Discourse Analysis – Variation Theory

So, I’m reading a book on Applied Linguistics (as you do) and I came across this:

“Variation theory was developed by Labov (1972) and has made a major contribution to the analysis of discourse, in particular, his description of the structure of spoken narratives, which has been very influential in language teaching. Labov, with Waletsky (Labov and Waletsky, 1967), argued that the ‘overall structure’ of a fully formed narrative of personal experience is:

  • Abstract (summary of story, with its point),
  • Orientation (in respect of place, time and situation), Complication (temporal sequence of events, culminating in crisis),
  • Evaluation (narrator’s attitude towards narrative),
  • Resolution (protagonist’s approach to crisis),
  • Coda (point about narrative as a whole).

(Labov and Waletsky, 1967: 363)”

And I thought to myself what a wonderful way to write a story! Who’d have thought that a linguist would know this? 🐸

(a tiny bit) AMAZING!!

Just been looking back through a notebook of my thoughts and doodles from 2019 and I have to say that there’s some pretty amazing stuff in there! Maybe it doesn’t mean that I’m amazing, per se, but wouldn’t you say that it’s a pretty good indication?

I mean, sure, I’m not just the (amazing) thoughts that I have and I’m not only the (amazing) things that I write or say or otherwise express, and I’m hardly my (amazing) body and I’m not even merely the (amazing) sum of all these parts, but still: of the parts are amazing, then what about me? I must be a little bit amazing, right?

Anyway, I rest my case.

one of my doodles


Yes, I’m here. I suppose you want me to say something profound to prove that I’m here. Not necessary. I can equally say something trite if proof of presence is required. Here goes:

My belly is like a watermelon from all the food and drink I’ve put inside it. Last thing at night, when no-one else is watching, much less myself, I stuff and stuff and stuff myself to try to find that feeling of cool emptiness that I know only comes from being empty. I’m a goshdarned contradiction, that’s what I am. Brush your teeth and go to bed, Robert. You’ve done enough.

That’s it. That’s my proof of being in the world. That’s what anchors me to the here and now: my belly. And it’ll be gone by the morning at which point I’ll start again.

Plug Into Reality

Turn right (when walking)
Visit the local park
Reconnect with the past (museums)
Forage (for food)
Go camping
Explore your national heritage

Cycle for pleasure
Cycle for fitness
Try silly cycling (unicycle)
Learn a martial art
Join a local sports team
Relive old childhood games.

Take on the zombies
Go wine-tasting
Go coasteering
Go paintballing
Go tubing (rafting on innertubes)
Get wild with theatre
Go zorbing.

Arrange to see an old friend
Play dinner carousel (dine at friends’ homes)
Join a book club
See family
Send a postcard (or five)
Have a barbecue
Make new friends
Go out on the town.

Dig in (gardening)
Unleash your inner doodler
Splash out with some paints
Take your brush skills to the next level
Get your hands greasy (car mechanic)
Join a band
Learn an instrument
Attend an open-mic night
Pull the other one (bellringing)
Get on the airwaves.

Enter a world of puzzles
Challenge your friends
Get three-dimensional
Try out an evening class
Play spontaneous number games
Get that degree
Start a journal
Write a poem
Write with others.

Donate to a food bank
Give 1 per cent
Get involved with your local school
Help out at an animal shelter
Perform random acts of kindness.

Catch peanuts
Transform yourself (costumes)
Gargle (whilst humming)
Beard up
Invent stories (about strangers)
Set a new trend
Impress (charades)
Have a banana (literally).

(all of the above are from How to Unplug by Ross Dickinson)


According to Andrew, we can become spiritual oneironauts. We can, in other words, be awake and aware during our dreams. As someone who falls asleep during plays, movies, books and at work this appeals to me enormously.

I think that one of the reasons I like to read as I’m walking is that there is minimal chance of falling asleep during the process. Having now read (a minute ago) articles by Andrew Holocek on the Kripalu website (link on first line of this post) I’ve come to a whole different way of thinking about this whole falling-asleep business. Why not turn it from a deficit to an advantage?

So, yeah, I’ve not read much into the subject yet, but I’ve read enough to realise the massive advantages I could acrue by doing so, and enough to get excited enough to write this post about it. Because that’s what a good life’s all about, right? We turn our sunny sides up and enjoy every part of our experience – good or challenging!

I look forward to meeting you in a pleasant dream someday. Until then; enjoy!

Calling All Stone Kickers

Pebbles and stones free themselves from driveways. They arranged themsleves in the path of car tyres on such a way that they were propelled, as if from the barrel of a catapult, into the outside world. Then they sit on the adjacent footpath or, for those that are bold, even further away on the roadway, relishing their experience of freedom and adventure.

What does a stone think about? Deeper thoughts than Nagel’s bats, that’s for sure. You and I skim across the conscious surface of the mind whereas stones dive into the subconscious, unconscious depths and revel in experiences accumulated over countless millennia, each of their thoughts expressed over a century or more.

We are the fireflies who flicker in and out of their lives. But we wear the trousers and the boots.

A pebble on a pavement is a piece out of place for the lovers of order that we are. Things that have moved themselves out of place offend our sense of rightness and so, regardless of the fact that our boots have shiny leather (although other animals are lining up to be sacrificed) or that our parents told us not to kick (although they might have meant not to kick other children) or even taking into account the long planning that went into the escape plans of these stones (although they would (could) never admit to them), we boot them back into their stony homes without so much as a ‘by your leave’.

Calling all stone kickers: are you sure you’re doing the right thing?

not angry

not angry
keep the lid on
steam burning the backs of my eyes
screaming inside

i know i know all the best advice
(do not)
live a life of compassion
(clam up)
embody love
(leave the room)
be nice
(i am more important than you)

for every minute you are happy you lose sixty seconds of happiness
fore ver yminutey oua reh appyy oul oses ixtys econdso fh appiness
forev ery minuteyo uar eha ppyyo ulo sesi xtyse condsof ha ppiness
foreve rym inuteyou are hap pyyou los esix tysec ondsofh ap piness
forever ymi nuteyoua reh app yyoul ose sixt yseco ndsofha pp iness
forevery min uteyouar eha ppy youlo ses ixty secon dsofhap pi ness
foreverym inu teyouare hap pyy oulos esi xtys econd sofhapp in ess

it probably comes right in the end
but who
(not a question)

I Wish to be Free from Homemade Chains

I wish i would wtite more. I wish htat i would do the things that really make me happy. It’s punishing to be stick inside a kind that makes me di things that I only half want to do like editing my writing for sense nad punctuation.

I have to go to wathjc a movie now. its Friday night, which is movie night. |snd although i like watching moves this is one I’ve seen before and the person I’m watching it with has seen before although she may not remember this. remembering is a problem at the moment for one of us and i dont want to say more than that because if i say it then it becomes tru, right? I dont want something to be true and so I avoid saying about it so that it stays in the realm of possibility and not in the realm of reality.

My time has gone. I have an appointment one minute ago and so I wish you well and me well and all sentient beings well. Compassion and love to all of us.

homemade chains (my photo)


I spend too much time going little things and too little time doing big things.

For instance, I spent 3 hours at work today trying to figure out the SQL to filter a query to output records between next Friday and the two weeks before that. I did it in the end, but oh, the human cost! Wouldn’t I have been better off hugging a tree for a couple of hours or something like that? It’s been ages since I hugged a tree.

Life is such a weird (and sweet) thing.

Still, there’s always the sky.