Monday, 25 October 2010

Day of The Bearded One (International Kim Ayres Day)

A photographer with a passion for faces; a damn good writer; a teller of stories; a philosopher; a web designer (ex) who will wrestle HTML to the floor until it gives in and does what he wants; an über blogger; a husband to a marvellous artist, and a father to two smart, beautiful, witty, stylish kids.

On a day so wet and windy roads were closed by fallen trees and floods, Stevie and me gritted our teeth and drove into the wilds of Galloway to attend a weekend storytelling workshop. It was November 2006, not my time of year, and so far not my year. And now the weather howled: "Go back to bed!" I'd have obeyed, gladly, but I didn't want to let down the young friend I'd arranged to meet there. I cursed myself for having done so. But today how glad I am. It was in that cosy, picture lined school hall, in a village so small you're more likely to meet an astronaut from Timbuktu than someone who was born there, that I met the subject of this post: Kim Ayres (aka The Bearded One), whose birthday it is today.

I can't say for sure that if I had never met Kim I would never have discovered blogging. I can say for sure that he's the one who convinced me to give it a go. Good writing practise he said, and it forces you to write regularly so as not to let people down. Previously I had imagined blogs were the domain of a particular sort with whom I had nothing in common. The other thing I can say, with some conviction, is that even if I had discovered blogging without knowing Kim, I would not have met the same people (i.e. you) because when I first signed up he was the only person I knew with a blog. So almost everyone I've met in blogland I have met either directly or indirectly through him. So I'm grateful to him for that alone.

But blogging isn't the only thing I've gleaned from Kim. By telling his story so frankly he's shown me how to take a step back from certain irritations and look at them rationally, ridding them of their power over me. He's helped open my eyes to the complexity of our relationship(s) to the rest of the world (along with Nietzsche), and thus helped me not to judge myself, and others, quite so harshly. And he's shown it's never too late to change direction. Not to mention how much one can achieve in the most difficult of circumstances if one is passionate about one's task.

Since I've known him Kim has taken up photography as a full time, living making, occupation. It's been a joy to see his work go from strength to strength, his enthusiasm grow, and astonishing given that that for this whole period he's had to contend with extreme Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. How he does it I don't know, but I do know we can all learn from his experiences if we want to.

So, why don't you pop over here to say:


One of Kim's early practise shots, of me in an old burnt out hotel.

To get a good look at his recent work go to his website: Kim Ayres Portrait Photography.

Others who are honouring Kim today are:

Debra, whose idea it was in the first place. Thanks Debra!
and Mary


debra said...

We did it!!!!! Beautifully written, Eryl (I've linked to you.)

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful written post.

cheers, parsnip

Pat said...

Great Eryl!
I was up at 2.30am - misread the clock and thought it was 5.30am. Up at 5.20am and the automatic hadn't worked (didn't do America timing.) Then it published on last Thursday when I wrote it! All well now. Thank you for your help.xoxox

amy@flyingakite.blogspot.com said...

Beautifully written is right,
and that cake looks marvelous

stay lovely
<33 amy <33

Kim Ayres said...

Thank you so much, Eryl - I feel truly touched and heart-warmed by this!

And I love the photos. I had to rack my brains to figure out where you got that one of me swinging Meg over my shoulder, but I finally remembered :) And that cake looks seriously scrummy!

Eryl said...

Thanks Debra for the idea and reminders! X

Parsnip ~ thank you! X

Pat ~ goodness you did have a morning of it, blogger seems to have a mind of its own. Glad you sorted it.

Amy ~ hello, and thank you very much. I searched the internet for hours for a good cake photo, and finally gave up and found this one on my own hard drive!

Kim ~ you're very welcome, a small world wide celebration of your existence is no more than you deserve!

The Unbearable Banishment said...

So he is your blogging daddy. We all have one. I haven't read Señor Ayres but I see that we run in the same circles. Now is as good a time as any to start, yes?

Mary Witzl said...

I had no idea you started blogging almost at the same time I did, or that Kim got you into it! (You must have told me this, right?) And how funny that we both met Kim virtually the same time, in Autumn, 2006. I wish I'd gone to that story-telling workshop, but I almost feel like I've attended by proxy.

savannah said...

well done you! this was a grand idea of debra's for our very BRILLIANT pal, kim! xoxoxo

Eryl said...

UB ~ he is my blogging daddy and you are my Bukowski daddy. I loved Factotum (it arrived on Saturday morning and I read it all that afternoon), and I'm going to ask for the rest of his books for Christmas.

Mary ~ I think we both started in January 2007, it is very possible that I haven't told you!

The storytelling workshop was great, but getting there (and back) was decidedly nerve-wracking!

Savannah ~ it was a great idea! XXX

Fickle Cattle said...

What a sweet gesture and post. Also, that is the coolest cake I've ever seen. Like a mountain just melted and spewed candles and candy.

I am Fickle Cattle.

nick said...

What a lovely tribute. I particularly like the bit about appreciating the complexity of the world and not judging ourselves or others too harshly. It's very easy to criticise people on the basis of superficial and incomplete knowledge.

Eryl said...

Fickle Cattle ~ hello, nice to meet you. Great description of the cake!

Nick ~ thanks. It is, indeed, very easy to criticise on the basis of incomplete knowledge: I have been terribly guilty of it in the past. I hope I don't still do it, and Kim has helped a lot.

Ellinor Forje said...

You need to hand that cake over right now!;O) Feel free to visit me anytime.


Eryl said...

Ellinor ~ next time you visit Scotland I'll bake you one!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

What a lovely post. A great way to celebrate your blogging daddy's birthday!

I'd love some of that cake!

It's good to be back among you humans!

Eryl said...

Raph ~ how lovely to see you. Find that portal and you can have as much of the cake as you can eat!

Haddock said...

The first photograph is such a happy happy one.

Carole said...

Very good post about Kim. I am getting around to it late, but glad I didn't miss it.

The World According To Me said...

Love that picture of you.
And the cake.