One Minutes of Life

Being short audio recordings of place and people begun a decade after a sudden near-death.

At the age of 33, just days after becoming a new mother, I began dying – fast, and without pain or warning: an arterial haemorrhage that happened at home on an afternoon so quiet I could hear my baby breathing in his basket. A miraculous ambulance arrived in just over a minute – diverting instantly from the road above mine – but my internal clock was already reset to what I have called ever since ‘the slow time of accidents’

In the first years after the emergency, I worked for a time as a hospice lifestory scribe – wishing both to render service to those facing death, and to understand better my own close encounter with it. Listening to those at end of life, I became fascinated by the brief moments that seemed to last and resurface in memory – replayed on repeat, so it seemed, by those I met.

My One Minutes project is a rest-of-life response to this experience, begun just after its tenth anniversary.

The sound of wind in the leaves of my mentor the sculptor David Nash’s Ash Dome; crows calling in Japan; the stream behind my husband’s childhood home; singing in the kitchen with my young children; birdsong in an English churchyard; a fire in the grate: The One Minutes recordings move between the rare and mundane – those alternating currents from which all our lives are composed.

ONE MINUTE BY MY BEDROOM FIRE (ANNIVERSARY OF AN EXTRA LIFE): NOV 2019
ONE MINUTE WATCHING A BLACKSMITH AT WORK (GLYNDE FORGE): OCT 2019
ONE MINUTE OF A CARVER TALKING ABOUT STONE (FIRLE BEACON):  SEPT 2019
ONE MINUTE BY RIVER ON A 25TH ANNIVERSARY (SOUTHEASE): JULY 2019
ONE MINUTE OF PASTURE THICK WITH LIFE (HAUTE SAVOIE): JULY 19
ONE MINUTE BY STREAM MY HUSBAND DAMMED AS BOY (CWMAMAN): AUG 2019
ONE MINUTE BY THE SEA AT MORAR (WEST HIGHLAND LINE): APR 2019
ONE MINUTE OF JEM FINER’S LONGPLAYER (YSP): APR 2019
ONE MINUTE OF HAMMERS HITTING MIRRORS (TATE MODERN): MAR 2019
ONE MINUTE BY A FIREPLACE (SUSSEX): NOV 18
ONE MINUTE ON THE RH&D RAILWAY (DUNGENESS): OCT 2018
(JUST OVER) ONE MINUTE OF NAIVE MELODY FOR A FRIENDSHIP ENDING: OCT 2018
ONE MINUTE ON RESIDENCY IN THE BUCKS MILLS ARTIST CABIN: AUG 2018
ONE MINUTE OF A ROUGH CELEBRATION OF ROOKS (LEWES): 4 JULY 2018
(LESS THAN) ONE MINUTE OF A TRAIN APPROACHING MOUNT FUJI (JAPAN): MAY 2018
(LESS THAN) ONE MINUTE OF JAPANESE CROWS (EVENING AT NARA): MAY 2018
ONE MINUTE IN THE ARASHIYAMA BAMBOO GROVE (JAPAN): MAY 2018
ONE MINUTE ON THE RIVER DART (FOR WILD WOMAN SWIMMING): APR 2018
ONE MINUTE OF BIRDSONG (FIRLE CHURCH): MAR 2018
ONE MINUTE OF MY FEET IN LAKE GENEVA (LAST DAY AT MICHALSKI): SEPT 2017
ONE MINUTE OF STREET MUSIC (ALONE IN LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND): SEPT 2017
ONE MINUTE OF COWS BELLS HEARD FROM CABLE CAR (MOUNT PILATUS): SEPT 2017
ONE MINUTE IN A STORM-SHOOK CORNISH HOTEL (CRACKINGTON): AUG 2017
ONE MINUTE IN THE ASH DOME OF DAVID NASH (SNOWDONIA): JULY  2017
ONE MINUTE IN A BORROWED HOUSE (BARBARA, BARBARA…): JULY 2017
ONE MINUTE WAITING A FRIEND’S RETURN (WL): 7 JULY 2017
ONE MINUTE SINGING WITH MY YOUNG DAUGHTER (ON A GOOD DAY): NOV 2016

The recordings are updated regularly on the One Minutes project page.

Tanya Shadrick’s debut book The Cure for Sleep – the story of a life transformed by sudden near-death – will be published in early 2022 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.


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2 thoughts on “One Minutes of Life

  1. Kia ora Tanya
    I have just re read a piece your wrote “The Romance of Maintenance” in 2016. Once again, it touched my heart and made me cry. How blessed are we to have such people as your mother and grandfather in our lives as so many people I know have such diamonds in their lives and fail to recongise them, despite their obvious glow. Thank you for verbalising the treasures of life and reminding me of how blessed I have been and am in my daily life.
    Mary, New Zealand

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    1. What a touching message to discover this morning, Mary. Thank you. A real gift to me, for this is exactly why I began publishing late in life, rather than only continuing to keep private diaries as I’d done since my twenties. For the chance of these connections that come from words shared. This is why I do it. Truly moved.

      Like

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