I’ve neglected you a little bit, haven’t I?
I’m sorry – lots has been happening, and it’s been difficult to know where to start – it still is – and also, I’m at the halfway point, so probably flagging a bit – and jetlag too.
So I’m in Jamaica – in Kingston, I’m staying somewhere between Kingston and Bull Bay.
Hayley has returned to London, because we decided to do some work via archival footage instead – for lots of reasons – there will be another blog about that soon.
I’ve been sort of wiggling my bum around to Migos for quite a lot of this morning,
Oh god, why is writing this so hard? I don’t think it’s writer’s block – but maybe it is, actually – maybe the ship is where the writing happens, because when I’m on land I’m just experiencing things.
What can I tell you that is dry and boring?
I arrived in Jamaica on Sunday, and I’ve been to the Bob Marley Museum – I only went cus my dad asked me, and I was really taken aback by how moved I was – I was at a conference about ocean conservation, shipping etc. yesterday, it started 5 hours late cus of ‘Island Time’ and they played loads of lover’s rock, there were kids everywhere, it made me think of my Nan, the museum made me think of my Nan, she is everywhere here – that is why it is hard to write, it is because she is everywhere here, all the things that make me happy and bring me joy here make me think of her, and I am grieving and I am alone, and I still don’t think it should be that big a deal, because she lived a full life but I can’t believe she won’t be there when I get back, I can’t believe I can’t call her, and I can’t believe I’m this sad about it, I can’t believe I missed her funeral, and I wish I was over it.
And I really, really need to get my shit together because I am out here now, and I am out here with my family’s blessing, and with her blessing, and I need to make this show – and there is loads to make a show about, this is probably the most richly I have been surrounded by stimulus and inspiration my entire life, but I am so alone here and my grief is palpable, it is everywhere I go.
But I like being alone – actually – I miss Hayley lots, especially when I am somewhere beautiful or eating something delicious, or something funny happens – but being alone allows for slippage, slippage, constant slippage, sort of moving through spaces unseen, and ignored. Ghostly.
I wish I wasn’t finding it quite so hard to write though. It makes it so hard to let things out of my body, to move on and to continue to work.
Shall I try to describe something for you? We’ve missed so much, haven’t we – arrival in Tema, arrival in Accra, An Artist Lunch at Ano, the Independence Day Parade, Elmina, the Dubois Museum, Osu Castle and the coast there, Labardi beach and the coast there, the opening of gallery 1957 and the work of Serge Attukwei Clottey – then the 40 hr flight to Jamaica through Dubai and New York before Kingston, and then the beach and going fishing and learning about butterflies and endless, endless skypes and hearing the sea in bed, and seeing the sea from bed, chasing crickets, putting a sheet over my head because of the little lizard near the ceiling, eating honey roast chicken and rice and peas and callaloo out of a polystyrene container and running away from the dogs that people have to keep intruders away.
I will try to describe something small, small.
Maybe it is having a small part of my brain thinking about safety all the time, that is draining me, like a small cut in the small of my back that is draining all of the vitality from me.
Also, just surrounded by men, so often.
Come on, something small.
Nah, I got nothing.
I need to look after myself, because I need to be well to do my job, so I need to figure out what I need, and then provide it for myself. I’m having lunch with a friend tomorrow, and hope to find some answers then.
There’s quite a big Chinese community in Jamaica – I might go for a Chinese tonight, after I’ve finished at the artist talk I’m going to, it’s about masculinity, which feels fitting.
LOTS OF LOVE FROM THAT BIT OF THE PROCESS THAT EVERYBODY F*****G HATES
Lots of people got in touch following the show to request a reading list of the various…