Thursday, April 28, 2005

liminal space

This little fellow -Mr Bluecat - was stuck in the car all night. He must have slipped in when Julian took out the last of the logs, making his pillow from the leftover bark and lichen. On waking this morning we pottered out with our coffee bowls, blinking in the hot sun, only to see him inside the Megane desperately consuming the insurance certificate and its surrounding plastic envelope for his makeshift breakfast.

His sister, meanwhile, has decided to live in the space between us. On sleeping and waking, and at several intervals during the night, she prizes us apart so she can lie long and purry in-between our faces. On reading Mark Epstein's new book 'Open to Desire' I am beginning to get a bit worried about this as in it he states that it is in that space (he calls it a very posh and rather lovely word - the 'liminal' space) that desire is to be found. It is a very furry space is all I can say.

Tomorrow I leave for Grenoble and I will be all over the place on and off playing wonderful music for the next few months: Rameau's 'Les Boreades', Handel's 'Acis and Galitea' and Mozart's 'Mitridate'. However, I will be missing liminal purrs, pea-podding, my al fresco office in the vines and other Provencal delights. Above all I will of course be missing HOME. For the next few months Julian and I will have to cope with a vast liminal space.

It is very difficult to explain what touring, and in particular, what coming back from touring feels like to someone who stays at home and for whom travel is an exotic and stimulating exception. I had a pretty unsuccessful go with Julian the other night and feel I still need to work it out so I'm going to have another go now.

Julian actually gave me a key when he said that he is capable of 'falling apart' structurally when I am not home, and that this sometimes frightens him: An artist and a loner, he can spend weeks in his magenta bathrobe in front of the computer letting the washing up of dishes (which have seen merely the forty-fourth butter-smeared baked potato) pile up. When I come home I bring structure in to the house. However, when I come home, I want to fall into non-structure; to re-find my own rhythm and consequently my own form. As we two beings bump into each-other across the liminal threshold, each rushing to feed from the other's trough, we often row. (Don't worry - it's a very common thing amongst touring musicians and their spouses!) I, used on tour to being propped up by people and structure, am desperate for formless space and solitude, but also for intimacy. However I am out of the habit and often not able to relax into either solitude, chaos or intimacy. Thus I am yukkily clingy and when I'm not being that I spend a lot of time paying bills and making loud officious phone-calls which I think are creating space. Julian, having been alone, is desperate for connection and structure but also is not quite able to give up his autonomy and freedom to roam in time and place (and diet). Thus he often puts the computer (or indeed any other invisible) screen in between us to protect himself from the stomp of the ogress, making his presence and yet also his absence felt in the very room I am trying to re-inhabit.....

I'm not quite sure what our beloved felines are mirroring here, but it seems to have a spooky connection to the frustration of spending an inordinate amount of time traveling ("Let me outta here!" screams Oscar from the megane) and the space between us. ("Give me some liminal space, man!" cries Manon from the bed)


Blogger Jean said...

I'll miss you, but will remember the eloquent and dancing and heartfelt things you've been writing here - in the last few days especially. Will your female cat snuggle up to Julian in your absence, I wonder? And will this be a problem when you return? What wonderful music. How clear-eyed and open-hearted you are. I know that isn't always enough and certainly doesn't protect you from pain and difficulty. My very best wishes for your travels. I look forward to whenever you get back to the blog.

7:43 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

thanks jean - cats change their habits when i am away. i just lay in the almost dark vines observing their behavious with the local tom: manon like a buddah linesman and the men chasing and playing against the mountainous backdrop. lovely. i am going to try and keep blogging as much for my own sanity as anything else so keep checking in even if it is a bit irregular! thanks for your support.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Becca said...

Relationships where one or both travel have unique challenges ... dropping back in can be painful and heading back out is often confusing. Best wishes to both of you as you more than survive but flourish during the next few months. Your music and Julian's art bring great joy to so many!

10:36 PM  
Anonymous caroline morphess said...

Yes, it must be hard. The best thing is that you recognise the elbowing for space - or lack of it - so that's more than halfway there.

TOM used to travel a lot before we moved here and the happiness I used to feel upon his return was often tempered with a quiet seething resentment. I have two actor friends who both have the same problem.

Have a lovely time playing your lovely music, I look forward to touring tales, although I shall miss the photograghs of France in the spring..

Check Julian for scurvy upon your return.

10:38 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

i think perhaps it is he who should check me!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Our cats love the space in the bed between Paul and me. In the evenings when we sit reading in bed, there is often at least one cat sprawled purring between us. When there is no space to be had, one of the boy cats may attempt to worm his way between us; Lyra simply curls up on top of us.

I wish you much lovely musicmaking and many wonderful homecomings this summer.

10:39 PM  

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