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Wednesday 10 October 2012

András Pető – Gillian Maguire and Andrew Sutton, and many more

'The café on the corner where I read for two hours on Saturday in the sun'


I have finished it!

Just as I had set out to do I read my copy of András Pető from cover to cover, front to back – with the exception of a few peeps at the contents pages to find out where things were so that I could re-read them, and a few peeps in the index for the same reason. 

I had been so excited to receive my copy of András Pető on October 2nd.  I had hoped that I would read a good chunk of it on the five hours that I spent on a train the following day. I was wrong. I got distracted on the train that day, so I abandoned my bike for the rest of the week and got stuck into discovering AP on the way to work, on the tram, on the bus and walking through the now-harvested cornfields.

On Saturday I spent two lovely hours in the autumn sunshine with two cups of coffee and a cake, in the café around the corner, sitting reading András Pető. On Sunday morning I stayed curled up in my warm cosy bed and almost finished it off.

Today, with only thirty pages left to read, I abandoned the bike again! I read the last page in the evening sun as I walked to catch the bus.

Always as I read I had a marker-pen and some multi-coloured Post-its at hand to mark my favourite pieces. As you can see in the photographs my copy of András Pető now resembles my copy of AP’s Unfug in more than just the colour of its cover – both are decorated with colourful streamers all along the edges!

What do I think?

First thoughts

It was lovely to read the first two parts – ‘Memories’ and ‘In his own words’

I also loved to read – ‘Even his friends did not know him’ by Szörényi Róbert who was a fellow-trainee at the Pető Institute in 1989-1993, and a friend

I really loved reading the whole book in one go, not just delving in here and there

I feel reassured somehow that I am doing what AP wanted us to learn and carry out, even though I did not know him

While reading I began to understand even better why my work as a conductor so suits me and my lifestyle, my upbringing and my soul

I feel vitalised, motivated, reassured, and hopeful

Reading Parts One and Two has given me greater confidence. I shall be more able to stand up for myself, to stand by my beliefs, and this reinforces my strength and the will to advocate conductive upbringing for the rest of my conductive life.

I feel very grateful to Gill and Andrew for collecting all of these stories and compiling them to produce this one volume of work that makes things clearer, and easier to find later

Just one dodgy moment

Only once in the whole book did I read something that made me think — ‘Oh dear!’, and made me ask myself whether an author had understood? It was just one paragraph in the article by Rolf Lehnhardt, though as I carried on with my reading the feeling disappeared. I know this article, I have read it before in German so it was no surprise. It did pull me up for a second but I was soon back on course.

New and old

Much of the material in this book I have seen before, some of it, like Lehnhardt’s article, I have in my own collection. Some of what I think of as the more special bits, the bits marked with bright pink Post-its, are new to me.

I was a fellow trainee with Szörényi Róbert and we were also friends, so we often discussed Róbert's recent discoveries, and on a couple of occasions I accompanied him on his investigative trips. Unfortunately I never plucked up the courage to ask whether I could visit the Ákoses with him. He always told me about them as we travelled together on his way to his next meeting but regretfully I always left him at the tram stop and carried on alone on my journey home. It was with pleasure that I discovered here in this book, and read for the first time, his report of Róbert's personal investigations about András Pető.

I was always an avid reader of The Conductor magazine so as I read this book I met other articles that are also familiar to me. I have since met and interviewed Joan Savage a couple of times in her London home, and I have read both Judit Forrai’s and Vera Förster’s books. There were extra snippets in both their contributions that I enjoyed but I think that I can honestly say that Julia Devai’s piece is my absolute favourite part, including the copies of the manuscripts in the Appendices that she contributed from her personal archive..

I have read some of AP’s own writings before. I have ploughed though some of his plays and read some of his poetry, and I have read his books in German. Whenever I meet people who knew him I pick their brains for details from their memories of this man who remains such a mystery figure. In the book András Pető separate snippets become stories and a sort of a picture begins to form, still a more abstract picture, a Picasso rather than a Rembrandt!

Bringing it all together makes a portrait of a lifestyle, if not of the man himself.

Despite having read so much before I received this new book, it is a delight to have it all and much, much more sandwiched between two covers. It is also lovely to have it in the order that it comes in here and a treat to be able to see each piece in relation to the others. One reason that I have enjoyed reading all the items in the book is the sequence that they follow. While reading I have been remembering things, some long forgotten, that I have read before, and at the same time having spaces filled in by new material.

Is it full of surprises?

Yes, there is an element of personal surprise in reading András Pető.

Surprise, or perhaps just opening a door to take a look at all that I have learnt and all that I have practised using the method that was developed by AP. Surprise to be taking a closer look, surprise that I am realising the extent of the knowledge that I have collected over my lifetime, before and after my training, to help my own development, both personal and in my practice. I realised this while reading about AP.

Colour coordinated

The biggest surprise of all came as I opened the parcel last week that contained my three copies of András Pető – they were the same colour as AP’s own book – his Unfug!

How lovely they will look lined up next to each other on my CE shelves, copies of the old and the new. I have a pristine copy of each book that will stand next to a further copy of each both now tatty from use and decorated with rows of multi-coloured Post-its.

Thank you, Gill and Andrew, for the inspiration and the motivation that this read has given me.

I have renewed my motivation to keep on recording my own thoughts on conductive upbringing and to publish notes on my practice, and by doing so my work will continue to develop. As it develops I know that I shall reach out to more and more people and offer them help in learning to learn and learning to live. I know that I will continue exploring, reading and expanding my knowledge in the hope that by enriching my own soul I will store the knowledge that I may one day need to help others in their  journeys in life.

While reading this book I have felt the conviction that I have in my own work’s building, I have felt a growing confidence in the methods of my practice.

I have many interests in my life just as Pető had, and as many of my colleagues have. I have come across similar methods of treatment and rehabilitation to those that AP mentions in his writings while on visits to clinics throughout Germany with clients and friends. I have even tried some of these treatments and methods myself. Through doing so I learn.

There are so many situations in which conductors’ practice can be enriched by delving into what they already know and to what they have already experienced.

I have known that a conductive upbringing encompasses everything, my own everything and my clients’ everything, and that it all spirals upwards and outwards together as lives develop, as personalities grow and souls become healthy. While reading this book I had this confirmed.

I am reassured.


Lisa Gombinsky said...

Susie you are so wonderful and so inspiring! Thanks for the review - I'll be jumping in this weekend, not likely with your voracity, but certainly more excitedly for your wonderful and uplifting review

Andrew Sutton said...

(If you see what I mean)

Dear Susie,

It seems to be a Golden October for all sorts of Anniversaries. It is just over four years since Gill and I published the book András Pető, that you write about here.

I was very pleasing at the time to share in your enthusiasm for what we had put together. Four years later, however, I have to report that the book's sales have been disappointing. There has been a steady flow of 'Likes' for this book on Facebook – but these Likes do not turn into sales. In effect, apart from a few bulk buys, few have bought this book. Consequently there are few who can have read it.

I make no special case here for the virtues of this book (I am hardly entitled to), though I have noted over the years an astonishing lack of interest in written sources in general within Conductive Education. Indeed one might consider this a pervasive weakness within Conductive Education as a whole.

Specifically, over the last four years there has been little discernible progress an establishing a field of 'Pető Studies' to substantiate the rhetoric that clings to his name.

Oh well, it's never to late and this book remains in print. People will continue to post their 'Likes' though what one can like about a book without actually seeing a copy is a question that defeats me. For the future, perhaps the world of Conductive Education will change. Perhaps people might even read this book and share some of the feelings that it evoked in yourself four years ago.

As ever,

An older but hardly wiser Andrew.

Andrew said...

I hope that you will not mind if I take this opportunity to tell people that they can see more of this book and order a copy if they wish from the CEP Bookstore: