Friday 16 January 2015

Flickering memory reel

I've been trawling through old photographs and reliving fragments of the past through them. Like lit up images of a vintage film projected onto a grey screen, on an otherwise blank reel of time, memory, like bits of old film, must be spliced together, in order for the narrative of the film to be viewed. Bright sparks of remembered faces or events: of joy, trauma, sadness and laughter, on otherwise reels of dark film: memory is mercurial and often unexpectedly selective.

As such, I am happier than a sandgirl given caffeinated pop for the first time, to have wonderful friends, past and present, who remind me of events, only part of which I remember. My secondary school days at the Art, Ballet, Drama and Music School were shot through with such kaleidoscopically vivid life experiences, that were I to remember them at once, would be like walking through galleries hung floor to ceiling with Picasso paintings. If you went to that exhibition at the Tate, you will know what I mean. I had to sit down and close my eyes for ten minutes every several galleries or so. These photographs are some of the most potent of all.

Wild, untamed, talented, and often brilliant, I have stayed in touch with many of the friends I made at ABDM, though they have exploded like fireworks all over the globe. One is a fantastically creative chef in South Africa, another is an internationally recognised and awarded costumed designer, another runs an inspired pre-school from a wooden schoolroom in her garden. Still another studied in France, producing brilliant figure drawing after figure drawing, became a make up artist and then a home designer - she is one of the funniest, honest, adorable people I have ever met and I cling to her like a rabid dog might to your arm. Just this morning she reminded me of how we used to escape our first school hostel using an old tennis net - how did we find that? Often she, or others, will remind me of things I have forgotten and the flickering images become a part of a more cohesive narrative reel.

Friends, seemingly randomly, picked up like gems, along the darkly unusual paths that we light up momentarily through life, are indelible markers of time and we cherish them, the ones from the past that remain, and whose facets continue to reflect our own as parts of our very selves; and the ones that are new, from diverse and often unexpected situations, such as a new friendship made through accidentally meeting someone as I nipped to the loo during a church service, who introduced me to his wife who nagged me (thank you so much for doing that B!) to go to a home education meeting, where I met a mum and then some, from Zimbabwe whose first name is the same as my own, who is writing a book that we are now in process to publication with.

Friends, I salute you.

Only last night, I reconnected with a brief friendship (we met on a girls night out but lived in other parts of the country) that has now restarted due to the fact that we are writing similar material, and are currently in the same part of the world, though we are north and south, and now we marvel at old and new connections, too ‘coincidental’ to document here. Today I salute friendship and all the friends who have adventured with me: from Courtenay Selous School, Zimbabwe, ABDM School, Johannesburg,  through life in London in art, music, writing and teaching, being a single London and then a home schooling mum in Wales, and also my Christian Kingdom friends, with whom relationship is multi dimensional! Life would be a flicker of what it is without you all.

Friday 9 January 2015

January Dreaming Spires

It's January 2015! Time to reflect on achievements and not quite achievements and what to build on for this year. We have spent the past couple of weeks emptying our container and problem solving. The puzzle has been: Why do we have so much stuff? Why can't we get rid of more stuff? Where can we stash remaining stuff? Gosh that thought was a blast to the past. Amazed I got away with it. But back to the present.

It seems that to fully live in the present, one must not be surrounded by 'stuff' from the past - this may not be volcanic news, but it can be a helpful NY reminder and a useful trigger to get going on new projects or clearing one's space, physical, mental (gosh that's a busy space) and spiritual, in order to think (and be) more creative/ly. Of course one wants to keep photographs and a few precious reminders, but reams of reminders (stuff) are unnecessary and can be hampering, and I don't mean in the Fortnum and Mason sense, if only I were that bling. 

Tip: As one goes about shunting boxes or trying to diminish the pile up in the garage or loft, or both, in our case, one can reflect on what bad (or dire) thought processes need to go to the great dung heap below, as it were. Sometimes this might be letting go of old (possibly ancient) grievances and learning to forgive and forget - the latter part being the key part of forgiving and which is often more 'Escape from Alcatraz' than 'All that Jazz.' It might mean letting go of any habitual behaviour that is unhelpful or just trying to be kinder to yourself (and others) or caring less about what others think.

Tip/sy: Last year I gave up alcohol for a year as a kind of extended lent.

"Golly!" I hear you shriek. "What happened?"

The main thing was that I discovered that alcohol was unnecessary. This also may not be blast your ears off news, but it like Christianity, is something that needs to be experienced rather than just read about - before and after experiments need to take place. Although Hubster and I don't drink very much or very often, we usually take a glass or two when offered and find it is rather relaxing (“You don’t say,” I hear you say). Upshot: (rather than down shot) save your pocket, your waist and your brain cells. You need them in fat, slim, fat order.

I am pondering what else to give up this year. As I have more brain cells now, there is more suff to ponder...

So in January, I am reflecting on what to leave behind and on constructing a new foundation for the fabulous 'building' I hope to construct this year. This building will have many facets that reflect the aspects of my life: being a wife, homeschooling mum/mum to an almost school leaver, writer, teacher and publisher amongst many other things. I'm hoping my building will be made of (toughened) glass. I want my life to be transparent in that I want it to be authentic, truthful and honest - a building of beauty - in the internal, eternal sense. Dreaming spires.