Stay the Same

#9 What the locals think

A few weeks ago I sent a letter to the local community asking for to responses to this project. This caused some confusion as I think people thought I wanted responses to the final film as opposed to the ideas and process behind it, so I sent a few questions as starting points. These included  how they would feel about not leaving Knoydart for a year, whether living in a place of such extremes affects their relationship with nature, their thoughts about aging and whether they have ever tried to record their experiences of life in any way.

Most people wanted to remain anonymous and some only wanted to share their responses with me personally. This is part of the nature of life in a small community where there is very little privacy. So I am incredibly grateful for the thoughts and comments I received. It is really useful for me to talk about the ideas behind my work and find out how other people relate to them particularly those living immediately around me! 

Here are a few things people said . . .

In your film I feel that perhaps you are searching for Sorley Maclean’s “Highland paradox of sensing both absence and continuity in the physical landscape.”

There is also Meg Bateman’s comment on the silent communion of two old crofters looking out “in to the land whose ways and memories unite them . .in certain knowledge that talk would hamper that expansive communion.”

Staying on Knoydart for a year, only being able to leave for up to a 24 hour period I don’t think would bother me.  I only normally go away because I need shopping .  . . .  I’m quite happy here.  I’ve been here for 20 years.

Perhaps your project is about your manipulation of your time rather than a comment on anybody else’s time or time in general, perhaps the title of your project should be “stay the same (?)” so as not to pre-empt the outcome, I suspect “most people” (whoever they are) let their time happen to them rather than taking control of their time (is that what JL was talking about when he he said “life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans?”).

Perhaps most people live in a place of extremes . .

When in a special situation I often stop for a second and try to freeze the moment in my head.  For example my son’s first day at school – I can still see it and feel the feelings now.

I am aware of the limits of time and at the moment I wish I had more but sometimes, when I see the very elderly, I hope I won’t have too much.

Of course time flows at the same rate but it seems to go faster as you get older and when you have too much to do to fit into it  . . .

I am happy enough with the way I am aging – own teeth, breasts and hair colour!

I watched an experiment the other day and two guys the same age were put into separate rooms not knowing what the experiment was.  One guy had to peel tatties for 30 minutes.  The other guy had a ‘babe’ massage him, pour him drinks, play pool with him etc.  At the end of the 30 minutes they were each asked how long they had been in the room.  Tattie man said 40 minutes and Babe man said 20 minutes!  That says it all.


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