But no matter what I wrote I have felt it to be silly and weak. My writing has been sulking.
Stumped on Saturday I went to visit my dear friend C, 88 years old blind and partially deaf with razor sharp wit and vampiric astuteness. We had been talking for about ten minutes when she stopped me and leant in close to my face, peering.
‘You look ten years old today,’ She said.
Amazed I realised that that was how I felt. Confused, baffled by the world, child-like. Not in control of my destiny.
‘I have writer’s block.’ I said.
She nodded and patted my hand.
‘How did she know that?’ I wondered.
C is pretty remarkable. Previously I had been telling her about my hopes and fears for the workshop I thought I might be facilitating, teaching blind and visually impaired people in London about photography and last week she suddenly announced that she wanted to have a go.
‘I keep seeing fences I want to shoot.’ She told me firmly.
Given that C is marvellously fierce I wasn’t sure if she meant with a camera and breathed a sigh of relief when she accepted a trial with my digital point-and-shoot Sony as opposed to me having to go out and score her a Colt revolver.
We went for a walk around the block. She gripping her wheeled Zimmer frame with my camera slung around her neck and shoulder like a gun.
‘There.’ she said. ‘I don’t know why I need to take its picture but just look at it. It…it ..makes me …’
She couldn’t finish but she didn’t need to. We both stood blinking at it.
The white picket fence gleamed in the sunlight- all sharp lines and severity. A dark shadow stretched tentatively from a nearby tree edging into the open gate.
In our conversations we often touch upon how dispossessed she feels by age and mostly by her deafness. How people talk across her, tell her what to do, what she can do, pat her and tell her ‘you’re a good girl’ when she is an 88 year old woman.
And this picket fence seems to capture something in its bright perky rigid gleaming.
She felt the edge of the fence to get an idea of distance and balancing the camera as we had practiced on her chest she took a couple of shots. Then we discovered the Zimmer frame had a seat so she could sit and get a lower angle.
C can only manage the walk around the block but in that short 40 minutes we saw so much and as the light in that soft, spring afternoon changed so everything changed. I knew we could come back here a hundred times and each photograph would be different.
Back at the house we were both energised and inspired. I rushed home to load the pictures on to my computer and I asked her if I could show you all couple.
(c) C. Rawlinson 2009