Posted on June 29, 2017
A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves with a day to ourselves and nothing to do, so we went about creating an inspiration wall in our study. It’s essentially a large handmade picture frame which hangs above the desk space with a criss-cross of metal wire where I hung various images, notes and keepsakes which inspired me for different reasons. I would look up occasionally whilst working, or writing on the computer and it would always give me pause, making me stop and smile. Reminding me to breathe, and what was important. After a while, I realised I wasn’t looking at it anymore, or at least I would look at it and see the same old thing. It had become wallpaper, essentially: the same old pictures, day after day. A bit of a jumble. Today, I pulled everything off it and packed all the pictures and postcards and scraps of paper away neatly in a drawer. Then, I hauled out a stack of images which I had been storing in a cupboard. They are all taken with my rollei which I barely use these days; it’s on its last legs, I think. Every time I take a roll of film I send it off to be processed and I get the images printed and scanned. Sometimes I post them on here and sometimes I use them for other artworks, layering them and manipulating them. But the photographs – the printed images – remained, stuck in a cupboard, languishing. They are pictures of my travels, my family, moments of beauty and grace; they are memories. Each one tells a story.
The physical image is still important, isn’t it? I’m glad I took them out; now I can stop and smile, and breathe again when I look up at that wall. And here I am, posting again, so that’s got to be good! I guess sometimes we all need to press the re-set button, mix things up a little, and change the background scenery.
© words and images by Emily Hughes, 2017
Posted on April 17, 2012
I am one of those people who enjoys sleeping – who actually really definitely NEEDS to sleep. Quite a lot. I look forward to it as much as anything else. It is right up there in my top five past-times along with writing and reading and doing photography and eating. It’s not so much that I am lazy, rather that I am just a bit of a sleepy person. It’s physiological, I’m sure (at least I have managed to convince myself of that). And my body really really protests at early mornings. It goes into a state of shock, and generally refuses to jolt into an acceptable state of being (although ‘jolt’ is probably over-egging it somewhat, really it’s more like trying to coax a startled rabbit out from behind the sofa. Gently, gently does it) until somewhere around 10.30am, after several cups of tea. At this stage I may be able to manage food, and quite possibly a coherent conversation. I may have also managed to abandon that dazed, dreamy, slightly dishevelled morning countenance. It is unfortunate for people who bump into me before that time in the morning (which is usually quite a lot) and especially unfortunate for those who work with me – notably because most days I only work mornings.
When I was younger I used to commute into London to my HR job in Green Park. As you can probably imagine, for someone like me this was quite a traumatic experience (almost nervous breakdown inducing – I left after 2 and a half years to seek solace in academia). Catching up with my old boss over the weekend she joked about how I used to remind her of a sleepy dormouse, slightly put out that it had been disturbed and forced to be somewhere it really did not want to be. I was a little bit alarmed when she said this. I mean, she was sort of joking but not really and then everyone else joined in and laughed and thought it was really funny in the way that you do when someone has just got someone spot on. I thought I had radiated more energy in my twenties, but clearly not.
You may wonder how I got through the baby years with my children: the night-time feeds; the refusing to settle; the shushing and patting; the teething…. well the truth is I’m not really sure. I existed, I think, but generally in some kind of semi-state. I was very tired all the time and despite what people said I never got used to it. Alex would probably say I was mostly quite grumpy. Now my children are old enough to understand I am not good in the mornings, which is a blessing. They do not protest if I secretly sneak back to bed after I have got their breakfast. I do quite well on the lie-in rota as well, because Alex is most definitely a morning person, and is easily convinced that my needs are greater than his. So generally these days I am better rested, and as a consequence much happier.
So today marked the end of the Easter holidays. No more lazy mornings in our pjs, no more lie-ins. My stomach did a little flip of protest when my alarm startled me out of my unconscious state. I rolled over to hit the snooze button and realised I had my daughter next to me, fast asleep. She often creeps into bed with me in the early hours of the morning. Sometimes she will wriggle and pester me until I give in and get up, but this morning she snuggled down and went back to sleep. So it was quite a rare and lovely moment to have her sleeping peacefully in my bed. I couldn’t resist snapping her with my phone because she just looked so serene and, well, asleep (and you can’t see it here, obviously, but she was snoring very gently too, which was very cute).
© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012