Had a wonderful day yesterday. Went to see my fearsomely talented and hardworking cousin, Billy, dancing with Birmingham Royal Ballet at Cheltenham. He won Young British Dancer of the Year 2007, then went on to do it again in America in 2010. As one interview put it: 'making it look effortless'. Yeah, just a bit cous!
I hadn't seen him dance since he was a student at the Royal Ballet School, so it was a real treat to get to see him dance as an adult, and catch up over coffee and cake after the show.
Whilst subjected to the embarrassment of the pre-performance family reunion in the foyer, where aunts and uncles delighted in swapping highly embarrassing childhood stories about us both, I came to thinking how incredibly lucky I am to have a family who love the arts, and cousins such as Billy, Alx and Jimmy.
I really struggle sometimes to place writing on the same artistic level as dance and music. It's certainly not as physically demanding. You might think, with family like this, I'd get a complex but it sort of works the opposite way. Ars longa vita brevis - art is long, life is short. Whatever you've got you contribute, be proud and be loud.
I haven't been much of a writer for some time now. I've been doing a lot of travelling, renewing old friendships and trying to feed my imagination. I go through phases, and the past year has been a quiet one.
I was fairly astonished that, in between a hectic rehearsal schedule, my cousin had actually read one of my books! Not surprisingly, the one set in Wales. It was a fairly incredible exchange that I held my breath whilst he performed gravity-defying leaps across the stage, and he held his breath as I wrote Adrian Roy across the page.
As with most of my extended family, we don't tend to meet up that often. But it's really nice to know that they're out there in the world, doing their thing.
Blessed are the weird people – poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours – for they teach us to see the world through different eyes. - Jacob Norby