Sunday, 11 March 2018

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

I have been trying to nudge myself back to life over the past few months. One of the ways i've been doing this is quietly working in my studio. It's process work but i needed to work on projects that are not all about Jon. I probably have too many balls in the air at the moment and some are sat on back burners simmering away, the smell of them mingling with whatever i am giving more concrete focus to on any given day. 
At the beginning of the year i decided to give myself one fairy tale a month to play with. This month's fairy tale is The Little Mermaid. With the two previous months i have used the time to immerse myself in the stories i have picked. I have made bits and pieces of work but nothing finished. I am ok with that at the moment as getting myself back on my feet feels more important than meeting a strict or heavy weight done goal. If anything my heavy weight goal is to stop spinning and re-find my still point so I can know and begin following my yearning again. 
Yearning i think is something i will be able to explore this month with this story. In many ways I was here before Jon died, wondering where i was going contemplating if and feel directionless. The time i am spending now in my studio with no deadlines and only my will and heart to follow is a parting gift. A gift maybe not wanted, but maybe needed. 
As i'm thinking about mermaids it seemed like the right moment to go to the sea. I had unfinished business to attend to in Southwold so that's where i went. The sea is always a comfort to me. I walked from the pier to the end where the river runs into the sea where  I met a lovely man who said that two metres of beach had been lost in the recent east winds and that tonnes of sand had been lost. His job was to put the sand back. 
I can't step on a beach and not beach-comb, i have so much sea treasure sometimes i feel a tad silly for picking up more but there is something meditative about the process. And it's funny what catches the eye and curiosity. This time it was wooden beach pebbles, and scraps of cloth, primarily. I think I know what I will do with the cloth, not so much the pebbles they may just end up in a bowl until i find a use for them.
For a while I sat and gazed out to sea. I hadn't been to the sea since my daughter and i had been to Dublin before I knew about Jon being dead. Of course i cried. There was no-one to see me cry and  who cares anyway. 
And I came across two gorgeous broken statues in slightly ramshackle garden. A marble man, a god or hero, grotesque in his broken-ness and a wooden woman, headless and legless.  Both useful and beautiful research figures.
I guess that yesterday was me picking up my threads, yes saying goodbye to Jon, Southwold was where we had our first proper date and our last, but also recomposing my world as it is now. Letting myself be soothed by the sight, sound, smell and feel of the sea, letting it lullaby me back into a walking life. 


Monday, 5 March 2018

And on Saturday i gave myself time to look at the plants in my garden 

Later, when it got dark, i looked out of my window and moon was beautiful

My blog has been a little short on pictures of late .. my attention has been otherwise occupied, the inside of me more accessible than the outside of me. But like a shoot breaking through soil i am pushing myself to come back to life. The snow from the east was winters last shot i think. And gave me chance to connect to my garden in a different way. 
Most precious was the fox, that ran past my back door as i opened it for my cat to go out. It stopped half way up my garden and looked at me and then began to come closer, it came a little way then paused and danced in a circle back to the same spot, then came a little closer and again danced in a circle, and kept doing this until it was only yards away and i moved so it didn't come too close. Sometimes it pounced as it came back to it's spot and sometimes it sniffled into the snow. All the while snow was falling and silence only broken my the bells from the close by cathedral. 
The next day i stamped a path from the back door to the end of my garden so my cat didn't have to wade through snow. 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Blogging ... why blog ? ... why blog today ? ...blogging today because I've been meaning to for a week or so. Blogging because over the past few months particularly but also over years my blog acts as a notebook documenting what i'm doing, what is interesting me, what i am obsessing on, how i'm feeling, what i'm making, thinking, where i am, what flowers are growing in my garden and so on. It's a fairly unconscious witness to my life story since 2012 because it's written in immediate time and is generally unrevised apart from the odd word, or comma, in the hours after i make it a public document. 
What do i need to say to my blog today. After months of living in another world there are days now when i realise i have been living in another world. That other world is peopled with ghosts. My chief ghost is Jon but there are others too, some dead and some dead to me but likely still living. Some benign and some not so much. My old body has not yet absorbed Jon's death. I know he is dead but part of me is still in denial. I have not really accepted his death because i don't want it to be true. It is true, but i still half expect an email from him to pop up in my inbox.
A little while back I listened to an interview with Julian Barnes on the radio .. he said "everyone believes when they first fall in love that they begin at year zero" or something along those lines and that "it doesn't matter what age you are the experience of falling in love is always like that". But the actuality is that we carry our pre-lived life inside of us and that pre-lived life includes connections and schemas that affect how we respond to what is going on in the now (whether we are in love or not) and the future we look forward to.
The patterns and forms that we take are shaped by our history, and not just our own history but our parents, and our parent's parents, and their parents, and so on, back into long forgotten time. Our recall of that time becomes a detail within the fabric of our being, a bend in our bodies, a response so inborn it feels like nothing of note, often quite a fixed behaviour until we meet another whose response questions our response. Sometimes that question can be a good thing it can allow change to happen.
See here I am wondering what the hell i am doing with my life, and who the hell i am. My affair with Jon was seminal. He told me i was beautiful, he told me that he loved me. Now it is quite possible, and likely, that he said that to each and every woman that he bedded before and after me. But to be given that repeatedly even with the counterbalance of being called a useless whore changed the substance of me. He let me feel lovely and lovable and feeling lovely and lovable felt wonderful.
I am letting myself drift into nostalgia which is dangerous territory. My mind is still tracing the paths i took with Jon, mapping the time we spent together, recalling every moment of note as i search for understanding. My feeling is that in the end understanding is silent, but to pre-empt that silence is not hastening understanding but smothering knowledge. Words are slippery material, writing or speaking the words in my mind can be good and can be bad, once they are out they are out, cannot be unsaid, but laying down my letters, even if i repeat myself or take a wrong turn, is cartography of a kind. And I don't know if the silence will be easier, or just other, which is why I am annotating my thoughts as they rise to the surface because later i think i may forget and i don't want to forget. 
From the moment i picked up the email from Jon's sister-in-law telling me that Jon was dead I have been living in strange space. Here but not really here. Grief is new country. I loved him. He landmarked my life. He was a rock, he was a river, a field, a cliff path, a wood. He was buzzards keening, the scent of fennel on my hands. He was light streaming in through the pale thin curtains in his bedroom, and the wind buffeting the walls as i lay in his bed between his sheets in half-darkness, wrapped in the scent of him, he is the tadpoles in the little pond he dug in his garden that mix with the tadpoles in my grandparent's pond. 
Maybe I am spilling too much of myself on to the page, giving too much away. I am absorbing Jon as i knew him, my wandering mind is tracking him, following his ghost-paths, the stories he told me about his life before we knew each other and after we parted. I am on a quest for understanding. My tracking is aboriginal. I am an elephant touching and taking hold of the bones my ancestors gathering insight from those that went before me as I search for his bones, the bones of his being. 
Perhaps i seem peculiar when i talk like that. I have just a handful of friends i can talk to about Jon, people who knew us as two in love, two rowing, two parting and coming together, they know the distances we covered. And maybe grief when it hits hard is a road we tread alone because the relationship we have is one to one, no one can take the place of that other. I have met softer grief and it is softer because my ties have been weaker. I did not know how much of me still belonged to Jon until he died. It's funny who we give our hearts to isn't it ?