It’s the last week of term, I’m finishing my paperwork, waiting for my exam results and thinking about the future and what to do next (learning to drive a car is definitely featuring here; I keep telling myself that it can’t be as difficult as following a teacher-training course in Dutch, please don’t disillusion me!). Writing more here, and more about books and less about me, is also part of the future. But today I lack energy, time and focus, so instead here are three links for you.
(The Moomins and the Great Flood; detail from the cover art from here)
The first is Jeanette Winterson, writing about the Moomins, and remembering how Finn Family Moomintroll affected her as a ten-year-old.
I wrote out random words and stuck them on the wall above my bed with flour and water. This got me into trouble but I didn’t care. The words, random, alive, were making a kind of leaf mould in my mind. From that rich and fertile place came language of a different order.
Poetic disorder is how language is made. Only later is it codified. Naming starts as joy. Think of the pleasure a child has in finding words and inventing words and forming sentences that are also shapes. Words are ear and mouth before they are pen and paper. Words run away; you have to catch them.
The second is Medieval Memoria Online.
(St Jerome in the Desert, outer panels of an early sixteenth-century triptych made for the Van Beesd Van Heemskerck-Van Diemen family, from the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen; MeMO memorial object ID 504, 25-06-2013)
MeMo is a newly established database of inventories and descriptions of pre-1580 commemorative objects and texts from the Netherlands. It has been set up by the University of Utrecht, and includes images, inscriptions, epitaphs, altarpieces, tomb monuments and archival sources.
Researchers of medieval memoria consider the commemoration of the dead (i.e. memoria) a complex phenomenon, in which prayer for the care of the souls of the deceased, the care for the poor and the sick, commemoration of the deeds of the living and the dead and political aspects are inextricably linked.
It is fascinating...
(Claire Loder, big face, ceramic; from here)
The artist Claire Loder has been working with elderly people in the rural Cotswolds, ‘to help learn or rekindle skills while reminiscing and creating lasting memories in clay’. She has also created ceramic portraits of them, which are being shown in ‘Making Memories’ at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester. Her work is lovely; do go and see it if you have the chance. A commemoration of the living.