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A Letter to You (Rudy)

What can I tell you, what can I write, that you don’t already know?

I could write and tell you that my life is what March should be – daffodils, sunshine, earth warming and waiting to be turned. But it wouldn’t be true. Not while there are blizzards, and a dirty, smoking stove in my kitchen. I could write and tell you that I have so very many exciting things to do, projects and paintings planned, but here I sit, quietly unfocused on my sofa.

I could write and tell you that as my family leap out in to a waiting world, I am happy to be at home, sorting, making order out of chaos, slowly getting it together. But that would be a lie.

I could write to tell you that I have painted walls white, that light is flooding in, that all is simple, and sparkling, clean and new. I could also perhaps tell you the bigger truth, that I have wrecklessly ripped up the old carpets on the stairway that have vexed me for so long, when I know that I cannot afford to replace them, and hate the clanking of impatient feet up and down those empty boards.

Maybe I could just not write to you at all. Let the silence fall, watch those uncollected words float away, off into the snowstorms. But you already know that I cannot stand by and let words escape, when life may be so short and so very precious.

What is to happen then, as I wait for spring time, wait for change? Pause, and breathe, slowly, deeply, trust that there are pathways as yet unseen. Trust that there is a plan, that there is a reason for this place, this feeling. Surrender to the possibility that I am right where I need to be, in a place that I chose. This I will write to you.

This you already know.

March 15, 2013   1 Comment


Someone asked me recently what it was that I did. Pause. Oh you know, eat cake, herd cats, mess around a bit. All the usual nonsense that a middle aged self esteem can spit out in an unguarded moment. No really, she said. Oh, this one’s persistent then. O.K., I said. I am sort of an artist, and sort of a writer, and a wanna be activist, and I help make diaries, and oh….I trailed off. It all sounded, you know, so woolly and not the kind of meteoric career that my 19 year old self had planned at all.

This has got me thinking. What is it that I do, what is it that I am? The clue is in compulsion. I am compelled to record. I am a recorder. Of life. Of moments. Of the jetsam and flotsam of everydayness, of the spectacular kodac moments that come once in a blue moon. I have them all, preserved, written about, photographed, filed away. My. I am a true Virgo.

It started innocently enough. My grandmother bought me a five year diary and an ink pen. By 1980 I had moved on to more secretive subject matter.

Like who sat next to who in class, what we would wear to the roller disco that Saturday, and dear god, my exam results. Which were not especially inspiring in the mathematics department. Who cares, I am an artist, don’t you know…

Pink ink was the height of cool by the time I was 14, which also saw me put an ‘i’ in my name, and veer wildly between stickers and Siouxie, affairs of the heart, and yes, more exam results.

And as much as those teenage diaries make me cringe, there they all are – absolute truths about how it felt at the time, not some misty memory, but the hard evidence and facts of my world as I saw it then. It makes Holly squeal and snort with laughter, but I love that too.

Years later and several gazillion notebooks, diaries, albums, scrapbooks and boxes later, here I still am. Painting, writing, photographing, recording. Lest it be lost.

I have written everything; from the weather that day, to what I ate, what I dreamt, what funny thing my 4 year old yelled. From the banalities of washing to the biggies of love and the meaning (possibly) of life. Not in a Tuesday 4th, this is what happened way. It has been more random than that, even if the regimented labels on the covers belie this fact.

I write what I feel, when I feel it. I keep notes, tickets, feathers, sketches, postcards, post it notes…..and yes, it can be exhausting.

You want to know why I do it? What compels me, late at night, to record just one more thing, before I lose it to the mists of time? O.K, I will tell you my fantasy. I may or may not ever read these books again, and leaf through boxes of collected treasure. But what I would love is for my great great great granddaughter, or grandson, who might just happen to be interested, to come across cobwebby old boxes, open them, and unfold one small story of someone they will never know. It is her or him that I write to, leaving clues. Not that my story is really that different to anyone else’s. But oh! I soooooo wish that my grandmother of several generations ago had done that for me.

I have the odd black and white, grainy photograph of these distant people, and I pour over them, willing their stories to reveal themselves. Which of course they never do, so frustratingly. So I am leaving snippets (O.K, whole volumes) of clues about what it has been like for me at the turn of this century. Small details, which may or may not be relevant or interesting. But there they will be. Waiting.

I guess it was no surprise that I would eventually create a job out of diary making – hence the Earth Pathways Diary – another extension of my ongoing obsession with recording. It started in a field, it lives and grows and will soon travel on without me, being a thing of collective beauty and creativity.

Not content with helping create it, and painstakingly writing in dates, moonrise and sunrise times, I then fill it to bursting with my own thoughts and feelings.

Maybe the truth is that I spend so much time recording, I miss out somehow on the living it bit. Sort of like seeing the sunrise through the viewfinder of a camera, rather than with your own glorious eyes. Nature to nature. I hope this isn’t totally the case. But sometimes I wonder. No matter, I am incapable of stopping. I twitch if something fantastical has happened and I am yet to record it. Literally twitch. That’s compulsion.

So there you have it. This is what I do. For someone in the future. My future.

Jaine Rose, time defying, time dallying. Recorder, keeping it wonky.

November 28, 2012   6 Comments