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Sarah Kendall – The long, dark winter of my soul

Friday, August 17 2012

Morale in the trenches is suffering, says Sarah Kendall, in this communication from the frontline

Sarah Kendall

It has been 16 nights since It Started. We started the campaign strong: the weather was favourable, spirits were high, and most felt a positivity and enthusiasm for What We Came Here To Do. Ideas felt fresh and exciting, and each new night was an opportunity to cast oneself out on the ocean of creativity, to navigate one’s way through the imaginations of the gentle and openhearted strangers staring back at us in the darkness.

However, we are just over half way, and I am now beginning to worry that both my comrades and I are starting to show signs of heavy fatigue. The sheer repetition of the days and nights has started to send some – including myself – into a destructive spiral of self-loathing, manifesting itself in the consumption of large bowls of pasta late at night.

Communications with the home front have become limited, due to the irregular hours I am now keeping, and my total inability to converse on any topic not related to What We Came Here To Do. My family barely recognise me. Once the niceties of a conversation have been dispensed with, my gaze becomes hollow, and my mind wanders ahead to what I know must happen at 8:30pm every night. Mother sent me some warm woollen socks and a tin of bully beef, she does worry about me so.

With 12 nights left to go, I have started to try to cast my mind forward to September, when the war is over and we can all return to our homes. What will "home" be like after all this time? Will my neighbours and friends look the same to me, will I look the same to them, or will we feel foreign to each other in some indefinable way? Will they know any of the tales of what I’ve witnessed up here over the last month? Will they know of the heroism, the hardship, the fatigue and the cost – both personal and financial? Will they know of the vast swathes of money made and lost? Will they know of the people who stood tall, of the people who fell, all of whom were brought to this city with the same hopes and dreams in their hearts? Or will my friends back home see me, smile benignly and say, "Wow, the Edinburgh Festival! That must have been sooo much fun!"

• Sarah Kendall – Get Up, Stand Up is on at 8:30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard


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