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What a couple of weeks it has been!  Did I mention my aching bones?  I’m sure I have…

On the plus side, what this week has demonstrated to me, more than anything else, is just how much I enjoy this current, for want of better word, lifestyle.  I mean, make no mistake, there have been moments – sometimes scary – when dangling off a bit of scenery by fingertips trying to find just one… more… dimmer damnit!  – when the thought of what things might have been like if I had done the PhD after all cross my mind.  And I consider whether it was really worth it getting out of bed at quarter to seven this morning in order to spend the next fourteen hours carrying cable and finding patch information while underneath me bodies are hacked to pieces and betrayals are unleashed and the forces of nature are tampered with in cruel and unexpected ways (in the name of drama) – because let’s face it, cool as all this is, do I really have to be hanging off a lighting bridge trying to rig the seventh strobe of the day to appreciate it?  Really?

But oddly enough, now that it’s all over – until, that is, previews are finished and it’s onto the follow spots – I feel oddly uplifted by the whole thing.  (Nothing like a speedy escape to alter perspective.)  With my technician hat on, I can’t help but feel that I have been part of something truly stonking, and while you will not catch me so overtly culpable as to say what it is, there’s probably enough information in this blog to deduce without too much effort…

Not only am I immensely proud to have spent the last two weeks working on this particular play, but working for such nice people is a true pleasure.  Sure, for two weeks straight I’ve dreamt of… oh… dimmers, cabling, rigging, focusing, plotting, patching, fault finding, tripped circuits, steel wire rope, voltages, series and parallel circuits and of course, but how can we forget, bloody stupid bloody LED bloody batons.  But no sooner did I escape and get on the bus to, of all places, St. Pancras station to catch the train to Camber Sands, than the notebook came out and just started going a bit bonkers.

Lighting, you see, serves as my down-time from writing.  It’s a period of paid employment, of busy distraction, of noise and event and adventure, which allows the whole novel thing to stew at the back of the brain for a while.  Likewise, writing is the time in which I recover from the physical distress of rigging or mental pain of designing – make no mistake, two jobs I love, but also two jobs which are utterly draining.  Switching between the two on short notice can be tricky – in the theatre I’m Cat, and my mission is to seek hard power and spanners and check the dip switches on the snow machine – and trying to reboot the brain half an hour later back into Kate, novelist with a sound grasp of narrative relevance – isn’t always so easy, and I can often tangle the two.  (Going to the Derby Alt. Literary Festival after 4 hours sleep and two weeks of solid rigging was a particularly poor example of this failure.)

But once I’m out of the theatre – proper out, with only the odd evening call or so – it’s a delight to wake up and realise that all the narrative difficulties I left two weeks ago have kinda been fixed in the back of my mind, and I know exactly where I’m going and how to get there.  The world seems a little bigger, a little brighter, full of new and interesting things, and two weeks of not writing during a stint in the theatre is almost immediately followed by a surge of text.  Its an exhilarating feeling, and brings me back to the initial theme of this post…

… I love my job…