What a lovely post! It is great to get the inside story of the evening. I love your humour and the detail of what goes on behind the scenes when of course all the audience see are five beautiful composed women who have something to say and know how to say it! I have had many responses after the screening about how powerfully you articulated what it is to come through the crisis that is a cancer diagnosis.
I can’t wait to meet your daughter in Strathcarron Hospice. I am also collecting my baking ingredients for Tuesday’s cake at our wrap party!
See you soon,
...a nice way to set out the paradoxes facing the inaugural Thinking About Dying? research workshop hosted by Professor Gillian Howie at Liverpool University. Contributions from Buddhist and Hindu theology, from humanism, from philosophers and clinical psychologists sparked off debates about the medical modeling of death and physical crises. It was an Isak Dinesen quote that prompted us to look at how we make meaning of suffering, and even death:
“All human sorrows can be bourne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.”
Beverly Clack, Labour counsellor and professor at Oxford Brookes University pointed out that it might not be easy to tell these stories just now. The current culture in the UK and the US is aspirational, making us highly motivated to be a success. ‘Just do it!’ And success comes defined right down to the shape of our bellies, the logos on our clothes, the food we eat, our postcodes. It invades every aspect of our lives – we should have partners, good-looking partners, actually, and children. In fact the children need to be beautiful too, and successful themselves… etc etc. To miss out on any of these goods is seen as an aberration and, horrifyingly, failure.
I have spent the weekend doing Chi-Gung. For the ancient Chinese Masters your ability to tap into disturbances in the environment was something to be pursued. They teach that this sensitivity also requires focus and self-discipline. They found their ability to sense earthquakes and deaths gave them useful information that they trained themselves to act on. Congratulations!
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Ruth Cave died last Sunday. I filmed Ruth as part of the TUESDAYS film, at the Maggie’s Centre. I keep thinking about her. I am making a DVD for the family of all the footage Ruth and I shot together – at home with the girls in the garden, cooking in the kitchen, walking on the huge beach at Monifieth. Ruth grins at me from the computer, arguing, telling stories, questioning me, telling me what to do with the film. Vibrant, alive.
I’m at SOURCES 2 screenwriting workshop near Stuttgart. Eight days immersion with a group of Finns, Russians, Germans, Spanish, Austrians, Iranians, Irish, Swedish, a Norwegian… Coming from the Scottish Documentary Institute and supported by Creative Scotland, Sonja Henrici and I are the only filmmakers from Britain.
I am here because I feel quite overwhelmed by my experiences at Strathcarron Hospice, and want to make the very best film I can. As filmmaker in residence, I have already filmed with patients, and discovered the amazing singing talents. With great pride I showed my sample five minutes. "Ah yes," said Arash Riahi, the outrageously successful tutor. "You love your characters and you want to show them to the audience straight away. It is sweet. Or do you want to make a film?"