Kestrel was one of our New Voices 2019-2020, our new mentoring scheme for new and emerging storytellers based in Wales. Kes has been developing their story Binderella, and you may have seen snippets at the festival or online. As part of Ysbrydoli|Inspire series, Kes shares with us where their story came from, where they are as a storyteller after the festival, and the next challenges of having the focus and determination to take Binderella on tour. Here is Kes’s story of yesterday and tomorrow, before and after.
I walk down the edge of a twilit road; national speed limit, and feel the thrum of passing cars, fast, bright and dark, headlights casting stark shadows of my own shapes, sewed-black on a tangled hawthorn verge.
-The new van is in the garage, the engine won’t start properly and the pounds are steadily racking up as the clever hands seek a solution.
Where I walk is liminal land, not quite here, not quite there, not quite anywhere, just an edge, a place between, a passing space unseen by the eyes drunk on speed; greedy for the next mile eaten.
The rubber beaten road, held in the throes of transience, glows golden under old street lamps feeding the flicker-dance-trance of hedgerow – bramble and briar.
Besides an old tyre, homeless and moss bound, I find and have found; the threshold, a dark stairway – away from this and into that.
By the foot of that concrete stair, I pause, to stop and stare, soul searching, into the bruised blackness ahead. I muse on this moment as a microcosm of my own journey, made of the months past behind and those yet to come, and in my mind, I see again that this moment, like all moments, is only an echo of the future, a foreshadowing of the past – a story unfolding in the Infinite-Now.
Months after the glow of the festival, filled with standing ovation and elation, has faded, I face the cold truth that nothing more will happen unless I make it. The barn-shed is a pile of boxes stacked high, the rats are happy with this arrangement. Winter is coming and the wood store is empty. The forgotten leak in the roof of the van has returned and I feel drained beyond belief.
I juggle gardening and labouring work with attempts at creativity. My mind is a rattling computer, scrolling lists of things to do but there is no keyboard, no mouse, no software installed and the battery won’t hold a charge.
I’ve just completed a filming process with Sam Irving, creating a trailer for Binderella, full of fire and dirt, abandoned buildings and broken bones, I’m waiting for his editing to be complete.
One box ticked, a hundred to go. I still need to create a website, poster and flyer designs, write copy, contact rural touring schemes and venues. I haven’t begun rehearsal on the second half of the show yet, it lurks, a digital script full of unrealised potential.
I feel the need to do more.
I feel inadequate to the task.
I am Sisyphus pushing his boulder, the conflict of desire and energy clashing inside, and I sense that familiar waiting presence, hiding in a thick blanket of shadow-fog, hiding in the liminal lands of my sense of self, hiding, waiting and longing – to devour my joy again.
I turn inwards, away from the rush of worldly things, and begin the work of healing newly surfaced old wounds. Walking alone I cross the bare stubble of a freshly harvested wheat field, the sky is dark but the horizon is lit by the industrial glow of a military base, a factory, a distant power station, a cement works.
At the fields edge I stop, turning to sit, hedgerow at my back, and look out into the winking night.
Taking a stalk of wheat as a wand, hand to heart, I cast two circles; one for me, one for them.
In their circle I draw a pentagram, in its points five Symbols.
With a word it is done and the Entity is standing in their circle before me, an old God wearing new clothes.
The Circle is a gateway,
The Five Symbols its Key,
The Entity is the Gatekeeper,
Guarding a memory.
Key to lock- the way is opened and I pass through, into the Tesseracts; projected through the sounds of my own memories; reliving the forgotten and remembered, the quieter and louder, the deeper and older. In this flying-falling, I seek a simple meditative state of grace, cultivated through years of pain, joy, confusion and escape.
As I ride these traumas and triumphs, I allow all sensation to feed back to the centre, the heart.
In the heart is the Circle.
The Circle is me.
Memories flash by my seeking eye; I see a wounded community gather at the old weighbridge, as one in their heartache, to invoke a spirit of old justice in the dark night. I see two circles of salt and ash upon the coal-blackened red-blood-clay. Four shrines at the compass points; candle, feather, water, stone. I see the pyre stacked high. The effigy; arms outstretched, his mocking face – the face of the enemy.
Time skips backwards, away from the lit torches and angry wounded faces.
I watch myself screaming curses upon violent men dressed in high vis jackets, I watch the flames; the smoke a spilled pot of ink staining black the grey sheet of cloud. I hear the jagged pierce, the pig-squeal shriek of wrenching iron. The air tastes toxic, homes burn and the land is stolen; as it has been for a thousand years and more, echoing on the ancestral witch-knots of hereditary violence, theft and enclosure.
I watch myself, like so many others before me, become – landless.
The memory I seek still – a moment before this one, waits; a shadowy brilliance permeating the astral skies of the Tesseract ahead of me.
I dive through that crack in time; a shattered mirror of mind-matter leaking uncertainty and doubt. Passing the fractured fragments of un-moored dreamings and forgotten schemings, I fall-furiously, into the eternal forever and the impossible never.
Swooping and soaring, plunging and plummeting, I seek only to stop.
I seek only to cease and be still.
– And so it is.
I am Still – as all about me slows, the dark-lit and low horizon becomes frozen; and I pass through, at last.
Into the moment of my Initiation – into the Infinite-Now.
It is Wednesday here, always Wednesday; and I have found my Story.
In it; my magic.
In it; my healing.
The dark staircase has been climbed.
The threshold crossed.
The Binderella trailer is complete.
The barn-shed is halfway towards tidiness.
The wood store stacked.
I have written copy.
Made a website.
Begun rehearsing the second act.
And the leak in the van roof, a year old now, is finally – fixed.
Looking into the future, I’m planning a Ysbridoli talk with Beyond the Border in which we’ll be sharing the premiere of our Binderella Trailer before it goes out onto the internet; come along if you want to hear more about the show, ask any questions or watch an amazing bit of filming courtesy of Sam!
We’re still looking for venues who are interested in hosting the show. We’re also planning to apply for the night out scheme in Wales which can help small venues by paying artists their fees so the venues don’t suffer a loss if they fail to gather enough of an audience.
The Initiation is a new show in the very earliest stages of development, I’m telling it to friends and family as I try to find out the shape of it. A weaving of classical mythology into a true personal story of mental health and magic, it will be as honest as it is unbelievable. Hopefully it will eventually involve some post show discussion about mental health awareness, if that sounds interesting to you then get in touch, anyone with offers of development funding are particularly welcome!
More info – https://isthatmysoul.wixsite.com/kestrel-morton