Saturday, 10 November 2012

Days and Memories

(I'm hopped up on green tea with lime and feeling creative. Therefore blogging will happen. I REGRET NOTHING!)

So today my good friend and occasional writing collaborator @amiewee put forth the following question on twitter:

Good question. I had no idea. 

Then she asked:

Simple questions, yes? This was my first thought....

Why that one? I wrote about it in detail a few years ago as part of an attempt to do NaNoWriMo but I guess the short version is that it was the first time I remember going from being a spectator to a participant. My parents hadn't done it (at least in my living memory). It was something that was Mine. It was the first time I realised that things like this were possible, within reach of mere mortals, even 16 year old ones. The fact I nearly killed myself on my second jump just makes the lesson even more important I think. And man, was it fun to unearth some writing of mine from four years ago! I was preparing to move to NZ at that point. Interesting times. 

But what else? I got thinking. Today's been one of those days that's invited lots of thinking. I've been productive, my room is clean and all the laundry is done. The rats are making a nest having been cleaned out, there's good tunes on the stereo, and the weekend has been full of happy times with good people. I've been alone today, but nothing approaching lonely. 

So, what memories make themselves known immediately when I get asked this? 

One that I think will stay with me forever is actually pretty recent. It was the morning after my motorcycle had been stolen. I'd been out of hospital only a few days. I remember lying in bed, and distinctly thinking "you have two options here. You can spend the day in bed feeling really down and nobody would blame you for that. Or you can get up and keep going." I remember it feeling like a real choice, one that went further than just that morning. Now, whenever I feel a bit overwhelmed by things, I just remember how I felt lying in bed that day, leg in plaster, painkillers not working, and how I still managed to get the hell up and fix what I could. Gritted teeth and all. 

If I'd seen you nicking my bike bro, I'd have chased you. Cast or no.

Standing on the roof of an abandoned office block in East London, NYE 2004/5, watching the sun rise on a new year and toasting the dawn with a can of lager with people I'd met only weeks or hours before (some of whom I count as close as family today) also sits at the top. I'd been in the city a few months, and that was the moment I knew I wasn't going to move back to Glasgow, that I could make it here. Eight months later I was training to be a teacher, something I'd probably never have thought of if I'd gone north. Again, a total game-changer (and a hilarious night all round. Were my little parochial eyes opened to life in the big city that day)

Watching the sea haar roll in and over a massive island in the arctic ocean before totally enveloping it, in the weird milky sunlight that you get at midnight in that part of the world. Feeling awed at this otherwordly sight and thinking suddenly that it is sights like this that produce myths and religions. I remember being completely entranced, standing on this beach watching this alien seascape disappear before an advancing, inexorable force. I was 13.
Too crazy to take photos, have a poster instead

Standing front and centre for the gig Clutch played at the Kings Arms in 2010. I went with my oldest NZ friend and it was incredible. Intimate venue, absolutely packed with fans, music loud and intense and everything you want a gig to be. I had bruises on my hip bones from where the crowd had pummelled me into the stage. This was a gig like pop culture makes you imagine gigs should be like. No lesson really, just AWESOME NOISE.

Being woken up age tiny by my mum and dad in the middle of the night. I was bundled into a really warm jacket (my memory tells me it was furry) and taken outside, where the biggest aurora borealis was happening. I remember this huge curtain of red and gold like fire lighting up the sky like it was the end of the world, with green and blue flickers and jumps. Standing in the front doorway, looking out over a dark field and up to this hypnotic, terrifying and stunning display is one of my earliest memories and I am eternally grateful to my parents for thinking it was more important than sleep.

I was going to say that's my top 5 but it's six so you get one for free. They're maybe not the absolute happiest moments ever or the kind of days people say are their best memories, but they're the six that leapt out at me when I saw this so I guess they're the most important floating around in my brain right now.

I'd probably write about six different ones tomorrow.

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