27 October, 2013 . . .
I entered my flat after seven weeks of absence and realized how much my life had changed. During my forty-nine-day absence, from the beginning of September to the end of October, I had lived in a situation of constant flux, with everything planned days ahead, sometimes weeks ahead, yet subject to change at the last minute.
I was in New York, making Behind The Mirror, a feature film I wrote and co-produced. Seven full weeks of working, conversing, planning, improvising, eating on the go, drinking like a fish (after a day’s wrap), resting, sleeping and doing it again, day after day, night after night, waking up in a bed that wasn’t mine, in a room that had been assigned to me, in the home of friends, in a place I hardly knew. I lived among associates, and among friendly strangers whom I’d just met, and we were all getting along, as much as a film crew and cast can get along in an independent, under-budgeted, overstretched film production. We had to adapt quick and learn fast, and we had to take it all in our stride, and take it in our stride we did, eating up the weeks. We made the best of our two-week pre-production window, making good progress during principal photography, and managed to put the film in the can by the end of the five-week shoot. It had seemed an impossible task, but we did it, done, dusted, wrapped, and we were changed because of it. I was changed because of it. I felt tested and liberated, drained, raw and tired, but stronger and sharper at the same time. I felt alive. Battered but alive.
With the production phase done and the shoot wrapped, I was back home. Sweet home. Bittersweet almond home.
It was awkward to be back in a place where things were set solid. Yes, no more doing things with people I’d just met, with little or no privacy, to boot. No more uncertainty, or the ecstasy of a problem solved, or the agony of the next complication, or time ticking against our schedules, shaving the casing around our wires. No more surge and spark. I was back in familiar territory, back in the place I had so acutely missed all this time, especially at the end of each day, each eighteen-hour-long stint spent alongside other people, the only privacy available the time spent in the john doing business number one and number two.
No more of that. I was finally back in my space. My own personal space. A space now greeting me with a stale pocket of air, a straitjacket, plenty of echoes from the past, and shadows, dark silent shadows.
Watch this space for Part 2