Black Nature in Residence

Writer in Residence

Today saw me hold the first meeting, as project coordinator, for the forthcoming project Black Nature in Residence.

This is a project funded by Art Council England which will run for the rest of 2020 and into next year, where four black writers will be in residence at different natural heritage sites in the North East of England.

More details will follow over on Earth Sea Love as things develop. But for now, believe me when I say, I’m excited about my opportunity to be in residence.

The Blue Wardrobe and Chair

A dull turquoise, maybe even duck-egg blue, worn and distressed

nestled into an alcove, pushed back to not intrude upon the small room.

What do you hold, what do you conceal? And you fine chair, straw seat

spindly legs and arms, who do you invite, who do you hold?

Passing questions, I hold, as I pass through this room. May I say

an artist’s room? Maybe. But the easel will hold the result. Hold the answers.

Rekindling the Spark

Today, I’m 60 posts into my #100daysofblogging here on my website. I think the first two months of the year have flown by. As we look towards Spring, I feel hopeful that I will fulfil this challenge, I feel hopeful that I’m learning so much from the journey.

During these 60 days, I’ll not lie, I’ve lost the spark, the creative spark from time to time. Those days when I can’t be bothered to come here. Those days when I’m tired or busy or just can’t face the blank screen. But making this commitment to myself has brought me back daily.

The spark is rekindled by remembering my purpose and passion. As the cheetah above signifies. Sometimes I just need to stop and check in with myself and check that I’m doing something for the right reasons. For something true to me.

I took upon this challenge for myself because I wanted a means to keep in touch with my creativity. I believe that action breeds action. Touching the bubble keeps the bubble afloat and important and in focus. Blogging helps me keep writing here and elsewhere.

The spark is rekindled by turning up. Do something. Do anything. Move forward. One word at a time. One foot in front is another. But don’t give up. The spark is rekindled by the feelings I experience when I know I showed up for me once again. It makes me smile. And Lord, do I like smiling.

Black Women’s Appreciation Day

#thankblackwomen

Girltrek has announced March 1st as Black Women’s Appreciation Day. It’s about giving thanks to black women we know and don’t know. It’s about publicly flooding the world with thanks and love for black women who have not and continue to not receive their/ our rightful thanks, appreciation, gratitude, props and recognition for all that we do in this world; families, work, society and the Earth.

I totally embrace this day and give thanks to all the black women who came before me, trailing a path. I give thanks to all the black women walking beside me now. And I give thanks for the paths we trail for the black women to come behind us, our daughters. My Miss Ella.

I also give thanks and appreciation for myself. How I daily rock #blackgirlmagic against the odds. #ThankBlackWomen. Pass it on.

Hazel Catkins

Walk down by the falls, in winter, catch the scent of wet clay upon the breeze of indifference. Dullness is broken by golden catkins, with a hint of blush. Light and soft prickles flutter, hanging long, delicate and strong. Underneath, collect the hazelnuts but pay a mind to the grey squirrel with a rosy back, who probably needs them more than you. Share and connect as we are all kin. We are one.

At the desk

Today, I’m up at 6am. We return to school after half-term break, and after the school run, I have an outdoor meeting. So my time is spoken for during the day. So I get up early, to come to my desk, and write. I ‘m working on putting my priorities first for a change. And don’t get me wrong, no one puts pressure on me to put their needs and wants first. No, no one has to do that because I do it myself. It is I who thinks I should be and do everything to everyone and bend in so many different directions and ways to make this happen. And when I don’t I’m racked with guilt and think I’m a bad mother, wife, friend, human being even.

For now, I’m changing this record which has been on repeat for far too long. I’m changing it up and sticking on the record which is called, Sheree’s priorities. It’s a sound that takes some getting used to. It’s a sound I might want to turn off straight away as it’s too needy, to hesitate, too demanding, too vulnerable. But I persevere through practice. Through turning up at my desk each day, sitting my arse down and picking up that pen and facing the uncertainties, I know I’m strengthening a much neglected muscle. And it feels good to find and use those muscles I didn’t even know I had.

And this morning, the music of that priorities record, that new release, is so growing on me that I find myself tapping my feet, swaying and singing along to the sweet sweet tune of creativity.

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The Centre For Life

Yesterday we took a trip to the Centre for Life in Newcastle, a Life Science Centre which was showing a whole heal of exhibitions and films about space and time travel and the night skies. We rocked up there not knowing what to expect but we weren’t disappointed. I can see how the entry fee would put people off, as it’s kind of steep, but really if you’re being savvy which we weren’t really, you could stay in there all day, take a packed lunch and get your money’s worth. As it was we were in there for nearly 5 hours and we hardly covered the place.

It’s a place where your inner kid can roam. I suggest you take some kids along with you because then you have no choice but to get down to their level and look around the experiment stations, the brain exhibitions, the play stations and the displays with wonder and curiosity.

The best part for me was sitting in the Planetarium with my head right back so I could watch the night sky to its fullest on the dome screen. The presentation on the stars and constellations and our universe was so amazing. And I just found myself, like a kid again, exclaiming ‘wow’ at every new image and cool fact. This is the second time this year that I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the night skies and I’m sure it’s not going to be my last as these happenings are working to open up a door inside me which always said I was too stupid to know anything about our universe or life beyond us. But maybe it was a case of just not giving this field of knowledge and research enough attention. It’s science right? And black girls don’t do science! Wrong!

Well I’m learning now and I’m definitely not too stupid to take it all in and run with it.

Miss Ella touching a piece of the moon

Priorities

I had a serious talking to myself this week after I realised I was wasting far too much time on other people’s stuff instead of catering to my own needs and dreams. So when our spare room became clear again, I snatched it with both hands and set up my writing space.

I’ve turned up three days in a row to this desk and my writing tasks and dreams. And it might not sound like much to you but to me, it feels like a breakthrough. I’m no longer thinking of blocks or hard work, I’m thinking just turn up and see what happens. And when I hold this attitude, I motor along.

So my advice today is if you want to get creative you do have the time. We’ve got to stop making excuses or allowing other people’s expectations get in the way of what we really want to do. Onwards.