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Mind mapping: How to see a mess in a mass of stuff.

I've had a(nother) clear-out. Open University B789 course notes have long gathered dust upon the at-risk register.

I took the chunky file ino the garden to read. Result? Too interesting to throw away.

For example, this diagram is a mind map I made at the beginning of the course. The diagram says as much about the state of my mind as the subject I was studying (voluntary sector management).

Mind mapping is a way to organise one's thoughts, to help write essays and speeches, or exam revision, and so on.

Instead of linear list-making, you write the key subject in the centre of the paper or screen, adding thoughts, as they occur, linking them with lines that radiate outwards as branches and sub branches.

Mind mapping uses both left and right sides of the brain. The right side (cortex) deals with images and rhythm. The left cortex does words and numbers.

Once out there, it's easier to give the mass of ideas and thoughts a structure, to see what goes together, to form a coherent whole.

One of the two central themes in this mind map is meetings. Sub issues are culture and style, problems and anxiety, function and purpose. My conclusion, as I recall, was that the organisation that I was involved in had a great many problems, about which I could nothing.

According to this diagram, the purpose of meetings was unclear, giving rise to anxiety and confusion about what the hell we were there for.

The organisation's structure was so loose that everything was everyone's responsibility, and no one was responsibe for anything in particular. People with ideas and skills felt under-valued. Obtaining everyone's views (including those not present) was more important (for historical reasons) than anyone being alowed to make a decision.

Leadership was banned. Management was a dirty word.


It was a mess, as this diagram illustrates.

Nowadays everything is wonderfully clear. Thus: The world is in a mess; so our organisations are in a mess; therefore I am in a mess.

Or is it the other way round?

I give up.

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 29 September 2014

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 29 September 2014

Lazy Sunday: A patchwork of possibilities. TB or not TB. No question.

I have a problem.

I can’t (as in it’s not happening) draw, paint, write or otherwise create. Cook, even.


These days.

Apart from Tzatzki, which doesn’t involve heat, so strictly speaking isn’t cooking.


Nor can I read. I finished a book two weeks ago and since then I haven’t managed to start another.



I’m surrounded by stimuli, natural as well as the other kind.

So last Sunday I took photographs of some of the things around me; in my flat; where I live; in my life; here and now.

Next, I did the usual techie stuff e.g. bluetoothing, cropping and editing etc. Then I assembled them, as you do.

And here’s the result.

Follow that.

This is a verse from a song written by a fourteen year old. It somehow seemed apt, given my mood of listless melancholy.

Suicide is Painless

A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied 'oh why ask me?'

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 23 September 2014

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 26 September 2014

Sometimes I look up. Words and a picture.

Sometimes. Words.

Trees and grass


clouds and birds


togetherness, yes

loneliness, yes

nothingness, yes

hopelessness, yes

hopefulness, yes

colour and light


curiosity and wonder


holidays and alcohol


happiness and freedom


cat and mouse


hat and coat


girl and boy


sock and shoe


laugh and cry


hi and bye



Sometimes. A picture.

Two months ago, when I took this photograph (on my phone) I was doing a lot of lying down (for medicinal purposes). Lying down inevitably means looking upwards.

At the time I was very preoccupied with skeletons and was seeing them everywhere, including in the sky.

My own skeleton, the one inside me, was troubling me. I longed to look inside, to assess the damage. I went shopping for one online.  It's in my wishlist.

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 11 September 2014

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 12 September 2014

Wine, women and song: Dinner parties and midnight feasts.

On 2nd September 2014 I watched the YouTube live streamed performance of Katherine Araniello’s The Dinner Party on my tablet. I thoroughly enjoyed it for all the reasons Sophie Partridge gives in her review.

Originally I thought the work was inspired by The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. But no.

Its inspiration was the 1920s German comedy, Dinner for One, where the butler stands in (and drinks) for all the distinguished yet absent/non-existent guests. Drunkenness and mayhem ensue.

Nevertheless, I do see connections between Katherine’s Dinner Party and Judy Chicago’s. The former has an all female cast and all the guests are female. While Chicago's dinner party explicitly celebrates female power and achievement, Araniello’s simply doesn’t feel the need to include men.

For me, the all women aspect of Araniello’s Dinner Party evokes strong resonance with boarding school.  It was co-ed, but my best memories of Chailey are the goings on in the dorm, and the stuff the girls got up to: crowding into the loo at break times; messing about in domestic science class, table tennis, midnight feasts… laughing.

Laughing till someone wet their knickers. One of us always did; that was the rule. Our rule.

Another reason it chimed was the resigned acceptance of the wrongness and utter silliness of the situation, knowing it's crazy and that this includes the staff who are especially mad and stupid.

Araniello’s guests were pathetic. She made them cute and funny, while in real life these people can seriously ruin your day, if not your life. They will not go away. Even if they did, they would be replaced by others just as bad. Or worse.

The bizarreness of The Dinner Party, the slowed-down pace, also reminded me of my own performances as a wayward and clock-hating teenager at Chailey Heritage, leaping around the dorm after lights out, holding a torch above my head for a spotlight. And entertaining a friend between breakfast and by-your-bed inspection (which I invariably failed) with made-up songs and whirling dances around the marble pillars.

I love the free-wheeling anarchy of Katherine's art, but it also troubles me. I worry that the thoughtfulness and seriousness might be lost on people who are less 'in the know'. There's no escaping the fact that disability is a world (or two) apart.

Look back through my blog postings for other references to Chailey, eg 20th August 2012.

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 9 September 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 September 2014

This blog is a work in progress: notes on The Dinner Party Revisited

I’m not in London. I’m at home, making the best of it, imagining the world outside and what it’s like at Unlimited at the Southbank Centre. (I was there in 2012).

Not that I’m not busy. I’ve been tweeting and facebooking; screenshotting, hashtagging, linking and uploading about last night’s live screening of Katherine Araniello’s Unlimited performance.

I’ll write a blog, because The Dinner Party Revisited is interesting and important.

Here’s a scanned picture of my handwritten notes, to be getting on with.


My review of Katherine Araniello's Screw the Taboo.

SickBitchCrip on Facebook.


Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 3 September 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 4 September 2014