Places of Becoming: A Publication (working title)
This winter, in a few weeks in fact, my mam will sell the house that she has lived in for the last 32 years. The house that I grew up in. It’s in a village called Crook of Devon, in Perthshire, Scotland.
The village is quite small, and I know it intimately. As a teenager, I had pretty much every job going: local shop/ post-office/ fabric shop/ dog walker/ pub. There’s a curious language around the geography of the place: there are names for particular trees, waymarkers, fields, walks. Jack’s field. The bull stone. The lightning tree. Going for a walk ‘down the river’ or ‘around the kennels’. I could probably also still tell you the bus timetable (a woeful 2-hour service) and how there’s a special bus from the nearest town on a Friday and Saturday night at 11pm to accommodate something close to a night out. I remember people who are long gone now, and the names of their dogs.
The village is where my imagination grew up. It is part of me, indelibly. To leave it is to untether myself from that anchor, and to be truthful I am heartsore at the prospect.
In trying to navigate through this, I’d like to create something to honour this special kind of knowing a place and to create a snapshot of how I feel at this moment in time. Places of Becoming will be an A5 publication featuring some writings, images, and different creations from friends near and far, new and old, present and absent. Given how personal this subject is, I’ve decided not to do an open call out.
I would like to open the invitation to anyone who would like to reflect on childhood homes and geographies, and how you carry these with you through life, whether these were fleeting relationships or, like me, sustained attachments. It may be that you have recently returned to living at home, or it is not a place you think about often. Responses do not need to be positive or ‘rose-tinted’ reflections, in that of course not all childhoods are; but please do not share anything with which you are not comfortable.
Guidelines (very rough!)
This is a self-funded project, and as such I can’t pay you for your contribution. I want to acknowledge that I don’t like this, and it is not the way that I would like to be working. You will of course receive a hard copy of the finished item, and I’ll be paying for the production of this myself. I totally understand if this is not an ok stipulation for you. There will also be a digital version available.
Written: prose/ essay-style responses of up to 500 words. Poetry/lyrics of up to 60 lines total.
Images: please submit up to four images, with up to 200 words of description (total).
[This is all negotiable – and you can submit far less than this too. This is where my inexperience in this field is shining through!]
There will also be a section for a very short bio (approx. 50 words) and any links you want to share.
- If this is something you’d like to take part in, please email me a short description/ summary of what it is that you’d like to contribute by 1st December to email@example.com.
This is my first time co-creating a publication like this, and I’m really grateful for the gentle support I’ve already had from several pals in chatting this idea through.
If you have an idea that you’re not sure about, then I’d love to talk to you about it. We can arrange a Zoom.