The spotlight travelled the circumference of the room in search of a victim, looking to curb its own discomfort by persuading the unwanted attention on to another. Beneath its bright glare the chosen individual trebled and froze, as if caught in headlights. Then, becoming aware of the line of eyes, the press of bodies – waiting, watching, for her to spring into action, to move, to come alive – she lifted her arms, stretching them out, inhaling deeply.

Her performance opened with a slow dance, the words of a song low and soft on her breath, barely above a whisper. But as her confidence grew, as she started to enjoy it, started to believe in her ability to entertain, to transform the atmosphere of the room, she sped up, the song going from sleepy to wild – a celebration, an homage to life.

Minutes later and it was all over, ending in the same abrupt manner with which it began. She stopped as the light snapped out and joined it in the shadows, two lonely compatriots sheltering beneath an impenetrable blanket. And from the shadows she watched, trying to gauge the reaction of the audience, trying to read their thoughts. On the surface they looked satisfied, content. Some even looked impressed. Some even looked like they might perhaps want to hear more – either now or later. It was a good start. It made her happy. She might manage to make a go of it after all, do as her grandmother had predicted.

And yet, because it was only the first day, the first audience, and because it was only a cruise ship with a simple name rather than a theatre with an impressive title, she might just as equally amount to nothing, fulfilling the prophecy of her late father. Conflicting views. Conflicting futures. She knew which one she desired, she just didn’t know which one desired her, and at the end of the day it didn’t much matter how hard she tried, how hard she fought: if the future had other plans, she was helpless to interfere, a mere fly in the ointment of a huge pot, a pot that would be sure to kill her the second she dipped so much as a toenail, fingertip or eyelash in.


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becsatherton (joined almost 14 years ago)
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I have always loved art and drawing has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember. Having creative parents provided me with the right genes and also meant that my naive dabblings were given plenty of encouragement. Growing up, our kitchen walls were lined with huge pinboards which displayed my work. I guess you could say that this was my first exhibition, my audience consisting of family and friends. To date – apart from school and university, where there was always a termly show – it remains the only one. Life interfered with other priorities and stole away my earlier confidence.
Since graduating, I have been a web designer, a graphic designer, a magazine editor, an art director, a copy writer, a literary consultant, a poet, an aspiring novelist, and many other less inspiring things. I have also founded a literary arts magazine called Inside Out, which published two issues before the recession hit.
For the last year, I have been hard at work writing and drawing and would now call myself a writer, poet, artist and illustrator. I use these mediums as ways to better understand myself and find them helpful in exploring and resolving personal problems. This was the focus of Inside Out, which promoted creativity for personal development and emotional well-being. One day I hope to qualify as a creative therapist, offering workshops and retreats and teaching this valuable skill to other individuals.

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