Apologies for the infrequency of my blog posts.

This summer has been beyond hectic! And with all the work I’ve been doing, both writing, updating websites, preparing for conferences/workshops and preparing for Artist in Library residency that started today, well…things have been crazy. And blogging has not been a priority.

I’m doing a workshop at Fairview Public Library for Senior citizens on September 4th, 11th and 18th from 2-4 pm called Your Life As a Picture Book. I’m planning on helping people to distill the essence of their life story into a 32 page picture book text that they can illustrate and leave as a sort of legacy for their families.

I’m also conducting workshops for teens from 2-3 pm, on Saturdays September 6th, 13th and 20th called Get the Bully Off Your Back. If you know anyone interested in these programs urge them to sign up!

And I’ll be doing some Storytelling for Children at Fairview Public Library, Saturdays from 11 am – 12 pm.

Oh! And I’ll be ‘resident‘ in Fairview Public Library on most Mondays from 4 – 5 pm from September to December, so if you have a project you want to consult me about, do come and see me!!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about things I’ve wanted to post, composing the blog entries in my mind to the point where I actually thought I had posted them, and then realized nope, I haven’t. They’re stuck in my head.

I’ve had some pretty interesting experiences too over the summer.

The trip to Wisconsin was quite intense! I’m still digesting it.

When I meet people there’s always the original impression of them, and then later, it’s like I start to pick apart more subtle observations and cues. Things they said and did at the time that didn’t strike me as odd, but with the passage of time, really stand out to me.

It’s part of the instinct I’ve developed.

A self-preservation instinct, where I definitely give people the benefit of the doubt, but I also pay close attention to the cues they send out.

Way back I attended a play in Stratford by George Bernard Shaw called Caesar and Cleopatra. I had thought it was Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar but no, it was a completely different play and it was infused with Shaw’s particular brand of wit.

I love George Bernard Shaw! I consider him to be brilliant.

He’s probably most famous for his play Pygmalion that was later turned into the fabulous My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison playing professor Higgins.

But there’s a line in Caesar and Cleopatra that is very telling! It sticks out to me even now as I type this. It’s where Julius Caesar, an elderly highly successful general, is sitting contemplating something or another and he says how  you should allow people to talk, as they talk they will reveal themselves.

And it’s so true.

I know it’s true of myself as I talk a lot! Often too much!

And I’ve learned to be quiet and let people talk and reveal themselves.

Thing is, this business is so prone to what might appear to be ‘luck’. Who knows why one person’s story gets big and another person’s (who’s just as good) languishes?

Personally I don’t think luck has anything to do with it. I think it’s all a part of one’s fate, but that’s another story.

So when some people’s careers take off in a meteoric rise, I’ve gotten to the point where I can be happy for them. Rarely do I ever feel jealousy, and when I do I tell myself firmly to ‘knock it off, Rukhsana’ and get back to work. God gives to whom He pleases, and keep working towards what I want.

But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that there are many people who haven’t reached that point and are intensely jealous.

The greater your profile, the more you’re prone to envy and malice. So you do have to be careful out there. You have to watch your back before someone sticks a proverbial knife between your shoulder blades.

And I’m acutely aware of the fact that I seem to have gotten to a point where some people are taking note of me.

I don’t ever want to get bitter or paranoid.

And I don’t ever want to stop helping others in realizing their dreams as well!

But I’m a LOT more guarded than I used to be, and yes, I do watch and listen closely to what people are saying, and how they’re saying it.

It’s only good sense.

While I was in Wisconsin, I took my ereader with me. It’s a clunky thing, already obsolete but it has a bunch of free books on there and I found Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and I read it.

There’s a black and white version of the movie that is a precursor to My Fair Lady that is quite interesting too. I’ve seen it and quite enjoyed it. It doesn’t have the songs of course! But nonetheless the dialogue sparkles!

Well this is the version that I read, and it was excellent.

And it had a foreward that was fascinating, written by Shaw himself, and it said that his contemporaries vowed that art and theater should never be didactic and he, Shaw, was of the opinion that theater should never be anything else!

And interestingly enough, it’s the didacticism of Pygmalion that is probably the most fascinating aspect of the story!

I know didacticism has garnered a bad rep over the years but really didactic just means ‘educational’. It basically teaches you something. It’s intended to convey instruction as well as entertainment.

And the aspects of language in Pygmalion are fascinating, and they hold up extremely well over time! Mind you, Shaw also created some wonderful characters in Professor Higgins and Liza Doolittle!

Reading it on the page is an extremely interesting experience!

He wrote the movie of course, and won an Oscar along the way.

But…this I didn’t know! At the end of Pygmalion, he says what happens to Liza and Professor Higgins, and the ending Shaw had in mind was horrendous!

It actually reminded me of the ‘extra’ chapter that is included in The Princess Bride by William Goldman at the end. Goldman was right not to finish the sequel of what happened to Buttercup and Westley.

The movie ending was superb! Exactly right!

These two characters are locked in a battle that neither will ever win. And it will never end satisfyingly for the viewer. It just can’t. So yes, the best ending is just Liza in the doorway with the slippers.

I’m thinking that Shaw got stuck with what he knew of human nature in making the ending in Pygmalion too true to reality. Thank heavens he had the sense to discard all his philosophizing for the movie.

And same with Goldman!