Sunday, January 14, 2018

Puppetry & Disability. The contradictions of life with M.E.

Dear readers

Sorry for the long absence from writing, from showing up on this blog. 
Time just passed me by. So did the Christmas and New Years celebrations. 
Apologies for the very late wishes for a healthy, fun, contented, creative, and peaceful year ahead. 

Wishing you all that is good!

me, with experimental puppet 'Poilin'
photo by Claire Egan Boyd

Most of the time I write, here, or more likely in my private notebook when there is a lot to process. To figure out. To get my head around. At times I avoid the pen and paper altogether. I go into a void, go into hibernation. Or spend time figuring 'things' out through the more tactile ways of handling clay, or just by looking at the birds, nature, the fire or candles.

Living with M.E. never ceases to amaze me how much of an impact it has on my life. And for a lot of my readers, or their own lives too. I realize I am almost in tears writing this... Almost. As I also see the opportunities that it has given me. 

For the past few months I have spend most of the time at home. Luckily I am content to be in my own environment. The cabin fever did not hit me, as I had plenty of kind friends who visited me, and at times took me out for a short spell into the world beyond. Spent time with students to share my love of 'all things puppet', and stayed in touch with many via social media. 
Grateful to all! Thank you.

During this time of valued (almost) hibernation, I was handed brilliant, amazing opportunities to be part of the real world in months to come.
The absolute, complete contradictions were and are, not lost on me.

Back in November, I received an invitation to speak at the UK Nottingham Trent University on my work on puppetry and disability, during the Nottingham Puppet Festival
"Sure! Love to!" 
I was so excited that I nearly packed my bag that very moment. The real moment I was actually recovering on the couch from an hour on my scooter doing some shopping. 
And yet. And yet, I could see, and feel, the absolute possibility of this. That this is a perfect and logical next step in my life lived with illness/disability. My almost 20 year adventure has brought me to this, and I was not going to say no!

When I talked with Sean Myett, I started with "I do come with baggage. I can't travel alone, and I need to travel two days before the talk, and need to stay at least a day after."
"No problem!" 
I figured there was no point in talking in detail about this opportunity and then tell them my needs.

As it happened, this was only the start of it.
Since that day in November, I have also been invited as one of the Keynote speaker at the Broken Puppet 2: A Symposium on Puppetry and Disability Performance in Bath (UK)  2-day symposium exploring the ways puppetry and disability intersect to produce innovative art forms.

As they are three weeks apart, I looked at the possibility of staying in the UK, and making this a research opportunity. To meet with many other puppeteers. To share experienced with others in the field of puppetry and disability. To visit Puppet Place in Bristol, as Rachel Mc Nally called it, for a knowledge and skills exchange.  Bath Spa University Bath Spa University offered me a guest lecture for their Arts and Social Change Research Group, as well as conducting a workshop with Level 5 Drama undergraduates.

I can not say that I don't worry about this incredible beautiful adventure ahead of me. 
Daily, my mind goes from 'absolutely!', to 'what am I thinking?'.
But I know it is right. 
I know I can do it. With meticulous planning, and having support with me throughout these almost 4 weeks.

How lucky and grateful I am to be invited by these individuals and organisations. To be welcomed into their world. To be taken out of my creative solitude and be among people who speak my other language. The language of puppetry. And filtering in my two decades of life with illness/disability.  To share my creative journey. To higlight the challenges of living with M.E. To bring my previous experience as nurse and social care worker into the package. To share my new puppet designs which are more suited to my ability, not disability.

Life can be strangely beautiful, if not totally confusing!

I know when something is right. My body tells me. My legs tingle.
Also I know when all is well, is when all practical considerations are falling into place. With help, my accessible accommodation has been booked, so are flights and trains. Friends Jane and Marga are spending time with me to 'get me fed, watered, and around the place'. I only have few more support days to fill. Even (most) hotels were helpful in their communications with me. I have been brought shopping to add to my wardrobe. I am thinking and planning ahead, to make this dream come true.

It will. 

Thank you ALL who are making this possible,
and for the support I have alread received. 
(... legs are tingling as I wrote these last few words... )

10 bookmarks of the 'life outside the box' puppetry project

If you like to support me in this adventure, please buy this pack of ten bookmarks of the Life Outside the Box puppet project, with quotes from their makers. €10 including postage. Every little bit helps! Thank you.
Of course, any purchase from my webshop, will also goes toward my UK - Puppet- trip.


Therese Doherty said...

It sounds like 2018 will be a big year for you. I hope it all goes exceedingly well. :)

Corina Duyn said...

Thank you SO much Therese.
I will bring your good wishes with me on the trip (of a lifetime)

Anonymous said...

Great, Corina Keep up your great spirit. Your doing so well and I am proud that you are still me number one sister. I will buy so of your book markers. Knowing you, the trip to the UK will be a great success and they should be lucky to have you be part of it.
Your brother Kees and Sister Janet

Corina Duyn said...

Thanks Kees and Janet, or your kind message and trust in my adventures.

JESSICA said...
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