Past, present, future – writing and making for here and now.

Knitting and stitching projects, story-writing and rediscovering poetry are working towards being in the here and now and creating a new tomorrow.

I think it can take quite some time to make a shift, through the generations, out of tradition and into modernity. I am reading a mix of novels at the moment, including Lacuna by Kingsolver, Bosnian Chronicle, by Andric, The Ministry of.. by Roy. All of them evolve around cultures and the shifting of humanity across time. I have also learnt to accept that it’s fine to be between times, one foot here and another over there.

Progress is often slow, with a lot of stalling. It can be frustrating when a vision seems to take forever to transpire. But knitting and writing demand pacing, giving time and trusting the imagination. Trusting that if something wants to happen it will, when it’s ready. The vision of my work in progress is constantly there and I allow it to lead me to tell the story of others.

It’s Easter this weekend, and that draws me to painting eggs, baking with filo. The tradition would have been to pick food colouring from shelves, make a gibanica loaded with cheeses. Now it’s more about the natural (modern) way. Eggs are dyed with turmeric and coffee, as I used to with yarn years ago. Gibanica has a heavy dose of spinach and eggs, with sparing use of sheets.

 

Shifting is possible, keeping some traditions is too, if they are a part of you, ingrained. But a new way of being is also essential, for all of us. We travel constantly. Be sure to document your journey, and of others too. There’s a common theme for all of us.

I enjoyed a year of reading Italy, fiction and history, language and cuisine. I haven’t done yet. The dream is to go back again, soon, if possible.

 

 

 

 

City of Lights – a short story

Mia’s eyes were drawn to the lights on the hills around her. She found looking out in the evening both comforting and hypnotic. Her heart slowed down and she felt relaxed enough to try to sleep. She liked to watch the sunset, when the sky was clear enough. Its rays lit the windows of houses on the eastern hillside, creating an orange glow, an aurora radiating across the old valley.

She lived in a city full of life now. She loved it and was afraid too. In her corner of the mill town Mia watched the world go by every day. She felt safe because no one could see her. Her home was as high as the birds, in the tops of trees surrounding her. They flitted among the bare branches oblivious to the traffic at the busy junction below.

Sometimes owls and foxes haunted the nights, hooting, screeching and screaming. This she did not like, the sounds unnerved her, reminded her of where she had been before. She preferred the ravens and blackbirds during the day.

The city had a smell – dirt and car fumes. Although chimneys dominated the horizon, they were redundant now. Mia couldn’t imagine what it was like to have been around when the mills were open and busy. She was grateful for not being able to smell burning wood, hair and flesh anymore. She was content with her urban landscape and the smell of pollution.

Sirens and fireworks rang out at weekends from teatime onwards. Mia was anxious on first hearing them and didn’t want to leave her home to go outside. So she stayed in, all weekend, looking out at everything around her. The city was safe from her vantage point.

Soon she learnt to draw again. There was no one she could call her own in her new world, although the church provided some contact with others as well as tea and biscuits. But Mia didn’t want to pray, she wanted to return to her flat and observe again.

She drew all the day birds – the family of ravens who talked constantly as they moved from branches to gutters and back again. The pair of doves amused her. They huddled together over the junction, fat from eating her neighbour’s leftover chapatis, the branch beneath them bending towards the ground, struggling with their weight. Blackbirds sang day and night by her street lamp. The small birds in the hedges, cursed one another – blue tits telling the chaffinches to find somewhere else to live. Then the starlings appeared. There was nothing more beautiful Mia thought.

All of this she noted in her drawings. She became numb to the sound of sirens passing below at the junction. The blackbirds accepted her presence at the window every day and sang on her sill. Mia felt the peace at last, in her corner of the world.

 

If we all look for peace, we will find it, together.