Rest and Repair and Rejuvenate

Nature has so much to teach us if we only allow ourselves to {BE} and listen. Within nature, energies come and go in cycles; with the seasons.

There’s a time for bursting as well as for waiting. There’s a time for gathering as well as for resting.

Darkness and solitude, within society, are portrayed as somethings to be afraid of and to be avoided. I see both darkness and solitude as vital and necessary protective qualities for my energies. Allowing them to wrap around me and hold me during times of low, depleted energies and passions means, I can retreat. Rest and repair and rejuvenate safely. And come back bursting with energies and ideas and love when I’m ready.

Within white supremacy culture, the aim of the game is to be always switched on, always available to go go go and produce produce produce. The more you produce the better and the quality of such is not so much of an issue.

We are taught to always be striving for perfection. Perfection does not exist as we are flawed human beings. We know this yet this doesn’t stop us from striving for it. It’s a vicious cycle of striving, missing the mark and burning out. And striving, missing the mark, burning out.

Today I rest. I allow the feelings of guilt to slip away. I replace the chastising, criticising voices which shout about being useless and a failure and a disgrace with words of compassion and grace and love.

I deserve to rest. I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve to seek solitude and darkness.

The rest of the world can wait until I have nourished my energies and rested enough to feel ready to be its warrior again.

Light is the Source of Life

The Earthcraft Oracle

I needed to see /feel/hear this card today. I’m stepping into the arena and I need a reminder of who I am, at the core.

This card is a reminder that the sun is light and light is the source of life. My sun, my light radiates from my heart.

My heart is my source and sometimes I forget this or when remembered feel this is a disadvantage rather than a power.

My light is my strength and my source and when I’m living my life from my source from my heart then I’m following my passions, speaking my truth and being my authentic self.

Of course I want to be this all ways and all days. But we do not live in an ideal world and there has to be a practice to maintain this status.

If I compare myself to others, or allow others to diminish me and steal my light, then there is a cloud over my heart and things are not right.

Today this card reminds me of who I am as I step into the arena and take up space on my own terms. I receive this message today with thanks and brandish it like a shield, like a force field around my light today.

I’ll let you know in a later post what is happening today to need this reminder.

Cento for black birds pushing against glass*

Cento is a piece of writing, esp. a poem, composed wholly of quotations from the works of other authors. It like a patchwork quilt, a fabricated whole from scraps from other places, people and times.

May ZINE spread

For me I also see Cento pieces like collage, disparate fragments of texts, images, quotes, colours brought together, moved around to create something totally new and unique which pulls meaning from the parts in construction but together go beyond their initial meanings and purposes.

Alchemy comes to mind as well as conjure. Magic.

Is this Mixmoir a Cento? No as I’m using my own text and anyone else’s that appear within it are credited. But I think there is an element of Centoism within the text as I pull from my body of work for the past 6 or 7 years to construct it. Also the different genres of writing and art that are going into the mix to create the whole is Centoist in practice, maybe.

This is an example of a Cento I created recently, which I think will be included in the Mixmoir, eventually.

Cento for black birds pushing against glass*

The first breath comes from early morning blossom.

Rain falls short. Look. The unbuckling sky. Rain.

There’s an old pain. The memory of water keeps

flowing heavy with blood. Bloodhounds catch the scent.

Black bodies packed into boats and the tide still rolling in.

A corpse dangling from the end of a rope. Justice they say.

And they cut off parts for souvenirs. Within these city walls

there is no room for self-love. Grin, keeping grinning at the camera.

My heart catches on fire as it could easily be my story. My body.

Along blood lines, pumped into the centre of the wound

it’s the body that remembers as tonight this river will receive

the crushed burden like black morels under foot.

Pull the earth on top of her, turn her black face away from the light.

I can not. But they’ve got the centuries’ old tradition to fall back on;

the rich white man and the black woman kept close

in the big house always ready to be split.

*Cento composed of lines from my past poems which were partly composed of lines taken from various other creatives. The title is from Lucille Clifton, and other lines are borrowed from James Allen, Kara Walker, Tafisha Edwards, Ocean Vuong, Billie Holiday, Martha Collins, and Toi Derricotte. There also a nod towards the film Monster’s Ball.

The Art of Slow Writing

Collaborative anti-racism broadsides collaborative project with Theresa Easton

I started my Patreon Page in April 2018 with the focus on Slow Writing.

I stated:

The Art of Slow Writing

“When our lives change, when the world changes, we must reinvent ourselves as writers.” – Louise DeSalvo.

Taking inspiration from Louise DeSalvo’s book, The Art of Slow Writing, I’m choosing to create fine writing; writing of quality and writing of worth. I believe in order for this to happen, I need to find my way back to slow writing.

Slow writing is a meditative practice, creating time and space for understanding my relationship to my writing, the writing process and working towards my best work.

I envisioned it as the space where I wrote the memoir ( memoir then, Mixmoir now).

I said through a facelift of my Patreon Page that:

I’ve been writing a creative non-fiction memoir which includes personal essays, poetry, quotes, paintings, photography etc and this continues as this piece of creation centres the black woman’s body with/in nature. What I envision now is this piece taking on a more critical and political perspective with climate / environmental justice taking up space as this is my reality, our reality, even if there are systems in place which would lead us to believe otherwise.

Using my art is my resistance, is my activism and I just see it as time to start owning it. Blatantly so.

All that I’ve been wanting to achieve and working towards has morphed into one – this idea of black / brown bodies with/in nature. This is my full-time obsession and I’ve been making big changes in my personal life to reflect and accommodate this. This includes Patreon.

It was within this space that I created the term Mixmoir to describe what I’m trying to create. There, here, everywhere.

When you take on a project, a writing project that is arduous and long and messy, there’s a tendency to get lost along the way. Get tangled up in the details, get into your own head and manipulate your own weaknesses and doubts to the point of stop writing and just spending your time and energy just wishing.

I’ve got to the point of feeling sick and tired about feeling/acting/behaving this way. This inactivity within a writing project I feel so deeply about. Which is so vital to my being.

So this is me attempting to change the story and get the damn book complete on my own terms by any means necessary by glueing my arse down to the seat and just writing.

Welcome to my practice.

Embracing the Green

Visual Journal 29/05

I was brought up to believe that the colour green was unlucky. Where could such nonsense come from when Mother Earth is partly green?

The belief, for a while, kept me in my place. Kept me is a limited space almost scared of the colour green.

I believe this superstition stopped me enjoying a closer relationship with nature, from a young age. There was a fear. But also a desire not to disappoint my family further by embracing the colour.

I’m not sure when I started to think for myself and embrace the green. But I know I haven’t looked back.

I’m loving the green.

Coming to an end of the journey

Visual Journaling Practice May 2022

There are only a couple pages left in this altered book journal of May.

The month seems to have gone by fast. I know I’ll complete this journal tomorrow.

I’m ready to move onto a bigger journal now. I can feel it. It’s my intuition calling for more space I feel.

I’ve already started prepping some pages in an A4 journal with paper that’s like newsprint paper. An unfinished kind of feel, off-white, rough and a bit shiny at the same time. It reminds me of the large sheets of paper the teachers used to put down to protect the tables before we got out the paints for art lessons/ play.

Already I’m envisioning what the pages within this journal will feel like when I’m working on them and when I finish a spread.

This is what happens really. Having one foot in my current journal honouring the process. And one foot in the next journal, shifting energies, feeling the pull and excitement of the open pages ahead. Getting ready for the next journey and where it will lead.

There’s no doubt when I finish one journal that there will be the next. A next one. This isn’t something that I can end if I even wanted to.

Visual Journaling is my life. It keeps me rooted in my life, the ups and downs, the backwards and forwards. Where ever it may lead, visual journaling is there holding my hand, guiding me at the same time as catching me when I fall.

And fall I will. And this might be when I feel the need to give up the most but this might be also when I need this practice the most.

I’ve spent this past month, opening up my journaling pages to this space in the hope of inspiring others; for you to take up the practice. At the same time as allowing myself the space to explore what makes this practice tick. The attempt to explore/ unearth/ pin down where it’s magic lies.

Of course, I’ve not achieved this. I’ve just thrown up more questions than answers. But in all honesty, I don’t know if I want to fully comprehend it’s magic. I’m not sure I really want to unravel the mystery around visual journaling, around creativity itself.

As where would the fun be in that? Or the point? As would it help me complete it better? Would it help me achieve more?To succeed?

I don’t practice visual journaling to succeed. To become better at it. To crack the code and achieve more.

I practice visual journaling because it makes me feel (better).

I practice visual journal because it supports me being me. {BE}.

I practice visual journal because it supports me to {BE}.

The Long Journey To Claiming Books

I was brought up to treat books as sacred. They were a source of knowledge. You get your education and you’d have choices in life. You’d move on in the world. Have a better life than your parents before you.

Books were the gateway into this Paradise.

Each week, we would walk into town from our maisonette, along the busy dual carriageway. Once in town, we’d go to the market, to the one book stall and pick out a book. They were the tradition fairy tales with pictures and text.

If not them, then Enid Blyton books. For some reason, I felt the importance of books and the connection of them to my dad. He’d read us bedtime stories and I’d just love to be in his presence then. As he was softer and loving. Different from the angry man he was at all other times.

For some reason, who knows what goes through a child’s mind, I took to doodling in one of these fairy tale books. I want to say it was Snow White, but I could wrong.

A whole heap of scribbles and doodles took over the pages of this book. Why use the book when I had plenty of blank white paper? As I said who knows what goes through a child’s mind.

I just know that my father found the book and shouted at me with rage. And beat me. I’d done something wrong. I’d ruined the book. I’d ruined my chances of getting on in the world. I’d gone against the unwritten rule( or was a spoken one?) around how to respect books.

Older now, I hunt for books. I buy my own books. I read then. Some I don’t. Some I keep or give away. And some I purposefully, consciously make the decision to repurpose. Reclaim them.

I tear out pages and I cut these up. I smear paint on the pages left in the book. I stick images in them, tape, stickers. And yes I write in them. I write out my hopes and fears. My desires and dreams. My memories and traumas.

I think I was brought up right. To treat books as sacred. But it’s what you do with those books that count, I think. And a book has multiple uses/ purposes. I think. Multiple ways and means of instilling knowledge and opportunities and freedom.

It’s been a long journey for me to get to this point of choices. But I claim them all.