I’ve been over on Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop again and this week one of the prompts is
“List your life’s Seven Wonders. Describe the most amazing 7 things you’ve seen with your own two eyes.”
I’m sure that you could ask me this every day and get a different answer. There are so many times I’ve enthused to people that they must go and see something that only I seem quite so obsessive about. But here’s a start:
1) I know this is a giant cliche, but the pyramids really are amazing. No wonder they were a wonder (so to speak). They just made my mouth drop open. They are so enormous! What a thought, that they were built thousands of years ago.
2) The Arizona desert. I had absolutely no idea that cactus forests existed before I went there. It was like being on another planet.
3) The Olafur Eliasson installation The Weather Project at Tate Modern. (Does this count? I feel like maybe wonders ought to be permanent.) The way people interacted with that artwork was amazing. It was like it changed everyone with its light.
I also saw his exhibition at MoMA and it was utterly engrossing. I found myself sitting in a room with changing colours of white light, feeling completely fascinated and also rather pretentious (I could just imagine myself telling people about it. ‘Well, it’s just a room with electric light, but the light changes! Wonderful art, dahling!’)
4) The Book of Kells illustrated manuscript. Just astounding, the intricacy of it. Tiny, perfect decoration that you need a magnifying glass to appreciate properly.
5) The Giant’s Causeway. We went there on the most horrible wet grey day imaginable, we’d got up for a 6am flight and then driven for hours on the other end, but it was still extraordinary. I’d always thought it was just that bit that sticks out into the sea, I had no idea that all the surrounding cliffs are like that too.
6) The Kaleva church in Tampere. A huge modernist wonder, out of town in a housing estate. I’ve been in some amazing churches (not least number 7) but this one is so unexpected, I just wanted to put everyone on a plane to see it. I had difficulty finding pictures off it that did it justice, because the amazing thing is just being in such an empty plain space with amazing light and form.
7) The Sagrada Familia - when else do you get to see a wonder actually in the process of being built? Surely this is unique in today’s world. I love that the architecture is so crazy too.
I’m also aware of a wonder that got away – I lived near the Severn for 6 years but never went to see the Severn Bore. Second highest tidal range in the world!