Saturday 26 September 2020

ELEMENTAL THINGS

9.30am – 4.30pm
Morning in the Lonsdale Room / Afternoon in the Duncan Room 

We devoted two of our 2019 meetups to the climate catastrophe, sharing some of our most moving hours as we spoke and presented our different truths.  This link will take you to the report on the July Day which was sent in afterwards by eleven of the contributors.  

I am now curating the meetup in September, and want to set up an almanac/scrapbook/diary project well ahead.  NINE subscribers are already engaged with this.  This message is to find out how many others of you will like to become involved. You can already see some entries on the blog Page called Climate Conversation, linked here.

ALREADY SIGNED IN Ali Bacon, Ama Bolton , Verona Bass, Sue Boyle, Eileen Cameron, Ann Preston, Peter Reason, Graeme Ryan, Janet Snowdon.

The ‘almanac’ writers / journal keepers are being asked to think in terms of Elemental Things – Earth, Air, Fire, Water – and we will be building the meetup Day around this theme. Our Duncan Room afternoon gives us the opportunity to weave in our graphic artists’ images, and other graphics which subscribers would like to see featured in the Day. I am planning to curate small gatherings for the almanac writers across the months between now and September so that we can share our ongoing thoughts and devise together how to create a really powerful, innovative and inclusive Day.

I am also planning an afternoon performance set under the title ‘Bearing Witness, Bearing Gifts’ which will be featuring a set of short poems from the poets in Appledore. ( Written by them. Performed by us. Offers already in from Melanie Cullen, Kerry Priest, Pat Glover, Val Handley, Elizabeth Fowler.) This ‘concert’ will focus – very suitably – on the element of Water.

Blue boat in Appledore, 2019

A NOTE ON OUR CLIMATE CONVERSATION

THIS YEAR, WE ARE ALL HAVING TO ACCEPT THE REALITY OF CLIMATE CATASTROPHE. UNLESS WE HAVE A WORLD WAR OR A DEADLY PANDEMIC, WE ARE PROBABLY LIVING IN THE MOST MOMENTOUS PERIOD OF OUR LIVES.

Activists among us are probably already involved in group actions and online protests, petitions, sharing of important relevant Facebook and Twitter posts. But the thoughts and responses appropriate for public groups are necessarily universalised and ‘broad brush’. In public, there is a convention of blaming the powerful for the ills of the world, but if you look at the language used in protest, it is usually more of a bonding device than an attempt to use the resources of written and graphic language to get to the heart of what is wrong.

I want to use our meetup for something completely different and much more personal.  

Idiosyncratic.  Thoughts and responses to the climate catastrophe  IN THE MOMENT, MONTH BY MONTH of the individual writers and artists we all are. 

My idea is inspired by Ann Cullis’s brilliant almanac project last year and will ask participants to keep a ’notebook’ between now and the end of August in which they record their responses to what they read, and see, and hear, and experience related to the climate catastrophe.  Television images and news reports, perhaps.  Newspaper photographs.  Facebook sharings. Books read. Poems read. Paintings seen. Ideas for writing. Ideas for graphic art. Conversations.  Idle thoughts and fears. Things missing from your gardens. Birds and insects you haven’t seen and used to see. Speculations. Things that are happening to friends and relatives in other parts of the world. Expressions of guilt, anguish, resentment.  Angers, anxieties and love. 

ANYTHING relevant to the heading CLIMATE CATASTROPHE as long as the ideas and responses ARE YOUR OWN, and your mode of writing /drawing/ singing isn’t just the familiar protest rhetoric.

I would, however, like you to be mindful, as you make your entries, of the four elements of our climate – EARTH, AIR, WATER, FIRE – because at a later stage we will begin gathering our material under those performance headings, if we can. 

 You will date your notebook entries and make it clear what prompted them.  What you create will be sharable in the group, after editing at least. Otherwise, there are no rules and no constraints. 

Write only when you have something you want to remember and (perhaps) to share. 

As if, perhaps, these notebooks would be buried and rediscovered centuries after the cataclysm which we may be on the brink of now. ( That isn’t my idea. It’s Margaret Atwood’s from The Handmaid’s Tale, I think.)

The event we will create together will be a TESTAMENT to who we were and how we responded AS INDIVIDUALS to what is happening/will happen in our world. If everything works well, we will be together creating a completely unpredictable piece of theatre which may well be able to travel on beyond September 26th.  

THE PROJECT WILL OBVIOUSLY FLEX ITSELF AS WE GATHER TOGETHER,  AND WILL CHANGE TO SUIT THE SUBSCRIBERS WHO PARTICIPATE
so 
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ONE OF THE CONTRIBUTORS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW

You can access the ongoing Climate Conversation here.

POSTSCRIPT
There will be scope for a powerpoint presentation in the afternoon.

Screenshot 2019-08-02 at 18.41.28