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Published work! Autumn 2018 by ellie berry

It’s only recently that I’ve started adding writer to my by-line. It was what I wanted to be when I grew up since about third class (nine years old). My teacher of the time decided that each student was to try and write their own story. Through the unintentional eves-dropping kids go through, I slowly learnt that everyone else's work was very “real life” based - catching a robber who broke into a shop, working on a farm. Mine was about a girl named Rogue who had a (sarcastic) talking horse, lived in a fantasy woodland, and was sent on a quest to find the collar necklace (that was a spelling mistake that mini-me just pretended was intentional. Even now I remember it was supposed to be coral necklace). I’m pretty sure it was heavily inspired by the never ending story and lord of the rings. And I know now that it deeply cemented my love of writing.

Skip forward through many years of amazing English teachers, continued terrible spelling, discovering the magic of creative critical research in college, and we roughly land in Dublin two years ago. I haphazardly wrote this, my personal blog, but was also about to enter the planning stages of Tough Soles. I know that in 2017 I wrote nearly 35k words through that blog, and I’m hoping to break that record this year. It’s not the kind of writing nine year old me would have imagined, but I’ve really come to love it - although I think I’ve exhausted the variety of ways I can say ‘it rained’. I’ve also (tentatively) started letting text have a more interesting role in my personal creative practices; hence the red girls and there is rarely silence while walking.

All of this has lead me to being braver with my applications and ideas, and so over maybe the past month I’ve had my words and work published in places!

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1. In The Frame: Fractured Landscapes

In each issue of Totally Dublin magazine there is In The Frame, a full page given over to printing a single image/piece, accompanied by some text explaining the project. This month I got to share one of the images from my Fractured Landscapes series. At the time of publication, this image was hanging in HALFTONE print fair.

In the Frame: Fractured Landscapes in Totally Dublin is now available online.

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2. Intrepid Magazine - Issue 6

Intrepid magazine is a pretty cool thing in my eyes. They are the only female-first print and online adventure magazine that I know of, and so I pitched them an article where I talk about The Highs and Lows of Hiking - not the most inspired article title, but it’s basically me looking at the different things that affect my motivation while we’ve been working on Tough Soles. In it, I imagine “the elephant in the room” as three actual elephants that lumber along the hillside behind me as I hike.

Note: If I’m perfectly honest, I haven’t re-read my article since it’s been published, as I’m afraid I won’t like it.

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3. Del Norte:
self published photobook

This book isn’t exactly new - in fact, I first started making this in 2016. However, when I found out in October that I’d been accepted onto my masters programme I decided to run a little online sale, and included my Del Norte books. Being the first photobook I’d ever tried to make, it’s not the surprising to me that there are many things I would change about it. And, happily enough, there was one thing I decided I could change: text.

When I published this I first didn’t have any text, but when I exhibited some of the prints back in 2016, I printed off diary extracts and stuck them to the walls. Since then I’ve wondered how I could incorporate the text into the book. I ended up making a couple of different versions - in one copy I stuck the text in on tracing paper between or onto the pages. It almost worked, but wasn’t quite right.

Some of my books were wrapped in large sheets with stamps, so then I included a plain leaflet inside the wrapping. There were a couple of other variations, and the design I’ve stuck with for now is the one shown in the photograph - the text in a little booklet, the cover of which is tracing paper with some of the stamps I collected while walking printed on it. Also mentioned in the image above is the fact that the book is for sale in The Library Project in Temple Bar! Thank you so much to everyone who has bought a copy from me, or from TLP.

The last piece that will be coming out before the new year is a short Tough Soles update in the winter edition of Mountaineering Ireland’s The Mountain Log.

Also, thank you for all the book recommendations. I have 50 books on my To Do list, and probably 100 more that are saved in notes apps or scribbled on mislaid pieces of paper. Reading hasn’t been fast these two months, but I think by the time this is published I should have finished: Photography and Ireland by Justin Carville; Doing Visual Ethnography by Sarah Pink; and The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin.

At the moment I’m having fun taking part in one of those social media sharing posts “post 7 book covers for 7 days with no titles or descriptions”. To be honest, most of the books I’m reading have all the information on the cover, so it’s not all that secretive or mysterious.

Seeing as this post has turned into just discussing writing; my dad wrote a book - The Dangerous Book for CEOs! It’s just words central right now.

Also, I’m officially 6 weeks into my masters programme, and a lot of things have happened in that time. I think I’ll leave this blog post just to writing for now, and do more recapping in maybe the next post. I do want to mention that Carl and I did some amazing training with Leave No Trace Ireland, and I’m very excited to write my piece discussing it (that piece will probably come out on the Tough Soles blog).

Finally, I wonder would nine year old me be disappointed or relieved to know how bad I still am at spelling.

Building Reading Lists by ellie berry

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If I was to guess when it was that I fell in love with reading I’d probably guess it was around when I was eight. There’s no special event I remember, but I also can’t really remember reading books by myself before then. According to others I’ve been a book worm since bed time stories were a thing. As like most people, how much I actually read ebbs and flows - although I still buy books at the same rate, which has lead to some overburdened shelves holding some very clean books.

At the beginning of this year I decided to try and read 52 books. I simultaneously believed that I could definitely, and yet probably wouldn’t, read that many books - but either way, I really wanted to just track what I’d read and try and read something in the double digits. Currently I’m reading Tim Ingold’s Lines: A Brief History.

 

The Big 2018 Booklist

  1. Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine - Last Chance to See

  2. Dodie Clarke - Secrets for the mad

  3. Ursula K. Le Guin - A wizard of Earthsea

  4. Anna McNuff - The Pants of Perspective

  5. Terry Pratchett - Lords and Ladies

  6. Terry Pratchett - Maskarade

  7. Terry Pratchett - Carpe Jugulum

  8. Terry Pratchett - Jingo

  9. Andrzej Saphowski - The Last Wish

  10. Andrzej Saphowski - Sword of Destiny

  11. J. R. R. Tolkien - The Two Towers


Where I’ve read multiples from one author I’ve listed the books in the order I read them (just to make things a little more complicated).

The slightly long to-be-read list:

  1. Naomi Alderman - The Power

  2. John Boughton - Municipal Dreams

  3. Robyn Davidson - Tracks

  4. Anthony Doerr - All the light we cannot see

  5. Reni Eddo-Lodge - Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

  6. Lauren Elkin - Flâneuse: Women Walk the City

  7. Ruth Fitzmaurice - I found my tribe

  8. Keith Fosket - High and Low

  9. John Green - Paper Towns

  10. Frédéric Gros - A Philosophy of Walking

  11. N. K. Jemisin - The Broken Earth Trilogy

  12. Scott Jurek - North

  13. Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time

  14. J. Anthony Lukas - Common Ground

  15. Helen Mort, (et al. editors) - WAYMAKING: an Anthology of Womens Adventure Writing, Poetry and Art

  16. Liz O’Neill - Asking for it

  17. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun

  18. Garth Nix - Sabriel

  19. Shirley Read and Mike Simmons - Photographers and Research: the Role of Research in Contemporary Photographic Practice

  20. Edward Said - Orientalism

  21. Nan Shepard - The Living Mountain

  22. Keri Smith - The Wander Society

  23. Rebecca Solnit - Wanderlust: A History of Walking

  24. Emily St. John Mandel - Station 11

  25. Cheryl Strayed - Wild

  26. Ranne Wynne - The Salt Path


As I’m heading back to college to start a research masters …

… I decided to do a very general google search for reading lists, and stumbled across the page of IMMA reading lists. The one it has for photography lines up very very closely with the reading list for most of the BA Photography course in IADT that I did (which means I might start trying to read them now!).

Reading while walking this summer was both enjoyable, but also tricky as most of the time when we stop I just want to sleep. If I did manage to dig my kindle out of my backpack I really did enjoy reading. I just didn’t often have the strength to go find it. I’d love to get a wider range of books, so please send me on a recommendation or two!
And lets how quickly I can grow my read list before the end of the year!

Also, I went to the botanic gardens with my sister recently, which is always a favourite place of mine. It’s magical getting to share favourite places with other people. So I’m dropping a couple of photos from there throughout the blog post (queue me adding more photos of plants than books).

In the upcoming weeks I plan to finish sharing my BA thesis: so far I’ve shared the Introduction and Chapter One, so lots to revisit still.

IMMA Reading list - Photography

Martin Lister (ed.), The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, London: Routledge, 1995. (✓)

J. J. Long, Andrea Noble and Edward Welch (eds.), Photography: Theoretical Shapshots, London and New York: Routledge, 2009.

Nathan Lyons (ed.), Photographers on Photography: A Critical Anthology, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1966.

Mary Warner Marien, Photography: A Cultural History, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.

W. J. T. Mitchell, Iconography: Image, Text, Ideology, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present Day, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1982.

Fred Ritchin, After Photography, London and New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.

Naomi Rosenblum, A World History of Photography, New York: Abbeville Press, 1997.

Aaron Scharf, Art and Photography, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

Stephen Shore, The Nature of Photographs, London: Phaidon Press, 2007.

Susan Sontag, On Photography, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977.

John Szarkowski, The Photographer’s Eye, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007.

John Tagg, The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2009.

Alan Trachtenberg (ed.), Classical Essays on Photography, New Haven: Leete’s Island Books, 1980.

Liz Wells (ed.), The Photography Reader, London: Routledge, 2002. (✓)

The IMMA reading list page.

Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, trans. Richard Howard, New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.

Geoffrey Batchen, Burning with Desire: the Conception of Photography, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997.

Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936), in Illuminations, London: Fontana, 1973, pp. 219-253. (✓)

Richard Bolton (ed.), The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989.

Victor Burgin (ed.), Thinking Photography, London: Macmillan, 1982.

David Campany (ed.), Art and Photography, London and New York: Phaidon Press, 2003.

Charlotte Cotton, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 2004.

T. J. Demos, Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives on Photography, London: Phaidon Press, 2006.

Emma Dexter and Thomas Weski (eds.), Cruel and Tender: The Real in Twentieth-Century Photography, London: Tate, 2003.

Steve Edwards, Photography: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. (✓)

Jessica Evans (ed.), The Camerawork Essays: Context and Meaning in Photography, London: Rivers Oram Press, 1997.

Vilem Flusser, Towards a Philosophy of Photography, London: Reaktion Books, 2000.

Michael Fried, Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

Michel Frizot, A New History of Photography, Cologne: Konemann, 1998.


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Space, Place and Obligation by ellie berry

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Space

I’m standing at the spire, waiting for Walking in the Eire to finish her incredible 6 month trip walking the coastline of Ireland. It’s a part of Dublin I never visit - it’s reserved for tourists, no “Dubliner” would put themselves through this stressful street (not that I’m sure I can claim that title). Over to my left there’s a guy literally standing on his soap box, preaching to his un-co-operating congregation that Jesus Christ can forgive them, and they can find their immortal life. Even with his small speaker hanging from his elbow I don’t think many people can hear him. There are hundreds of buses, thousands of conversations, and one busker playing drums pretty well but also pretty loudly, and it echoes up and down this wide thoroughfare.

But it’s not as uncomfortable a place as I was expecting - since coming back to the city I’ve had the opposite experience of most outdoor people I know, and find the mass movement of strangers so energetic and energising. I’m still wrecked at the end of a day, it’s still over whelming, but I think the city gives me as much life as I find in the outdoors.

There’s no immediate sign of the inspiring walker I’m here to congratulate so I start jotting notes for a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for weeks. I know how loose time is when you spend all your days walking. I pick a pole wrapped in bamboo and lean against it. I watch old friends collide in screeching hugs, and first dates ask each other what food they like. There are just so many people. I look around me and wonder who is here for what.

There’s a lull in traffic, and my preacher friend across the road can be heard shouting for us all to trust in our Jewish saviour. Saviour seems to be his favourite word. Then the drummer strikes up a powerful tempo, and a swarm of teenage students pour across the road.

So far I can confirm that standing is harder than walking, but I’m enjoying getting the time to write. I’ve been meaning to write something for my own website since I got sick a month ago. When you’re sick and can’t do anything it’s easy to build to do lists of things that don’t involve going places, but still involve more mental energy than you actually possess. But I’m back on feet, so here we are. Time to do a big general update.

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Place

A quick summary of my life this year would be - I walked 1,446km this summer, and then took a short break which resulted in my immune system crashing. In my anti biotic stupor of the past month I; moved back to Dublin, attended a conference, built IKEA furniture, took part in a feminist internet workshop, got lost learning my new corner of the city, more artist takes, and finally, I was accepted to do a Research Masters in IADT Dun Laoghaire!

So lets start from the beginning of this month.

I moved back to Dublin after my immune system crashed and I had to go through a whole series of antibiotics. There are lots of strange things that happen to you when you drastically change life style and living places, so I think I might just say I’m still acclimatising and leave it at that.

The conference I attended has actually inspired the name/grouping of this post. The title of the event was Space, Place, Obligation (An interdisciplinary inquiry into creative practice in contemporary Ireland). Organised by Niamh Campbell in Maynooth university, it was an intense day of artists sharing their artistic practice in relation to the title topics, while also discussing themes of home and sense of belonging. It was still probably too early in my antibiotic days to be attending such a full on event - I hadn’t yet bought a bed so I was camping in my room. My printer stopped working when I tried to print the conference notes off, my shoes cut my heels to pieces running for the bus, and at the event my hands took every opportunity to spill coffee on my notes, shoes, clothes, and hands.
But it was a really great event - thank you to Moran for inviting me to attend it with her. Ideas I had while walking all bubbled up, demanding attention after the event.

People always say that living in a tent with someone must be the ultimate test for a relationship. I disagree - building IKEA furniture for 7hrs together will always be the real exam. We now have a bed on stilts.

I am starting a Masters by Research! It’s two years looking at walking, photography, and the cultural landscape of Ireland. Induction is in two weeks, and I am both incredibly excited, nervous and relieved to have been accepted. To be perfectly honest, I’m still not entirely sure how I’m going to afford the fees, so in the next few days I might have a print/book sale.

 

Obligation

It feels a little weird to admit this, but this seems like a good section of this post to write about it. For possibly the past 3 years I’ve kept myself purposefully ignorant of a photographers work. There wasn’t anything malicious in my avoidance, it was purely a naive selfish fear.

I started incorporating walking into my practice while on Erasmus in third year of college. Then during the summer I walked the camino. Arriving back in Dublin to finish my degree, I showed my friends what I’d been working on while I was away. And there was one thing everyone told me: while I was away a photographer had been in to talk about his new work on walking and photography. He’d also made work in Spain. So I looked him up, saw two of his images and immediately stopped. I thought that if I looked at his work before really looking at my own I wouldn’t be able to see mine without seeing his - and I was afraid that if I compared us, I would think his work was far better. Such a scared artist I was. And so I have avoided this other Irish photographer who also works with walking and the landscape for almost 3 years. Now, it’s not like I’d see his book in a shop and frantically jump behind the nearest postcard stand. But I never engaged with his work. Until this conference.

I was sitting on the floor, staring in frustrated disbelief at the pages my printer was spitting out at me. How can it print something without black ink? Why does it have to do this now?! It’s the night before a conference, and my whole body is still fighting me with flus and infections. I haven’t yet really read the conference pack, and because staring at a screen had been hurting my eyes I thought that printing off the sheets would help me. But instead blank pages were being gently washed up against my sock. I sigh as I cancel the print project on my laptop. However, before the new command gets through to the tiny printer brain, the images at the end of the document are being painted onto my the cheap tesco paper, and they look so psychedelic without black ink that I don’t know what’s happening. I smile at the mess, and go to my inflatable bed, falling asleep reading the notes on my phone.

And so at the conference the next day I had the very surreal experience of listening to someone introduce and discuss their walking work that I had selfishly avoided. They went right from that first project 3 years ago, to now. It was a really amazing experience, and I’m glad it was such a surprise to me. I got to see all the similarities and differences in how, what and why we create. I think 3 years ago I would have seen the differences in our work as pit falls in mine, but seeing the development of their practice, and how things changed or didn’t change through each project reminded me how fluid and ever-changing everyones work is, and how impossible it would be for our work to be the same. The fact that I am genuinely excited and like my own work and creative process right now probably helps.


And so here we are.

Most of my writing this year has been for a personal journal or for the tough soles blog. It’s a little odd to remember what and how I usually write on my own site - going back and reading my old posts would be too easy. I’m hoping to use this space as a online visual research journal going forward.

In this post I’ve only talked about a handful of things I want to talk about, so just so future me doesn’t forget:

  • I went to the Sugar Club and heard artists talk about their practice/how they’ve come to be successful. The one that really stuck with me was by Craig Oldham. I think he managed to give a talk about himself and his practice without it just being a slideshow of his life. He was the most eloquent in sharing how and what he learnt from mistakes, and how different choices affected him.

  • The Feminist Internet and Mariam Kauser of Wrk Wrk Wrk collective hosted a workshop in Rua Red as part of the Glitch digital arts festival. I’d like to learn how to think of questions during an event as opposed to just absorbing and then processing at home. The workshop group itself was very small, and so lead to interesting discussions as opposed to working on the exact tasks, which I think I benefitted from more.

  • The Arts Management Ireland site is a wonderful resource and I wish I’d known about it sooner.

  • The botanic gardens are always a good place to go to.

These paths we follow by ellie berry

Lines are phenomena in themselves. They really are, in us and around us... Indeed there is no escaping them, for any attempt to flee we only lay another one. Why should theory and metaphor be thought to be the only alternatives for the line? Why cannot the line be just as real as whatever passes along it, if indeed the two can be distinguished at all? 

- Lines: A Brief History by Tim Ingold

I'm still walking around the country. To date we've walked 2,600km, with a further 1,400km to go. However, for the past few weeks we've been having some down time. I spent a few days with my family, and turned 24. They asked me: "So, what do you want to do for your birthday?"
I didn't really know, hadn't thought of something in the time leading up to it. I then asked them to get up at 5:45am and climb a mountain. It was the first morning in weeks that there were clouds, and as we started our climb we kept our jumpers tight around us. After a while the heat of the climb warmed our limbs, and the clouds rushed around us as we pushed forward. It was a wind-swept, cloud howling summit, with only a few meters of visibility. But it was wonderful to be able to share one of my loves with people I love. 

It was also around now that I was tagged to post a black and white photo of "my everyday life" for seven days. I haven't been tagged to do one of these internet things in a long time, and I really enjoyed using black and white again. It really makes you focus on shapes and light, and with the ideas of lines already wandering around in my head I found the two topics collided rather perfectly. 

The red girls by ellie berry

 
 
 

This land felt cold, and never ending. It was worked for a purpose, and this was built just for passing. It was fen and fey and wild. It was wet. 

I heard the story of the red girls the second evening of the walk; they lived out here in the bog. We would pass their stretch of land soon, and we'd know we were there when the canal rose up above the wetlands,  showing the dismal greys and rich deep browns of the ground swallowing the horizons.
They had all lived together, these red girls, out in this empty place. They were called so for their burning bright hair. I was told they used to do their washing in the waterway, or just walk here, waiting for passers. The made others' journeys pass quicker, with wit and charm and chat as they wandered the banks. 

As we walked these long, open sections in a constant rain I thought of them, in such a monotonous and lonely place. My clothes were slowly being soaked through, drops rolling down the sides of my hood, falling off the ends of my sleeves. Yet after a while my lips dried out. The air tasted of damp acid. I thought of the red girls, and I daydreamed of leaving this banal place, of colour, of dance, of dried lips, and then of lipstick. I imagined colouring in this unchanged landscape, mixing it's textures and masking them with others. 

 
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Fractured landscapes by ellie berry

 

There are many things I think about when walking - as I've said before, thinking is inescapable. In the past, I think a lot of my work has dealt with ideas of home ... and that was definitely a topic that I was focused on when we started. Finding a sense of place, but maybe more accurately, a sense of belonging. In stead of attacking all the images I've made so far, melding them all into one colossal project, I've started picking at threads, and working through some looser ideas.

 

Here's one piece I'm still working on, with the current title of fractured landscapes 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

90 days later - the connection project by ellie berry

 

This number game started a few months ago.

I'd moved back to Dublin after fracturing my foot while walking 4,000km around Ireland, and was delaying finding another part time job as, well I couldn't really walk for starters, but I also kind of just wanted to "try being an artist" for a while. With almost no money, and limited mobility I was struggling to leave my room and feel creative. Any creative sparks I did encounter I would quickly blow out in my hasty rush to catch them, my flailing, snatching hands overwhelming these fleeting moments and ultimately extinguishing them. 
The walking project wasn't finished, and after many physio sessions we set a date to return to life on the road. I made a wall calendar to count down the days, and counted them out.

90 days. 
Such a satisfying round number. What could I try to do for 90 days? 

The year before I'd put out an open call for people to send me words, the theory being that I would send them an image in return. Final year college plans changed, and I just put this project in a folder on a hard drive and mostly forgot about it (it's only purpose to make me feel guilty every so often for never getting back to it). 

If I just started making images and posting them somewhere, no one else would know what I was working toward, or was possibly going to happen in 90 days. I went through the images that I'd started making for the project in the beginning and picked out the ones I liked. It was enough to give me some time to shoot some more images - I'd decided to shoot film, just because I enjoyed it. 
The "somewhere" to post was also pretty easy for me to decide;  I'd created a second instagram account for my "Photography", so that I could use my regular one for just posting videos of me messing around in the climbing gym. In reality I'd just ended up with two out of sync accounts, so decided I might as well put one of them to use! 

I received 40-odd words for original project so I knew that I'd be posting a mix of old, new, related and random. I found it really enjoyable to slowly wade through old hard drives and find stuff I'd shot previously while at the same time make new photographs - I got to see some developments/shifts. In the end it took me over the 90 days to publish all the photos, but they're now all out there on that instagram account, if you're interested in the full 90.
One of the only struggles I had with this project was remembering that this was just to be fun, and not to worry about there being any deeper meaning. I am allowed to create work for fun, and when I do it gives me the breather to look at bigger topics with fresh eyes. But now I'm meandering, so let's get to a point. 

Below are the 40+ images that were responses to words sent to me. This small project is called Connection. 

 

 

"YOU SEND ME A WORD, AND I SEND YOU A PHOTOGRAPH"

"You send me a word, and I send you a photograph"

This project originally started two years ago when I put out a request for people to send me words, and in return I would send them an image. The project had to be put aside for a while, and I never managed to get back to it. 
I then recently had an unexpected few months living in Dublin, and I looked for a playful way to reengage with photography. Finding the old list of words, I went wandering. 

 

 

 

 

testing the waters by ellie berry

It's been too long, I don't know how to address this blog, this place. What style was I writing in before hand, or was it just messy? I think it was probably a bit .. uncollected, uncurated. I can't decide if I want this to be personal or not. I'm back living in Dublin, and it's been a bit weird coming back. The plan is to leave again at the end of February, 3 months from now. 

Let's see what I make in the meantime. 

A thank you note to climbing and night-time lucid moments by ellie berry

I wrote this piece as a note in my phone at the end of February/beginning of March on my way home from a climbing session. In it I try to explain the wonderful happy/calm feeling that climbing leaves me with sometimes after a session. Climbing is not the only activity that triggers this mental state - being creative in general sends me this happiness, but climbing is definitely the most frequent thing to do so.
Being on an unofficial climbing break has made me revisit this note to myself. It's in a very rough-and-ready state, but  might as well share it, and maybe rewrite it in a more legible state some time in the future. 

Although it's close to 10:30pm, and I'm on my way home from a short climbing session, I feel like I've finally woken up in what feels like days - weeks even. I am not a nighttime person, so when I get this "buzz" I'm always slightly afraid to go home incase I fall asleep again. I just want to keep floating on this natural endorphin high, breathing in the cooling air as I cycle. It's beautifully relaxing, highly calming, mentally freeing, creatively pulsing. All of the ideas I've had vague thoughts about I actually start chewing through - but I'm also happy to just enjoy the feeling of be alone. 

I've never asked if other people get this, but I assume they must. It's not a moment I really want to drag other people into. I don't know if it's even possible to achieve this tranquility if there are other people around to disturb the quiet. It's at moments like this where I let go of my inner demons for a while and just love being. Is this what meditating is supposed to achieve every day? Because when I try that my inner monologue just doesn't shut up and I often end up more stressed than when I began that exercise. Or is it that I've just finished physical exercise and so I'm enjoying the post-mini-workout endorphin lift? Is that why I see people at those empty glowing gyms at 2am sprinting on the thread mill, facing the window like the were tying to outrun a lion, or jump into the night? 
But I could swear I've experienced this calm in other situations - walking home after too many hours waitressing, and a magical calm carries my burnt out feet to my door step.
It's annoying that I get such beautiful moments late at night, making me want to go and create something - which is not what my sleeping housemates will appreciate. I don't want to talk to anyone, but conversation is inevitable when you don't live alone. 

The cold is finally pushing through my jumper, and rain is starting to hit my face. It's probably time to relinquish my canal bench and finish my cycle home. 

Thanks climbing, for giving me these moments of extreme peaceful clarity. 

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