitings and their associated recognitions. If all goes well I make of the revisiting a veritable hymn of the wonder of it all as the past floods in with its particles of history, with its scrapings of gold dust, of lead and base metals, with its wayward fragments and their meditative extrapolations.
It will take a certain intellectual posture on the part of readers, though, to wade through my memoir, to read its excessive pile of "I"s and "Me"s. The French writer Stendhal made this same comment about his writing but he also went on to say that he found his writing "stinking. Thankfully, I do not find that my work possesses a four odour, although a sense of shame is not entirely absent from this work orfrom my life. I actually enjoy reading this work, a work in which I develop, as the sociologist Michel Foucault put it, my legitimate strangeness, my idiosyncratic self.
As far as lies are concerned, I trust I have kept them to an absolute minimum and when they are present in this work, I am not conscious of them. This is due to the covert suspicion, says comedian and icon Barry Humphries, that life in Australia may be too boring to merit a literary record. But I am not an Australian; at best I am a hybrid having migrated here at the age of 27 in I am also not a self-absorbed self-promoter who is happy to talk endlessly about my favorite subject, myself; nor am I a natty narcissist who is preoccupied with the friendly fellow who confronts himself every morning in the shaving mirror.
Hopefully a reading of this work should establish these truths beyond the shadow of a doubt. Like that Australian-commedian Barry Humphries I write this to amuse myself and hopefully others. I am not as hooked on applause, though, as Humphries apparently was and is. I had lots of applause for years as a teacher and, now retired, I do not have that felt need--at least it is not strong as it once was. Whatever felt need for popularity does still exist it is satisfied on the internet in little ways, here and there, in nanoseconds and spread over s of sites.
I have always had a certain felt need, though, for a heroic dimension to life which Roger Solomon says was the basis for the madness of Don Quixote in Cervantes' famous novel and which my mother always said was one of the reasons I had found the Bahai Faith attractice back in the s and s.
Solomon also says that the adventures and the education of Quixote were shaped by the imagination, passionate commitment and moral vision of Cervantes.
I like to think that these memoirs are also shaped by similar inner forces for this work is no leisurely stroll through my youth and adulthood. I like to think, too, that, as the memoirist Anais Nin once wrote, that "the personal life, deeply lived, takes a person beyond the personal" and so it is that much of this memoir takes both myself and readers far away from the personal, from my own story.
This work is far from being a series of stories about my life. The first edition of this work, written in the years to , took this narrative form of seemingly endless personal anecdotes and it bored me to death. I had to take another approach if I was to inject a sufficient amount of life into the work to give it a vitality to keep writing.
I found as I continued into later editions that the images of the past came to possess subtle secrets, insidious and complex arts for keeping me exploring their meaning when meaning could be found. They bribed me with their complexity, their beauty and the authroity of their intensity. Like Henry James whose work was written in the shadow of the threat of being engulfed by memories in over his head, I must surrender succumbing to the tangle of memories as incidents pull at my sleeve as I pass.
There are so many imponderable extracts: loitering summers in my youth when occasions seem to stay and be tasted for their faint sweetness; shocking or bewildering events which melt into some succulence for my mind or like some resolute verbena insinuate themselves through the socket of despair's bleached skull; my memory moves as through an apartment or large house hung with garlands and lights, so many pieces of furniture and memorabilia.
I only have to breath for an instant to see them again flush with colour and texture, to tenderly snuff the candles and see them twinkle afresh. And yet, I withhold myself from immersion in those memories and become occupied with the bonfires of thoughts kindled in my mind by their image and meaning, their flush and flare, their gleam and glow. I also become preoccupied with apparitions, their ghostly faces and their silent stares. Coherence comes by increasing degrees through my assiduous editing and the language I use to shape the experiential reality and reconstitute it.
Although I could accept some of Paul Hernandi's view See his: "On the How, What, and Why of Narrative" in Critical Inquiry, Volume 7, Number, Autumn that stories, histories and narrative or descriptive accounts help us to escape boredom and indifference ours as well as that of other people , still I felt there had to be more to my own raison d'etre for writing this work and more to the rationale of readers who might take the plunge and have a go at what had become a massive work by the 6th edition.
If autobiography is, as the poet Wallace Stevens put it, "the supreme fiction," perhaps it would not matter. But, for me, this work is far from some supreme fiction. Did this work emerge from a felt need, an urge, to enscribe my signature, to name and perpetuate my life, in a future age? I can not say for sure. But one thing this work does do and that is: it imposes a certain logical coherence and rationalization on events and a time which, when lived, had no such clarity of definition, no such coherence or stability.
This work also is somewhat like a pregnancy which gives birth in the process of writing to a self, myself.
The Emancipated Spectator
But unlike the Russian Nikolai Gubsky who had no inhibitions about undressing himself in his public autobiography work, I am more inhibited. For years I tried to convey my ideas and life in novelistic form but unsuccessully. Had I the skills of a novelist I might have been able to put my narrative into an autobiographical form like that of, say, the account of Papillon based on the story of Alfred Dreyfus.
This Jewish French army officer convicted on false charges of treason in spent nearly five years of a life term before eventually being pardoned on Devil's Island, the most notorious prison island in the world. The book captivated millions as did the film. The novel Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn is partly autobiographical. Here the character Oleg Kostoglotov is admitted to hospital from a gulag, similar to the gulag Solzhenitsyn experienced.
This character is later subjected to internal exile in the same region of the USSR. Sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I do not possess the novelist's skills and my sex life comes nowhere near providing the kind of material for the glut of explicit details, which in her erotic, perhaps pornographic, autobiography, has a desensitizing effect. Our contemporary world is overlowing with autobiographies, memoirs, life-narratives, history on DVD, video, on TV, stories of every conceivable type and on every conceivable topic.
I wondered to myself between my first and second edition: does the world need yet another story of someone's life? My answer was a decided "no. No again. And so I took what you might call a slanted approach, a study of the genre, of my times, my religion and myself. I was not going to leave readers in the position many are left in at the end: what made this writer tick? Readers will learn something about what makes me tick.
The other is a writer who's telling you things that you do know but that you've never quite formulated for yourself. I'm the latter kind of writer. As Epstein writes: People are often saying to me, "You know, I've always felt that, but I never really thought to put it that way. Simply to give pleasure to readers in this way makes my day. As Clint Eastwood challenges the bad guys to "make his day," I figure that some readers are challenging me to "make their day" and sometimes I hope I do.
From at least the time of Thomas Sprat's often-cited History of the Royal Society , modern science has expressed ambivalence about language and specifically "eloquence," favoring what Sprat called the "close, naked" style. Sprat asserts that, in seeking truth, Royal Society members commit to "a constant resolution, to reject all the amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style: to return back to the primitive purity, and shortness, when men delivered so many things, almost in equal number of words.
Many a modern television and cinema experience is an extension of what you might call this Enlightenment manner: a fictional illustration of a longed-for world where deceit is no longer possible and where language finds a close, unbreachable connection to the events it seeks to describe. If we know how to look for it, the truth becomes self-evident. It will, in effect, narrate itself.
To put this another way, there is in many places a contemporary preference for the rhetoric of clean, hard science in places that have traditionally been sites of humanist, interpretive dialogue and debate. As Hayden White, an historian of literature, suggests, "narrative is not merely a neutral discursive form…but rather entails ontological and epistemic choices with distinct ideological and even specifically political implications. And, because narrative knowledge requires interpretation, it can only be "read" in terms of analogies and correspondences with other narratives from other times and places.
A true narrative account is less a product of the historian's or the autobiographer's poetic talents, as the narrative account of imaginary events is conceived to be, than it is a necessary result of proper application of historical "method. So natural is the impulse to narrate, so inevitable is the form of narrative for any report of the way things really happened, that narrativity could appear problematical only in a culture in which it was absent-absent or, as in some domains of contemporary Western intellectual and artistic culture, programmatically refused. As a panglobal fact of culture, narrative and narration are less problems than simply data.
As the late Roland Barthes remarked, narrative "is simply there like life itself.
We may not be able fully to comprehend specific thought patterns of another culture, but we have relatively less difficulty understanding a story coming from another culture, however exotic that culture may appear to us. As Barthes says, "narrative This suggests that far from being one code among many that a culture may utilize for endowing experience with meaning, narrative is a metacode, a human universal on the basis of which transcultural messages about the nature of a shared reality can be transmitted.
Arising, as Barthes says, between our experience of the world and our efforts to describe that experience in language, narrative "ceaselessly substitutes meaning for the straightforward copy of the events recounted. The fortunes of narrative in the history of historical writing give us some insight into this question. Historians do not have to report their truths about the real world in narrative form; they may choose other, non-narrative, even anti-narrative, modes of representation, such as the meditation, the anatomy, or the epitome.
Tocqueville, Burckhardt, Huizinga, and Braudel, to mention only the most notable masters of modern historiography, refused narrative in certain of their historiographical works, presumably on the assumption that the meaning of the events with which they wished to deal did not lend itself to representation in the narrative mode. They refused to tell a story about the past, or, rather, they did not tell a story with well-marked beginning, middle, and end phases; they did not impose upon the processes that interested them the form that we normally associate with storytelling.
While they certainly narrated their accounts of the reality that they perceived, or thought they perceived, to exist within or behind the evidence they had examined, they did not narrativize that reality, did not impose upon it the form of a story. And their example permits us to distinguish between a historical discourse that narrates, on the one side, and a discourse that narrativizes, on the other; between a discourse that openly adopts a perspective that looks out on the world and reports it and a discourse that feigns to make the world speak itself and speak itself as a story.
Christina Rossetti | Poetry Foundation
There is currently a global audience of two billion viewers in over countries for a program called CSI: Miami. The show's ideology, the fictional portrayals, the pretense of realism in CSI: Miami must be seen by even the most devoted fan as stylized fantasy, as exaggerated wish fulfillment.
Surely, for some, the show's popularity derives from the acute ironic pleasure of witnessing a supremely efficient institutional effort and the team's clean mastery of complex human situations. And one reason that the program de-emphasizes language and interpretation is, of course, the banal explanation that much of the audience for the show is not English speaking. There is less to dub when there is less said.
Sadly or fortunately, such a clean and simple story, such stylized fantasy cannot be found here. In antiquity, in the middle ages and in the early modern period as well autobiographical works were typically entitled apologia, implying as much self-justification as self-documentation. John Henry Newman's autobiography, first published in , is entitled Apologia Pro Vita Sua in reference to this tradition. My work here has aspects of this approach, this tradition.
One of the first great autobiographies of the Renaissance is that of the sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini — , written between and and entitled by him simply Vita, Italian for Life. He declares at the start: 'No matter what sort of person one is, everyone has to their credit what are or should be seen to be great achievements.
If that person cares for truth and goodness, they ought to write the story of their own life in their own hand; but no one should venture on such a splendid undertaking before they are over forty'. I could list so many more works that fill the pages of the historical record back to the Greeks and the Hebrews in western civiization, although as I point out elsewhere, autobiography as a genre did not emerge until the romantic period in English literature. Had I the skills of a historian, a sociologist, a psychologist or indeed any one of the many specialists in the many fields of the social sciences and humanities that connect in some way or another with memoirs, I might have witten quite a different book; if I had the skills of a movie-maker I may have been able to make a bio-pic, had my worldviews and life orchestrated in a visual medium and gained a popular audience in the millions--if of course I had been successful in such an enterprise.
This autobiography or memoir, for I use these terms interchangeably, is in many ways a pot-pourri, an interdisciplinary mix for a coterie. This explanatory and opening note here is intended to provide readers at this beginning to Part 2 with both a description of this lengthy literary product and a warning as to what they are getting themselves in for, if they have not yet read Part 1 and are coming to this part of my memoir somewhat cold as it were.
With the rise of public and mass education, cheap newspapers and cheap printing since, say, , modern concepts of fame and celebrity began to develop as well. In the last two and a half centuries the beneficiaries of this development were not slow to cash in on this development by producing autobiographies and biographies. It became the expectation, rather than the exception,that those in the public eye should write about themselves. This was true not only of writers such as Charles Dickens, who also incorporated autobiographical elements in his novels, and other English writers like Anthony Trollope, but politicians like Henry Brooks Adams, philosophers such as John Stuart Mill, churchmen such as Cardinal Newman, and entertainers like P.
If readers here have never heard of these men, it matters not. The world has become, in our time especially if not long before in previous times, full of people whose names are not known by just about everybody. I just wanted to point to the ubiquity of this genre since the birth of Shaykh Ahmad in , since the earliest years of the history of this new religion and its critical precursors. Perhaps this ubiquity is, in part, due to the emergence of individualism, of mass education and literacy, an emphasis on self and identity and what the American novelist Henry James said was "the ordeal of consciousness.
This was far removed from the principles of Cellinianian autobiography with its emphasis on a detailed account of career, one's loves, hatreds, passions and delights written in an energetic and direct style. As far as my work is concerned, my account is more an exception than an expectation in the Bahai community, but these volumes are equally in the traditions of Cellini and romanticism as far as autobiography in general is concerned. At least that is how I see my now lengthy work.
This memoir provides readers with a periodic analysis of autobiography, its history, its types of discourse, its philosophy, inter alia and its role in and out of the Bahai community. And all of this is done within the wider context of my life, my society and my religion. This task, this aim, is probably a bit too much to try to chew and readers may find themselves wondering: a what this has to do with that, b what certain long pieces of analysis have to do with this autobiography or memoir or, indeed, c if they are even in the right ball-park at all or on the right page.
This work is not some narrative, not some story with a plot, a character and a climax followed by a quiet denouemont. Nor is it a simple piece of philosophy, a how to do it book. This work is many things and, if the reader enjoys the first part of the trip in Part 1, he or she may stay awhile and read this Part 2. Alternatively, may I suggest to would-be readers that they just dive-in at any point and try their luck. Anyway, it's over to you dear reader to make of all this what you will. In the end that is what we all have to do with whatever comes our way in life and on the internet, in books and in relationships.
Experience generates different things in different people, a truism if there ever was one. This is true of writers, of gardeners and garbage collectors. For me multiple desires and motivations converge on the actions I take and have taken--and will take. These desires and motivations often impede the execution of my action and they have resulted in contributions toward this tumultuous literary creation.
Here, then, is Part 2 of this single and tumultuous piece of literary action, this autobiography, this memoiristic palimpest at BLO. To remind readers just what a palimpest is let me explain briefly that a palimpest is a term used by some social scientists, especially historians, autobiographers and memoirists as a description of the way people experience their times, their lives--that is--as a layering of present experiences over faded pasts, a layering of values, beliefs and attitudes over social and cultural constructs, a layering of one's life over events, among people, over landscapes, among a pot-pourri of stuff that the writer tries his or her best to synthesize into some meaningful whole.
Perhaps that is partly because as an older adult I can look back on my life with some degree of happiness and contentment, with a feeling of fulfillment, with a deep sense that life has meaning and I've made a contribution to life. One psychologist calls this feeling integrity. Whatever psychological strength I possess, continues this same psychologist, comes from a wisdom that the world is very large and I now have a detached concern for the whole of life, accepting death as the completion of life.
The poet Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote that "what I do is me. For that I came" and that is, perhaps, a succinct backdrop, literary mise en scene, to this memoir. London: Oxford University Press, , p. They may fear death as they struggle to find a purpose to their lives, wondering "Was the trip worth it? I occasionally feel despair due to a personal failing or perhaps due to my bipolar disorder or both.
I am concerned that I am still failing and dogmatism occasionally haunts my path. In this latter case, though, I am strongly aware of its presence and regret follows quickly in its train. As I go about writing this memoir I try to fix my attention on the many objects and experiences in my life and society; in many cases I see immediately that no-one has ever examined what I am giving my attention to and that the most elementary things about it remain to be said. I propose, then, the opening of trap-doors in my inner self; I propose an invasion of the qualities of these things.
Thus the best path for me to take is to consider all things as unknown and begin again from the beginning. Eliot's Four Quartets have many lines of relevance here and so I will quote a few from the section of that poem known as 'Little Gidding. The end is where we start from. And every phrase And sentence that is right where every word is at home, Taking its place to support the others, The word neither diffident nor ostentatious, An easy commerce of the old and the new, The common word exact without vulgarity, The formal word precise but not pedantic, The complete consort dancing together Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning, Every poem an epitaph.
And from another part of that poem, No. The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being, Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection, Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination— We had the experience but missed the meaning, And approach to the meaning restores the experience In a different form, beyond any meaning We can assign to happiness. I have said before That the past experience revived in the meaning Is not the experience of one life only But of many generations—not forgetting Something that is probably quite ineffable: The backward look behind the assurance Of recorded history, the backward half-look Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding, Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things, Is not in question are likewise permanent With such permanence as time has. Only one kind of thing can be narrated. That thing is an event in time. And strictly speaking, we require more than one event before we recognize that we are in the presence of a narrative. And what is an event? A narrated event is the symbolization of a real event: a temporal icon expressed in words.
For any given narrative there are always multiple basic stories that can be constructed. The form and feature of any "version" of a narrative will be a function of, among other things, the particular motives that elicited it and the particular interests and functions it was designed to serve. These motives, interests and functions will be as clear as a blue sky by the time readers have finished Parts 1, 2 and 3 of this memoir here at BLO.
Readers should be aware, though, as I too am aware, that much of an autobiography is often never written down but it lingers uninscribed in the background. I have taken the writing of this memoir seriously enough to treat each section as a new obligation, not just as a new opportunity for dispensing more information about a life, a society and a religion. My obligation, as I have seen it, is to reflect the tumultuous variety of experience that has spent that period in my life sometimes fighting, sometimes scrambling and sometimes playing around on the edges of my memory to get out of my head.
During the near-seven full decades of my life under review here the total amount of material could occupy several Mt. It is more than enough for this internal critic of my life to deal with. Anybody who complains about the monotony, the lack of significance to their story, the unimportance of what he or she is looking at in their personal existence is really complaining about: the condition of their own soul, the fact that they don't like writing, the possibility that their examined life is not worth writing about or, indeed, one or more of many reasons that their story is not worth putting on paper.
Looked at more positively, though, those who don't write their story may, in fact, be genuinely self-effacing, other-focussed, just too busy getting on with living and again one or more of many reasons. I am not a serious student in relation to many aspects of existence, but I am a serious person who, thanks to several factors, some of which I write about in this book, sees much of the funny side of life. There are many more serious students of life than I, many who have written about it, about specific facets of it with impressive results. They write books about trends, attend symposia at festivals and conferences, compose long profiles about key personalities in the Land of the Media or about the developments in the now increasingly interdisciplinary studies in the academic worlds.
Much of this literary work is honest and useful labour. In some ways it as a step up from this memoiristic meangering. In the literary world it is difficult to arrange the products in some hierarchy of social utility. I have always tried to behave as if what I was doing mattered. Sometimes I have been successful in this aim and effort. Sometimes I have failed and thought to myself "what a waste of effort and time.
I should shuffle off this mortal coil and trouble not myself or others any more. I preach the issue, the labour, the activity of autobiographical writing less on my own behalf than for the benefit of anyone else coming along who might feel like turning his hand to this kind of work but doubts its signicance, its utility and even its legitimacy. Those who do find, with Socrates, that the unexamined life is not worth living and that their examination wants to extend into some written form will not have to deal with a steady landslide of thoughtful letters from readers, all of whom, it turns out, are critics of their own lives too.
Practically everyone who lives has a critical attitude to what they have done and not done to some extent.
18th Century German Aesthetics
All the socio-political theories about how individuals, people, society and the masses should live all have some things worth emultating and some worth rejecting. The fields of political philosophy, religion, sociology and psychology among other disciplines and sub-disciplines now fill libraries and cyberspace to overflowing. We are not short on theory. Those millions of people out there who read some of this stuff and those who don't are individual and alive. Anyone into autobiography as I am who treats his reading audience like dummies will not get far. A critical memoirist who patronizes the medium can rack up some mileage, especially if he adopts a solemn tone.
But he will inevitably also patronize his readers, and will thus forfeit the immense pleasure and continuous education of being in contact with their views and enthusiasms. Such was the view of Clive James regarding his readers and his columns about television. I would like to be able to say, with Clive James, that "there is not a piece in this book which has not lead to discussion, and sometimes heated argument, with friends, acquaintances or even complete strangers.
This work is also a statement. It is an effort to express my own joy and to create my own happiness. This writing is also an expression of the view, the fact, that whatever troubles I have had they were endured. I survived. It helps if the sufferer has resources of his own to sustain him. But often whatever ones resources one has, sadness and despondency can still visit the soul. As a performer, for life has been for me one long performance: first as a child, then as a student, then as a teacher and now as a writer, I now prefer to write and to only occasionally flirt with the social rather than appearing in that world as excessively as I did for decades.
The reasons for this are explored in this autobiography. Almost nothing can now tempt me away from writing. Inspite of the despondency that has been part of my life as far back as I can remember, about the age of three or four, mostly due to a combination of chance and circumstance on the one hand and my bipolar disorder and the havoc it created in my life on the other, there has also been the thrill, the excitement. If some of that thrill is not in this book then I have failed as a writer.
There can be no real and useful criticism without seriousness and it is equally true that real seriousness is, at least for me, a form of controlled excitement. That man of remarkable erudition, Clive James, said this and like many things other writers have said, some of these things will be found by readers in this book.
It has also provided a brief survey of the years up to the first year of the Nine Year Plan in , to the beginning of anything that could be called my sex life in and to the death of my father that same year as I turned Book Two will take the story and the analysis up to the time of writing this work, a writing that took place in stages, over many years of a long process from to now— I will then give you a final Book Three of interviews, poetry, essays and a discussion of history.
This Book Two begins, then, with volume 3 chapter 2 of my autobiography. These tend to be non-linear, circular, include flashbacks and a range of techniques involving the perspectives of others in addition to the narrative position of the main storyteller. By the time my father died in May of , several weeks before his seventy-fifth birthday and three months after the death of Winston Churchill, that relationship with the lovely 27 year old Kit Orlick was cooling off.
It was the most serious of the unserious relationships I had in the sixties before my first marriage in Kit seemed totally unmoved by the Bahai Faith and its teachings, as I have already pointed out, even if we had each been mutually moved in other ways by our relationship, however brief that movement had been. In June I saw Kit for the last time. It was the start of a Canadian summer as we walked a block away from my mother's new flat near the centre of the CBD of Hamilton, a city of , where I was born twenty-one years before.
Downtown Hamilton, like lots of downtowns, was becoming a shadow of its former self by Urban centres, romanticized in the Petula Clark song, were losing their vibrancy just as I was about to make my first plans to live in a remote backwater of Canada that had no downtown. By , forty years later, Hamilton was changing for the better, but it is not my intention to discuss the changes in urban life in that city of my birth in any detail. These details can be found elsewhere, especially on the internet. The academic year, , was the year of the free speech movement centered at the University of California, Berkeley under the informal leadership of students.
Although I never joined any of these groups, I did take part in two demonstrations in Hamilton and Toronto in the spring of I attended one conference in Ottawa concerned with civil rights, voter registration and specifically the treatment of Negroes in Selma Alabama, among other concerns. I was, for a few months anyway, caught up on the fringe of a complex series of socio- political movements and their milieux on my university campus. As a result of an all-night vigil I took part in on the steps of the American embassy in Toronto I got my picture on the front page of the Hamilton Spectator.
I think it was about April of , although the exact month is vague now. It was the only time in my life I made the front page of any paper. The confrontation was a display of masculinity on both sides, a declaration of toughness, which sidelined women physically and morally,2 even though women made up a proportion of the protestors--one of whom slept right under my nose and my lips that night. By the time you1 got going in that summer of '69 I was just heading for Cherry Valley to teach kids from the farms of southern Ontario in grade 6 and play soccer at recess….
You were right, the revolution was on its way and you played your part by blowing things up and I played mine by working within the nucleus and pattern of a new world order born in the Siyah Chal in , ground in the mill of adversity, such a different scene than yours was back then. And, yes, the revolution goes on, quietly in some places, noisy in others, largely unnoticed, in the hearts of millions who have no commitment except, perhaps, their families, girlfriends and some leisure-time activity like sport, gardening and watching TV and who spiritually dropped out with a withdrawal that is almost deafening from a world they have long found to be quite meaningless at the socio-historico-politico level.
The revolution goes on just about entirely out of our control as we work to produce a new pattern of human life, little by little, day by day with a social model and a vision that penetrates to the very purpose of life: mine and yours, history's, the future's. August 16th In April The House of Justice had referred to a sense of an impending breakthrough in large-scale conversion. What I was experiencing at the time was a different breakthrough, one of a different order, distracted as I was by the power of sensory and sensual stimulation, during the greatest drama in the world's spiritual history.
It appeared that I was not girding myself for heroism but, rather, reaching out for a palliative when fear and depression had overwhelmed me. The world's confusion, which was increasing with every passing day, had invaded the centre of my life as it often would down life's track. Leon Trotsky was right when he wrote that "a man must live in the service of a great idea. In some ways the main difficulty was working out just what to do in the midst of a torrent of rain and storms, a tempest of private troubles.
Some troubles, both my own and the world's, were insoluble by action. One's only recourse was acceptance and a patience that soothed resignation's quagmire. It was my hope as an autobiographer, looking back over so many years of my life, that I might exhibit a literary versatility and what might be called a sophisticated amateurism, part of the English temperament that I inherited as a Canadian, to deal with the complexities of the life I had lived.
It was a job I aspired to do well. If I had the skill that Churchill had in writing his four volume History of the English Speaking Peoples, a history he wrote from to , I might do justice to my life and times. Lacking that skill, I shall have to settle for that amateurism in dealing with the complexities of my life, my society and my religion. Half of my four year post-secondary training had been completed and nearly all of my Bahai enthusiasms had been given such a shaking that they nearly dropped right out of my life.
In some ways I was lucky to get off so lightly from my sexual romp. Sexual expression had become a pervasive feature of western society in the sixties; it was difficult to escape its push and pull. There is no question that had Kit been interested in the Bahai Faith I would probably have married her, for in many ways she was all I wanted in a woman and, knowing no others, women that is, in the not-quite-biblical-sense, I could hardly compare or contrast. The older I have become the more I have come to think of this as an advantage. Find the woman you want when you are young and keep her for the distance, as she keeps you and you can grow together.
Serial monogamy, although superficially attractive to me in the nineteen sixties, held less and less attraction with the years. As this serious pre-marital relationship waned my religious proclivities waxed.
I blushed "to lift up my face" to my Lord so often then and now, indeed all my life "my longing hands" have so often been "ashamed to stretch forth toward the heaven" of His bounty. Suggested Activities. Practices of Applied Theatre. Questions for Discussion and Reflection. Questions for Reflection and Discussion. Theatre in Education TIE. Theatre of the Oppressed TO.
Related Teaching Spectatorship: Essays and Poems on Audience in Performance, Student Edition
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