Over Christmas, I spent a fair amount of time with my son at the Olympic Park in Stratford. One day, while my son was sleeping, I came across an unassuming little shed, sat just outside of the Orbit. It was cold and I was curious, so I popped in to see what it was all about. There, I was lucky to catch artist Caroline Jupp, who was in residence from 16 October 2014 to 17 January 2015, working on Labour of Love, a project celebrating the lives of East Londoners and visitors to the park. There were a few ‘CVs’ dotted around the shed, detailing people’s work past, present and their hopes for the future. One in particular that caught my eye was someone who had a supporting role in the circus in the 60s!
Caroline asked if I would like to take part. At first I felt I didn’t have much of a story but as we got to chatting, I realised I did. When we talked about future aspirations, I realised that I have started to achieve some of my lifelong dreams recently and that in itself was something of a story. So, we sat down and talked about my work history, influences and plans for the future. Once I stopped paying attention to the fact I was being recorded, it was just like chatting to an old friend. Afterwards, Caroline thanked me, said she’d send across the finished piece of work and I promptly forgot about it.
So, when my ‘CV’ popped into my inbox it was a nice surprise! Want to see?
It’s not quite in the right order but I didn’t talk about them in order and sometimes I had more than one of these jobs at the same time!
Caroline has also captured more detail, which she has separated into four sections (a page each): Early Rhymes, Redundancy to Start Up, The Business and Writing and Values.
I was struck by how much we’d covered in a short space of time and, seeing my journey mapped out in this way, how it was further evidence that I’m on the right path with what I’m doing now.
Here are some snapshots of some of my journey:
I don’t remember not writing. There were periods when I would spend half the day just speaking in rhyme, which must have been really annoying for my mum! I do write non-rhyming poems now, but generally they do rhyme.
Certainly, I get lots of creativity from her [My Mum] and she fostered that. My sister is a singer/songwriter and my brother is creative too – he’s really funny but always rejects the idea he could be a comedian (it’s not just us who thinks that!). Mum had a fantastic imagination. As far as I know she believed in fairies all her life. She had a lot of pictures of fairies in her house. One night when I was little, I dreamt that fairies had taken me away and then brought me back home and when I woke up there were rose petals in my bed. I mean, my mum must have heard me talking in my sleep and put them there. But I believed for years that the fairies had taken me away for the night.
Redundancy to Start Up
…So then I was a writer and personal coach anyway, but it was more like a hobby. I said to myself, ‘I will be self-employed one day, just need to save some money and just need to do X, Y and Z.’
I needed that push I guess. When I’d decided I just contacted everyone I knew and said, ‘I’m going to do this, really this time!’ That was in August. My sister says it’s the happiest she’s ever seen me. I liked the job I had, but I love what I am doing now.
There was one line in this section that really struck me because even though I say it all the time, reading it back was a very powerful reminder that this really is heartwork:
Even if I won the lottery, I would still do all this.
If you would like to see Caroline’s response to the project (during which she gathered more than 100 CVs!), you’ll need to wait until 1 March when she will be releasing a limited edition Labour of Love booklet. All the CVs are anonymous, which I feel makes it all the more fascinating! I’ve no idea whether mine will be included but if you want to look for it, it’s number 125. I share so much here you probably know half of the journey anyway! If you’d like to read more (of the more interesting journeys), Caroline is still sharing snippets of some of stories she has transcribed over on her blog.
Edited 23 Jan 2015 to correct the details of the booklet, which will not contain all of the CVs gathered as previously stated!