I apologise I have ignored you. It has been [excuses, excuses, excuses]. As if it wasn’t bad enough, I HAVE been writing but totally different things, such as my PhD research, creative writing in a form short stories (in Finnish), and two other blogs as an occasional visiting writer (Aikaa pankista and Aallonhuiput). The problem is that this blog and these other writing projects don’t seem to interact.
I’m the one to blame. Thus, I have decided to do something about it. First, I will link my other online writing projects here. I have no idea how is it going to happen technically but no doubt it is possible. It’s about the time to explore the secrets of WordPress!
Second, from now on, I try to write at least one entry every month. And now that I have a dedicated place for writing, this should be no problem. I know the minimum of once a month sounds very little. But with the other stuff taking place elsewhere and miraculously to be added here, my appearance will add up to more than once a month.
Third, I will start writing here about my (not-so-secret-anymore) passion, namely science fiction literature, and occasional excursions to fantasy literature. What a dim place this world would be without sci-fi, like Mordor.
I tried out a reading pause for one week, inspired by Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way. For me a reading pause concerned anything I read for leisure, for instance newspapers, magazines, social media and online content. What did I do then? I spent time with family and friends, took photos, listened to music, kept a diary, and just sat and pondered.
However, there’s one fundamental thing I must confess. Well actually two. First, my pause was on my holidays in August, and thus it was easier. No work related reading required. Second, I broke my pause deliberately once due to a devastatingly long trip back from holidays and read a book.
Still, I was surprised during my experiment how attached I have become to reading without actually realising what I am reading. For instance, when I come across a magazine or a newspaper I usually end up flipping few pages. I do this instead of thinking what else I could do in that particular place. Like talk to the people around me.
I’m eager to try my pause again this autumn with daily routines, like work reading and e-mail. However, not during teaching as I need to answer student’s questions via e-mail. But off the teaching season it is possible. Any ideas what I could do at work during a reading pause?
I went to School last Saturday and it was fun! The peer-learning festival was situated in an old hospital Lapinlahden sairaala (hospital) which was the first psychiatric hospital in Finland. A lovely spot despite the cultural connotation.
The School had openly invited teachers from different domains. For instance flamenco, longboarding, doing things wrong, creative writing, recycling, making boots, sketching, animal rights, time banking, Nietzsche’s relativism, Finnish folk dance, and practicing democracy. There were up to 200 lessons spread across the old hospital during the two days. Such an inspiration!
I took a flamenco class and attended a session about peer-building. That’s when a group of people plan a housing project by themselves for themselves and manage it. Of course, help should be brought from consultants who know the business. After the lessons I chilled out in the lovely autumn weather and enjoyed lunch. Such a perfect day!
Of course this event didn’t pop up by itself. The organisations making the event happen are Demos Helsinki, Sitra, Helsingin Juhlaviikot and Aalto University. Despite the fact that the practical set up was enabled by volunteers and facilitated, the content was up to the peer-teachers. I am impressed by the willingness of people to come and teach others with the stuff they find interesting.
There is so much power in peer activities. It creates such a warm atmosphere when people are ready to share what they know and help others. I wonder what I could teach the next time I go to School?
I have taken a concrete step in my community activism. I have promised to host a weekly Mölkky game in our courtyard for neighbours in our housing company. To start it all fluently, I have to send my spouse to start the first game as I have a compulsory overlapping appointment. What a great Mölkky coordinator they got!
Despite my delay, I hope this weekly meeting will make it easier for us to get to know each other. Although I tend to think I suck in Mölkky, it is nice to do something with people I don’t know that well – yet..
It is funny that it might be even harder to make an effort to get to know new people when life is good as then we tend to be caught up with our daily routines and the usual, usually work-related, networks. Yet on a rainy day, we might not be able to reach out for support. It seems that my local community exchange service (CES) Stadin aikapankki has one solution: the Time Heals Network.
The Time Heals Network offers peer support through Stadin aikapankki. Through the network one can get trained support for dealing with difficult times. In practice, this means using the CES account units (tovi) to pay for the services (no money involved), and as time is mature, start to offer services through CES and gain units. Additionally, it is possible to benefit from services before generating surplus units through offering services.
I would love to introduce CES and the Time Heals Network to my housing company. I am rather sure there are persons in my community who would like the idea of exchanging services as well as benefit from temporary peer support. Maybe it is possible to lobby CES over Mölkky when I through the wooden pin aimlessly around the courtyard. Someone might gain units by teaching me some techniques.