For a while now I have been walking around with an idea for a new series of blog posts. As much as I intended to blog more this year it hasn’t really happened (because hey, life!) but maybe this series could help me share what I’m up to without stealing too much of my time to do other things.
Last year I stopped myself blogging about something quite a few times because I was in the middle of a project and wasn’t sure what format I would end up showing it in. I don’t have a problem with showing work-in-progress or something unfinished but I didn’t want to share anything prematurely if I wanted those projecs to be seen or engaged with in a different way.
There are too many women in museums
tucked into corners,
these busts with sad faces and
demurely downcast eyes,
by what someone else has seen.
But where are all the names
on the signs
that should have been here,
theirs only used for titles, leaving whole walls blank,
as if no woman had thought
to put anything on them.
I want the women in all these paintings
to be blushing,
not of humility but rage.
I demand to see in writing
all the names that should have made me
mine could be here too.
- Lea Elm
Sometimes all you need is a day out, a day off. To wake up and only then decide where to go, to get in a car, heading off for somewhere. What you need is a day of mid-May sunshine and heat, walking up the steps of an old, ruined castle to find the coolness waiting inside, the stonewalls crumbling under the weight of so many years.
Maybe it would be a monday and most people would be at work, so it would just be the two of you, carefully climbing the spiral staircases, watching the uneven stone steps and walking through the passageways. You would try to sneak photos of each other without the other one seeing but the slowness of adjusting the settings on your old film cameras and that loud, mechanic click of the mirror as you press the shutter in the empty, shelled out castle, would give you away.
A warm breeze would catch you from the open, barred windows, as you walk step by step all the way to the top and into the open air beneath a blue sky. The view from up there, looking over the old city; the spires of the cathedral on one side and the river with its bridge and its piers on the other. People sitting on the grass in the shade under trees on the lawn below.
That’s the kind of day it could be. Lunch eaten in the shade of a coffee house while looking at people passing by and the traffic of that particularly busy street corner. A walk down the street afterwards, finding Edwardian and Georgian coins in a small, quirky shop, the imprint and the edges worn smooth with use, and three old postcards from three different places, written and stamped by people you’ve never met from a very long time ago; that feeling of having found a treasure. At the end of that street a bookshop, first seemingly small but extending to the back and up narrow staircases with creaking floorboards, through row after row and shelf after shelf of once-used books. A whole maze of these little passages of tall bookshelves, where you would find on one of them an old book about the streets of Edinburgh as they had been walked in once in the 20s, the red clothbound cover faded and worn.
And that is how the day would end. In the car home, looking through the open windows at the fields outside the city seen from a winding country lane and the treasures of the day put down on the table in the living room once home. It would end with the light and memory of that day, of the two of you sitting next to each other on cold stonesteps on a spiral staircase. And it would end with writing about it a few days later in order not to forget. How lovely it all was.
A small creative writing piece I wrote about a day trip to Rochester Castle, along with photographs captured on 35mm film.