Mum, the muse and her dogs
When working the first draft of ‘Disrupted Meadow’ (the one featured here), the opening was disrupted by the entrance of a passerby’s dog. The Labrador couldn’t help itself entering the space I had carefully marked out on the edge of a meadow near a gate. The chance disruption to play is often a serendipitous moment in improvisation I have found; something to be embraced with a full heart.
My improvisational mind was spinning fast. This work was not going to be about mum I had vowed; too much has been about her. Her recent loss I was consciously suppressing on this workshop. This was not going to be about mum, despite her being my muse. I had lost her and so I had lost my muse.
Nevertheless, I took the cue. And they all lined up in my head – Mum’s Dogs.
So I spoke them aloud to work with the image that had been the gift of disruption.
“Zeta, Trudy, Jenny, Sam, Sid, Triste, Shamus, Ben, Zac and Charlie.”
Then I moved on with the plan for the scratchy improvisation that had been in my body since working on it that week in Dorset in June 2021.
As I am writing today it’s a year since her death. I don’t want to Facebook it, Instagram it, talk about it even. I am just writing this.
Mum, like Hecate, our lady of the crossroads, had a dog. She always had a dog, from her foster home dog Trudy in Stowmarket to her Charlie the toy cuddly thing she had with her in hospital. Charlie was the only thing she had since she died alone as many have done during the pandemic. I have thought how these dog stories can now muse-like guide me through Disrupted Meadow as it grows into whatever artwork it chooses to be. Each dog marks a phase in a life journey – my journey, not mum’s journey. Separating from mum is both liberating and devastating. Within that disruption I hold pain and love I don’t yet understand.
Here are the dogs:
Dog Slide Show
If you visit the ‘Disrupted Meadow’ post you will see that another animal disrupts the space – mum’s cowherd. She is everywhere – that’s what mums are like, I think.