A reflection on the research and development of Let Go Home, about grief and our absurd relationship to objects, by Simon Gleave.
Home has been a fragmented and often estranging topic for me since I was a kid. But at the centre there are trigger details which lead to sensations which - for the sake of this blog at least - I will call home.
The smell of the dust in the pillows of our living-room couch and its warm brown, green and red patterning as I buried myself into it day after day. The wooden door leading from the kitchen to the garden where aprons, towels and some nondescript black bells hung. The wooden kitchen table, its lean, its creak, mum’s stir-fry on its mottled place mats, the candle wax’s marks. The corridor I played out (and won) countless football and rugby fantasies. The bedroom where I hid, smoked, read, wrote and… other things. The garden where I covered myself in mud.
These are my details. What about our details? What common reference points do we share? Is my wooden kitchen table archetypal? Is breakfast? By searching to essentialise the components of home and family, Adam and I have stripped back certain aspects of the personalities of our senses of homes, bringing another skeletal language to the fore.
A list of soft things
One of the most effective means of evoking (or constructing) home or a sensation of home has been listing its parts. Lists hold all necessary information while staying open to the listener. They are kinds of skeletal poems, collages for the audience to piece the parts together. In its most essential form it’s just a collection of things that we think we need to remember.
A list of hard things
These parts can trigger feelings and images which give rise to memories of home, whilst keeping the construction as open as possible for an audience or reader to fill up with their own details. Leaving things open has been an essential part of this process, which began as an intimate and personal one: open to focus, open to interpretation, open to imagination and reason.
When I started trying to write about home two years ago, I couldn’t separate myself from a sense of rupture, of dislocation, confusion and entanglement. Not to deny the warmer, clearer memories of a home nurtured in the arms, sofa pillows and pasta of my mum, but a few of the strongest brushstrokes in my personal history of home were the most disruptive: holding mum as she cried on a couch when I was a toddler; dad picking me out of my cot shortly before he left; scratching angry messages into the walls of my bedroom; throwing and breaking things.
There are things that still hurt, remain entangled or lost, and - at times - this disruptive cocktail has led to a spirit of disruption and imbalance in my inner representation of home. Not to worry. Pain, at least, is not boring; and we have all lost something in our childhood homes. Our innocence maybe. Or something (or someone) infinitely more valuable.
As we transition from phases 1 and 2 in the development of Let Go Home into phase 3, the journey continues to bring the fragments of our experiences as a company to bear upon this piece. To find the language of our childhood homes, of our griefs, our containment and our relationship to the things we nestle ourselves in with. For, as Bachelard says,
our house is our corner of the world.
it is our first universe, a real cosmos
in every sense of the word.