I’ve found it difficult to write as of late and I explained that this can largely be attributed to my inability to put myself out there. I’ve also spoken of the importance yet striking frailty of the connections we make throughout our lives. And again with the startling and heart-breaking documentary Dreams of a Life in mind I wonder who would be the first to notice my absence?
For any of you who don’t know the film, Joyce Carol Vincent was a woman who at the age of 38 died in her London bedsit and lay there undiscovered for over three years. Director Carol Morley subsequently tried to piece together Joyce’s life through her friends and people she had known. According to all that knew her she was sociable, full of life and even met people such as Nelson Mandela and Stevie Wonder. The story of Joyce’s life and death has haunted me for well over a year now since I saw the documentary and I know of many others who were affected thus.
After watching such a film you immediately want to reach out to those closest to you, just to check in.
The women who are a part of Blink. don’t even have those to speak up for them, they don’t have the voices that keep them alive through telling stories, reliving memories, paying tribute to them. This, surely, is the least we can ask for in death? And who would check in with you? I can rattle off a list and I’m sure you could too because in this golden age of technology and instant communication we think, we assume, that we are so safe, so acknowledged, so connected.
But connection is a double thread and if one end breaks how long will it take for the other end to feel the effect? For most of us these threads, sometimes the ones we think most solid, are stretched miles, oceans wide through the complexity of the ether and this is undoubtedly an essential part of maintaining these connections in modern times. I’m not a life coach, I can barely manage myself but it seems logical that every now and again, more often than we think necessary, our threads need to be serviced. We must reign them in so that a key pad, an iphone or a camera is no longer the catalyst for communication.
This, as all things, is easier said then done but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. We’ve all seen in one form or another how distance, how lack of face to face contact can be as sharp as a blade to any relationship as an argument or a betrayal. But there are those relationships, usually with family, or partners or very close friends that can withstand this test and even if the people don’t stay constant the relationship does.
However, take stock, real brutal stock because these exist in the handful, not the dozen. Who would you want to be the first to ask of you’re whereabouts? Who do you know that undoubtedly thinks of you on a daily basis even for a fleeting moment? And how many people would know the thread has been cut before the effect reaches them?
Women like those in Blink. and Joyce Carol Vincent fell through the cracks that we like to pretend only exist for weird people, the “others,” those who are not like us. But I’m sure each and every one of them did not foresee this as their legacy, did not think this would be the result of their life and many may have rattled off the list just like you and I. These people are not the other, this isn’t a result of them doing something wrong, it is the result of these cracks in our collective life that we assume we are impervious to. We’re not and these fractures aren’t small, they’re craters.