Saturday 2 July 2016

Saturday Evenings: Stay In, Sit Up and Switch On

It turns out, Benedetti, that I will not “stay with you”. The reason is simple: I have already reserved a quiet corner of the world for myself. Of course, it was not a bloke you had in mind when you wrote “no reserves del mundo/sólo un rincón tranquilo” but a woman. And the core message of your poem “No Te Salves” (“Do Not Save Yourself” or “Do Not Play Safe”) was not a refusal to choose said corner but an invitation to take a chance. I understand that.

Still, I like my corner, or should I say, corners. I have two favourite ones at home. I bet most of my fellow bloggers and readers have one, too.

We are strange creatures, we humans. That phrase could well become part of my header one day, so many times I have used it. In fact, that phrase could well be my epitaph for, as a human, I, too, am a strange creature. We are almost symmetrically perfect physically speaking and yet, so asymmetrical when it comes to habits. We line up our lives with exciting adventures (well, some of us), occasionally seeking danger intentionally. But, still, we come back to our corner.

My little nook
I was thinking about corners recently because of the stormy weather we had in London a few weeks ago. I got soaked to the skin on one of those days on my way home from work. I still remember the feeling of putting my bike away, getting out of my wet clothes, taking a quick shower and sitting in my little corner to have my tea. This series of manoeuvres made me appreciate even more the privilege of having a space I can call my own. As I ate my meal and sipped my hot coffee after, I thought of an apposite metaphor for this situation. All I could come up with was the image of a person with big, long elastic bands around their waist and chest, pushing on, marching forward, advancing, getting to their destination… and eventually being pulled back to their little corner.

When did I discover the allure of corners? In Year 6 when I began to learn English on my own. It had always been hard to find a comfortable nook in the Lilliputian one-bed flat I shared with five other relatives, including at the time my mum and dad. But that all changed one day when I picked up “Basic English”, a book that belonged to my father. In between my parents’ bed and the wardrobe, a space so narrow that one could not sit with both legs side by side but crossed, one on top of the other, I discovered the beauty of a foreign language. From then on, whenever I had the opportunity I camped up in this little, tiny space, the length of which – or lack of it thereof – favoured me as I was rather short in those days, luckily.

Corners come in all shapes and forms. There are some that justify their selection with magnificent views outside. Others boast a practical layout. And then there are those that have a deeper meaning beyond their bricks-and-mortar composition. An emotional connection to a previous episode in the story of our lives.

Also, they are not just a home phenomenon, corners. No. Perhaps, your favourite nook is in your local café, a bench in a nearby park or the seat you normally occupy on the train on your way to work. Above all, this space allows you to become your own individual amidst a sea of strange faces.

You can see now why I dare to challenge one of my favourite poets and one of Latin America’s finest. But, Benedetti, I like my corner(s), I like the fact that I have reserved this quiet space of the world. If that means that I play safe, so be it. Personally, I do not think I do. Some of my more thought-provoking posts have been written whilst sitting on one of my favourite (two) corners.

© 2016

Next Post: “Urban Diary”, to be published on Wednesday 6th July at 6pm (GMT)


  1. I need my corners. Their existence allows me to take risks.
    Another lovely thought provoking post. Thank you.

  2. I am loving my little corner of the world. Thanks for sharing

  3. Corners give me room to breathe and think. Thanks for sharing yours here.

  4. It is true that we have find corners we love, but I am a wanderlust at heart and can "make" a corner most anywhere I travel.

  5. Very good post, makes me think...thank you!

  6. The months/years I have lived alone have been rare during my life -- initial family, military quarters, college roommates, girlfriends, wives, children -- rare until recently, that is .... rare until the past few years when I have been alone. During that earlier time, corners, crannies, nooks, hide-aways -- both indoors and out-of-doors -- were very important to me and highly valued. Now, living alone with an entire house and a spacious yard to prowl about in, there is no such thing as a special corner. I perch anywhere and everywhere, as the mood strikes me.

    Your post makes me realize how much my life has changed in that regard, CiL. There is no need for me to be territorial any longer.

    Neat music -- rock on, man ....

  7. I usually only have one special corner in my house. I am possessive of my corners. It can really upset me if my (quiet) corner of the coffee shop is occupied or my corner in the library with the special window that delivers a calming light has been taken.
    I have lived my whole life pretty much alone, except for my child - of course, so a corner provides a spot of, hmmm.. companionship. I know that sounds crazy but when you voyage through life alone, you always feel slightly untethered. Sitting in that special spot is kind of like you are not alone. You converse with your self and the spot as well is a sort of companion.

  8. I think we all need a safe space to retreat to, but if we linger too long, with no one to challenge us iccasionally, we risk becoming boring old farts, We need the occasional storm to rock the risk of complacency.

  9. Gosh, you have me thinking now and asking 'where IS my corner'.

    I had to go for the 'risk' to get onto your blog today. Didn't this happen once before?

  10. I have my log jealously guarded "personal space"...and woe betide anyone who trespasses there! *smiles*
    Seriously though, everyone does need a quiet retreat from the pressures of life from time to time. Without it, we would probably go insane.
    It will sound strange, I know, but I am not a person who likes being alone too much...but I really do need those moments of solitude, when I can collect my thoughts.

    Great music...I could listen to this all day...will be going round inside my head for ages now! :)

    Greetings from North Cornwall.:))

  11. I think it is rather telling that you have two "corners" a kind of safety net ? .. that spare for just in case.
    I think our corners give us that security to think out side the box .. that our backs are covered , not by a particular person but by the physicality of a "corner" .. my corner is not so much literal as in atmosphere ... a quiet,cool, dark room .. sounds a little strange but I think atmosphere is an ephemeral element to our corners which is just as important if not more.
    I enjoyed this post ... food for thought : ) Thank you !

  12. We need a quiet spot to go to and retreat away. But risks can make for a fun day too. Humans are nuts though, that we know.

  13. I think everyone needs a safe corner

  14. lol, cool to hear that you learned English sitting in a corner :)

  15. Oh I love your very comfy corner. If I sank into it, it would be hard to get out, lol. Our comfort is appreciated by us for sure....a safe comfy corner is a welcome retreat from the world.

  16. Well said - everyone needs a favourite space of their own.

  17. El encontrar una esquina con un libro que te hizo aprender la lengua inglesa te cambió completamente tu vida.
    Cada uno debemos disfrutar de nuestro pequeño espacio.
    Un abrazo.

  18. We all need our corners, whatever they may be. They give us the strength to leave them and take on what the world has to offer.

  19. Lovely post. We all need our sacred spaces where we can be alone and tune out the world for a little while.

  20. A very charming post. A corner of one's own. I especially liked how that corner can be almost a book or an activity. Thanks, Cubano-- also for your kind comment by me-- at my blog I mean-- it did show up. K.



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