Oliver Senton is moving into the second half of his first residency. When we learn to do this work, our values around ‘making sense’ and ‘understanding’ can be challenged. Oliver’s taking on of this challenge has been remarkable throughout the project so far.
Last week we started reading to the other members of the group words we have so far heard, written down and transcribed. It’s a treasure trove: glimpses into people’s inner lives, snatches of high poetry (moments of beat/jazz freeflow, others of skewering, Audenesque observation) and moving broken passages where communication seems so hard to achieve.
One starts to see how that intense one-on-one process works. When you’re on your own with a resident, it’s sometime hard to see how their words will resonate, out of context. But with all the Living Words writers sitting in a circle in our regular meeting room at Folkestone library, reading to each other, the words of other people whom you have never met summon those individuals to life so vividly, so precisely, that one starts to see how not only the residents but those around them – family members, friends, caring team – will be touched by this too. Attempting to share the first ‘selections’ of those words to read back to resident participants was a challenge – it can be hard to be sure if they understand what the process is – but the power of their words on their own, in the mouths of other people, is an assurance that the results are already more than worthwhile.
Let’s see how the final weeks play out for Oliver and the resident participants, as books are created and reading together takes place.
Oliver Senton. Oliver is a professional actor who also teaches at several drama schools. He lives with his family in Folkestone.