Friday, 23 June 2017

Writing: early text fragments from 'How the sun lights the earth'

TEXT FRAGMENTS  -  May 2012 / December 2014

How the sun lights the earth / twilight talk

moon light
[song - mic
script - as if a ‘read through’
chair in front of boom?
torch? holding the snapshot photo?]

Scene One / Part One

She begins with these words:
In this part of the world, at the end of each day, the solar system gives us the setting of the sun. Somewhere out to the west, not necessarily visible but perhaps in some way always present in our imagination, the nearest giant star sinks below the horizon. This is a moment in the day when many things still shift - we go home, we switch on electric lights, and sometimes we sit down in theatres.

She tells us she is writing a Play about the unspeakable power of the sun and the feeling of not having a life story to tell. She thinks to herself: even if there were a life story to tell, how would she choose the words and besides, who would be telling who’s story?
The research and study into the sun is an inspiration and has only added to the questions about ‘life stories’ and the telling of them. Reading about the science of the sun and how it lights the earth leads to feelings of invisibility. The story of the sun, so gigantic, so  incredible, can easily obliterate any other story. Perhaps the story of a life lived on the Earth, in the presence of the Sun is becoming a tale of learning how to disappear.
The teaches us how to stand and sleep in shadows and how to disappear.
How to leave this planet and the life long skills of moving around in gravity and casting shadows.

she realises that she is not too sure really what a Play is.
bad actress/lazy dancer?
She has observed that Plays for one actor - 1 Act, 3 Scenes.

At one point the main character says: ‘Gonna tell this life story if it kills me.’
or, ‘We’ll live this life to the full, if it’s the last thing we do..’

At the end of a performance, or sometimes even at the end of a scene, the lights go down
it’s similar, not the same as, but similar to, how the sun lights the earth, except, when the sun goes down - whether it is a brief or long twilight (depending on factors such as how near to the equator or  what time of year it is) - outside the theatre, the sunlight is in fact simply moving; moving on to light up another place.

She has not yet finished writing the Play.
She finds imagines an early ‘read through’, script in hand, but she can never imagine any actual rehearsals...

She attempts to deal with some unfinished business
some things don’t fit, they are left over from several previous unfinished projects
but they somehow stick
the very sturdy walking boots - the idea of ever wearing them in seems impossible...
remembering the man who knows he is dying, looking in the window of a shoe shop and realising the pair on his feet will no doubt walk him out of this world...
a song - she is not too sure about
a tambourine - not a solo instrument
a roll of aluminium kitchen foil used as a stand-in for NASA foil as part of a representation of the Apollo 12 mission’s Solar Wind Composition experiment (the SWC) on the surface of the Moon in 1969. The experiment involved the foil standing on the moon catching particles from the solar wind, which hit the foil before being bundled up and brought back to earth for analysis.

During this scene of  NASA foil re-enactment she finds, in her pocket, by chance, what is soon revealed as ‘the last shopping list of a dying man’.

O Juice
The kind of short list of the main staple items in regular need of replacing, perhaps a list written weekly or twice weekly, so in fact a number of lists for shopping on the same wallet or pocket sized piece of paper..
Loo P (not T.Rolls)
Crumpets, bananas (once appearing as bamanas)
Guiness (?)
The list repeats, with slight variations, a repetition that reads, out of context as something now rather urgent

In another part of the Play, she is standing in a dim light holding a photograph, as if posing for a her own photo to be taken. But the point isn’t that the viewer can make out the photograph in her hands. The photograph is held by her as a kind of gesture. It is presented as if for a purpose, in the manner that some family photographs sometimes used to be decorated, written on, added to, adorned in some way - with a lock of hair for example - placed in a special frame, or even kept enclosed in a box. These informal, home-made kind of keepsake or memorial memento was perhaps kept on display in the home, and even re-photographed, shown being held in someone’s hands. That second photograph was less intended to show the someone or something being remembered, but was created to show the remembering, the person and people doing the remembering.

She thinks this was quite common in the early 20th century and even late 19th century. She read about this somewhere, she has never actually seen or experienced these kinds of things..

light fading down - natural twilight..

She tells us about a dream that takes place in moonlight
she knows that at night time the cells of the eyes work differently, adjusting by shifting the way of seeing to accommodate the low light, taking everything to gray
in the dream the moon light is so strong, it casts shadows
the dream is heavy with the sensation of how the darkness of night takes over differently to daylight - the night feels like another place that she never quite gets used to being allowed to enter.

she knows her body clock or circadian rhythms are continuing, always there even when she’s not aware, or often not felt until she is tired or has become unable to sleep

This makes her think of something she read about
interoception - some people feel their own heart beating
exteroception - the perception of the outside world and environment through the senses and is for most people clearer..

She dreams that it is night, she finds herself, cast in the role of the Dreamer, her own body walking down an alleyway, in a city
broken glass, clear glass, scattered around on black pavements, stone steps leading to a porch
she doesn’t know how she is let in but as she enters the building there are rooms, a corridor, and in a small room there she finds a man.
He is sitting on a chair, light falls onto his back, which is kind of hunched. He is seated, facing toward the right, facing a wall
He appears to be middle aged, not old, not young, but quite strong, something about the the shape of his right shoulder, under the shirt, tells her that if she reaches out to place a hand on the shoulder, it would be warm to the touch.
The shirt is cream coloured, a cotton quality, or mixed fibers..
She doesn’t know for sure whether or not she does reach out her hand - they say you can’t see your own hands in a dream - or both hands.. or is it: you can never see both your own hands in a dream - do they say that?

right shoulder
skin and muscle flesh
And now she can see that the man has bare feet
At some point she, the Dreamer, puts some socks on his feet
This is a particular moment
not like putting on her own socks, or even like putting socks on a child
The man’s feet are cold
the dreamers hands are warm
it’s not clear when, but some time before or after this moment,
the dream has allowed her to know that the man in the chair does not have a head, or his head is not visible to her

it’s not clear if it is before or after the socks but another image from this part of the dream comes into focus
In another room there is a different figure of a man, or the same man but another version, old, not yet frail. He is also sitting, facing the Dreamer and looks up, this time not headless, but the face quite aghast and all she thinks is why is that angle poise desk lamp shining in my eyes? She thinks about asking him to adjust the lamp

Part Two?
Wolf Man?
Berlin bar dream
rock star, singer songwriter
we talk about rock stars and dreams
we tell him we love the song... it is time for a good feeling...
track 9
[putting the boots on..]
light fading up
[no mic
walking and talking? or walking no script?
speaking and moving at the same time...]

Scene Two / Part Two

We were talking about time and again we turn our attention to worlds far beyond our internal selves...
If we were writing a Play - Time/Place/Action (3 unities in a Play) what where when.
How are these used..?
Even The Tempest, c.1610, takes place all on one island on the same day, and can be played in the real time of the play itself - but even this has shifts in time and place...
This might have been mis-heard or mis-understood - maybe this isn’t true?

The Tempest has some very good stage directions:
SCENE. - A Ship at Sea; an island.
SCENE I. On a ship at sea. A tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning heard.
... (eg: Enter Mariners, wet.)
[ would they be actually wet?]
SCENE II. The island. Before Prospero’s cell.
(eg: ACT II.
SCENE I. Another part of the island
SCENE II. Another part of the island
ACT III.....)

Towards the end of SCENE II, ACT I:
Re-enter ARIEL, like a water nymph.
Re-enter ARIEL, invisible, playing and singing;
FERDINAND following him.
[ can do that - the presence and behaviour of other actors would show us his invisibility, but that is his stage direction to perform, invisibility..]

While he performs being invisible,
ARIEL sings - his most famous lines:
...Full fathom five thy father lies;
    Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
    Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them, - Ding-dong, bell.


[solar wind - aluminium foil (pocket) - sun in her hands..]

ARIEL, the airy Spirit also gets to tell how he “flamed amazement” in his dance of light on board the ship in the storm during the first scene of The Tempest, his performance of what sailors then called Saint Elmo’s Fire, refers to the phenomenon of light clinging like haloes to objects during storms.
History tells us that on 2nd September 1859 the whole of Earth was described in many eye-witness accounts as having been covered in sightings of Saint Elmo’s Fire and extensive displays of the aurora lighting up the night skies, much farther from both the poles than usual.
Now, science tells us, that these phenomenon are due to the Earth’s magnetic field and how the earth’s atmosphere also exists within and is affected by the Sun’s own atmosphere..
There would have been little light pollution from cities in the mid 19th Century, so the populations around the globe who saw these extraordinary displays of lights in a cloudless sky could have a clear enough view. There were of course no satellites in the upper atmosphere but apparently these geomagnetic storms did knock out telegraph systems and cause other disruptions for compass equipment and some machinery.
The story of that Victorian era event seems to describe an image of the world in a moment of shared experience, though at that time not explained, of living in the realm of an incredible power. 

Just the day before, 1st September 1859, a solar flare was observed close to a large sunspot by the astronomer Richard Carrington and he later arrived at the idea of a possible connection to the cause of the  following day’s electrical discharges on Earth.
He, like many others, spent years of his life observing the sun’s surface and tracking sun spots, projecting images through a telescope onto a piece of card and then carefully drawing by hand what he saw on the face of the sun.
To study the sun and its phases of sun spots and activity, to record the patterns emerging, now known to be occurring in roughly 11 year  cycles, is to play a brief part in recording only a few pulses for following generations to add to the longer chart of observations of the massive ball of gas, a 100 times larger in diameter than the Earth, that we call our sun..
We consider it to be our sun, maybe because we know that the heat from so far away
is the reason we have this heat in our bodies

We talk about the sun..
our bodies and those near to us are connected to the far far away warmth of the body of the sun

weather is the transfer of heat from one region to another
space weather - the effects of how the Earth is existing inside the Sun’s atmosphere
Earth’s magnetic field - new
more than geomagnetic storms
[my own performance notes/kind of stage direction here say: Enact ? Solar Wind experiment ? or the birth of the sun ?]

And, what we call our sun is a typical star, one of about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, it is itself about 4.5 billion years old when it was formed out of the gas and dust called the solar nebula
in one sense we are truly made of star stuff - the solar nebula was made from the remains of a dead star - which is great........

the gravitational pull of the solar nebula (accretion: a self sustaining process) forms the proto-Sun (proto, Greek for first). This grows bigger and bigger, its increasing mass strengthens, its gravitational attraction pulling more and more material to itself. Gas and dust gather and gravity forces it closer together, increasing its density (the amount of material in a given volume). The pressure inside the proto-Sun increases, more material is accreted, density and temperature increase and when the critical temperature is reached and thermonuclear fusion occurs, then the star is born.
“The star becomes stable when there is a balance between the force of gravity pulling material into it and the force due to the pressure of the gas pushing out. This is called hydrostatic equilibrium. [...] The sun’s energy comes from thermonuclear reactions in the core... some of this energy eventually makes its way to the surface and propogates out into space as electromagnetic radiation.”

some of us fear mathematics but if we study the sun the fear of maths becomes the very least of any fears
science fiction and stories of the pull of a massive dying sun

Part Two isn’t everything we hoped for...
[sun, shopping list, boots..

sun light

Scene Three / Part Three

In the photograph the sun is shining. There is a house. The square shape of the house seems to fill most of the square of the snapshot photograph. It is a small hut, a chalet, at a holiday camp. The sun is shining in 1974. The man is wearing sunglasses and you can see the shadow of his left arm on the front wall, and something of the girl’s shadow between them where they are both sitting on the front step. The shadow of their pretend home is just touching the wall of the next chalet along. The holiday house seems to you like a drawing of a house, the windows and door have that look which shows, well, how a house is.. like a face.
If the windows are eyes and the door is a mouth, then the girl and the man are sitting in front of the open mouth.
The girl is scrunching up her eyes in the sun (the man is wearing his sunglasses).
The sun is behind the person taking the photograph and you realise of course you know who that is.
You remember the beach nearby.
You remember that t-shirt.
You don’t remember sun creme.
You don’t remember very much sun burn then. Just a little - nose, back of the neck maybe, tops of shoulders - and that been on the beach all day feeling.... socks on sandy cool feet
You don’t remember most people worrying about the sun back then.
The photo shows the usual expression - the scrunched up eyes and that child gesture of the raised shoulders, narrowing the chest, being smaller somehow. Somewhere between giggling and cringing.
It’s you but it’s not you.
It feels like you.
And it’s just thoughts..
The faces of the girl and the man are not very clear. The sun is high in the blue sky, the shadows are not yet very long. Later in the slow August evening, as the sun sets, the shadows will be quite long in this part of the world.

Today the sun set at around ---pm in this part of the world. Actual twilight, the fading of the day into night-time took another half an hour at least.
If you were near a window you would have felt it, even if you didn’t see it

But you are so used to it
it’s not that you never notice it
you don’t need to go and watch the sun setting to know that it happened
it’s a feeling - a time of day - like going home time

Re-enter ARIEL, invisible, playing and singing;
FERDINAND following him.
ARIEL sings.

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