25 September 1999
> Hi again Rita :-)
Hi Ju! Yes at last I am trying it this way, here goes.
> I've been given a really good printer for work, which I finally got working yesterday - lack of the correct lead having prevented me before! - and I was able to print your sketches out for the first time this morning. It's quite an odd sensation to see them appearing!
Can't imagine this at all, humm...
> Anyway, having spent some time with them, my thoughts are as follows: I definitely agree on having a very plain shape for the "font" - although I still like the idea of using bits of facial features too (not complete faces).
Would this still be within the dish area, looking inward, great fine with me.
>I still like the idea of the wooden plinth, both for all of the reasons already stated and because it looks good on your sketches! I think a log rather than a tripod though, because that will throw a shadow like a sundial. I guess there is something to be said for a tripod too, though - it's very witchy, and brings in the triple aspect of the Christian God and the Celtic Goddess.
I liked the log idea, but it's finding the right log, will chat to the gardeners about this.
> I'm quite convinced by the snake/river of stones; I think it does work well for several reasons. Unfortunately I had these reasons clearly in my mind last thing at night, so I've forgotten them again! I vaguely remember ideas like connections, passages of water within the Priory, and the pathway to God that the monks were following, but that's all!
I find it funny, that you think everything through in such a deep way, when l find images and go for them. I do think but often afterward, I seem to have a brain that goes very fast. Some people would think l was shallow and not very bright, but l know what goes on inside, and many of the in-depth things you mention have skimmed across my mind, and have been shelved as something I would like to look into when I get time.
> I like the suggestion of using footprints from clay within the snake - this seems to me to resonate with both the monks' movements around the Priory and today's visitors. If we do this, perhaps we could persuade visitors etc to participate by casting their footprints - presumably they could just tread in the clay and then wipe their feet? It might be rather fun. Could we also get any school kids etc involved in lugging stones, or are their visits too structured for this? It's a way of involving visitors, anyway :-)
This can be done easy by treading in sand and getting a cast of it with plaster. Cleaner for the participant, but messy for me, so who cares. I'll try it out on the family.
> This virtual business is a very odd experience, but very interesting too, and something that's constantly making me think. I think the Priory for me is gradually changing from the sunny, idyllic picture shown in the booklet- through your descriptions of wind and weasels more than anything else.
Please don't think the priory is one thing or another it's like the weather, constantly changing, with moods, expectations and life. Above everything else it is space, open, peaceful, but l have thoughts that this may not have always have been so. During the active life of the priory they seem to have gone through quite a few physical changes, giving me the idea of it being a constant building site. l suppose like living with a D.I.Y. enthusiast. They also had a brewery, a blacksmiths, a pottery, stables etc. One side of the priory must have been very busy and bustling, something of this must have got through. Although there must have been times of tranquil ecstacy, I am sure it was often busy, like any household.
>I know that Cornwall was a rude shock in several ways . . . first because I was told it would be warmer, but actually I don't think I've been colder even when I lived in Norwich (where the wind blows straight across from Siberia); only at the end of the first winter did someone remind me of the existence and necessity of electric blankets - it's so warm in London you rarely need those. Then it's a place characterised by rigid definitions and resistance to change, whereas I blur boundaries in my very being, and love change. Unsurprisingly, then, although I found the landscape incredibly powerful, and the experience transformed my creative development, I wasn't very happy. It did make me appreciate my home more, though. Travelling between Cornwall and London, I always loved the contrast between the empty, almost totally natural environment and the teeming, almost totally man-made environment. But although I'd never had a fantasy of moving to the country, as many people do, I did, when I went to Cornwall, welcome the opportunity of living in a village. Only when I returned did I realise that I already did! Apart from that, being in Cornwall made me realise what a very tolerant place the East End really is, considering that so many people are crowded together in such difficult conditions. Whatever the undoubted problems (my lodger was nearly murdered by queer bashers at my local bus stop last summer) the majority of people here live by the rule that you can get on with your life only by respecting other people's right to live theirs as they wish.
I am finding town life difficult, but l am not sure what living in the country would be like full-time. I am enjoying my stay at the priory, and especially meeting folks at the youth hostel. I am amazed how many women do the coast-to-coast walk alone. Being brought up in London makes me fearful of the country, but I am learning to lose it slowly. But l still find the idea that people kill animals just for fun difficult to accept.
>Moving back to Yorkshire, I actually loved your Miss Marple description of the village - apparently idyllic and old-fashioned, but a place where a murder could easily take place! I think I probably find villages more sinister than any Soho alleyway! Of course, London is like a country within a country - outside the M25 is England . . . so I could understand the Cornish attitude that anywhere north of the Tamar is "up country" - where the natives get wilder the further north you go! I'm gradually becoming aware of the proportions and size of the site, and this has also made me aware of how my reactions to distances are coloured by my mobility, which is not so comfortable . . . but hey, I'm getting my wheelchair soon, and if I could cope with walking around in a silver back brace, I daresay I can cope with the social implications of the wheelchair. I was actually on a total high the night after trialling one..
Hope the chair works out for you,wheelchairs hold a lot of images and expectations, it'll be interesting to see what changes it makes to the way people see you as a person, could be a great study
>So, some thoughts and some meanderings . . . I think it will be a very emotional experience when I finally see the site and meet you IRL. In the meantime, my thoughts are with you.
One of my main worries is, will l be able to hug you? l am not a very huggy person, but something tells me l need to feel that you are real.
God it's been a long day, love