Karen
Christopher

Loops in the brain that tangle and untangle

He asked me whether I ever looked back in my notebook. He was watching me write in it and he wanted to make the point that what I was doing was pointless and that perhaps I should not waste my time that way. He was sure that my answer to his question: do you ever go back and read what you write would be "no". I said yes and he was incredulous saying: "I never did when I wrote a notebook and so I stopped."

I thought of him just now as I was walking, because I'd mused about an idea that had come to me for something to do in a workshop. A new idea, I thought. I had been so glad about this new idea. I went through my notebook to add it to what I'd written a couple of months before for that same workshop but there it was, a note (in my own handwriting) of that same idea. I was having it again for the first time.

When I got home from the walk I cleared a block in the sink and answered some emails and sent a few tweets for the upcoming performance in Aberystwyth at which point I remembered the plan to write something down. I flexed my brain looking for it. I relaxed it. I poked a stick into the inner layers. I couldn't remember what it had been. Nothing at all came to mind. So empty.

When, as I continued to clear a few things in advance of my trip, I turned the radio on and heard a woman who takes care of elephants talking about writing a diary to keep track of developments, the memory of this internal conversation about the notebook and the memory and the workshop exercise came flowing back to me. Now I've written it down. It's all there now. Every curling loop of it.

 

Tags: walking, untangling, questions, workshop

Posted on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 by Karen Christopher

Look Both Ways

Utopia is on the horizon. When I walk two steps, it takes two steps back. I walk ten steps and it is ten steps further away. What is utopia for?
It is for this, for walking.

--Eduardo Galleano

It's a workshop to compose a question. The question will start a process of discovery. The question will be inspiring or lead into a brick wall, a question will launch a ship or take you down a dark alley. These questions are to provoke a response, these will not be neutral questions, these are questions that influence an answer. They are leading questions. We are looking for leading questions. They function as agents that stimulate a reaction, development, or change, something that causes fermentation. It is a workshop to find a question that takes the form of a walk during which we hope to compose this question or to find it. Among other things we weave a weft through the warp of attention drawn by future train passengers silently standing all facing departure boards at Euston station. Or are we the warp. Just because we continue passing doesn't mean we aren't for those moments the stability around which the weave is made visible.

We listen, we watch, we dissassemble and assemble. We hover a bit here or there to write. We radiate: this is the moment that we have.

I am standing in the middle of a dance performed by travelers, by pigeons, by plastic shopping bags, the sirens from ambulances, the beep beep of taxis, an indeciferable roar, the confessions of trees, the conversations of men--into phones, a blizzard of seeds, a pram with a balloon attached, a bank slip, a long beard, a caravan of wheeled suitcases. So many hands pressing plastic close to the faces. Calling, calling, calling.

Tags: walking, pigeons, Beyond Glorious, workshop

Posted on Friday, 31 May 2013 by Karen Christopher

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