The Gift of being a Luftmensch: A Love Story

Luftmensch. Yiddish (n.) Literally meaning ‘air person’ or daydreamer

There was a poll undertaken by a newspaper recently during the pandemic, to see what jobs the public felt were essential. It fared poorly for artists I have to say. (Doesn’t it tragically far too often?!) We were considered no more essential than a telelmarketer, with cleaners listed as most essential. Pondersome indeed!

For myself, personally, during the severest terms of lockdown, I would have been lost without my books and poetry and all those dedicated muso’s out there streaming and blessing us day in and day out with their craft! And it got me thinking on my personal eccentricities, the path I have chosen for myself and the kind of child I was growing up… If I could ever envisage another future for myself than this one I am on… And one which I feel for so many of us, is truly a vocation over a job, as we give so much of ourselves to it, with dinners of beans and toast and whatever we will do in the name of our art to keep the debt collector’s at bay!

As a child, I devoured books it has to be said. That much was certain. The more fanstastical, the better, The Magic Faraway Tree series being one I remember the most fondly. Another I absolutely adored and carried with me just about anywhere was Faeries by Alan Lee and Brian Froud. So lost was I in that world that I remember my mother once took me to a fair and was most confounded that the one thing I wanted to spend the bulk of my pocket money on was a magic wand crafted in copper with semi-precious stones embedded in it. “Oh, Jocelyn!” I hear her so clearly still…

I dressed up in awfully homemade Halloween costumes, believed wholeheartedly in faeries and conversed freely with imaginary friends long after I should have left such childish fanfare behind, further even making firm pals too with all the tiny creatures in our garden then, from butterflies to caterpillars and whole families of snails!

But looking back now, isn’t this a most precious gift indeed? Perhaps, yes, there is a little bit of madness in some of us… That selfsame madness for those of us who dare to dance where the wild things are? But where, oh, where, would this wonderful place I call home be without it?

So today, a little later for Wednesday Appreciation Day, I say a most sincere thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the magical sprites out there… And declare you most essential indeed!

To the chef extraordinaire and the bold flavours so artfully plated that you deliver in your restaurant, sharing your passion so fervently for all to appreciate…

To the painter, for the splatters and deft strokes you wield into such glorious colours and shapes to adorn the otherwise barren walls in our homes…

To the musicians and the illustrious and joyous compositions your render on your instruments, enchanting eager ears and full hearts…

To the textile artists and designers who make of us but a blank canvas to be reimagined in full splendour, veritable fairy godmothers that you are…

To the architects who create sheer wonders and leave us spellbound in the spaces around us… Wonders to dazzle audiences for years and years to come…

To all the storytellers, in every guise you have taken, so many of you so crucial to the person and woman I have become in this fruitful life…

And finally, to the indelible daydreamer in each and every one of us… My heart is eternally grateful to you all!

Happy belated appreciation day!

Life and Art

by Emma Lazzarus

Not while the fever of the blood is strong,
The heart throbs loud, the eyes are veiled, no less
With passion than with tears, the Muse shall bless
The poet-sould to help and soothe with song.
Not then she bids his trembling lips express
The aching gladness, the voluptuous pain.
Life is his poem then; flesh, sense, and brain
One full-stringed lyre attuned to happiness.
But when the dream is done, the pulses fail,
The day’s illusion, with the day’s sun set,
He, lonely in the twilight, sees the pale
Divine Consoler, featured like Regret,
Enter and clasp his hand and kiss his brow.
Then his lips ope to sing–as mine do now.

Featured image a tapestry by Faith Ringgold

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