As it is Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations in Stratford this weekend I thought I would reblog a post I wrote when I first started blogging.
William Shakespeare was born on April 23rd 1564 and died on 23rd April 1616. 1964 was the 400th anniversary of his birth and I was living in Stratford on Avon, which was certainly the most exciting place to be at that time for a theatre mad teenager.
The highlight of my acting career had been the part of Mole in Toad of Toad Hall at St Gabriel’s Convent in Carlisle. Cardinal Heenan was the honoured guest in the audience. My part was memorable as it involved a tea party at Toad Hall. We had real cakes and biscuits. I had never seen those pink and white marshmallows with a biscuit base and coconut all over the top. I became so engrossed in examining and eating them that I forgot where I was and had to be prompted to continue my lines. “Oh, you silly ass, Mole”…
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The most useful, insightful and intelligent essay on the art and practice of writing that I have ever read. Hope you enjoy it and agree that it is a must read!
Hard back now broken
Skin leathered, wrinkled and worn
Soul spilled on the page
Having tidied away the decorations, cleaned the house and washed the dog and her bedding this weekend, it is now time to sort out my boxes of journals. The one above is a much used notebook from 2012. The yellow leather binding is worn, the ribbon is frayed and the pages are falling out. In fact it looks a bit like I feel; but inside it, the essence of me is distilled.
On a sea of ink
I sail to oblivion
In a paper boat
Do you remember the feeling you used to get every September when school started? Everything was new ~ uniform, pens, pencils, rulers, rubbers, sharpeners, geometry equipment, art materials and virginal exercise books covered in pretty paper. Whatever had happened the previous term, the new school year was filled with hope for a fresh start, a clean sheet, a copybook with no blots!
Well I got that feeling when I opened my Christmas presents and found a beautiful new journal. It is from the Wedgewood Archive Collection and the design is called Yellow Butterfly. Of course one journal is never enough for the addicted writer so this year I have bought 2 other journals in the sales! I am torn as to which one to start writing in first, they are all so beautiful.
On pristine pages
Bound with butterflies and birds
I journal my journey
Trawling the depths of
In rivers of words
The prompt for Haiku Heights this week is the word ‘script’. I knew immediately what I wanted to write about but it is a painful memory. When my father was very ill with cancer I would sit by his bed for hours on end whenever I was not at work. He was a self taught man who left school at the age of 13 to work in the shipyards in the North of England where he lived. He spent his whole life working with steel, eventually owning his own business. He was in great demand as a consultant on huge projects from bridges to buildings like Canary Wharf in London and Terminal 4 at Heathrow. He was also recognised as a bit of an expert on safety in Nuclear Power Stations which he used to inspect. I absolutely adored him and shared his passion for bridges, buildings and anything of beauty.
Now my father kept a diary all his life and his last sentence on every entry was a prayer of thanks for his day. He always used a propelling pencil and wrote with a beautiful script. As he got weaker his diary became really important to him. However hard it was to write he would still insist on filling in the days news. He recorded every visit by doctors, nurses, priests and friends. The day before he died he was quite distressed that he could not hold his pencil and he insisted that I should write what he dictated, which I did. When he fell asleep with the exhaustion of it I took a peek at his diary and I was totally shocked by what i found. For the worst months of his illness he had ended every entry with a prayer to St Jude ~ patron Saint of Lost causes! This was a bit upsetting. But the really upsetting thing was that for the last two weeks his entries were in mirror writing. Every word and line was written backwards. It was still legible although the writing was getting rather spidery.
I found this deeply moving as it seemed to me that his life was going into reverse. After he died I mentioned the mirror writing to the doctor and he said it sometimes happens as a result of neurological disturbance. I suppose this would make sense as he was so ill and on strong pain relief. But I still found it very unsettling.
I have heard since that some people like Leonardo Da Vinci used to do mirror writing. It is a strange phenomenon still not fully understood.
As in a mirror
His writing flowed in reverse
His Life rewinding