liberté, égalité, fraternité – oui, je fais mes loom-bands!

I’m usually late for revolutions. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that, were I the leader of a revolution, having wrestled with my own impotent rage that one time too many and so decided to take action against yet another social injustice, and had somehow managed to draw everyone away from facebook, awakened them, snapped them out of their otherwise permanent daze, and so arranged a time and place – enough’s enough and all! 

Well… I’d still miss it, for remembering neither the time nor where I’d told everyone to meet.

You may be happy to learn, then, that this summer, the one just been and – at present most certainly – gone, I held my head high when traversing Paris’ Place de la Bastille, on the very crest of a wave; loom-banded up as I was – bracelet AND necklace, in all the colours of the rainbow. Furthermore, I’d succeeded in not only seizing the zeitgeist with my own lissom fingers but mastering it to my whim, much to the awe and admiration of a certain French boy and English girl, the girl being my daughter.

There’s no doubting that the loom band thing is a revolution. And as with revolutions, there’ll be two sides to the coin; there’ll be talking points, debate; casualties of sorts, the majority seemingly undeserving.

For my little girl, she, as with many of her friends, is a fanatic – straight unto the fray! In fact, it’s the first thing she does once home from school and coat off; Open a YouTube window, Dad, I’m half-way through a starfish!

… until – SNAP – Ohhhh, noooo, not another ! !

Yep, there’ll always be heartbreak with revolution…

With this one, however, impatience, impetuosity, impropriety, mishap – blunder – can all be treated, adjusted, redecorated – I think I was searching for any old a ‘ted’-ending past-participle with that last one.

And that is what this blog post’s about.

I stated I my last post that, with my debut novel, Wood, Talc & Mr. J, now up and walking, that I’d no longer refer to it in my posts, but move on to my second venture, a sequel: Nancy boy. But, since the latter is still at its first stammerings, as they say in the Dordogne, I thought I’d write about revolution – cough… Or rather about loom bands.

A group of mums I heard chattering in the school playground yesterday – actually, they were ranting, however comically – have unknowingly persuaded me to do so. Loom bands – as with all revolutions – are indeed for the young:

“It’s all my David does, I preferred it when he only ever played on his video games!”

“Bloody little bits of broken elastic bands all over her bedroom!”

“If our Maddie gives me one more bracelet!”

So it goes. And whatever might be wrong with such a young one giving mum a bracelet? Crafted by her very own hands…

Yes, this time, for a change, I’m on the side of the revolutionaries.

Allowing a child to skilfully create objects, of his/her choosing, is possibly a way of administering to that child just about every existing noble quality there might be – no innocent sorts for severed-heads by frenzied and fearful social climbers here.

Take my own daughter, nine years of age. She’s creative to begin with; has spent most of her young life, when her head isn’t in a book, making things, from other things, things I would never have imagined possible; from egg boxes to anything she can move. And if ever there’s been the odd whimper on her part, when something simply hasn’t turned out as she’d hoped, sometimes post-hours of effort, I’ve always offered comfort and philosophy, which she’s habitually accepted in time.

It’s a safe environment, in which she’s essentially the boss; as is the case with our new loom bands revolution – unlike the traditional boss-free revolutions; the sink-or-swim; the kill-or-be-killed. This fight is personal, between the warrior and the elements, and there is only ever one winner. Prize(s)? Reward for personal endeavour; that elevating sense of achievement, from which all living humans thrive; an enforcing of qualities, such as patience, tenacity; an understanding of strategy, of not allowing rashness to overwhelm prudence; and that of a refusal to yield when frustration might appear to be getting the upper hand – snap, snap, there goes another! “Dad, can I break something in the kitchen please?”

She’s only joking when she says that…

All that aside, there exists the simple practicality of acquiring the motor skills at which each child naturally, subconsciously aims – loom bands are like the child’s version of chess, just much more popular, and are to his/her hands what reading is to the mind.

Yes, then: there’s a lot to be gained from a son or daughter producing, as if magically, a multi-coloured Sloth from Ice Age; or my favourite blue and white striped owl. And long may this revolution live – Vive La Révolution! For there is nothing to match the gifts as those for human endeavour; for having tried and tried again. Indeed, there exists only one form of failure, the one of any parent or guardian failing to recognise such a fact. And to do so is akin to having no reason to get out of bed in the morning…

I’d like to think the loom band thing might become a permanent aspect of our culture, of all cultures. But I just can’t see it… All revolutions mellow in time, but with this one I’d still love to believe that some real good comes of it, long-term… like, dare I hope, its building a bridge of knowledge, one leading to the idea that there is more to life than social media, even within the confines of a youngster’s bedroom.


Chris Rose

Your literary, soulful friend

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