Category Archives: Hobbies and activities

A right to write

I haven’t blogged in some time. Not because I have nothing to say but in reality I had no time to blog when I knew what to say and no energy to blog or remember what to blog when I had time to write. A mental mismatch where mind and moment refused to meet.

So now, why?
Because the sun is shining and spirits raise and ideas whirl and dance like dandelion seeds in the blue bright air? Because someone uncorked the bottle, poured me a shot of fiction and reminded that I love word craft? Because my world is full of pressures and pulleys and hooks and harnesses, tardy white rabbits and final demand letters in screaming red capitals?

It has been a long time since I sat cocooned in my own bubble, listening to old familiar music with the sun drifting in and out of trees tickling my eyes as my bus wheels its way home.

Too much of life is about being there, doing for, catching up, holding on, carrying and helping. For this one hour it is just me, music and memories and a dream of being and doing just for myself. My spirit soars with the guitar chords and a vast peace spreads from me.

To improvise or interact – that is the question

I have just had the most peculiar evening of performance and interaction, thought provoking and fun

I am always curious about the experimental elements in theatre. Interaction within a performance piece entirely alters the experience as the audience becomes either cast or prop or device but no longer simply voyeur. As a result, what you take from such a performance varies greatly depending on how you approach it. The Company (for such is the name of the theatre group) created an interesting set up and incrementally drew the audience into the action as the night progress. Some looked incredibly uncomfortable, others slightly bemused. My Intelligent Other (American so fairly open to this) took to the whole thing like a screaming duck to a bath of fish (or something similarly offbeat but smile-inducing simile).

I noted as we arrived and were directed to different types of seating that the audience at such interactive theatre productions are visibly more funky, chilled and hip. Be-suited festival goers tend to be less comfortable diving to the floor or cuddling up with cast members on their lap. Admittedly as I had come straight from an office situation I looked unlikely to get as involved and I clearly surprised some people in my area by playacting with gusto.

The experience was relaxing and uplifting and left me with an intermittent fit of the giggles for some hours after. But strangely the thing that I took away was a feeling that I had not been on a night out to the theatre. It was much more like a games night with role players.
Nothing wrong with that. Right?

The play’s the thing….

When a play is not sure if it is still a book it can suffer from an existential crisis. That was my experience last night sitting in the Abbey theatre in Dublin. I felt the story and language and themes of a novel attempt to force itself out through the skin of a play and it was uncomfortable viewing. Brave attempts to push together themes and speak through conceits. But ultimately unsatisfying.

Today, another theatre, another cast, another book. Or to be specific a book of short stories. And yet these mini moments, our glimpses of epiphanies were so vividly and robustly rendered as if the characters had stepped from the page in front of us.

This is why theatre is so addictive, voyeuristic draw among the artifice. For a few hours I held my breath, the world stilled its incessant spin and I was a world away… Dublin.

Window on the World

When I lift my camera to my face like Alice my looking-glass opens a world of difference and wonder, of possibilities and curiosities, where everything seems a little peculiar. I have always been fascinated by photography, the permanent record, the camera never lies, life through a lens.

I love the dark stark depths of black and white photos as well as the warm washes of sunlight colour that spring out from the page as if they were real. When you move the point of focus within a frame, like the human eye, it can re-balance the banal within the hierarchy of the beautiful. Looking back on photographs, when you develop them or process them electronically sometimes months after the event they snatched is a strange time-shifting experience.

As a child I saw my pocket camera as an extension of my dreams, my unreal slip of reality. But sometimes the result, when printed, fell short of the image in my head. It was as if there was an alchemy, sometimes the magic worked, other times I could not capture it. In time my camera and I became friends, it I treated it with trust and care, it would reward me, and sometimes surprise me.

I wish I could paint, or draw or compose and create beauty…but with a camera in my hand, my eye squinting through the viewfinder, I know that I can look at beauty in my own lop-sided way and bring others to the brink of my window to see…