I’ve been finding it hard to write lately, particularly to write something tidy and public such as a blog post. There’s a simple enough reason – it’s because I’m not doing the frontline work that inspires me to write. Other than in an occasional, member-of-the-public sort of way I’ve hardly seen children in ages. Although I do love what I’ve been doing lately (and am adamant that it’s playwork too), this blog was really started as a way for me to share stories from the field and I have been struggling to find a voice without them. So there’s that, and then there’s also the fact that I now a) have a small readership and b) probably know you all. Anyone who has tried to mention this blog to me at a conference will know that being reminded someone other than my Mum reads it makes me flush bright purple.
I’ll have to find a way around those stumbling blocks, because it seems a bit late to make this blog anonymous.
I spent recent weeks bouncing from place to place, fast as a pinball. I counted it out one afternoon, going through my datebook on a Greyhound bus, and saw I’d changed cities 13 times in 4 weeks. London, Boston, New York, DC, Pittsburgh… I’d changed beds more than that, because of visiting different friends in the same cities, and one bed wasn’t a bed at all but a night bus which broke down. There was plenty of exciting stuff, including the Association of Children’s Museums conference and a Pop-Up Play Day with Providence Children’s Museum. Our online course started, too, with participants from 6 different countries all learning about playwork together. After all this I was pretty shot when I landed in Vermont, my home for the summer.
I’m staying in a town called Brattleboro, living in an art studio/gallery space that looks out over the Connecticut River. Last weekend was an event called the Strolling of the Heifers, when high school marching bands, flower-bedecked cows and homemade parade floats came drifting along Main Street which, coincidentally, is underneath my window. When I woke up and looked down, it was like being adrift in a very strange sea.
Here I find myself surrounded by the discomfort of answered wishes. Time and space to write? Granted! The chance to dabble again in art? Have a studio! I feel lucky, yes, and also rather overwhelmed. It was a combination of fatigue and shock, I think, that led me to spend so much of my first week here watching Mad Men.