Monday 22 August 2016
Captain Midnight, Hedda and I are in Crickhowell, Powys for a few days. Yesterday would have been Chris’s 50th birthday so we went to The Bear (very appropriately named, we thought) for a Gin and Tonic to mark the occasion. At 7.00pm we raised our glasses to join friends around the world in a virtual toast to her memory and to wish her a Happy Birthday.
Hedda asked me to tell her more about Chris. For nearly an hour, she listened as I spoke about Chris’s life and work; her art-making and clowning; her intellectual prowess and inspired teaching. I spoke about her illness and her death; her courage and creativity; her enthusiasm for life and her gift for friendship.
We talked about our experiences of love and loss and finding love again. Then we moved from the sofa and took our table for dinner with Ted at our feet, turned our gaze toward each other, and began to make plans for the days ahead. I bathed in the warmth of Hedda’s brilliant smile as we spoke, and I felt my heart expand.
It was a pivotal moment, in which – so to speak – my centre of gravity shifted from the past to the present, and to the possibility of creating a shared future with this wonderful woman. I was ready to love again.
As Goethe said: “Life belongs to the living.”
Dear, Geoff – i am enjoying your posts a great deal and have read back through several. I have family all over the UK whom i rarely get to visit though i long for the opportunity. Having just re-read some Alan Garner as well as working my way through Iain Banks’ “Raw Spirit”, my imagination is steeped in the Scots and Welsh landscapes (inns and country roads and distilleries and more) about which your recent posts remind me.
But i comment now mostly to offer condolences on your loss and this significant anniversary which has some curious resonance for me and, i daresay, a lovely thread that connects our lives. It was 23 years ago that a good friend of mine, dian marino, having just turned 50, passed away after living many years with cancer (i co-edited a collection of dian’s work that was published as “Wild Garden: art, education, and the culture of resistance). I miss dian still.
I came across Chris’ PhD on the CARPP site several years ago, read it quickly, and filed it for response at some point. Sadly that point is now, having just re-read it more slowly and having noted some remarkable similarities not only between Chris and dian, but also amongst Chris and her community and myself and my community. Looking for a way to send Chris a message (at least to affirm her interest in dian marino’s work) i first came across a memorial FaceBook page and, eventually, your blog. I am saddened to learn of Chris’ passing. I regret not having followed up on reading her PhD sooner. I am touched by your ongoing tribute to Chris about which you write so eloquently in these blog posts. It is both solace and comfort to learn more about her. And about you (and Ted), as well, of course.
I am delighted to have found your blog and more delighted still to learn that you are a storyteller. I have your “Coming Home to Story” on order and look froward to reading it. I appreciate your story of “coming late” to storytelling and your enthusiastic embrace of it. Unlike you, i came earlier to the vocation of storytelling and have benefitted immensely from being a member of a very vibrant community of tellers and listeners here in Toronto – through which i have had the good fortune to meet tellers from across our storied planet. I am pleased to “meet” yet another wonderful teller.
Dear Chris, thank you for you kind comments. Chris loved Dian’s work and I still have her copy of Wild Garden. It was so good to hear from you. I hope you enjoy Coming Home to Story when it arrives. All good wishes. Geoff PS: I had the great pleasure of performing at the Toronto Storytelling Festival a few years ago.
I’m pleased you’ve been part of our annual festival and sorry i missed you. I was deeply involved with it in the 90s and early 2000s. But my involvement since has been sporadic (mostly on account of raising a child – he’ll be 8 in a month).
In mind I have been with you on Sunday! So good to read that you rediscover your joy! So double congratulations :-)!