Ment-Well #9: And So It Was And It Was So
Updated: Nov 5
Intro: Lou Platt
Author: Emily Beecher
This was the final session in the Mentoring & Wellbeing Programme. When we're steeped in endings and losses and grieving right now, Emily shares her experience of the last session and reflects on what is important to hold on to - each other.
And So It Was And It Was So
Sometimes, even though you know a thing is coming to the end you’re still surprised by it. Maybe not the ending specifically but your, mine, our reactions to it. We all came to our opening check in with heavy hearts, anxious, zippy, frustrated and tinged with sadness. Our closeness almost surprising us, these strangers who only a few months ago didn’t know each other, a connection forged over Zoom and through a pandemic can be surprisingly uplifting.
We talk about ourselves as writers, how we can love and hate the act of creation at the same time, about fear and procrastination, about the power in understanding your process. That sometimes you have to send the writer out of the room, send them on holiday, so we can be playful.
We write mini-stories and then turn them on their heads, replacing ourselves with mythical creatures. Hercules loses his bracelet in the washing machine and we all smile as myth and domesticity collide.
Maybe, we ponder, the form of something is as powerful as what we have to say, that honesty and intention are the forces driving our work. There is power in sharing, power in witnessing art. Power for both the witnesser and the witnessee.
And perhaps that is our power. As a group that has held space together through uncertainty and unknown, not as an obligated calendared weekly meeting but a space where we can show up and be ourselves, moments to be anchored in, as all around us changes. This has been a lovely process of making the personal more important than the professional, with other professionals. We may not have seen each other’s work but now we will be able to truly see each other in our work - what an amazing gift for an artist.
Over these months we’ve created a safe space to ponder our art, even when we were too exhausted or overwhelmed to create art, we’ve laughed and cried and sat in silence and talked over each other, we’ve found solace in shared experience and created connection out of little boxes on a screen. Then just as quickly as it started does it come to an end, final objects waved across screens, last words spoken, smiles blinked, gratitude for the experience is felt profoundly through our waves goodbye as the screen goes black.
And that should have been the end, but as someone mentioned in the previous session: change is a constant but it’s exhausting. On Sunday November 1st, we woke up and collectively thought of each other. The news having dropped the night before about lockdown 2.0, all of us pondering how we were going to make it through another lockdown but this time with early darkness and cold, wet weather. The answer seemed clear - we needed each other. And so it was our last session but it was also not so, the connection we forged powerful enough to pick up the mantle and exist again, in our many forms and guises, vulnerable and changing and together again.
What are 'Ment-Well' articles?
Between July and October 2020, eight early-career theatre makers will come together to explore different aspects of their making process. They will be guided by writer, theatre maker and performer Caroline Horton who will facilitate five Mentoring sessions. In between the mentoring sessions, Artist Wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt will facilitate Wellbeing sessions. In a hope to share discoveries and learnings with the wider community, each participant will create a 'Ment-Well' article that will capture something of one of the nine sessions. These articles are for collective self-reflection and a transfer of knowledge. They are to be approached by the author and audience with a sense of lightness, spontaneity and curiosity, and may be a seed or starting point for further thought and exploration - nothing more, nothing less.