Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Welsh Treats!"

I've had 2 recent Treats in Wales.

Here's Treat The First:
"In the world of British poetry Carol Ann Duffy is a superstar" ( The Guardian)

And last week, she ran a workshop for 20 students ( courtesy of Flintshire ArtsFest) at a hotel on the Welsh border.
We looked at Time and Place in prose/poetry. Some fabulous work appeared and everyone enjoyed the session. The group was mixed ( ages, sex, backgrounds etc ) which is usually a key to vivid/varied workshop writing...and Carol Ann's wonderful insight and experience, plus her appreciation of the texture of our words, made the time special.
That evening, almost 200 folk thronged Theatr Clwyd( ) to hear Carol Ann read from her bk" Rapture" plus poems from " The Worlds Wife" interspersed with chunks from the brilliant " The Laughter of Stafford Girls High" ( from "Feminine Gospels") All books published by Picador.
This was a brilliant double event. Fingers crossed that Carol Ann will come this way again soon....

And Treat The Second:
This was my visit last night ( it's now Thursday!) to Theatr Clwyd to see Ballet Rambert. ( There were three pieces, including " Carnival of the Animals" ( Saint-Saens) and " Infinity" with music by Luke Smiles. Complete contrasts but equally enthralling.
BUT once again ( as with Carol Ann's newest book) we touched upon 'rapture'....this through: "Eternal Light: A Requiem".....This gorgeous ballet celebrating the memory of things past...was my favourite, built in part around this theme. Howard Goodall's choral music was perfection; as an audience, we were moved en masse by the sheer beauty of both dance and music...

AND I saw an old lady weep with delight. I saw a stunned wide eyed child climb on her father's lap. I saw a man kiss a woman as violins soared. ...
And quite honestly, I saw the loveliest ballet I have ever seen.

* The painting is 2 dancers relaxing (Degas) .

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Touching The Past On Friday 13th"

Just A Thought:You should be reading this while listening to brilliant Stevie Wonder singing his "Superstition"! I am!
It's Friday 13th. I woke up thinking about both my Grandmas. I'll tell you why in a minute. But now that I'm a grandmother myself I often think about those grandmas of mine, and "I wish they were here" ( it's written on the postcard that's my mind!) and I picture their faces, imagine them on the stairs or talking together in the kitchen..and sometimes I catch the lilt of their voices in the depths of my memory..

It's the story with lots of us, isn't it....this craving to ask questions we didn't know we'd ever want to ask..and to talk at length to folk long gone??! We want to wallow in their wisdom , to hear their history PROPERLY ( because as children we didn't really listen, did we?) ...this history which you suddenly now realise, is also SO much your own. You want to hold the mirror of their thinking... to help reflect your own. And you want to stretch backwards... to gather in those precious folk and show them your own new precious ones, those who came after and of whom you're so proud...
I also think often about my own rather beautiful mother, she who swizzled on high heels well into her eighties, wore coral lipstick and the loveliest of colours.... who charmed my sons with her ginger biscuits, her clattery jangle of silver bracelets and her warm funny stories..

And they all had superstitions, these grandmothers. They had public ones, private ones, ones they told me lots about. And they had secret ones....ones I never knew about.

And now I'm seeing that some are deep inside me.