The science of dying and being reborn again

I’ve just watched Testament of Orpheus by Jean Cocteau. My daily Mubi film. It’s an incredible engine for thought, this Mubi subscription. Autumn Sonata with all of the Bergmans still haunts me and I watched it days ago. Cocteau will stick with me even longer.

In the last two days I’ve been guided through Jean from young man playing with a new form to Jean as old man saying farewell whilst being fully aware of his possibility of legacy and irresistibly fucking with it. Over the course of two movies I’ve learnt to adore this weird mobile French poet. He questions authority and destabilises his own platform in a way that I think is terrifically important – for whatever my word is worth, considering I’m usually writing drunk. I’m thrilled to have been introduced to Cocteau and his incisive self-aggrandising self-denigration.

This time at home is powerful if we allow it to be, for the rest as much as for the making. I slept most of the day today and I don’t give a fuck. I needed it. Normally I’d be livid with myself thinking about all the things I might have missed. But my body was tired, my head was tired, I went to bed drunk after ranting about Bezos. I woke up tired and hungover, had a conversation with an old friend, and went back to sleep for 4 hours.

I didn’t get up until afternoon and even then I just made coffee and did nothing and did it joyfully. I feel rested now, lighter, less stuffed with pomp. And it’s ok. This is the flipside to the loneliness.

Nobody was worried about me because nobody knew I was down. I recharged my batteries and when I was back online I plugged back into the world and it was still there. I wouldn’t manage more than 24 hours offline like that before one of my dear friends started messaging everybody they could think of that knows me, so I know I’m supported. That too is incredibly powerful to know. This blog as well – it doesn’t show up and people worry. I’ve got precedent for bad scheduling though, which gives me some wiggle room. But I’m unlikely to be eaten by rats after the big cardiac before someone catches on.

So yes, I’m thinking about film as an art medium, in the light of the fact that I now have loads of kit to make a greenscreen and so forth. I suspect I’m going to be throwing some stuff against the wall that I think is interesting, although rest assured it won’t be me in MCU worthily delivering somebody else’s text for about two minutes longer than our attention span. That particular medium is covered and covered covered. People have either done it wonderfully or horrendously, and either way I’m not feeling the need to add to it. But I’m thinking of other shapes and patterns that might satisfy my interest in the live video medium. Surely it is about making it NOW. That’s what Cocteau would’ve done and I’m now making him my inspiration after the playfulness I’ve seen through him.



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

6 thoughts on “The science of dying and being reborn again”

  1. greetings Al…just to say a huge thankyou for making me laugh heartily for the first time in a while :)) background, I made some of the costumes for the original Tempest show @Creation, so yesterday found myself the lucky recipient of a ticket for the online version…it not only took my Zoom cherry, but helped re-assert my faith in humankind too…the storm scene was truly inspired, and when you appeared adorned with a live reptilian head-dress and uttered the immortal words ‘I shall rig this up verily’, my funny bone was awakened back into action, joy at the surreality of it all, giggling solo on my sofa, with relief that creativity and fun lives on during these strange times…unfortunately I have no feline to wave at the screen, and my pet seagulls are way too violent for such interactions, but it was a heartwarming affair nonetheless…

    in the bigger picture, I do have faith in the future, my perspective remains positive, whilst also being aware of the huge shifts which are occuring, and the need to listen in to our internal responses…have you read this?

    for context, I recently returned (or was repatriated against my will) from a spiritually based eco-community in Costa Rica, where I was also involved in costume/production…but that’s another story, and too much spare time at the mo can mean a tendency to waffle, apologies. I really like the way you express yourself, your observations. If you are ever interested in exchanging tales, please do feel free to connect…take care 🙂


    1. What an extraordinary read by Charles Eisenstein. Thanks for that! Helps a lot and aligns with much of my cluttered thinking.

      Costa Rica? Sounds like you were involved in something powerful out there..

      Good to meet you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeaahhh, is most extraordinary and inspiring indeed, glad you enjoyed it. I love his output, and so erudite…the More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible is also gorgeous to dive into…

        Something powerful is a perfect way to describe the amazing, potentially expansive Costa Rica episode, on many levels. Am still processing and integrating, too big a tale to go into here. Maybe it deserves to be written about…? i’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog, as an extension of my lifelong journalising practice, but unsure if the world needs more personalised psychobabble…the random musings of a loquacious introvert? hmmmm….

        Objective advice from a seasoned pro like yourself on how/why could be good though, so if you ever complete the current chores and are willing to impart some gems from your perspective, i’d very much appreciate it…! I teach yoga amongst other pastimes, and am always happy to skill-swap/exchange…

        thankyou for connecting 🙂


  2. Yeaaahh, is extraordinary and inspiring indeed, glad you enjoyed it. I love his output, so erudite…the More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible is also gorgeous..

    Something powerful is a perfect way to describe the amazing, potentially expansive Costa Rica episode. Am still integrating and processing, way too big a tale to enter into here. Mother nature and her many lessons on total overload, such a privilege to experience. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of starting a blog, as an extension of my lifelong journalising practice, maybe a way of recording such events, but am unsure if the world needs more personal psychobabble. Or mine, to be more precise, but that is another story. The random musings of a loquacious introvert….hmmm 😉

    Objective advice from a seasoned pro like yourself on how/why would be hugely appreciated if you ever complete the current chores and have a moment to share? I teach yoga amongst my other creative offerings, and am always happy to skill-swap/exchange in some way..

    thankyou for connecting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me the writing is more about the discipline than the content. I’ve hardwired it psychologically so that I absolutely must write 500 minimum every day and put it out there no matter what.

      It’s a complicated mix of reasons, but mostly to do with accountability. I was aware of being accountable to nobody but myself, and the daily discipline helps me to reflect on my direction, or lack of it, whilst connecting me surprisingly to people who ellide with it and me for a while.

      There was a fear involved at first, to do with either negativity or damage coming as a result of it. I’ve experienced very little of either in over years now, and find that I gain greatly from it in connection and in mindfulness. I recommend some kind of practice, even if not as Draconian as I have made it for myself. If you just leave it to go to the people that want it it seems to be helpful. People find comfort in the lives of others sometimes…

      Ah man I need to get yoga back into my body. I had a period where I loved Vinyasa Flow and another when I obsessed about fecking Bikram for a bit. I do like to make things hard for myself…

      I’m going to look at that recommendation.. Something spiritual would be helpful in these times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. good to hear back and apologies for the multiple messages previously…I was unsure if it sent, hence wrote again, am new to this online lark…

    I hear you re:discipline and accountability, thankyou for the advice…there is a journalising practice called ‘morning pages’ in a famed book called The Artists Way…which lies dusty and unloved on a shelf as my creative process occurs naturally, but writing seems to follow the same stream of consciousness approach. Could be too much Virginia Woolf at school and Beat literature later on…? I see it as an emptying of the mind clutter, a rationalising of the internal monologue via expression, talking to the page from the soul. Maybe sharing thoughts could also ring positive bells for others as you say. I agree with your philosophy to just put it out there, and let it filter in where needs be. A kinda dance like nobody is watching premise. Your ideas of direction, mindfulness and self-reflection all sound like healthy practises to encourage, and anything which increases the sense of empathy and connection is always good….

    So, yoga, yes. Probs best not to get me started as I could wax lyrical for waaay too long….I too tried many different and occasionally bonkers forms, so can understand the oh-so addictive endorphin high of Bikram, but my present practice is more a process of listening in, slower and more instinctive. I love authenticity and the philosophies of yoga, so my initial Hatha trainings were in North India many moons ago. Since then the focus has shifted to trauma relieving qualities, such as encouraging the parasympathetic system, vagus nerve, proprioception, pranayam, utilising nidra and meditation. Basically rewiring the brain to connect back with a deeper awareness of the body. The recent advancements in neuroscience have led to discoveries which back up ancient methods and claims, so I feel these are exciting and progressive times. It’s interesting how you phrase it ‘back Into my body’…I resonate with this, especially as so much modern postural yoga has been about externalising, making the right shapes, wearing the latest Sweaty Betty, being super-bendy. There is nothing wrong with this approach of course, is all valid, but the potential for peaceful reconnection with the self can often be lost in a haze of huge mirrors and banging soundtracks. However, we are all wired differently, and whilst some can access the inner realm easily, others need to burn off the many layers surrounding it first…I took a fascinating course on prescribing practises for varying personality types from psychological and physicality angles, but that is another story…

    Ok, enough already. Thankyou again, all is appreciated, and happy Monday…if is it Monday? I’m losing track 🙂


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