I love airports – okay maybe that’s going too far – there’s a lot I hate about airports – but i like the state of mind that i arrive at just before departure: reflective, pensive about the past I am leaving behind and the possibility of future that I am about to experience. It’s quite a romantic feeling in a way – something filmic about it. To achieve this state, it’s really important to arrive calm, on time and in a good mood so that I can enjoy the moments between the past me and the future me, waiting to board the plane to travel to pastures new.
Whenever I think about airports a tiny square photograph springs to mind of my mum holding a small baby, my older sister in fact. For years i used to imagine that this photo captures the pivotal moment when my dad was heading back to Nigeria (for what turned out to be for good) and as he drifted up the escalator to departures he took out his camera and took a photo of his wife holding their beloved baby. I know this is a fiction because I asked my mum about it – her friend Birgitte took the photo – and the camera was left behind in our house for me to discover in
our house the cellar years later.
This is what I love about writing – the past can be reinvented into many alternative possibilities, many different departures from the truth but just as believable.
I am enjoying several non-fiction books at the moment, ‘Zeitoun’ a non-fiction narrative book written by Dave Eggers with a family that survived the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina; Tracey Emin’s ‘My Life in a Column‘ and David Viscott’s ‘The Making of a Psychiatrist‘. I also saw Marina Abramovich’s ‘The life and death of Marina Abramovich‘ about a week ago which is a fictionalisation of the the artist’s life – so autobiography becomes biography propelled into a compelling stage performance.
Taking this concept to extremes, and not for the fainthearted, is this opportunity to play out (through a fabricated character) the dramas of your life events as part of the AND Festival. I guess in a way, many of us are already doing that, so what’s the harm in doing it on stage?!