2023 Oct 17
The murmurations project had its ending event at Bristol’s Watershed on Oct 17th 2023.
Through the University of Bristol’s Connecting Through Culture as we Age organisation, I was invited to be a ‘co-researcher’ on a sub-project initially called ‘A Dictionary of Missing Words’. This was through the fabulous Unchartered Collective which is all about invisible disability.
I had written two poems for it dictionary and olympus. A special blanket was made that had the symbols we made stitched on. They could be pressed and you’d get an audio of people talking about that thing. A smaller version was made so that house-bound people could experience it too.
For me the work centred around the term ’exulansis’.
exulansis n. the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.
This word and the project brought together various strands about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and living with me/cfs. Hearing other’s experiences and difficulties in other, parralel situations was amazing and interesting. I learned a lot from it and got myself updated a bit about things I’d not thought much about before, like how it is to live with neuro-divergence, with queerness or as a non-binary person.
Overall I felt that getting some official recognition as a poet, as an older person and someone with me/cfs was wonderfully affirming and lent me some legitimacy.
There are some really great people working in this area. I thank them!