I had a normal-sized life, albeit with a tendency to uncomfortable swellings, until recently. In the months after my memoir was published, though, it became tiny.
There’s only five-foot-one of me, so I’ve never taken up much space. Tiny is my natural state, and as I was past middle age with no notable features, I was perfectly placed to reduce this life to near-invisibility. In producing a book, I had written it large – or in 12-point Times New Roman at least – and ventured way beyond my comfort zone. It was exhilarating and I loved it, but playing it tiny felt much more me.
But life won’t be played like that, and comfort zones won’t contain it. The tiny life whispers increasingly, incessantly, that it too, deserves to be written. So here I am, at the keyboard, ready to begin again.
Don’t judge me for shopping for school shoes three weeks after our term started.
OK, judge me if you like!
But I just had to share – especially after the whole dolly-babe nonsense – that we had the best surprise when we went to Clarks yesterday.
I was all for going to JD or Schuh, but it turns out my children are creatures of habit. So in we went, to the shop we’ve gone to since my oldest was getting their first walking shoe. They have gravitated to the ‘girls’ side since they could toddle.
Yesterday, I looked at the ‘girls’ side. And there was no girls side.
Clarks at Fort Kinnaird have mixed their shoes – they’ve got a trainer wall, and the smarter shoes are on the right.
To some people this would mean nothing. To me it means so much.
I spent last week in Inverness with around a hundred young people from England, Scotland, Malta and Chicago who congregated at the National Theatre of Scotland’s Exchange Festival.
Casting myself as an anthropologist, I observed the use of the ubiquitous mobile phone – how it was integrated seamlessly into conversations and performances, the quick fact checking, the intimacy of capturing and sharing images, how texts shoaled individuals like fish into the next workshop, the next show, a place to share food and thoughts, a prop for breaking the ice.
Mobiles as tools for inclusion.
And the shows these young people made – experimental, moving, funny and savvy about human emotions; willing to tackle some of the BIG stuff, mental health, migration and sexuality to name a few. This is the future of theatre making in Scotland. I came home excited. It’s contagious.