IMG_0398-6Untitled. Lingen, 2018

May, a Friday. It had been a bit of a week: me and Yosser had gone back to The Ford to help with the clear-out; old papers were burned. We took photos of flowers at dawn again; Yosser posed for me afterwards, a rarity. On the Tuesday I’d gone by train to White Waltham to pick up the Pitts, then flown to Wellesbourne, then flown to Gloucester, then drove back to The Ford. Wednesday I returned to The Court, and slept.

Now, Friday, I’d returned to London for the first time since the day before Good Friday 2016, and S’s meeting with Direct-Debit Debbie, the toxic lawyer. Convening at City Lit for Inexpert2018, even the cast was the same as my previous trip. 

Yet I had changed, in some ways profoundly: certainties had been disrupted: by illnesses; by the ensuing separation; and not least, by the interventions of Direct-Debit Debbie in our situation. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that I have much to thank Debbie for: those 40 dawns  at The Alder Altar; The Daily flowers; my shifted relationship with Yosser; The Bled trip; my current trajectory of inquiry; my experimental writings. Oh, and losing my home; re-engaging with poetry: the quartet of poems; written to help apprehend and process events; not least, Debbie’s machinations. I had been experimenting with life.

Now, back in London, we’re in a theatre: a hundred of us. The vibe is good. The trumpeter who heralded each break had started playing in January; largely tutored via uTube videos. The art  exhibited were failures; curated by a non-curator; the experiments were random, lovely. I made photos and tweets, having been appointed social media correspondent, largely due to having no experience of such.

On a whim I entered the lottery for a 10 minute spot, and ‘won’. As Wild Card speaker I had a stage. Completely unprepared, save for a poem, hastily retrieved form the messages on my phone . For the first time since Bled, I was back in the realm of performative art practice. I told the story, in brief; of the Altar and Yosser and The Flowers and Bled. And Direct-Debit Debbie and the four poems of the quartet; then I read one—the first in the series: Direct-Debit Debbie: a love song.

It felt weird and great, and, oddly, slightly nauseating. All at the same time: the shift from non-permission, no power; to permission was a daunting, disorientating. I’d found, and felt, agency and communion all in one hit.

Afterwards, many people came to congratulate and thank me. Suddenly those far of days: making photos in the stream, and the walks with Yosser; and the writings and pictures of flowers, and the Bled trip; they all seemed to come together. There had been a shift—in connecting with that audience via the articulation of my experiences, on this random trip that was Inexpert2018—towards integration. Without permission.

Me and Yosser may not have been wasting our time, after all.

 

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Yosser. Lingen, 2018

 

Resources:

Bachelard, G. The poetics of space. New York. Penguin, 2014

McAdam, D. The stories we live by: personal myths and the making of the self. New York: The Guildford Press, 1993.

McNiff S. Earth angels: engaging the sacred in everyday things. Boston. Shambala, 1995

Sewell L. Sight and sensiblity: the ecopsychology of perception. New York: Putnam, 1999.

Van der Kolk B. The body keeps the score: Mind, brain and body in the healing of trauma. London: Penguin, 2015.

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