Isolation isn’t healthy, but often long breaks provide that. When school resumes after any period of holidays people ofent ask me where I have been – why haven’t we seen you? Why didn’t you come to such-and-such a party? Why didn’t you invite me over? To be honest, I’m sick of them. I enjoy me own company for two weeks every once in a while. … [Over the summer holidays] I begin to get bored. I start to feel as if I haven’t been doing enough. I begin to get lonely. I look forward to school even though I couldn’t wait until it ended when I was there. School would be fantastic if it wasn’t all learning. Make some of it social and interactive. Learning will occur that way even if it isn’t forced or planned. It will be progressive learning, it will come from the sharing of ideas and abilities amongst energetic young minds. Will this sort of learning ever be promoted? I don’t think so. We are stuck on the concept of what is a school. We are unable to branch out and look at other possibilities.
The days here have been getting longer and warmer, although these past few days we’ve seen rain and wind. It got windy enough last week for me to agree to a haircut. It became untenable for me to continue sporting my unruly mop of red hair. I am now equipped with a haircut that many think makes me look older and wiser. This appearance of age and wisdom, though, I think, stems out of my lack of enthusiasm for razor blades: I often leave a red fuzz of hair on my face untouched, undoubtedly adding a few years to my appearance.
I’ve been camping a few times this year; twice in and around Sydney. … There is a great feeling of independence when you can load everything you need for a week into a pack, put it on your back and start walking. It is a hard slog. Each night you push yourself closer towards sleep; you don’t need to let go, you start falling there without thinking. The food is repetitive and boring, but at the time it tastes wonderful. You are sticky with your own sweat, but you don’t notice because you are mentally tuned to something else: the placement of one foot in front of the other, over and over and over and over again. You might think this would make you grumpy, but it makes you really look at the world. You notice all sorts of things you would normally go straight past in the regular fast paced existence. Everything is slow on a camping trip: boiling water is slow, walking is slower, days feel longer but times becomes irrelevant. You don’t pay minute attention to what hour it is. You carry on in good company; everyone you’re with goes a little mad, we all start to laugh at some fairly poor jokes, we all take delight in simple pleasures – a toilet bowl, excruciatingly grubby, becomes a joy to look at in the disgusting toilets of a suburban train station, and we all take greater note of ourselves, where do we stand in what we are looking at and what we are walking in? It gives you perspective, it shows you a spectrum.
I went to a musical theatre production last week. … I have one observation on musical theatre, though: there is a bit too much music and not enough theatre, methinks. I think there should be a bit more of that stuff called plot. And maybe some of that stuff known in the trade as acting. … The plot was simple … and a bit bland, really. Maybe that is why musical theatre works, because you can hide how bland the story is with some flashy music and dance routines. Or maybe musical theatre is borne out of indecisive-ness: they couldn’t decide whether to stage a play or a concert.
Nothing radical has happened. I still am writing at the same desk on the same typewriter. I listen to the same radio station and go to the same school. … The television isn’t too good, still, when the wind gets about twenty-five kilometres an hour. … and the weather is once again nice, you no longer need to go anywhere in two pairs of socks, which is a nice change.
As you can see, in my long letters the paragraphs are also long; I tend to ramble. That’s why letter writing and blogging are fairly similar: both are structured rambles, although one might bring in fame and money, the other is simply prone to being lost in the post.