an opportunity to write

May 24th saw my month in the greek sunshine.  Four weeks of quiet and solitude amongst the ancient olive groves of Northern Kefalonia.  My aim here was to write my story as explained in my last post and what a setting I had to write all this.  An old farmhouse, lovingly restored, plenty of land , fantastic views and my own chickens

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I write “morning” pages and have done so for nearly a decade, so used to expressing what is going on for me, so I thought writing a book about my life would be easy.

Fist I went headlong in, typing in word on my laptop, the words and memories just flooded page after page.  Exciting or what, as one memory  was written down another came to the for and after writing almost  daily for a couple of hours I had written 35,000 words and still only reached ten years old.  Since my return I am still writing, trying to put my life in its historical setting and the whole process now seems one of “layering”, going back over and adding life’s memories from all vantage points.  I am now nearing 60,000 words an 13 years old, its 1962 and threw myself headlong into the 60’s lifestyle when every social norm was challenged, clothing, music, drugs, sexuality, formalities, schooling and dress. The rigid culture of the past decades could no longer be contained, and the call for greater individual freedom broke free. Youth found a voice and every social constraint was there to be broken from Racism to Sexism. Everything was turned on its head, thrown up in the air, and the repercussions of this are still being felt today

Without setting out any real structure before I began only the need to express all this right now , I am finding it rather unwieldy, trawling all these words, to check continuity, tracking my revisions is not easy and perhaps in hindsight I should have done some research on “how” to write a book first.  My personality is such, that when the passion comes to give birth to a creation I have to make a start right then and there.

 

Reliving the past

My love affair with jewellery making seems to have lost the lead at the moment !  As usual I have many projects on the go.  I see them like horses in a race, all jockeying for first position and for now writing has taken first place.

I have amassed so many components, tools, different clays, inks, beads, findings etc etc plus all the beads and items made carefully sorted and now stored away in a mass of boxes.   They were all crowding in on me and felt quite suffocated by the process and the obsession to keep making that I feel quite relieved that all the “stuff” is now housed along with many other obsessive months of work.  Its strange I have made hundreds of bracelets and necklaces, most I have given away because when it comes down to it I don’t like wearing jewellery unless it feel it is part of me, difficult to explain really, I don’t like ” decoration ”  pretty girly things, I am earthy and so the items I have made in the last months only 4 items remain in my wardrobe, large faux pebble necklace and three large faux ivory bangles .  Oh yes, and a necklace that looks like broken eggs

So how did the writing start?  a friend wrote his memoirs, after reading the  seed had been set.  It’s been percolating for a while and all the recent deaths in the media and then attending my stepfathers funeral, the seed sprouted and  has now grown into a book for my children, I wanted them to know the complex character called Mum is a woman shaped by many life’s experiences both good and not so good, it may help them to see what shaped me and what makes me tick …….  It is amazing that once  the memories begin to flow, the more memories begin to surface, it’s also interesting researching the 50 and 60s and plotting “my story” in their correct social and political context

So looking forward to my holiday in Greece in a couple of weeks time, I can then write to my heart’s content without  any work demands which have been full on demanding these past 6 weeks.

 

Image is a recent visit to Birmingham, New Street Station roof !  and me waiting for the meeting in Birmingham Art Gallery which is just a stone’s throw from the station.

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shed writing

What a very interesting time spent with Tony Gammidge and Jane Fox writing about their installation at the Pheonix Gallery in Brighton last night.  The exhibition ” dream home” inspired their installation called the  shed.  We were invited along to explore the piece and write its story post complletion.  Their collaborative work had no real narrative, they assembled the pieces with “no story” attached, apparently the first time they have produced a piece without being inspired by a storyline, other works they have produced with name s like,”who killed cock robin”  and “Baba Yaga” for instance.

Confronted by a candle lit structure, dismembered pieces of discarded matter from homes around london and brighton, mainly window frames in an assortment of sizes, broken glass, old mirror, a piece of a newel post, streams of candle wax from the many candles  and old cutlery box with rusting knives.  I instantly felt it was screaming at me, luring me in, it wanted to tell me something and it felt very urgent.  We were asked to take some paper,  and sit and watch for awhile, absorb the structure, take in the detail………..

My thoughts were instant, I didnt need the detail, so with my pencil and paper I scribbled down a kind of mind map of words and ideas, it was like the structure, its dismembered pieces all held their individual but collective story and it had been held in  for so long that the need to express it was so strong,  the energy was puling at me, I could feel a real gut wrenching uneasiness, a real sense of foreboding, I new that concealed in the glass were the reflections, the eyes of so many frightened gazes……..   the candles are a way to lead me to it, they are illuminating the way into the darkness.   As I started to write, strangely I became the structure and the saviour,   a dailogue appeared on the paper and as I stared towards the journies end it was becoming more illusive, a mist, a fog descended, would I never know?  Would I reveal the attrocities I saw to my saviour, would I the saviour be able to help …………………  then it was time to close.

So much came up from the vision of  “the shed”, today I feel like I need to write its story in more detail,  will I?  remains to be seen.