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What’s your Resolution?

I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.  I gave them up some time ago – we all know why; they tend to be based on some mild guilt about something we do and shouldn’t or something we’re not doing and should.  How many New Year gym memberships lie paid-for and unused once March comes around?   Instead, I got into the habit of setting myself a focus for the year ahead; a talismanic phrase or a quote that would shape the perspective from which I took my decisions for the year.

When I first returned to Northampton after being away for some years my first phrase was “Raze the Castle” and what I meant by that was; start from scratch, build something new, don’t be shaped by your past successes, seek out a new direction and a new challenge.  That’s how Threshold came into being.  A few years later, I chose to “Become the Empty Vessel”; relinquishing the instinct to take the lead on Threshold’s future development and, instead, become the receptacle that helped to shape other people’s ideas and energies.  That led to new Threshold members taking the lead and establishing entirely new strands of arts activities, often working in Northamptonshire’s more marginalised communities, and led to some profoundly moving stories of personal social change among participants. 

We still tease Threshold Co-Founder Stephen Loveless about the year he decided his watchword would be “Just Say Yes!” In the ten years since, he’s written, directed and toured ten plays all over England with a two-week run at Edinburgh Fringe, written a couple of films, a couple of books, had an exhibition or two and won a few prizes…  The effects of that year are still with us as he currently tours four plays with Theatre 17.

But what will be my personal watchword for 2019?  I reckon, just because it isn’t broke doesn’t mean I shouldn’t fix it, so I’m giving myself permission to ask: how else might this work? So for 2019 I’m going to “Meddle”.  Maybe no good will come of it, but hey, it’s just a word!

Barry Hale

Disrupting the flow

December 2018