By Rob Heimann
Chef, gardener, retail assistant, apprentice with the National Trust (golden cap estate), horticultural officer working with adults with learning disabilities, gardener for city of London, nursery nurse, uni student (creative writing) and bar manager. These are all the jobs I have had over the last fifteen years or so, and I’m probably missing a couple. There was roughly a year’s worth of unemployment sprinkled in too. Now that’s a lot of time doing things that a more cynical person might call a waste but I disagree.
I didn’t know how all this scattered and unfocused experience would help me in life but I was (looking back), oddly relaxed about it. I suppose I felt I was on a search for the right thing for me and I had faith that I would find whatever “It” was. I only began to realise what this was all for when I started my creative writing degree. I was collecting a mixture of stories, experiences, odd bits of knowledge, skills, understanding and what I know as dots.
I quite like the name dots. It’s broad enough to encompass varied sources and styles of information that one picks up in life but meaningless enough to not distract from their fundamental nature. The name dots is nicely flexible so it can be worked into helpful metaphors. Naming something well is hard and difficult to do, possibly interesting enough for a scab by itself… another time perhaps.
I have many, note books, full of dots that I am in the slow process or collating/transcribing (my handwriting can be appalling) and I am already finding old and helpful dots. One I came across today, which although not really helpful right now I enjoyed very much and I will share it with you ‘cos I’m lovely. The origin of the phrase parting shot, comes from the ancient world. It was originally the name of a famous military tactic utilised by Parathion missile cavalry; which consisted of mounted archers riding at full speed toward the enemy, firing arrows all the way. Just before colliding with the enemy line, they turned firing back and the shaken enemy as they rode back to their own lines. Thus the Parathion shot. Neat, huh?
I have no idea if that particular bit of knowledge will be of any use to me at SCA, but you never know. I will continue in my quest for dots wherever I can find them, useful or not.