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Darkness Returns

It was the sky – not the sea that provided the drama today. As the sun shone over fields at Conceres Farm, Kilrenny, the sky turned inky blue/black. Despite the angry sky, there was no rain – just nature providing a few moments to capture this dramatic image!
ANDREW WATSON

I just love this time of year.  Autumn leaves, woodsmoke, new slippers. No more waiting for summer to start. Big warm jumpers, woolly socks, cosy blankets.  I like the shorter days, the darker nights.   Looking forward to Hallowe’en and birthdays for me and both Daughters.

Judgement is this month’s Tarot card and one which has appeared before in times of Covid (see June this year. ) The picture represents the Last Trump, with naked figures emerging from the tomb. We are entering a new dimension of awareness. Our present ordeal has ended but there may be challenging times ahead. We have been here before. Petrol and fuel shortages, empty shelves, rising prices…..?

Black is probably my favourite colour. I have a lot of black clothes with some purple and red for contrast. I have been buying bigger clothes which don’t cling.  Going for a kind of Goth Grandma look with striped tights, red lipstick and black nails. Bored with my white hair I got D, my wonderful hairdresser, to add some dark streaks. A DIY attempt with spray-on black dye resulted in Cannyrob using cotton buds to clean my blackened right ear.

I’ve been thinking about why I write. As a child, I loved to make little magazines with my John Bull Printing outfit, making up and illustrating stories.  I went on to write for, and illustrate, school and university publications.  I edited newsletters for voluntary organisations, using desktop publishing for the first time.

When I was teaching, I devised and scripted plays for young people. Later I wrote a number of plays for community performances.  With Cannyrob, I devised and performed Demon, based on Edwin Morgan’s poems. My friend A and I collaborated on teaching packs for Fife schools.   I wrote a book for Drama pupils which sold well and went into a third edition, but I found the constraints.of working with a publisher difficult.

Blogging leaves me free to do my own editing.  This is my third blog.  Being a Dramatherapist in 2001, based on  articles written for professional journals, recorded my reflections as a practitioner. Then I began No Place for Sissies in 2015 which evolved into Time after Time. 

My other passion (apart from drawing and painting) is  reading.  Some people have commented on the number of books I read.  This has partly been due to lockdown and having hours of time for getting lost in books.  The pace has slowed a bit now and I am actually re-reading.  I did a lot of this as a child, due to having only a few books to read at home.  The first book I really remember was in the little suitcase I packed to stay with my aunt and uncle for two weeks. I was three and a half. My mother had gone to the Nursing Home to have a baby.  The book was the Disney Alice in Wonderland.  I couldn’t read it but I liked the pictures.  Later I found Through the Looking Glass in the bookcase at my Grandpa’s house.  I could read but had never heard of chess, so found that aspect puzzling but loved the story.  It contains my favourite poem Jabberwocky

You can listen to me reading it if you want. WARNING contains scenes of bloody violence.

Jabberwocky

A while back I came across The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I loved this sad, strange story about a boy brought up in a Victorian cemetery.  I wondered how my nightmare prone twelve year old self would have coped with it and was interested to talk about it with E, an imaginative thirteen year old.  She loved it too and was only slightly scared!  I have just re-read The Silence of the Girls and The Women of Troy by Pat Barker in which Briseis, a captured princess, narrates the story of the Iliad.  The girls enslaved by the Greeks and shared out as prizes fetch water, wash bloodstained tunics and prepare food and medicines for the men.  I found their story affecting on several levels, portraying grief and trauma,  not least because of recent events in Afghanistan.

I’ve enjoyed buying books for children we’ve visited recently.  The Elmer book has been well chewed by my six month old great-niece. Her three year old brother preferred the sweeties I’d brought! Older brother got into his Horrid Henry book, however. Conrad’s War by Andrew Davies (Son’s favourite book at that age) seemed to be a hit with ten year old J. (Out of print but I got a good second hand copy). E who read The Graveyard Book was pleased to get The Ocean at the End of the Lane, also by Neil Gaiman.

I’m still listening to Stalingrad by Vassily Grossman (27 hours) but on days I’ve felt a bit fragile, I have retreated to bed with an audio Jane Austen dramatisation. So far I have enjoyed two of my favourites, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. As I know the stories so well it doesn’t matter if I fall asleep.

I have started a mixed media picture which is taking an unexpected turn. The central figure of a woman working in her garden is turning into a girl reading a book. There is a cat and strange golden birds. I am waiting to see what appears next.

By the time I write my next blog it will be Halloween. I love it! The clocks will have gone back and summer clothes will be packed away.

Enjoy being cosy and relish the pleasures of winter. Feel free to challenge my views on darkness, tattoos, books….anything really. Leave a reply, comment on social media, or just email me privately at timewithelinor@gmail.com