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KNITTING NEEDLE: Careful. They’ll accuse you of witchcraft.

WOMAN: Witchcraft? What do you mean, witchcraft?

KNITTING NEEDLE: I’m just saying. Women were burnt at the stake for having the kinds of thoughts you’re having right now.

WOMAN: That was a long time ago. People don’t believe in witches anymore. Things are different now.

KNITTING NEEDLE: Are they? You’re the one contemplating inserting me into your uterus.

WOMAN: Well, I haven’t really got a choice. They’ve made it impossible to access the abortion pill in my State.

KNITTING NEEDLE: You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I’m in no place to judge. I’ve helped more women terminate unwanted pregnancies than you’ve had hot dinners. I’m just warning you; a lot of those women were burnt at the stake.

WOMAN: They haven’t burnt women at the stake for centuries. This isn’t the Middle Ages. We have the technology now to prove that witches aren’t real.

KNITTING NEEDLE: Ah, yes. Of course you have. In the same way that you have the technology to perform safe abortions.

WOMAN: What? You can’t... that’s different. You’re being unfair. I’m just trying to... to.... [woman begins to cry].

KNITTING NEEDLE: Sorry. Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be so callous. I want to help you. It’s just... well it’s impossible to bear. Having the blood of so many helpless women on my hands. Women who were deserted by society. Women who had no other choice but to seek my counsel. And I, well I thought we were past this. That humanity was past this. That my role in reproductive health would remain a ghost of my former self.

WOMAN: Blood? They died at your hand, those women?

KNITTING NEEDLE: Many of them, yes, I’m ashamed to say. The risk I posed to their life, that I pose to your life, is not insignificant. Inserting anything like me into your uterus could cause lacerations and perforations, leading to haemorrhaging or sepsis, or, or worse.

WOMAN: Didn’t you tell them that?

KNITTING NEEDLE: Of course I told them. Much like I’m telling you now. But the risk to their life paled in the face of being forced to bring a child into the world against their will.

WOMAN: Yes, I can see why.

KNITTING NEEDLE: So, what will you do?

WOMAN: I don’t know. There’s no way I can afford to leave Alabama. And I haven’t got the first idea about where to obtain the abortion pill illegally. So that leaves you. Or a coat hanger. Or I could drink bleach, I guess.

Woman looks up and speaks directly to the audience.

WOMAN: Well, what do you think?


Short pause

WOMAN: Hands up for the knitting needle?


Short pause

WOMAN: Coat hanger?

Short pause

WOMAN: Bleach?

Short pause

KNITTING NEEDLE: I can’t image they will be of much help.

Woman turns her attention back to the knitting needle in her hands.

WOMAN: Well, I guess we’re alone in this then.

I embraced the rain, recalling an interview with Dame Deborah James in the last years of her life. Whenever it rained, she asked to be taken outside in her wheelchair, because she never knew when it would be the last time she’d feel raindrops gracing the skin of her face. Loss is a strange beast. We’re often not conscious of the last time we experience something. The last time we see something. A place. Someone. So we don't savour it. I’m fortunate enough to be conscious of the fact that this is the last time we'll ride together. My trusty steed. She carried me through the weightiest  milestones of my adult life. My law degree. My legal career. My first pregnancy. The decision to terminate that pregnancy. The termination. The decision to leave my legal career to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. Becoming an artist. And its at this juncture that I leave her.

The Last Journey, 10 November 2023

The day before remembrance day, I set off on my trusty blue. She's carried me through the first 10 years of my adult life. My 18th birthday present. As I wheeled her out of the door of my hallway and down the concrete steps, her chain came loose. I patiently re-threaded it on the oily cogs. The mudguard over the back wheel came loose. I de-attached it and placed it carefully in her basket. As I set off, waiting for a van to pass just outside my garden gate, it struck me that this would be the last time. Our final ride together. Should I film it? The thought crossed my mind. But I dismissed it. This should be a private, intimate experience between the two of us.


The sentimentality I attach to objects is a character trait inherited from my grandfather. The son of my great-grandmother, who for the entirety of the overlapping years of our lives, wore a gold chain with a heart-shaped locket around her neck. She left it to me when she passed. Inside it, a picture of the great grandfather I never had the pleasure of meeting, and an old English farthing that served as my great-grandmother’s father’s good luck charm on the battle fields of World War I. He was buried alive with that farthing in his breast pocket. The earth around him protecting him from enemy shrapnel. He lost his best friend during that battle. My great-great-grandfather left that battlefield with PTSD and that farthing. What would he say if he knew his own kin, 4 generations along the familial line, kept that same farthing on the windowsill in her bedroom in Southeast London, approximately 20 minutes from where his daughter was born over 100 years earlier? Don’t tell me objects can't retain memory. Sentimental value cannot be monetised. 


I felt her struggle on the uphill ascents. Her tyres are worn. I made a mental note of the songs that played through my headphones. I put my liked songs on shuffle. All 2,194 of them. As it began to rain, the unmistakable opening chords of The Beatles, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ spill through the tinny speaker. I promised my own Father I'd play that song at his funeral.


The wind was icy. I began to lose feeling in my fingertips. In my haste this morning, I could only find a single glove. My Mother’s brown leather gloves. There’s a hole in the seam where the thumb meets the palm of the hand. I couldn’t bare to see her throw them away. The embodied feeling of holding her leathery hand on the morning school-run. When she got a new pair for Christmas one year, I offered to take her old ones. I imagined holding the hand of my own daughter in an alternate reality.


As her tyres slow in the approach to the art school gates, Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ declares itslef as the last song of the journey. The perfect song. My eyes glaze over. Oh, it's such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you. Oh, such a perfect day. You just keep me hanging on. You keep me hanging on.


My cheeks are wet. I’m filled with a confusing mixture of subdued solace and anticipatory excitement as I prepare for a meeting that relates to digging her grave. There’s some poetic justice in her final resting place being the only patch of grass at my art school.  I think I’ll scrape some of the blue paint from her frame and collect it in a jar. An urn. Spread her ashes somewhere out at sea, in the place my childhood ended – where our lives together began.

Do you ever get 

a sense of yourself?

A complete photograph

Not seen through the frame

of the hundreds of eyes 

you brush consciousnesses with

In a mirror 


In the surface of a lake


At this juncture in life

Is it even possible?

Are we now

not the sum of all the parts of those 

who inhaled our exhale?

And did you know that 

Every time we kiss

83 million of our bacterial tenants 


As they begin to reside in the fleshy folds of

Our trachea

 Does not their love for

Virginia Woolf’s inky stream of consciousness 

Embed itself comfortably in the 

Wall of a neuron?

Does not their disdain 

for pigeons as the subject of 

A photograph get trapped in 

A synaptic transmission?

The blind 

sale and purchase of character traits 

until the weather turns 




How can you call yourself 

a true Arctic Monkey’s fan 

when you don’t even know which album

Dance Little Liar is on?

You’re the liar

And that’s not really you 

And I liked that before you did and 


One baseball bat to the mirror later and 

My hands are bleeding 

Trying to piece  back together

The reflection I no longer recognize and 

I guess 


On reflection 

How could I possibly expect you to see me 

When I couldn't catch sight 

Of my self?

31 October 2023

Maybe now I know what my breaking point is. Eurgh. I crave the arms of another, sometimes. How nice it is. How wonderful it is to just, not think. To let someone else think for you. Does that make me a bad feminist?


Perhaps we should ask Phoebe Waller Bridge.


To lose yourself in the eyes of another. Shocked when you catch a glimpse of your own reflection in the glint of the inky depths of their pupil. Dilating. Contracting. Inflating. Deflating.  

18 October, 2023

It was a strange culmination of people, of events, last night. A melting pot of former and current selves. The group of people that would determine mine and Merrick’s future together. The group of people that determined the formation of my first child.


I teared up at Louise Bourgeoise's work today.  I've never been so moved by an artist. I have created a life. I have absolutely no way of knowing what that life would have been like. I can only speculate. But I had a life within. And I expelled it. Of course, it is painful, physically, to expel a life. They say energy is neither created nor destroyed. It is only ever recycled. So, what happened to that energy when I took that pill? At what point was my child no longer alive? Where did that energy go? At what point was it alive in the first place? The power of life. The symptoms ricocheting from parts of my body. The sickness. The fatigue. The mood swings. The pain and tenderness in my breasts. The cramps… when that life energy was expelled. The process of one type of energy transforming into another is a painful one when your body is the vessel in which it occurs. Is it in the toilet? A landfill somewhere in  a maternity towel? Did part of her stay within my body? Is a part of Merrick’s life energy forever within me? Will it become part of my next baby? Will there even be a next baby? Is this the best gift my child can give me? The impetus to follow my passion? Passion itself?

1 October 2023


I'm hurting hurting but hurting hurting but hurting hurting. I love but hate how viscerally I feel emotions. The physicality that they embody. The gravitational pull they create between the intercostal muscles of my ribcage. Why do I have a pre-disposition to giving all of myself on a silver platter? Gracie tells me she wishes she could love like I do. But Gracie, it’s a double-edged sword. It’s as though I walk around without wearing my skin. I've left it at home on my coat rack. And the wind is bitingly cold. When I give this much of myself, I expect at least for the "handle with care" sticker I have plastered to my forehead to be readable. It’s becoming increasingly more exhausting to have to superglue the pieces of bone-china back together every time they drop me. Perhaps I’m becoming numb to the initial sting these days. The pieces usually break along the same fault lines. But the dull ache stands steadfast in all weather. I feel like life is happening to me. As though I’m watching a film I saw 10 years earlier. With each passing minute, the plot line becomes vaguely more familiar. I’m saturated with melancholy. Absorbing joy is too much for my body's biological interactions to cope with. It's preoccupied with blunt trauma. Defeated by osmosis. I’m flat. Slightly dissociated. Unable to be completely present.


During the Talking Heads film, my mind wandered to him. It settled on the unease in the cavity of my chest. I’m back in that bathtub as the water drains. Exhausted. The mantra of Patti Smith’s voice bangs against my cranium: “In life suffering is inevitable”. But is this particular instance of suffering inevitable? And now I don’t want to drink. I don’t want to smoke. I don’t want to take drugs. To pollute my body. I’m going to let myself feel it. I’m going to let myself sit with these extraordinarily difficult emotions. These painful, painful emotions. Anyway, Marina says they’re the stuff of great art.

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