Stories of what didn’t eventually work out can be as much worth telling in the long run as things that did…

Jayne Lawless was Artist in Residence at Coming Home and in our early days of developing the idea wrote this on her own blog and it was then republished here.

Jayne Lawless.
Jayne Lawless.

“What happened to the girl who’s dreams fell out? Did you ever finish that story? I wondered what happened to her…” Janet, one of my best friends, asked me the other night.

The question launched a conversation that saw us bounding from subject to subject into the night, unaware of the people changing around us in the pub as we unpicked, dissected, unravelled and untangled our own stories of the past few years. One of those conversations you have that make the world right and make you feel good and clear and loved and understood. One of them ones.

We’ve been friends since we met about 20 years ago at The Empire Theatre. We were both dressers and worked on Phantom of the Opera together. So our friendship started in a surreal bubble and I think when we’re together we re-enter that bubble to try to fix things. Doesn’t always work, but I’d say 8 times out of 10 you feel better than where you started. She recently moved back home after living away for some years. I am so glad she’s come home.

A common thread that’s weaved it’s way through my life for so long, coming home, what is home? A thread that is becoming more than thread, it’s becoming rope, so strong and so obvious and linking all my work and life for the last 10 years.

Home? 2005 - installation using found objects and joined by dogs. Bucowiec, Poland.
Home? 2005 – installation using found objects and joined by dogs. Bucowiec, Poland.

So this question at the start, ‘what happened to the girl who’s dreams fell out?’ In answering – led to another question, “so, tell me who Ronnie is again?”

These two questions kind of book end my last three years. I’ve promised as part of my new role as Artist in Residence of Coming Home that I’ll begin to write my blog again. Pick up what I started as a requirement of my last residency, The Bridge Guard, in Slovakia at the end of 2012 start of 2013. There’ve been blogs since about my film project. But the last on that was so long ago too.

In order to start again I need to clear my head of all the blog posts that I didn’t write. I want to let them go. I didn’t write them and the moment is gone.

A huge hole. A gap in time. I fell into it along with, ‘the girl who’s dreams fell out’, a short story I started writing whilst artist in residence in Slovakia.

I lost my Mum last summer. It makes me cry to type it but I’m going to carry on and not stop even though the keyboard’s becoming blurred. If I stop I will never get through this first blog post, and I promised Ronnie.

I want to ask my Mum something, something she was famed for, something every family member and friend of her’s will recognise that would arrive on your phone like clockwork as soon as you arrived on holiday,

“Where are you now? What are you doing? x”

I want to move forward, sideways, something, somewhere. I want to tell people about what’s happening again. I want to share that we, as in me, Janet (a different Janet) and Gaz made a beautiful film. I’m so proud of it and it’s already had it’s first screening with more to follow. I want to start sharing this kind of stuff again.

I want to share the new project I’m starting to work on with Ronnie and Jen, Coming Home. But I couldn’t until I said what I did up there. My keyboard is wet from tears. It’s raining outside, I have a slight hangover after last night’s European final, but I’m OK.

A break…a brief reintroduction.

The film, Without These Walls, accompanied with Ghost Mural. Seeing as the film grew out of the mural project (well documented in past blog posts) I had to have a mural in one form or another, Ghost Mural, a projection is now able to travel and can’t ever be bulldozed.

Ghost Mural 2016, projection on a gable end on Oakfield Rd. Photo by Andrea Ku.
Ghost Mural 2016, projection on a gable end on Oakfield Rd. Photo by Andrea Ku.

I worked with Janet Brandon and Gary O’Donnel on the film. Here are two links to reviews from the night that made us all feel proud:

Art in Liverpool
a sense of place

Please read them and think about possible screenings too. I’m open to ideas as the whole point was to get what happened to my parents and many others ‘out there.’ It’s so easy to overlook things that aren’t directly affecting you. We do it all the time. I can’t bring my Mum or our house back but when it comes to big decisions being made in the future that effect people’s lives we can change the way policy makers work or include accountability clauses and new models that force engagement with the communities they intend on ‘fixing.’ They should consider the model of ‘residencies,’ used widely in the creative industries before even being allowed to submit a proposal to implement such schemes as HMRI.

Model of Granton Rd made by Janet Brandon, original photographs Jessica Doyle.
Model of Granton Rd made by Janet Brandon, original photographs Jessica Doyle.

So the last question from Janet, ‘…who’s Ronnie again?”

For those of you who know me will also know my ‘job job,’ the one that pays the bills (well one of them) is as a painter, of peoples houses, not canvases (although I’d like to try that one day soon) and no, not murals, decorate, pure and simple. It was while I was working on Ronnie and Sarah’s house last year that we really became friends. I’d painted their house inside and out, and we shared the worst moment of my life. They’ve been nothing but golden since.

We’d met before through the bakery, (Homebaked) that I’ve spoken of many times in this blog, but it was whilst working at Ronnie’s house we’d talked about ideas and homes and houses and everything that could possibly link to having a roof over your head and a base. So when he told me just recently about ‘Coming Home’ and wanted to know if I was happy to get involved I just knew this was it, on a personal level something positive for me to dive into, but on a societal level we could really really change things.

In his own words.
So, as well as all the practical stuff of doing up an empty house, learning all the aspects to how we’ll actually do it from start to finish, there’s the freedom to work collaboratively and on individual projects too. Something both Jen and I are excited about. Jen is a writer and so is the Writer in Residence at Coming Home.

The possibilities and openness of this project is the most interesting part. Can you imagine someone hiring a writer and an artist to start this kind of project? Well Ronnie has. One step to showing those that ‘do and say’ from behind desks that there’s a more organic and people centred way of doing things.

I think I am most looking forward to learning from scratch from a person who’s been involved in housing since the 70’s. Looking forward to housing people and making those individual connections and ultimately making homes beautiful again, offering a family a safe haven.

I hope, no…scrap that, I know you’re still reading Mum.

Thank you Jayne.

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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