Stories from the villages of the world on market days II

I admired some pieces by leatherworker Paul Lowry and, both humble artisans looking for a folkier lifestyle, we got to talking about the ways of the world. (Most notably, about how money is created and the trouble caused by its mechanisms; I am way out of my depth redrafting and redrafting and redrafting a post on this potentially world-changing and totally mind-boggling matter that just a minority understand.) Says he of his half-made ‘Hardback Rucksatchel’ that sounds like just the sort of practical, stylish, laptop-friendly, bike-friendly, eco-friendly bag that I have been imagining for a few years: ‘making something you don’t like is hard – laptops, commerce, uuuurgh…’

Well, here is what my laptop means to me:

It is small, light, sleek, beautiful, fast and reliable (I do like good machines).

Its vaults hoard stockpiles of incredible music. In these vaults I have met incredible people, and seen glimpses of the self I will be.

It seizes a fleeting melody, helps me shape it into rhythm, rhyme and structure.

It tells me what I know, and versions that I didn’t know.

It turns words into stories, and gives them wings to fly around the world.

It turns pictures from dull to vivid; offers bas-relief and alternative frames.

It turns numbers into plans, rationales, justifications, currency.

It reveals a Book of Faces, known and not-yet-known, who share whims, furies, follies and family anecdotes.

It makes short bridges between countries, continents, hemispheres.

It conducts lightning ideas from brilliant brain to brilliant brain around the world and back again.

It grows my most lucid thoughts, and tabulates the muddled ones.

The office

And I’m sure I’m only using a fraction of its capacity.

(In Brittany, that incredible guitarist performing minutely intricate stunts, so pleased with himself with a small boy’s grin: ‘he spends too much time with his guitar’ said I. She spends too much time with her laptop, say I.)

And as for my commerce: every cynical thing has its beauty –

  • Making = crafting, refining, learning
  • Trading = exchanging, learning
  • Marketing = clarifying one’s offer to the world, learning
  • Selling = valuing oneself, learning
  • Self promotion = asserting self-belief, learning
  • Networking = ally-making, learning
  • Competing = improving one’s offer to the world, learning
  • Negotiating = friendmaking, boundary-setting, learning

Oh dear, capitalism again! Next time I’ll be writing about monetary mechanisms, balanced economy, and why, in my humble opinion, Britain is better in the hands of the EU.


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