Book Review: “Any Human Heart”

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Someone’s journal is usually or at least to me kept away from any other person but to that it belongs to. “Any Human Heart” however is Logan Mountstuart’s journal. It is a place where I never thought I would find myself. I have a journal and write it with the thought that no one else will ever read it. I write in such a way where I allow myself almost total freedom. I say almost total freedom because I know that one day it is possible that someone may find all my journals and read them. The people who will maybe one day get the chance to read them will either make discoveries of what I really feel or think to themselves that they knew how I felt all along.

To me a journal is a place where I put my thoughts and feelings. It is generally not where I write entries such as “Dear Diary today I went to the movies with so and so we saw blah di blah and it was great. Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat and it was delicious” – it is more to do with venting in order to get something off my chest. In some ways it is a healing process in which I deal with negative emotions. I don’t always write about the bad things that happen but it does help in that way. It is a place where I can go before I talk about things to other people…

What originally drew me to this book was my uncle saying that this blog reminded him of this book. In those words I instantly thought to myself – I had to read it. In that moment I did not realise what I would be getting myself into.

Mr Mountstuart writes in a very honest voice about what happens in his life, there isn’t any of the “Dear Diary” stuff but it is very much a detailed description of his life. His incredible life. He lived through every decade of the 20th century. To be a part of this was at sometimes very intense and in other times very enjoyable. Because of this there were times where I wanted to stop reading. I kept going because Logan himself kept going. He kept living despite the moments in his life where he wished he had not lived through. Towards the end of the story (without giving anything away) you understand that he was a person who simply wanted to live.

He wanted to live every encounter of life. The highs and lows. The joys and woes. The light and dark. Every part of it needed to be lived and through his eyes it was.

I do not believe that unless you read this story you will truly understand what I am trying to say. When my uncle told me about the book and how it spanned over every decade of the 20th century. I thought to myself, it would be interesting to see what that meant. I did not believe until I read it how much change one person could be confronted with. Trust me – there was in this book an amazing amount of change – some of it drastic and some of it smaller but all of it had huge influences to where his life took him.

“Any Human Heart” by William Boyd I believe is a must read. I do not believe that I could rate it out of ten because of how personal it is but I do believe that every page takes it’s time to unravel and reveal a life that was much lived. It proves to us or at least certainly to me that life is worth living.

I would like to thank my uncle who told me about this book – I don’t think I would have known about it or read it if it wasn’t for him.

Signing off because I need to get back to doing things I need to but do not want to do… urgh.

I dare you – smile at others and you’ll see the difference!

This morning as I was on my way to meet a friend for a coffee I got that look. The look of absolute disdain. It was as though that person was going to try and make me feel awful for the choices (in how I was dressed??)  that I have made by looking at me with a grimace and disapproving eyes. In return I gave it back and turned the attitude up to show her I did not appreciate it.

Now I know that some people may believe that, that was an immature thing to do and just as rude which it quite possibly was, but in that moment it felt right… Plus I knew that the likely-hood of me seeing her again is pretty slim… lets hope??

Now I’m not saying that I cared what she thought of me but I do care that I got treated in such a rude way.

Why do people do these things? It just seems crazy to me.

We don’t know the other people we see on the streets. We have no idea what their lives have entailed, what they have gone through and who they truly are. So how does that justify other people to judge simply by what they see. Is it just human nature?

I don’t understand. As clear and simple as that, I just don’t “get” it.

One of my favourite quotes is “Be kind for everyone is fighting a hard battle” – which is just so true.
I believe so much more in smiling at people, helping people or even (and this one might just be silly) leaving lose change on the ground for someone else to find. Now it’s not to say that I always do these things because to be honest I’m not always in the mood… but seriously is that hard to be kind?

How many people do you know who have gone through crap and even a crap thing after a crap thing but can still maintain being pleasant to others?

Now I do find my mood of the day can affect how I am with people and I totally understand that but even so I do try my best just to be kind.

Are we all stuck in bad moods? Maybe we are and we just don’t know it. But seriously even if you have gone through stuff – is your life really that bad. There must be a smile deep down inside you waiting to come up and brighten the day of someone else. A small smile can have a huge impact – I know this because of how I have felt when receiving one from other people. I feel as though I have been lifted from my thoughts and generally just feel that much better than I had before.

I dare you – smile and you’ll see the difference!!

Signing off as I’m thinking… I really hope that post wasn’t too corny 😛

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It’s strange but good to be home!

 

 

 

 

I’ve just come home from living in a very remote community in the Northern Territory, Australia. I was there for a six week teaching placement and have to say that although my days and weeks were difficult, challenging and I struggled a bit even with thoughts of wanting to go home, that it was one of the best, amazing and inspirational experiences that I have ever had in my life so far. In fact now that I’m home even though I’m very happy to be here I’ve started to realise how desperately I would have liked to stay. I’m tired, missing the kids and finding it hard to adjust being back in Melbourne.

I can tell you being back here and re-adjusting to Melbourne life is almost harder than my first week in the community I was in and it’s mainly due to being around lots of people and also being in my room alone… When I first arrived in that community, all I thought was how blissfully peaceful it was and how nice it was with the sun going down as we were un-packing the car.

The first challenge that I had to face was living in a school library, only having a cold tap at the sink, de-frosting meat for all our cooking and having to check for frogs and toads in the toilet. As the weeks progressed I noticed how much I was missing simple comforts of life and a lot of things that I took for granted.

Amongst having to boil a kettle for washing dishes, I started to miss sitting on a couch, I wasn’t able to use my personal laptop for connecting to the internet (instead was supplied with the use of a school’s one), the internet itself was slow so no blogging etc, all the food I had to eat was already there and apart from a really expensive and basic shop there was no backup. We were five hours to the nearest town so there was also the factor of isolation. If it wasn’t for my fellow student teacher I quite possibly would have gone home earlier than originally planned – she was the person who I talked to, cooked with, worked with, watch movies with, etc and I’m happy to report I have made a new friend!

Apart from the teaching we were able to get go down to the local river, go for walks and when back in Katherine on a school trip see some amazing sights! A boat cruise down Katherine Gorge was probably the high-light, with amazing cliffs, clear water and a place to swim – you could not have asked for anything better to do!

Now that I’m home I’m asking myself – did it really happen? Because it almost feels like it didn’t. I’m sitting here in my room thinking – what am I doing here? I should be somewhere else, shouldn’t I? I’ve been to have a “real” coffee, eat at the Vic Markets with my Dad, gone to the milkbar because I was out of milk, sit on my bed, pat my cat and say hello to some of house-mates. The funniest part about coming back to Melbourne is apart from seeing family and friends the two things that I’m looking forward to the most is being able to use a hot tap and sitting on a couch!

I never thought I would be excited by such simple things, but there you go.

It’s strange and good to be home and there is not much else to say.

Signing off while thinking to myself – wow I can actually blog again!