When Durham County Council began to refurb all the houses around here, those of us who’d opted in were given a chance of new front doors. Some chose glass panels, other doors are solid. They all have chrome or gilt letter boxes, shiny numbers, spy holes, security chains. And we were offered a choice of colours: red, blue, green or white. The obvious thing was to go and ask the neighbours what we’re all having in the off-chance that everyone was going for the same, in which case it would be odd if we were all, say, red, with an odd one in the middle white or green. In fact as it turned out we were all going for something different so the choice to enhance the look of the street was to go for the one that was left. It would have to be blue.
One of us, let’s call her Mrs White or Mrs Green, was fiercely resistant to having a door the same colour as her name, though that might seem an obvious choice, it was absolutely not what she wanted. Mrs Blue doesn’t like to blend in.
We do love our new doors.
The Mrs Blue of this project, and for whom it is named, is a conglomeration, a kind of panackelty, a paella, a stock pot, an acculturation of all of our experiences, a rich composite of being here, and now, being ourselves. She is five real women, and maybe another six or seven who come and go, drift in and out across our thresholds and across the front path, who chat to us at bus stops. Mrs Blue is also the author and the author’s mother, and probably also the young woman who grew up in this house. And that house:
She is all of us, she is none of us. The work is an auto-portrait and also a literary, an artistic, a photographic device to tell our story.
There is some fictionalising but all the stories are true. Does that make sense? Accumulating a collective history/her-story that has samenesses and differences too.
It’s a step tentatively towards something else…. but this is now.
Mrs Blue posts will appear HERE as a blog category. At some point there will be a gallery. Don’t expect cohesion, nothing unites us except memory, place, and time. Although that’s more than enough, of course.