On October 3rd, Leeds-based, award-winning writer Clare Fisher will be running a brand new interactive storytelling installation for Leeds Light Night – ‘How the Light Gets In.’
As part of ‘How the Light Gets In’, actors will perform micro-stories on the theme of light, dark and how we find our way from one to the other, whilst audiences can contribute their insights and reactions to a display wall. Clare has written these stories through running a series of creative workshops and sparking creative conversations on twitter, thanks to funding from the Arts Council as part of the SHINE emerging artists scheme.
Leading up to Light Night, TSOTA have published a small selection of 4 of Clare’s micro stories that will feature in the installation.
Read the previous three publications:
The fourth and final to be published before October 3rd is Head Torch.
The elastic snaps against his head; the torch bobs up and down, down and up, as if it’s already out there, running.
‘You look crazy,’ I tell him. ‘Or like you’re about to go down a mine.’
While he stoops to tie his laces, I think about his granddad and how he actually did go down mines. I imagine him crawling for miles and miles in the dark, and how, between him and the surface and the light, there would be miles and miles of earth and earth-worms, and broken crockery and bottles, and decomposing dog shit and banana skins and baby birds that tried to fly out of their nests too soon and so had fallen and died.
Then I remember that his granddad returned to this earth good deal earlier than he should have done – than he would have done if he hadn’t breathed in so much of that dust-cloaked air so far below ground.
I’m trying to mumble some of this out loud, when he switches on the head torch, blinding me.
‘Bye then,’ he says. His hand, fluorescent white from days and months and years spent inside, hacking at a keyboard, closes around the door handle.
There is nothing but darkness outside. Nothing but darkness and the rattle of freight trains along the tracks and the rustle of other things, worse things, that cannot be seen.
‘Don’t go down to the canal,’ I say. ‘It’s dangerous. Why don’t you get up at sunrise and go then.’
He rolls his eyes. ‘No one’s going to wait in the shadows on the off-chance that they can mug a runner… And for what? All I’ve got with me are my keys and,’ he taps his head torch, ‘this. Much more dangerous to run on the street.’
There follows an argument, whose contents I won’t bore you with, about the relationship between danger and darkness. Finally he says, ‘look, I don’t care if it’s a bit dangerous: everything’s a bit dangerous. I want to run, I need to run; the dark is not going to stop me.’
He’s gone, and I flock to the safest place in our apartment: my laptop and its friendly anaemic glow, in which I can wrap myself – 24 Things You Didn’t Know About the Winter; 13 Special Offers to Get You Through the Dark – for the 45 minutes until he scuffles in behind me.
‘That was brilliant,’ he says, beetroot-cheeked, panting. His head torch pierces my eye. ‘I felt so free, so alive. You should come with me next time.’
And maybe I will. Maybe I will follow his bobbing spot of light into the dark. But I’m not going to admit that now. I’m not going to let him win. Instead I frown and shut my eyes. ‘Turn that damn thing off. You don’t need it now that you’re inside.’
Claire Sita Fisher
‘How the Light Gets In’ will run from 5pm – 10pm, October 3rd at the Local Artists Space, Central Library, Leeds.
Clare Fisher is Leeds-based writer, blogger and creative-writing teacher. She writes mainly fiction, and in 2013 Clare won the Spread the Word Writing Prize and the Cinnamon Press Writing Prize. With a firm attachment in both Leeds and London, Clare is currently working on a novel set between the two cities.