Images of Liverpool have been on my mind all this week as I have been working, trying to push projects on, while feeling all the time the desolation of my life now. It’s impossible, after a catastrophe, to avoid that time of reckoning.
I had thought that in the past year I was doing that, but realise now that my actions were more connected to survival, trying to remain on my feet while taking in the shock of the event, absorbing the waves of the explosion into my being.
Now it’s time to live the reality of what is left. I’m not travelling like I was last year, not marking my time as home as beats between other journeys. Instead, I am facing up to the fact that this is it, this is my life now. I imagine myself in the wreckage of a bomb site or of an earthquake, picking through the rubble and picking up the pieces that are keys to memories of that wonderful life I once lived. It’s painful to be in the flat sometimes and feel its silence and know that in that silence is the absence of Mark, of his flow of talking, singing, mimicry and music playing. I look at this life I have now long and hard, feeling the ache of being without him, and trying to catch a glimpse of what it might be possible to build in the future.
That’s why Liverpool’s story has had such a profound impact on me. I knew it when it was in a terrible state of dereliction and despair, largely as a result of the closure of the docks which were its industrial life blood. It is over-stretching it to say that the city has revived – there is redevelopment, but this seems largely a superficial covering, rather than a ground up resurgence of the energy and spirit of the city. The Baltic Triangle is, however, and its workshops and work spaces are inspiring me to think about how we go about acknowledging the brokenness of a place or life, while envisioning something different, and working towards it. It seems remarkable to me right now that people do, that they can look at a derelict workshop and see the potential for something different taking shape in it. How do you keep an eye on that goal and pursue it, what gives us the energy to do that, and when we find it, how do we work with it effectively in order to give substance to our dreams?