When Elsie let me know I'd been 'tagged' I was pretty chuffed. Since then I've been struggling to write this post. I'd even go so far as to call it a mild case of Poster's Block - really, I've found it unbelievably hard to come up with 8 facts about myself which won't bore me to death to write about, or bore the reader to read. Funny, since so many of my posts are, let's face it, about, ehem, me...
Anyway, I'm fed up to the back teeth with this procrastinating (and, as my old Italian teacher used to say, my back teeth go a long way back), so I'm just going to plunge in and see what surfaces...
Fact One: Once I danced naked on a roof in Herne Hill in the rain. My friend and I threw off our clothes and climbed out of a window onto the flat roof when the downpour came. It was joyous. A marker. A memory of youth. That same friend and I hit an impasse years after that which caused us to pause our friendship. Just recently we made tentative moves towards one another to resume. I understand now that love doesn't go away just because you can't handle it, and that where some people are concerned, family is family, whether they're blood family or not.
Fact Two is this: I understand the above because of something I started doing on Sunday, 5th March 2006. On that day I started to attend Quaker Meeting for Worship. This is a quiet fact, not one I shout about. How to speak of something as private and mysterious as uncovering one's faith? Perhaps another day. I can mention the astonishing power of the silence. The hopefulness of the light which streams through the three celestory windows of our simple meeting room. The subtle working of the other light, the one Quakers speak of, in parts of my life which I did not think could be illuminated. And I can mention the silence again.
Fact Three: In another silence, one July eight years ago, during a guided 'creative visualisation' I had what I've only ever been able to describe as a vision. I saw some part of a possible future for myself. It involved dance, and working with the dispossessed, and running a place of which I was the boss. I was on holiday at the time, and my life was a million miles from what I had seen. But within weeks this vision led me to be offered movement teaching work, then to the decision to re-train in Community Dance, and from there it led me to a placement in Ireland, where I met the Bim. Which led to... well, let's just say the vision's on hold for the time being!
Fact Four: Anna-mouse had a sister called Joy. We were both sure she was a girl, though she only made it to seven weeks. I have never forgotten the intensity of the happiness I felt when I carried her. Hence her name. I found out she had died in a tiny cubicle in a Catholic hospital in southern Ireland. It was just past midnight. You never forget.
Fact Five: I had been trying to live in Ireland with the Bim. The country, while a pleasure to visit, sat uncomfortably with me as a permanent option. When Joy died, I had to come home.
Fact Six: I came home, in a fantastical journey with nine bags, over land and sea: Cork city to Rosslare to Fishguard to Swansea to London. What I remember most as I stepped off the train at Paddington Station was being hit by this vast wall of sound, a city soundscape which has no equal. I began to realise I'm a Londoner, through and through.
Fact Seven: Within months of my return, the Bim had followed me over the water to live with me here in England. Before we met, he had never been on a plane and didn't have a passport. I never forget this. I hold this act of love very dear.
Fact Eight: It's not actually very hard to write eight facts about yourself if you do it quickly, and from the heart.
Now I believe I am supposed to name 5 others out of whom I would like to tease eight facts. Elsie, forgive me - I'm useless at chains of any kind, I'm too much of a laissez fairekind of a gal. I can only humbly offer my 8 facts and hope the ether might inspire others without the asking.