Retreat, Retreat!

A few weeks ago my son wanted to listen to some music.  His friend had a little ipod and he wanted in on the action.  So I dug through that drawer that we all have in our house that is stuffed to the gills with all the crap that we don’t throw out or find proper homes for and found an old ipod nano that I had bought for Darko’s birthday (although indirectly and selfishly also for myself) back from the days where I could still run and we even sometimes ran together.rpk-tramplin

I charged it up and handed it over and he wondered around the house shouting too loudly until he was bored of it all and left it lying on the floor with all the other endless stuff that gets left there.  I picked it up to have a little listen.  Songs from another lifetime.  Because it belonged to my husband there was a lot of guitar based stuff on there.  And because it was also sort of mine there was a lot of Yann Tiersen.  It was interesting to listen to the contrast between tracks.  Then lyrics from one of my husband’s songs jumped out at me.

Retreat. Retreat. I’ve fallen at the low tide.

It was just one wee line in a song by The Editors.  I probably bought the CD for him back when we still did things like that.

But it thrummed through my head never the less. Retreat. Retreat.

Because I feel more tired than I can possibly say,  because I feel like the scales I’ve been holding over my eyes have fallen away and I’ve seen that nothing much matters really, not really, because I can no longer believe that there was a reason for it, for any of it, there is no great twist in the story, no sudden reversal where the jigsaw puzzle clips into place and makes a pretty picture.  The picture is broken, broken and it can not be fixed. Not ever.  Because the world isn’t turning to make us pretty pictures, we are just shadows burning each other as we pass by and some of those burns are going to be permeant, some of those burns are going to brand your damn skin.  Because I don’t experience things the way other people do, I just don’t.  I still want the world to be christmas morning, I am still looking for it, freshly fallen snow to cover up the shit.  But there is no snow, the weather just does it’s thing, it doesn’t mean anything either.  There’s no great message to it all, no purpose, we’re all just bubbles waiting to burst.

So retreat, retreat and shut the fuck up Stephanie because quite frankly I am annoying myself.  Just lie around and watch Jamie Fraser take his top off on Outlander or read shitty, awful books with improbable and stupid  love triangles over those somehow special girls with magical powers.  Distraction is a beautiful thing.  That’s why we all do it.

So I’ve been quiet.  Not really writing, except for rubbish. No poems. Fuck the poems. I’m tired of them.  And they are clearly tired of me.

There have been a few weeks like this.  And of course there has also been sleeping and crying (I cry a lot, it’s not really a cause for alarm, I am abnormally teary) and trying to feed my children with food that isn’t covered in  breadcrumbs. All of that.  But mostly I’ve just been done with it all.  The talking about stuff like anything really matters.

And yet here I am, waffling on again.  So yes, there was a little moment this week that made feel like writing.

It was a very small thing.

A thing that was a ripple out of something I had done a few years ago.  Nothing special, that’s important. This is not one of those moments where I say yeah, everything is so bland and ordinary but look, look at this special thing I did!  I did nothing special. I just bumped along doing the usual crap I do.  But my usual crap bumped someone else along and years later the result of that bump sparked into something else and I got to see that happen.

Small things helping small things.

So there is always that.

Later in the week I sat in my Primary 6/7 theatre class watching them dance.  We do this a lot. It’s all improvised.  They are one of my favourites because they go with this work more than most.  And we talk about a lot of things in that class (weirdly we talk a lot about how rubbish their sex education is but that’s another post for another day) but we also talk about the space we are making for each other.  About how in this moment they have the freedom to just really let go and be them.  The doors to the world are closed and therefor the doors to themselves can open wide.

And there they were, in the middle of a six minute dance improvisation and if you’ve never watched work like that before then let me tell you it’s pure bloody joy.  To watch, to do. And I thought small things.  Little sparks.  Little bumps.

I am mad as a box of frogs. I am never going to be a ballerina.  I am  never going to be most of the things I wanted to be in fact.  My life is a supermarket shopping queue.  Ordinary, dull, a lot of waiting and looking for distraction.  But here and there our ordinary things can touch, not to burn, not to  brand but to spark, maybe a little heat, maybe here and there a little fire.

So yes, retreat, retreat, I’ve fallen at the low tide. Haven’t we all. I am operating from the gutter.  But even down here there’s the odd moment where all the things that don’t really matter still  manage make something interesting.

 

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The Scrapbook Life

I had scrapbooks as a kid.  I liked to cut things up and stick them, it was fun and I have always liked a good project.  I still have a little book I made out of the cuttings of shows I had been in as I was growing up. Scrapbooks are playful and they have their place. They are also, well, scrappy.  I doubt you would want to base your life on it.  But here I am, living the scrapbook life.aton-mebel

What am I on about?  I wish I knew. But what I am trying to say is that my life is made up of bits and pieces. It isn’t a singular thing.  There is no one picture that cuts across everything I do and if I am being honest, I wish there was

I have always been drawn to people who have had a focus.  I find the singular picture life appealing.  Those people who have their lives wrapped up in one thing, one piece of paper.  They know what they are all about. Which is not to say that they don’t have many parts to their lives but that they have one theme that reaches over the top of it all, like a bridge to sanity.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

My life is not so neat.  It feels scrappy. There are bits and pieces everywhere. I haven’t done any one thing for a very long time.  I have all these little cut outs making up my world.  Of course the family, the kids and all the normal things, but really I am talking about the work I do.  I have a craving for some kind of mastery, a specialism.  But I am too scattered for that, at least for now.  I do too much dabbling.

A little bit of teaching, a little bit of writing poetry, a little bit of writing scripts, a little bit of writing here on the blog, a little bit of directing, a little bit of performing, a little bit of movement based work, a lot of little bits.  I am just pottering around with all these unfinished paintings.

One of two things needs to happen.  Either a) I find a way to focus it down, pick my spot and grow my garden right there.  Or b) I learn to live with this mad allotment, keep scattering my seeds all over the shop, hoping that something might grow.  I don’t know which is the right answer. The first feels calmer to me, kinder.  The second just feels like reality.

So if I am in this scrapbook life for now, what does that mean for me?  How do I cope in the chaos?  With that feeling of not really belonging because I think this is what is at the heart of my search.  I want to feel like I belong, like I have some sense of community.

I think an artist (if I dare use that word and I do because I think we are all artists in our own way,  however humble) needs community, a sense of belonging. The people around them that get the work, the world of the creative.  People to share with, learn from, teach, trust, discover with.  Probably the best part of my teaching job was my lovely department, it was a joy to work with such beautiful, kind, generous, clever and supportive people.  On a Friday I didn’t rush off because I just wanted to bleather for bit.  At the moment  I have no one to bleather with and I miss it.  We all need a bleather.

There are no answers in this post because I have none. If I work it out I will write a book and be rich. You can all come on holiday with me.  But until them I must just muddle along best I can, try and grow my garden, try and manage all the scraps of my life, see if I can make some kind of picture out of them. Make something beautiful, make something necessary, something that matters

My daughter has spent half the day cutting out little pictures, she likes to scrapbook too.  I stop her to ask – What is mummy for?  She thinks for a moment and says ‘For the heart.’.  Before I have time to think awwww she does a little fart and smiles, then says ‘Or for the fart.‘.  And I think she is probably right.

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‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is a movie genre Drama, Fantasy, Adventure, was released in September 28, 2016. Tim Burton was directed this movie and starring by Eva Green. This movie tell story about A teenager finds himself transported to an island where he must help protect a group of orphans with special powers from creatures intent on destroying them.

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A Rubiks Cube, not a Ball

I want to be a ball.  A nice round ball.  With one lovely colour.  A ball knows where it’s at. It understands it’s job and how to do it.  It just rolls around, there are no sharp edges.  It’s soft.  Easy to play with.  Useful. A ball has one surface.  But I am not a ball.Как работает традиционный сэндвич?

I know people who are balls.  I think they are lucky.  I envy their roundness, their one simple surface. Balls have just one thing to do and they do it well, really well. It’s all straightforward stuff when you are a ball.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I tend to see three ball types on my travels.  There are the yoga balls, all bendy and beautiful, the writer balls all wise and wonderful and the theatre balls all shiny and smart.  They love what they do and they do what they love and they have found there place in the world.  I would like to be a ball, I would like to know my place and I would to have just one thing to do and do it really well.Movie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

But I am not a ball. I am a rubiks cube.  What this means for me is that I have a lot of sharp edges, a lot of corners.  Also too many surfaces and they are all different colours.  Day to day I find it hard to work on one surface without messing up all the others.  I have to think about the blue side when I am working on the yellow.  I don’t have time to make each one  perfect because I have to tend to all these different moving parts.  I am not mathematical, I can’t make it work.

The year after I left teaching and before I started the youth theatre I really only had one side on the go.  I did no theatre that year.  I did no movement/exercise that year – I wasn’t well enough.  I just did the poetry thing.  And because I just did the poetry thing I was able to travel a fair bit in that year, from a complete beginner to someone with a basic understanding and the beginnings of a publishing record.  But when I was reading I was reading poetry and when I was listening I was listening to poetry and when I was doing courses they were poetry courses and when I spent time with friends they were poetry friends.  I was as ball like as I am ever going to get.  I liked it, it was nice.

And then other things started to creep in again.  And they were not bad things. This area needs a youth theatre (and I need some kind of road that might lead to an income!) and I needed the yoga, badly.  It has transformed my  health.  But now I am juggling.  Juggling squares.  The house, the kids, the fact that I am a mother to a child with additional needs, the time I need to move and do yoga, the time I want to sit still and be quiet, the creative work for the youth theatre, all the admin work for the youth theatre, any work I am doing in the schools, then the time to write, edit, submit.  And that’s before I make time to see family and friends or read a book for leisure or even just take a walk.  Those things often don’t get a look in.  I don’t like multi tasking.  I just want to worry about one thing.

I watched a video this week from a guy who does two hours of meditation a day.  He said we all have the same amount of time and it’s up to us how we spend it.  I understood his point but also thought he was speaking from a place of privilege.  Yes we all have the same amount of time but we all have different challenges and responsibilities within that time.  A single parent of a severely disabled child carries  a level of responsibility that a single person does not, someone who does not need to worry about money has a different set of needs to a person who absolutely must hold down their minimum wage job.  It gets my back up with self development gurus pretend the playing field is equal when some people are playing on a posh field with the best equipment and coaches and others are on their own kicking a football around the street.

Not that I think I am that person, I have a lot of luck in my life actually, a lot of privilege.  But I am still not a ball.  Not just now anyway. And yes I realise, that if you are a ball you are probably not the lucky bastard I imagine you to be.  I am sure there is a fair amount of being kicked about to put up with.  Never the less I somehow I need to find a way to deal with all the little bits and pieces of my life.  Somehow I need to figure out how I can focus on all my sides, not at once, but at least equally and not at the expense of one another. And then I need to allow it all and know that nothing is wasted, nothing is lost.  I am not a ball, but I still want to play.

The Reset Button

My son is crying and it’s my fault.  He is crying because his minecraft world had been frozen up by some strange xbox glitch.  He is crying because I thought the best way to save the situation was to press the reset button.  He is crying because, while pressing the reset button did fix the glitch, all his work disappeared. He is crying because although I have given him extra time to remake his world he no longer feels like building it.  Reset buttons are good but there can be a price to pay.покраска металлических поверхностейПолынь

I watched a TED talk the other day on taking a daily ten minutes of silence.  It’s not the first time I have watched it but obviously I didn’t bother to to do it last time.  This time I know I need to.  All week I have been experimenting with what I call 10, 10, 10.  Three ten minute slots of silence – one first thing, one midday and one before sleep.  I called it 10, 10, 10 partly just because I like to give things a name but also because I had a fabulous director once who, when he liked something you did, would say it was 10, 10, 10.  So far I have learned:

It is a much better way to start/end the day than looking at bloody facebook which I find stressful and addictive in a bad way.Watch movie online Rings (2017)

Making a change like this is hard.  I hope I can stick to it. I am afraid I won’t.

Flexibility is important if it’s not to become a big massive source of stress.  If my daughter wakes up at the same time of me, as she often does, then so be it.  It can all wait.  If it feels lighter to do it later then I do it later.

It’s like a little reset button in my day.  I have to stop, stand back, be silent and still.  For ten minutes I power down.

Sometimes things get lost.  Often these are good things. Like the hours of me trying to think my life better.  If this were possible I would have done it by now.  But sometimes I lose the layer of protection I have in place, I have to stop and see that deep down I am really quite afraid.  That feels pretty uncomfortable. As I said before.  Reset buttons can have a price.

But I do think it’s a price worth paying.  Your other choice is just to let everything run and run and run until eventually the screen freezes or glitches or just blacks out.  You wouldn’t leave your computer on 24/7 and expect it to still run well, and yet often we ask ourselves to do exactly that.

In the house I’ve been busy resetting too.  Every year I have a resolution to declutter and every year I don’t quite manage to do it.  This year I am on a mission.  My house creates stress, stress is the enemy.  Less stuff equals less stress.  So it’s all going, as much as I can.  Including things that I hang onto for sentimental reasons, old notebooks, old diaries, old keepsakes.  All of it – going.  I have found the idea of minimalism appealing for some time now, I would like to reach towards some kind of version of this.  This is mainly motivated by laziness,  the less stuff there is the less I need to tidy and clean.  That’s the dream anyway, that and a cleaner.

Finally there’s the writing.  I am busy trying to switch that thing back on after a very long reset.  This week I wrote for the first time in ages.  It was awful in a good way by which I mean I managed to sit down and write but what I wrote was just drivel.  That’s ok, I can’t expect to just start running again after all this time.  I’m just coming back to life.  By day three I managed to write something that looked like it could be something.  If I keep going the whole system should reboot eventually.

So 10, 10, 10.  Or even 1, 1, 1.  It would be enough.  A minute to be still, quiet, to power down and disconnect.  On that note I am switching off for ten minutes now, I might lose a few buildings but I’ll have a faster connection when I return.