The Mountain

I started 2020 off by starting an online course with Creative Non-Fiction called Writing the Lyric Essay: When Poetry & Nonfiction Play. It’s five weeks of writing time on my personal essays and I’m enjoying reading a range of new writers as well as reacquainting myself with ones of old.

Last week was looking at the lyric essay in relation to e prose poem. I was introduced to the weird and wonderful work of Charles Simic and the early work of Toi Derricotte. It was a lovely week of red and writing and the words just seemed to flow. Here I share a piece with you called The Mountain.

We climb in the rising heat
and I feel heavy.
Rucksack clinging around
my waist like a troll,
I’m at the end of the line, always, as if I need the others, fitter and whiter than me, to pull me up the steep pass.
I tell myself, I’m taking my time to savour the moment, enjoy the view as my breath escapes like a monoprint; white lake
surrounded by shades of grey; flint, slate, gun-metal to charcoal.
The majestic mountain.
Because I’m afraid to love,
I keep my wetsuit on
and enter on foal legs
the clearest blue lake
known locally as bottomless
as well as home to a water dragon. The dragon does not scare me.

However, letting go does.

The Weekend

It’s been a busy weekend. I’m not sure if it was planned that way or if it just creeped up on us. But it was definitely a family kind of time. And as I start getting ready for turning in with a good book ( more to say here as I share my reading for the month soon), I do so with a contented smile on my face.

For the last few months, the weekend has come and gone with nothing to show for it. Yes this is prime time to rest and recover from the week. But it is also important time to reconnect with those closest to me. My peeps. And this can be done inside or outside the house. The important thing is to make the time. And to be honest, we haven’t been making the time.

I feel the difference, now at Sunday night, of enjoying a weekend where we have made time for each other. We’ve been to a basketball match as a family. Met up with friends for rollerblading. Went on an evening excursion to look at the dark skies. It was cloudy though but still a learning experience. And then today, having granddad round for dinner, was the best way to round it all off.

We’re not made of money and probably couldn’t do all these activities every weekend. But it wasn’t so much about what we did or where we went. It was all about spending time with each other.

I’m grateful for what we did this weekend as well as how we were. Doing and being together has set me up for the week ahead with a smile in my heart.

Blogging Reflections: one

Over three weeks into my #100dayofblogging challenge; the aim to post something everyday for 100 days straight, and I’m looking for some space to reflect on the task so far.

I’ve not posted anything mind boggling, or life changing so far but I have been showing up. Maybe not showing up in my fullest capacity and maybe not showing up with much of a plan either but showing up I have. And I’m noticing a turn. A turn towards wanting to write more, especially poetry after a rather dry period there.

So that’s a good thing. I’m also thinking of the three quarters left to go of this challenge and what I want to see more of in the coming weeks.

First, I want to see more poetry( already mentioned that Sheree!) Maybe trying out different forms. Already been writing some haikus. I’ve got an itching to try haibuns again. Love them.

Next, I want to start a series. I started a series in relation to Black British Art and I want to continue with this with a focus on different Black British Artists who have influenced me or who I’m just finding out about. I’m excited about this as I’m feeding my creative pot in the process.

I also want to share a vlog or two regarding my working practice, especially regarding visual journalling as I think everyone should be doing this! Amazing results in terms of how you respond and treat yourself.

Other posts I’ve been thinking about have been lists, personal facts and fictions, ‘how to’ posts as well as sharing my daily routines, morning and evening and what a productive day looks like for me as a freelancer etc.

I hope you stick around for the ride as I’ve been enjoying it so far. Yes there are days when I can’t be bothered to show up here but when I do show up, I’m pushing on through the doubts and fears and tiredness and bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before. I think that’s cool and it’s a good enough reason to keep on showing up here too.

#onwards

Not making any promises but …

It’s nearly 5 years since I adopted a visual journalling practice for everything. My life and troubles. My dreams and creativity. My sanity. And the practice of using text and images and collages and paints and washi tape and anything really I can get my hands on has been life changing and empowering. Visual journalling brought me back from the brink. It’s been my safety blanket, my confidant, my cheerleader, my vision. Visual journaling has taken me to Iceland and retreats, national creative projects and inaugural residencies. I can’t promise this is what happens to you when you try it. I can’t promise the results you’ll feel and see when you sign up for the current offering from @olwen.wilson which is safe and guided visual journalling. The only thing I can say is that this practice will change your life and how you centre yourself within it. Check out @olwen.wilson and see what she’s offering. You will not be disappointed. #visualjournalling #visualjpurnal #creativepractice #iamdreaming #patience #compassion #selfcare #selflove #selfempowerment #emopweringwomen #creativeretreaticeland #icelandcreativeretreat #power #claimingmypower

Who’s afraid of the dark?

A 6.30am alarm wakes me. On a Sunday. And the gadget, a smart watch, ringing the alarm is somewhere on a desk somewhere hidden in a dark cold hotel room.
I stumble out of bed blind and unsteady, hand and arms outstretched in front of me, combing the black air, trying to touch something soild. Trying to stop the incessant noise.

I was brought up to fear the dark. It didn’t take my small imagination much to conjure up monsters under the bed and ghosts on landings. Lying perfectly still in my bunk bed pretending to be dead already, the dark dug deep into my psyche so that I grew up fearing my own reflection.

When I’m not watching my weight (come on, when am I not watching my weight?) I enjoy an extra cold pint of Guinness with a shot of blackcurrant to cut through the bitterness. A drink of pure iron. Thick like treacle, it works well as a lining on my stomach before multiple rounds of alcoholic concoctions follow. Who knows? Who cares? But as long as my core swims deep with the dark stuff I’m ready for anything.

On our living room wall in our maisonette flat in Bradford where I grew up, we had a velvet scroll depicting two islands. The land was made up of bright green stitched thread. The towns and villages were named in golden thread. Bright red blazed across the top, ‘The Islands of Trinidad and Tobago.’ I’m not sure if we were ever told but our dad came from those islands. It was a silent fact. I liked to touch the thread, when I got the chance. The stitching was tight and taut. My eyes, though, were pulled into the expansive black crushed velvet Caribbean Sea wondering how he survived the swim over to the U.K.

I thought these smart gadgets were supposed to make your life easier. Why wasn’t it flashing neon green, or red even, at the same time as sounding an alarm, giving me some clue as to it’s whereabouts? I felt I could have done better with my eyes shut. But I’ve been living that way for far too long. Now with eyes wide open to the dark, I’ve become wise to the tricks of history. I’m woke.

Black and White Studies

Today I started a new project which I’ve been putting on the back burner. A project which @beyourownbeloved hosted by @viviennemcm helped me remember. I think I was spending too much time and energy on talking myself out of it instead on it. As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, ‘You don’t need a permission slip to be an artist.’ #blackandwhitestudies #beyourownbeloved #selfportrait #selfportraitureasmedicine #blackartist #blackwomenrock #selfcare #selflove #selfcompassion #creativepractice #power

Sleepless in a Seaside Resort ( sort of)

your body aches
as comfort evades you
your mind rummages
around dark recesses
doubling back into wounds

sneaky drafts seep through window panes along with the cries of seagulls
eyes gritty and sore, moisture absent

when will it be morn?
when this charade can be over
for another night?
when you can drag your body
towards the light
your consciousness
compromised and dull?

but it’s the best you can do
after sleepless nights
under salty cold air