I got into deep, shark infested waters this time last week.
I was downstairs making a cup of green tea, taking a break from writing when the mail arrived.
Clarabella scooped it up off the floor and sifted through it. She came upon a brown, book sized jiffy bag with my name on and held it up accusingly.
“I thought we’d got an agreement about this sort of thing Marcus” she said.
I was genuinely surprised.
Let me explain.
Ever since my headmaster at primary school took it upon himself to teach me to read properly I’ve had a bit of a book habit.
I’ll never forget Mr Powell, Headmaster of Bardsey County Primary School, for as long as I live.
Because I struggled like a swimmer against a riptide when it came to reading.
Here’s what happened:
My mum worked as a cleaner at the school and every day I would stay behind for an hour or so whilst she finished her work. Usually kicking a ball around or more often climbing up the steel drainpipes and onto the roof.
Why climb up on the roof you’re probably wondering?
Well, you see dear reader, I desperately wanted to be a fighter pilot in the RAF when I grew up and jumping off the roof helped me to practice my parachute landing falls.
I thought it’d be good training.
As I landed on the grass with my elbows pinned to my chest, I bent my knees and rolled onto my side.
Unfortunately, on this occasion Mr Powell happened to be looking out of a window as I practiced my falls and he wasn’t impressed.
As a punishment I had to report to his office every day after school and read to him for an hour.
Every freaking day!
I hated him, I hated reading and I hated my mum for agreeing to the punishment.
But I was also scared of Mr Powell.
He was a traditional, hardcore headmaster, with his own collection of canes of various thicknesses outside his office and that’s all I’m saying about that.
I can’t remember the books we read, but they were in a long series, all in different colour coded groups. Each group increasing in complexity.
You couldn’t read the red books until you’d read all the blue books. And you couldn’t read the blue books until you’d read all the green books.
And so on. You get the idea.
And that sense of progression really appealed to me. I wanted to read the red books, but had a mountain of other books to work through first.
So with Mr Powells help I turned what wasn’t even a flickering ember of passion inside me for reading into a raging inferno that devoured all books stupid enough to get in it’s path.
I’ve had a couple of teachers in my life that’ve put themselves out to help me for no discernable reward that I could see (though as a teacher myself I totally get it now).
And I’ll never forget them.
Can you think of any teachers in your life that’ve done the same for you?
I suggest you add them to your next gratitude list.
Anyway, what’s this got to do with the book in the post putting me in deep water with Clarabella?
Well remembered yo!
Months ago I promised her that I would stop buying books, until I’ve read all the ones that I already have.
And yet there she is holding one in her hand right now *gulp*
Trouble is, I know I haven’t bought a book, so what is it?
I quickly open up the jiffy bag and pull out a copy of: “Fire Dragon Meridian Qigong” by Master Zhongxian Wu – and I know I didn’t buy it. I try explaining this to Clarabella and she’s having none of it.
“Oh Marcus, come on, they don’t give books away!”
Then I show her the letter:
“Dear Marcus Santer
We have great pleasure in enclosing a copy of this Singing Dragon book, and hope that it will be suitable for the review section of Qigong15…. “
A publishing house has sent me one of their books to review. For free. I don’t know who’s more impressed, me or Clarabella. That a proper ‘business’ wants to have my opinion.
I tell you I could hardly fit my head through the door.
Anyway, I apologise that this email has nothing to do with your Qigong practice. I very rarely know what I’m going to write in these emails until I sit down and write.
But I guess the main message that’s coming through today is how important teachers are. Especially those teachers who go out of their way to help students grow.
And their reward?
The satisfaction of knowing they changed a life for the better.
Here’s to them!
Oh, and because I’d hate myself if I didn’t pitch something to you, here’s a link to my best selling book:
Shaolin Chi Kung – 18 Exercises To Help You Live A Longer, Healthier and Happier Life:
Enjoy your practice!