As you may or may not know, I am revising for end of term exams at the moment, which explains the silence on the old YWNA front. I have alreadt passed on hurdle - namely the completion of two essays - one about "Inclusion" and the other about "the psychology of learning". . If I am to be frank, while a worthy subject, the inclusion essay, especially in the last few days of its birth, dragged the lifeblood from me. Mostly this was because the essay was not about the exciting liberation politics and philosophy that agendas of inclusion and widening participation can be understood to be based on, but because the set question framed it in the New Labour world of contemporary UK. This is a world of grey doublespeak, a world of compromise and Government reports, watered down ideals and "pragmatism". It is a world of "stakeholders", "standards" and "agencies". There are only so many times that a man can write "action plan" without loosing the will to live. Hence silence from yours truly.
On the bright side, and related to this growing lack of creativity, I began to re-read a lot of science fiction. I wanted a total change from daily life, so I turned to the wildly speculative, and usually absurd, world of aliens, space battle and planet busting weapons. This is a great place to loose yourself. I dove into the world of the 'mri'. These are the Kel'en'th of the sen'path and they live on Kulath. They have great big telepathic bear/wolves as companions who have poisonous claws and bond with you by hunting you nearly to death. The 'mri' live in ancient tribes, fight duels with big swords (the k'thp) and are also expert spacepilots. At one point in The volume I was reading, a 'mri' warrior [nota bene; ALL of the mri are 'warriors'] asks a human who wants to become a 'mri' (passing through the rigourous training programme that,yes you guessed it, nearly kills him but he makes it in the end) :
"Are you, sev'elenka, mri? Do you have elenth'ei?"
At this point I put the book down. "This" I thought to myself, "....this..." I repeated, to myself for emphasis, "...this...is very very silly. Why does every alien I read about have such unpronounceable names?"
After this, the books lost their shine. It is clearly the fault o fthe inclusion essay. It has brought me to a point where I am am almost in touch with reality on a daily basis. I consider the prospect that the future could be like this - grounded in the solid reality of the world. It is not a pleasant consideration, so I call the cats for a game of 'pick up sticks' (our new fad). Toshack cheats repeatedly, but I still manage to beat him 3-0. We chat and reflect on this new mundane world we have encountered.