A record of life in lockdown: Love, separation, peace, life and death

Julie Corcoran describes the genesis of Time, her collaboration with poet Fidel Hogan Walsh

Connected by Julie Corcoran

Connected by Julie Corcoran

 

Time, as a concept, can be thrown away, held on to, spent or saved. Personally, I like to get lost in it. My name is Julie Corcoran and I’m a conceptual photographer.

Fidel Hogan Walsh, word smith extraordinaire with an impressive poetry pedigree, has been described as formidable, gritty and sexy; I was just dead impressed with her David Bowie story to be honest, so before Fidel finished uttering the words, ‘would’, ‘you’ and ‘collaborate’, I said yes.

So there we were at the start of 2020; two women on parallel creative paths; having a wave over at each other; little did we know that our lanes were about to abruptly converge like the N3 before the Phoenix Park roundabout.

Time, the book, saved us. Gathering ourselves, gathering content, was not only a form of escapism, but also a way for us to record our experiences and responses to lockdown. That is very much reflected in the chronological layout of the book with the square format dictated by how I present my conceptual photography pieces.

Fidel’s opening poem, Omen, was written at the beginning of lockdown in March, giving us the haunting line: “Inception of a foreboding story’s journey”.

Around the same time I had created a piece, Connected, which depicts a woman being held over a lake by an oversized hand, water dripping from her hair. The two pieces worked perfectly together. The book was alive!

As the project progressed and we remained in our respective bubbles, it was uncanny how our work mirrored each other’s experiences.

Love, separation, betrayal, redemption, peace, life and death – no aspect of what makes us human was left untouched. The past, present and future are all explored in Time.

The final poem in the book, 2020, Memories, is a reflective piece looking back on lockdown accompanied by a bluebell-toned blindfolded prophet; a crystal ball slipping from her grasp while levitating in a celestial cloud of flour dust.

The thread that ran through all the poems was time, or a sense of time. The book was demanding to be called Time.

The first draft in June made its way to American artist Brooke Shaden for review and she graciously provided the most wonderful introduction to the book.

We launched the book virtually on Culture Night with support from our local arts office and music from jazz duo, The Two Five Ones.

We always knew this project was unique in its content, drive and ambition. Therefore we are deeply grateful to every single person who has shown us support and belief and bought the book here on Earth and the Starman looking down on us from the sky above.

2020, Memories

Blinded in a winter’s dread no prophet foresaw.
Spring’s new life erupted into a chaos of fear.
Desolation replaced the warmth of a hug.
Children banished from our everyday lives!

Ah, the blessings – a swift journey home
to the unexpected happiness under one roof.
Chatter, laughter –
a family enduring dark days
come what may!

Time, the pickpocket of memories – stood still.
Watching – new ways of keeping our spirits alive,
to be remembered, cherished.
Lost moments recaptured before summer’s end!

An invisible killer started a war,
so much pressure on our frontline.
But, it would be –
‘Love and Stay at Home’
that had their backs!

Death came at a fast pace.
Isolation the enemy of a treasured last goodbye -
grief mourned in silent lockdown.

And now,
the road to healing shattered hearts and souls begins!

Time can be purchased online from Alan Hanna’s Bookshop website or eprint.ie.

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