Note to Self #1 - Janey Robinson

Janey Robinson

Note to Self #1


It’s ok to be in the dark

I went to Letters Live in March, an annual event series to celebrate remarkable letters that deserve to be heard. Benedict Cumberbatch and friends lent their voices. I was aware of the basic concept of the event but nonetheless found myself feeling unnerved without an order of events. At ten minutes in during the first piece of music, yes music, I reprimanded myself at being so boring in always wanting a heads up on proceedings. I relaxed my shoulders and let the show unfold in whatever way it wanted to. By the end I was convinced it was one of the best things I’d been to in a long time. I’d actually relished the unknown and how it made me feel: alive.

It brought another experience to mind, The Drowned Man, an immersive show I went to in 2014 in a warehouse in Paddington. I did no research, had read nothing and should have known this wasn’t going to be a normal night at the theatre based solely on the venue but I went in blind and void of expectations. After a dizzying, purposefully disorienting entry to the event an industrial lift with a masked chaperone started our journey. Separated from my husband in some clever lift manoeuvring I was delivered to a vast dark space with little lighting and sand beneath my what-turned-out-to-be inappropriate shoes three hours later. At first I’ll admit I was scared, then I felt exhilarated, then full of a new confidence to explore the space in front of me. There were caravans in the distance (see below illustrated interpretation) with invitingly lit insides full of abandoned letters, radios and clothes asking to be read, listened to and touched. My husband had quickly worked out the warehouse layout and left his floor to come and rescue me, I was a little relieved as one thought that had crossed my mind was that this would be a good place to commit a murder… but I’ve never forgotten that mental freedom that came from embracing the unknown. Adjusting to the dark.

I’ve been applying these experiences to my writing, mindfully being more mindless when starting a writing project. I was getting caught up in all the rules, the should and should not’s that I’ve learned from industry professionals and wise bloggers in recent months. All useful but often debilitating to my creativity. I’m giving my brain a break to let my gut take over. So here’s to the darkness and the brilliant sparks it provides. It’s ok to be in the dark.

© Finn Dean

© Finn Dean

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