It is the 25th day of December. It is cold outside, the wind bitter and icy, the sky dark with night's kiss. I sit inside, in the warmth, awaiting breakfast and lunch and a different type of day. It is 24 days since I last posted on here, and I have found it difficult to do so since I wrote that last post. I have tried, several times. Five draft posts lie fallow, bereft and dry in the barren wilderness of my inspiration, tragic companions to the loss of my writing mojo.
The city outside exists in patchwork of bright lights and darkness, reflections abound, scintillating amidst the shadows, ghosts of a momentary reality. The world outside turns and people stir towards a new day, or sit in the midst of it, or approach the end. Sated, hungry, indifferent, empty of meaning, lost to commercialism, found in the heart of family, wrapped in faith and celebration and contemplation, shattered by the uncaring and malicious, existing, hoping to just make it to the end of the day. People live and breathe and die out there, lost to heat and cold, to darkness and loneliness. People live and breathe and dream out there, cocooned in happiness and joy, surrounded by those who matter most. People live and breathe and exist out there, untouched and unaware.
The 25th day.
A very odd day.
I stood mesmerised yesterday, watching 'Out of Blue', a short film by Zarina Bhimji, a Ugandan photographer and film-maker. The room was darker than dark, the faint silhouettes of those sitting and leaning against muffled walls barely evident. The room was filled with a vast disturbing soundscape; voices and the aural detritus from the land of Africa providing a perfect counterpoint to the film thrown against the wall.
The barred window of a prison cell, pulling back from that brief glimpse of a blue sky, the ruined patina of the walls stained with long streaks of dried blood, the loud buzzing of flies overlaying the sussuration of faint voices.
A ruined doorway, panning across broken walls, shattered plaster, the light and movement from a bright day moving in the background.
A man stands, a black outline leaning against a cell door, the regular flick of his beating stick the only thing that proves that this is not a photograph.
An airport tower, abandoned and desolate, a succession of glass panes, punctuated by the unmistakable shape of bullet holes.
A village, green and hot, children running backward and forward in the light of the day.
Shattered buildings, ruined worlds, a battering ram of images masquerading as film, a soundtrack that disturbs and unnerves with each new vista.
In another part of the world my mother and my brother, his wife and sons, plus the extended family, all sit together for lunch, celebrating being together.
This the first time I will have spent this day apart from them. It feels odd and it would be dishonest of me to say that I did not miss them. I do.
I have a lot to write, and I haven't cared to these last few days.
My NaNoWriMo novel stands a third done, but I have replanned it, and now have a much stronger vision for it.
I have a short story to write for a flash fiction competition - 275 words for the Women on Writing website.
A short play has been started, abandoned and rethought - the Tobacco Factory's Script Space competition the inspiration and target.
Plus all the other projects floating around in my head.
All in all, a pretty busy 2010 to come.
In another part of the institute is a wall covered in 6x4 photographs, spaced deliberately apart to allow you the opportunity to savour each individually.
These are ordinary photographs, sent from one person to another, sent with purpose and meaning and intent, and we cannot see them.
They are affixed to the wall, their backs exposed to the eye; covered in scrawls and messages and blotches, in ink or pencil, brief moments of stories to diverse to know. They are poignant, illegible, daft, surreal, functional, simple, joyous and sad. They are flip side of the tale, the explanation and the tell-all, mysterious codes and occasionally untouchable in meaning.