• Shanley McConnell

When Something Known Becomes Something Learned, Understood & New

Updated: Jul 18

It only took the walk from the parking garage on the West End to the print shop South of Perth Road to realise that I was collecting something special-----a parcel; this brown paper wrapped round spiral binder held, for a moment, in a stranger's hands, in safe hands, before backpack was unzipped and both white paper and black ink disappeared inside.


It was a dissertation. It was every thought I had written and researched for the past two months and yet, it weighed of every long night, even longer days, and an extra one hundred and two weeks of University studies.


It isn't unusual for something known to, in a moment, become something learned, understood, realised------new. It's as if you understand known things for the first time again. It's a bit of a paradox, isn't it? How obvious things awaken with a most unusual, unexpected force.


It's a bit too bright, sometimes. Like realising the sun is still alive, blinding and revealing, despite the fact that the days have been a blur of sunshine and perfect weather. And that's how I felt as I walked right back down Perth Road, past DJCAD and the Mayfly, right back across the Caird to the lil cafe at the back of architecture buildings and one small museum worthy of more than just one monthly visit.


This dissertation, all forty pages and footnotes, signifies the end of my Bachelors' Degree and marks the beginning of a Masters.' It reminds me of a childhood spent between libraries and back gardens. It reminds me of the times when, instead of giving up when answers were unknown, or really, when these answers were still to be written, we figured-out and recreated these unknowns on sticky-notes and spirals; they were the stories and songs-----responses to all we were learning, to how we were living.


In this spirit of strength and living, I'd like to launch this month's theme, which, for me, embodies a bit of that feeling------the feeling when something so sure, so true, so known once again reminds you of its power.


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Sometimes beauty is like so. It surprises us with its presence despite the fact that we carry it with/in us.


And, if we are gut honest, beauty is messy. It's a concept so undefinable, so redefined that even the beautiful things we treasure most in life cannot be explained; they can only be held tight despite. Despite and especially when beauty is at its most subjective. When it is subjected to demands and opinions of changing, evolving social constructs.


I consulted the dictionary for a more definite description of 'beauty.' It responded three times:


1. A combination of qualities (such as shape, colour, or form) that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.


2. A combination of qualities that please the intellect.


3. An excellent example of something.


That's the thing about beauty. It doesn't let one thing define it. Beauty is a combination-----the collaboration of-----pleasing things. The intellectual and the physical. It is the embodiment of excellence; it exemplifies the essence of something, or someone, sound and unbroken.


It is so easy to feel broken. To feel as though beauty is a breaking-point, unreachable and in pieces.


My friends, let these definition instil you with courage. You posses within you the very combination of aesthetic qualities that please the eyes, the ears, the hearts, the hopes of all you come in contact with. It is your wit, your wisdom-----your wild curiosity within-----that sets you apart from the beauty of others.


Clothe yourself in beauty. It is as personal as it is unifying. It allows you to empathise with the broken around you, and it watches as you lift them to their feet.


Beauty is as humbling as it is assertive.

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It is a great privilege to welcome some dear friends to the blog over the course of this month to share their thoughts on beauty; each guest post varies in genre and context, and yet, each speaks to the shared experience of experiencing the power of beauty afresh again and again.


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