Stay the Same


Trying to fast forward
28 September 2011, 11:48 am
Filed under: ALL, Diary entries

We have just passed the equinox and I am now a quarter of the way through which seems quite incredible. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t need a light filter, and the sun, which was straight in my eyes just a month ago, is now tucked behind the trees. The light is changing rapidly. It’s going to be six months before it gets lighter again.

There are strategies for coping with winter here. I know I have to make myself leave the house everyday (for longer than just to film) even in the darkest days when it is raining and bleak. There is also finding activities for the long evenings. There is a pub, but this would not be a good route to go down as a strategy for surviving winter, not for me anyway.

Instead there are films to watch, radio programmes to listen to, friends to invite round, scrabble to played and knitting to be done! I want to read a lot this winter and have even begun writing letters. I’m sure I will find new projects too. I have never spent a whole winter here without leaving and am trying to stave of the lurking sense of intrepidation. It is a beautiful day today. It looked stunning on camera this morning and maybe it will be a beautiful winter bringing lots of unexpected suprises.

I’m also struggling not to pre-empt the emotional journey of the film (or for that matter what the final outcome will be). I worry that this desire to pre-empt is in danger of affecting the decisions I make in my life. (I have a bad enough habit of creating melodrama in my life as it is.) I want there to be an emotional journey with a narrative arc over the course of the year and so am I trying to create one?   It’s a struggle to accept that I don’t have the big picture at this view point in time.

A friend said she wished life had a fast forward button, so she could whizz ahead to see herself the age of 85 and find out if it all works out OK. Sounds brilliant. But how often do go back and watch a film once you have fast forwarded to the end? Once you know the resolution, it’s over.

You could argue that life doesn’t follow the trajectory of a classic story narrative, but I am not sure this is true. We use narratives to understand our lives and these reflect natural and inherent structures. Beggining, middle end. We just don’t know which bit we are in. So, the story is always being rewritten and changing.

I have a tendancy to want to keep checking the map so I know where I am. To keep rewriting the story so I can predict the end, like when I watch a hollywood film and can tell by the second act if it’s going to have a happy ending. I’m not doing this to be clever, I just want reassurance that things will turn out OK. But I am learning that this desire to pin things down and know where they are going is potentially destructive.  It halts things from going forward. The challenge is to allow the tension to exist between best laid plans and natural developments.

I’ve said it before and I have to keep reminding myself that on a day by day basis I am really enjoying this project (even if for some reason I haven’t slept properly since it started). I look forward to the moments in front of the camera where everything stops and I get to be back in the same place.  This in itself is reassuring. And I like being here in Knoydart, writing, walking and finding mushrooms in the woods. It’s only when I strain to look forward and see darkness ahead that I get worried.

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