Sunday, January 30, 2011


Today was a day when none of us felt like leaving the house. That's how it started.

Instead, we lay around - in bed - and read.

I finished Emma Donoghue's Room (highly recommended, by the way) and my daughter read some more of The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton whose books I used to read as a child. A thread was knitting, I thought, a thread was creating something other than what it normally does.

It was a day that started in a lazy way but the slowness prompted a frenzy of movment.

The movement involved clearing out two bookshelves and a box full of miscellanous stuff. A black bag was filled with books no longer used or not loved enough for a second or third read. Old colouring books and school reports were rediscovered.
There was a joy in this.
There was a newness to it, too.
And nothing was called rubbish: these will be passed on through a local charity shop or recycled along with rough drafts of my stories.

We relieved ourselves of a bag-full of possessions like dust from a paino.

Our tiredness seemed to vanish so we cycled in the cold air up the tree-lined avenue to Castletown House - Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian style house.

We zoomed past families with dogs, children and grandmothers; all 'taking in the fresh air'; all hoping for some sort of renewal of energy. We didn't stop to take in the views; we kept going, home, home again for some further expression.

My daughter sat down with a hot chocolate and started drawing.

I started writing a story entitled "Possessions", prompted, partly by our blog here, partly by the feeling of things shifting and moving today, partly because it is the end of the first month in a new year.

It is, of course, also about how possessions are held; how they are kept; what value we assign to them. In my story, the main character has just attempted suicide and is not permitted to have any possessions. His clothes are itemised in his notes and are stored in a bag. His notes state:
  • one pair of blue jeans;
  • one navy heavy cotton hooded jumper;
  • one white tee-shirt;
  • one pair of grey underpants;
  • one pair of white socks;
  • one right and one left of black runners;
  • one wrist-watch with a worn tan leather strap.
  • No valuables on person.
My thoughts, my challenge, then in this collaboration is how, I wonder would the idea of not having possessions be expressed in something that is made specifically to possess?
A bowl.
A story.
Can we,
* do we *
possess them?

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