Posted by: Louise | October 16, 2011

negotiating the everyday

Photos are coming in. Photos and stories. Each story so different and so sad.

I like coming up with ideas. I have a (bad) habit of volunteering for projects. After a lifetime of not believing in myself, however, I find it surprising when others do believe in me and respond to my suggestions. So here I am two weeks into guest editing for Angie at Still Life 365 and surprised every time a new submission lands in my mailbox.

Surprised and humbled and overwhelmed. Surprised by people’s desire to respond and capture an aspect of their everyday. Humbled by the fact that over and over I am hearing: “I have never done anything creative before.” “This is my first time submitting something.” And overwhelmed by each story, so different, but with the same unbearably sad ending, or middle, depending on how you look at it.

And so it is that I am wandering around the house, negotiating my everyday, and wondering – where is Laura lingering? What places capture her presence or her absence? Where says Laura was here, but might have got mixed up with the debris of life – a stray sock, a piece of Hotwheel track, a balled up tissue or that ever present dust?

I have to give a lecture in work tomorrow. This may sound obvious. My official title after all is College Lecturer, but for years I have specialised in workshops and experiential learning and art-making and anything but lecturing. With my shiny new Masters comes the shiny new responsibility of delivering lectures.

It would appear that I am a big girly swot who approaches her studies with methodological fastidiousness. Does that even mean something? In plain english, it means anal. So tomorrow I get to share my anal approach to writing academic papers with some students in my department. Order is critical when writing papers. How to order the specific paper you are writing. How to order the papers you are going to refer to when writing your aspecific paper. Having a good filing system is key.

So just now I popped upstairs to check on my sleeping boys and look in the room next to them for one of my folders of research papers. I am planning to show these students my own personal filing system. I opened the cupboard that houses the last of my study material and found the file I needed. I pulled out the file next to it to check if that might be of use too – and there she was. Hiding in amongst the academic papers.

The day Laura died I was finishing my last assignment (apart from the thesis) before putting my feet up and enjoying the rest of my pregnancy. I finished proofing it with a friend and within half an hour was at the hospital for a reassurance scan. I hadn’t realised how worried I was until that moment. Truth – I thought I might be in early labour.

Now in my hand I had the last things I read before my life came crashing down around me. There is so much of Laura in this file. So many tangled memories. This was the closest I have been to Laura alive in a very long time. I held it close and smelled it – just in case. It is back in the cupboard now unopened. I want to savour the possibility of her for now. I’ll open it another day.


If you are interested in submitting a photograph to Still Life 365 there is still plenty of time, just send it in to stilllife365DAYS(at)gmail(dot)com.



  1. Flashbacks.. though I am glad that this one actually sounds gentle, and for that I am grateful for you. You will give a brilliant lecture.. I know you have that in you.. amongst the tangled memories there also lies your strengths.
    And I still need to choose a picture to submit… hmmmmm

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