There were the meetings at Julia’s in the early 90s when we were trying to promote theatre by and for women in the North East. The Next Stage didn’t last but my memories of the good fun and good food, the laughter and debate and optimism, the warmth, a lot of it coming from Julia, are clear as anything.
At Hallgarth School on Teesside we ran poetry and drama workshops for Year 8 pupils. The work they produced for Julia was sensual and witty, which makes sense, because she was.
Julia gave me a lift to some writing weekend. She was going through a difficult time, was protesting about the load she was carrying, but although she had a right to be angry, she never quite managed it: there was no rancour, no bitterness in her.
Recently, we’ve had less contact, when we met we chatted about the band her daughter and my stepson sang and played in. I found it difficult to read her on-line journal, I’ve lost too many people in the past few years, but Rik did, and was tremendously moved. I have the sense that she was as alive and awake and productive as it is possible to be, seeing and hearing beauty, as her world began to shrink. She leaves us with the powerful notion that we can choose. My heart goes out to Bev and the girls.