Rest and Creativity

After a really busy November, I was looking forward to a quiet December. It has been a slower pace to last month, but there has still been deadlines and events that I’ve needed to prepare for and attend and reflect on.

So past mid-December already, and I just feel as if I can slow down again now. But I say this but I must have been resting in some kind of way because I went back to my art journaling practice yesterday.

My art journal practice is different to my visual journaling practice only in the fact that I use fewer words and these Black women always seem to show up in the midst of the page somehow.

Here we have another one, who showed up yesterday out of the darkness that was developing on the page. And isn’t she delightful. She’s got a twinkle in her eye and a wish in her heart.

To be in the studio yesterday, playing on the page, I even completing a handmade zine which will be on display in the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, was a joy and much needed. As it signalled to me that I’m back to listening within. That I’m back to creating for me and just for the hell of it. That I’m coming home.

Thank you, Sheree. Now continue to rest. And create.

Morning Water

A morning bath.

So close to my bleed but not quite there yet. Feeling the heavy but with grace.

Warming up after the sea. Rain and wind and lots of seaweed.

But I so so love it.

I’m going to be coming here more often from now on as I check out of all my social media account and focus on my internal landscape and what needs to come out.

I’m so looking forward to sharing my journey with you.

This journey of healing is never ending. But so appreciating the process.

Give me love any day of the week. And I’ll give you the core of me.

Nature Writing Workshop

I’m finishing up my residency with Northumberland National Park this year with a Nature Writing Workshop.

Filled with readings and prompts, writings and sharings, we aim to generate new creations inspired by nature.

Happening Thursday 25 November from 10am – 12pm (GMT) all on zoom. and for free.

Head on over here to grab a ticket before they’re all gone.

Studio Notes Are Back

I sent out a Studios Note today.

I’m not sure when the last one was. I can’t even say I’ve been on a hiatus or even a sabbatical. I just haven’t been communicating all that well with the people who want to hear from me.

I think I’ve been wasting my time and energy trying to communicate with people who don’t give a flying fuck about me and what I have to say.

So things are changing around here. Well not really around here, more so with social media and pouring my time and energy into a black hole.

The first of November marks the return of Studio Notes which will be hitting your in boxes every month from now on. So if you’re not on the list, get thee here and sign up.

I have a plan you see. I have a topic or issue I’ll be addressing each month. As you might have guessed, this month was all about my imminent departure from social media.

Here’s a snippet of my justification for leaving:

Social Media doesn’t make me a nice person to myself.

I become resentful. I compare myself to others. And I criticise myself for not doing enough, not sharing enough. I want to be authentic and honest on social media but sometimes I have to ask what is the truth and am I just performing on their for likes and comments and followers?

And most of the time, it’s just all overwhelming.

I know when I’ve had my breaks from social media, I’m calmer, more satisfied with my life and more centred.

It’s quieter and in the quiet I can hear myself better, clearer.

And more importantly, I create. I create more and create more without fear. Without worry or doubt or judgement

I’m interested in knowing and feeling what I could create when I’m not distracted by social media. When I’m not constrained by social media.”

I hope to hang out a lot more here come 2022. I hope to see you here too. Thanks for being here.

An Alternative Narrative

As mentioned in my last post, we have the Black Nature In Residence Showcase coming up on the evening of 28 October.

This is the first event in a series that identity on tyne through their Earth Sea Love project are collaborating with Northumberland National Park to host.

Other events offered as an alternative to the Future Landscape Programme that will run at the same tine at COP26 in Glasgow, will provide diverse voices to the environmental and conservation movement and makes those all important links between the local and global in terms of the climate crisis.

Starting on 11 November, 7.30-8.30pm – Decolonising the Environmental Movement

I’ll be hosting a conversation with Sarah Hussain and Serayna Solanki

Through their projects and research, both Sarah Hussain and Serayna
Solanki are providing spaces for marginalised communities and people of
colour to engage with nature as a means of changing the narrative around
who has a say in the Climate Change Movement. They are working within
education and research, community and organisational partnerships, to create
and highlight dialogue around climate justice through personal and community
storytelling.

Then 18 November, 7-8pm, Nature Writing Reading

Join me , as host again, with Jo Clement and Zakiya McKenzie for a reading and discussion of literature which explores place, environment, belonging and identity as both writers read from and talk about their recent collections.

Then on 22 November, 7-8pm – A keynote lecture with Grace Hull, Holistic Sustainability

What is holistic sustainability?

Grace Hull created Green Grace Soul to share her journey to living sustainably in a holistic way. Grace attempts to balance the food she eats, the products she uses and the things she buys with the most beneficial outcomes for her health, the health of the planet, and the others living on it.

Sustainable living and Climate Change activism have many faces, and by centring holistic sustainability Grace engages with intersectionality and the social and historical context of climate change through the reflections of her journey that she shares on her website, podcast and DIY projects.

This will be a keynote lecture followed by a Q and A.

Black nature in residence showcase

You might not know it but I’ve been writer in residence for Northumberland National Park. It was part of a project called Black Nature in Residence.

Led by identity on tyne, four Black writers were in residence across the North-East. As our time comes to an end, we’re ready to share about our experiences.

Come join us for an evening of words and images at our online showcase. Thursday 28 October, 6.30-8pm.

You can find our more about the project here.

And you can grab yourself a ticket for the event here.

A Gratitude List

“My blessings always overflow.” Abiola Abrams

  1. I’m grateful for time away alone in a VW Camper. A dream come true.
  2. I’m grateful for the Autumn light on the mountains in the distance.
  3. I’m grateful for the sound of the sea shhhing me to stillness.
  4. I’m grateful for my babies being well and happy.
  5. I’m grateful for the people who come and go in my life.
  6. I’m grateful for protected boundaries.
  7. I’m grateful for money in the bank.
  8. I’m grateful for projects coming to an end, successfully.
  9. I’m grateful for the hot sweet potato and pumpkin soup.
  10. I’m grateful for the grey heron who’s hunting for fish just in my sightline.

When the wife leaves Without closing the door

In the shape of a tree,

my scar is painted with code.

Through the letting of blood, I wait

for the sound of my screams.

But what I do not plan for

is the mashed up sycamore spinners,

the trampled copper conkers

and the singed bramble bushes.

Graceless and broken,

I get high on the thoughts

of owning myself; the plumage

of starlings embroidered

on an intimate mind.