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As subscribers know, I am redesigning the September Meetup Day to give the two curators whose Days were cancelled during the BRLSI closure a chance to showcase some of their programming. AMA BOLTON’S The Sea and ANN PRESTON’S Secret Destinations will be sharing afternoon time in the Duncan Room. You can find their notes to subscribers on the Pages for the originally planned events whose links are with their names above. The afternoon will also feature a short concert of poems by poets in Appledore on the theme of Water, read by subscribers to our group.
I am taking the Climate Catastrophe element out of the September Day and offering instead a full Day in the Murch Room which has already been paid for and will be going spare. Please go to the June Page to read more about this. I hope to be curating this with PETER REASON whose planned event for the Bath Fringe cannot now take place. If this Day actually takes place at the end of June – which seems very unlikely – Peter and I will almost certainly still be in lockdown, but we will do the planning and then ask others to curate on the day for us.
Please watch this space…..
A NOTE ON THE SEPTEMBER MORNING
UNLESS WE HAVE A WORLD WAR OR A DEADLY PANDEMIC, WE ARE PROBABLY LIVING IN THE MOST MOMENTOUS PERIOD OF OUR LIVES.
I wrote those words above before we had heard of the new virus causing a few problems in a faraway continent. Clearly, the virus must change everything we write and everything we think about our world.
I want to use the September morning to share our responses to what we are going through and am hoping that these shared pieces will really go to the heart of who we are as writers and artists and will avoid the inevitable ‘flatness’ and predictability that comes from trying to narrate what we imagine to be the proper responses to the sufferings of people in distant places, or people whose problems, even in this country, are too far beyond our experience for us to write about them well. ( As happens, for example, in far too much writing about the refugee and migrant crises round the world. )
So I’m hoping for immediacy, authenticity, integrity, quirkiness, idiosyncracy ……. thoughts and responses to the pandemic and climate catastrophe IN THE MOMENT, MONTH BY MONTH of the individual writers and artists we all are.
As an example, lots of locked in Facebook members and subscribers to the New York Times are currently making soup and bread and sharing recipes. Our own wonderful SUE SIMS is one. The Venetian canals have never looked so beautiful with their untroubled reflections of incomparable palazzi in the water. But only the true Venetians can see them now as if they alone had been granted a visionary eye. My neighbourhood group exchanges text messages about who finds eggs, as though the Bath supermarkets were a hedgerow equivalent. These are deliberately the upbeat moments that spring to mind, but all of us have our own thoughts and reactions, and it is these I want us to catch and share.
One of our finest Bath poets crossed my walking path the other day and said across the obligatory 2 metres ,”After this, Sue, the world will never be the same.” And then strode on. I have been bartering with a highly respected member of the Royal West of England Academy whether my spare pot of natural yoghourt was the equivalent of his two baking potatoes, or whether money should change hands.
My idea is inspired by Ann Cullis’s brilliant almanac project last year and will ask participants to share their responses to what they read, and see, and hear, and experience related to the pandemic and the climate catastrophe. Conversations. Thoughts and fears. Angers, anxieties and love. ANYTHING relevant to the heading CATASTROPHE as long as the ideas and responses ARE YOUR OWN, and you give us something you want to remember and to share.
As if, perhaps, these thoughts 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 September morning will thus 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 in the Lonsdale Room 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
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ONE OF MY MORNING CONTRIBUTORS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW
You can access the ongoing Climate Conversation here.