Writers are notoriously bad at taking time out from writing. Especially those with children or a job (or both). Free time away from work and family is invariably spent hunched over the keyboard, social life is book events and writing groups. Basic self care (exercise, haircut, dentists) is neglected, because–well it all takes such a long time. Writing.
Today, I used a free day to NOT WRITE.
I went to two fabulous exhibitions: Joseph Cornell at the Royal Academy, who assembled detailed collages of found pictures and objects in box frames. Cornell was an eccentric loner, obsessed with film stars, ballerinas and birds and the works have an old-fashioned, storybook charm as well as being slightly surreal and creepy.
Next, was Shirley Baker at the Photographer’s Gallery. Her street photography of working-class neighbourhoods in Salford and Manchester couldn’t be more different from Cornell’s work. At the time slum clearance meant working-class terraces were being bulldozed as the Sixties tower-blocks rose, but Baker captured the delight of happy kids ‘playing out’ as much as the bleak dirt and poverty.
Afterwards I wandered through London, ending up at Foyles. As you do.
And now for some reading…