“Both the world of fashion and the Court of Chancery are things of precedent and usage…”
so Charles Dickens tells us in the opening paragraph of Chapter 2 in Bleak House. And by so doing he gives us the courage to make the leap of faith (as so many of his writings do) to connect in our imagination things that we might never have conceived of as somehow connected; nor indeed had the courage to so connect.
It is the very breed of courage that Maya Angelou speaks of when she said:
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
And I hope; it is the kind of courage that at age 53 has enabled and empowered me amidst a very active business life, running a small psychotherapy practice and a somewhat large recording studio (seemingly irreconcilable “threads” you might at first imagine) and an even more active family life (with my lovely wife Chanel and my two children Charlie aged 8 & Catherine aged 2) to embark upon an International Programmes LLB.
But there it is and here I am; and all in all I am very happy to have been accepted as a new blogger on this the University of London International Programmes – Official Student Blog. I have a mind to write about some matters that particularly relate to the study of law but also hope to touch on something to do with the subject of study; in particular something of the beauty of the process of studying rather than perhaps the rather more often visited “managing exam terror”/”how to learn 300 cases in six minutes”/”how to remember everything your tutor ever told you” etc. kind of posts and something of the joy/s (there I said it) of being a self-study student (which I am) but I am also very open to tackle any topics that our blog readers would like discussed if I feel I have something of real interest to say on said topic; so please feel free to suggest away!!!
Just as we look for “common threads” to make sense of our lives; to connect us with the lives of others so we look for intellectual and emotional threads or themes that connect our areas of interest (be they academic or otherwise); but as I have grown older & I hope that ten cents wiser I have developed the ability to be that little bit more patient with myself, others and that interminable process that we call education and am increasingly happy to allow things to unfold and to an extent unravel yet to have an inner confidence and faith that what I need will eventually be revealed to me.
During World War 2 my mother’s mother sewed ammunition belts ’til her fingers bled to put my mother through school (pretty “common threads” you might say), my father’s mother raised my father to be the great man he still is (he turned 85 last week) single-handed whilst looking after her handicapped brother at the same time, yet I never once saw anything but joy and heartfelt concern on their collective faces. So right now when i have to get up at 6:30 am to finish an essay or read up on a new case or two it really doesn’t feel that much of a burden; the common threads that run through my past, context my present and illuminate my future are strand by strand (much as a complex ratio is unpacked in a legal judgement) being revealed to me; and that is the freedom & wonder that only education can provide.
It is also the common thread that joins us all, as students to a common and ultimately greater purpose. Does my head ache at times; sure it does for as Dickens once wrote:
“Chancery Justice is so ve-ry difficult to follow”
Mark is studying the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) by distance learning in Shanghai, China.