Mapping not planning

10am: I want to get into the imagination of this town - tattoo people and birdsong across skin. I have dreamed of the river but it is early in the residency and the images are intelligible so that I am left stumbling around the riverbank grasping at fog.

10.24am something interesting has just occurred. A woman called Joyce dropped in and while we discussed automatic writing and the importance of dreams I called her Christine. I have no idea why or where that came from but it transpires that her surname is Christine. Joyce Christine. I am taking this as a sign I am on the right track following instincts and dreams for this residency.

10.35(ish) I am asked is mapping the opposite of planning? Yes. It is time to walk this terra nullius and record thoughts.

I walk to the river where I will record, walk, sit, photograph, record, walk, record:

Walking settles the mind, offers space to think but the thinking has become a barrier to being, a weight to unshoulder; a sack of stones.

Standing at the River Severn to ask her blessing (permission?) the return request is clear: put down equipment and wade in. It is November, and cold. I decline and in return become acutely aware of the ducks bobbing like corks, the swan paddling with her two cygnets - they are the river, I am not. Experience has fled leaving me a pale spectator, a ghost haunting the life of the river - an observer dreaming of intimacy.

Assuming a stance learned many years ago in Kung Fu I take three deep breaths arms swinging low then out and up to the sky breathe in then push down with the hands along the front of the face towards the knees breathe out swing arms round again breathe in and up push down and out in an attempt to reconnect. Perhaps it will be enough.

13.45 - kind words from a visitor: 'My work is predominantly listening to people, so it was lovely to be listened to.'

Two very different women have visited today, Amelia and Martina - both with unique stories, with equally interesting thoughts and hearts. We have decided to plan a dérive for one afternoon in the next few weeks. If you would like to join us please email me words@sophiemckeand.com and I'll try to choose a time and Tuesday to accommodate as many people as possible. The dérive require no experience or prior knowledge - we will wander aimlessly about the town. I might bring some dice or other such devices to keep chance dancing with us.

15.58 - Polly and Belinda stop by to chat: Belinda is an expanse of words - our thoughts and process are like an umbilical chord connecting us to the real us if we're willing to open our lives and explore.


Find out more about Sophie and her residency here.

Catching up with the blog
The Drawing Room Residency Day 1
 

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Sunday, 22 September 2019

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