What happens when you open a door and you don’t like what you find on the other side? You close it I suppose and try another one. What if the next one you try is locked, have a rummage in your pockets and see if you have the keys on you. We’re talking hypothetical imaginary doors here so anything is possible. Think dreams where you can manifest objects, people, scenes before you just by thinking it… no? Can’t do that… right… you’re missing out; I really love my dreams!
The reason I’m discussing doors right now is because I was prompted to check out the weekly creative writing challenges that WP hosts, and one theme piqued my interest, it was entitled ‘Doors’ funnily enough, and the idea was to imagine walking through a door and finding yourself in a different time period or reality and writing about that imagined experience. Good theme, full of potential.
Doors for me are very significant, stairways to doors even more so. It’s been a fascination that I’ve had from childhood, particularly very old doors worn by weather, time and history. I think it’s to do with the curiosity of knowing what lies beyond. I’ve always loved to explore, and once again I hark back to the ancient Moorish castle at the top of the hill that my brother and I used to play in when we were very young and living in Almería*. It was such a different environment with narrow corridors, turrets and stairwells to explore, and always the tired old wooden doors that were always locked, probably for reasons of safety in those days before the castle had been regulated by modern health and safety guidelines. Locking doors was a good enough deterrent for even the most inquisitive of children. No-one else was ever there, so for us it was our castle, and we’d spend hours exploring and playing in the dry desert heat. But the explorer in me always wanted to know what lay beyond those mysterious doors, because what lay beyond was invariably and frustratingly a part of the castle yet to be explored.
This pretty self-explanatory fascination with doors of course is as a result of it appealing to the explorer in me, and is symbolic of that desire to know more and create new experience, which I find is an insatiable drive within me. However, over the years it has become a more abstract concept, and I have taken many photographs of doors over the course of my life. In fact my pilgrimage across the north of Spain years ago can be charted by the photos of all the different and more interesting doors that I took along the way. The more aged, the better and more appealing.
The attraction of an old knackered door is much more than that for me though, and I’m trying to understand for myself why that is. Members of my family often laugh at me when I show them another photo of a door whenever I have been on my travels. I mean it’s no more than a hinged plank, more often than not, that serves a very practical purpose… more often than not. But despite the mundaneness of its structure and purpose, the closed door still fills me with wonder and excitement.
Did I not mentioned that it had to be closed?
So deferring back to the challenge question, what would I find behind my hypothetical, and now mystical closed door? Interestingly I find myself in medieval times, with people dressed in lavish silks and velvets, and fine wools of deep rich colours. Long wooden tables bedecked with food, and general debauchery ensuing throughout the feast [I think I watched one too many Errol Flynn movies when I was a kid!]. I see myself dressed as a bard, in tights and a fitted jacket, rather like a court jester found in many a Venetian Renaissance painting [who were women by the way]. My job of course would be to entertain and to fuel the Nobleman’s reputation with victorious stories and probably grossly exaggerated successes, as well as singing bawdy songs fit only for adult entertainment; and thus appealing to his very inebriated guests, who by now would be very raucous and obnoxious [a bit like a Saturday night out with my friends when I was younger and able to hold my liquor]. I’d be ducking frequently to avoid being hit with flying flagons and flasks as guests became less inhibited and more disapproving of my poor attempt to entertain them. I can imagine it was a tough job being muse to the court, a position with a fast turn-around for the less canny. Sometime in the early hours of the morning the celebrations would die down, people would either be asleep, too drunk to move, and others possibly would have sidled off to partake of the privacy of a dark corner to seek other pleasures. And I would sneak out, bowing briefly to the noble-folk just to show willing, just in case anyone was still watching, then take my leave through said door, head and limbs still intact, save for the odd spillage of potent beverage down my tights. But all in a night’s work. I would close that door firmly, and probably not dare open it again… some doors are best left closed!
* Referring to El Alcazába in the town of Almería, Spain.