My husband, Alan and I have been together longer than I can remember, yet I’m still surprised by the turn of events, sometimes. At these points, I have to chuckle.
Alan, annoyed, has said that I mine our lives for writing material but I do believe it’s not just my story to tell, so I do shy away from writing about our marriage as it is, while in the thick of things.
This relationship, when two individuals come together into a partnership, does play a significant part in my life and to not explore and reflect upon it in within my writing is denying a part of myself. As well as living a lie, as believe it or not, marriageland is not all hunky dorky.
During the years we’ve been together, Alan and I have experienced the rough with the smooth. They say a couple’s relationship changes when children come along. And that much is true. There’s had to be a lot more understanding and communication and patience. And sometimes it hasn’t always been there.
I’m not offering marriage guidance here as I’m not an expert is marritable bliss. I only know what works and doesn’t work for me/us. So we’re still in the thick of moving house. This follows on the back of months of ill health, cancer treatment and hospital visits. You don’t realise the calm within your day to day until it is disrupted. You don’t realise the love and companionship and trust within your relationship until it has disappeared.
This isn’t a post about Alan and I spliting up, far from it. But it is a post about holding on and appreciating what you have when you have it. It’s obvious but sometimes we fail to acknowledge it, fail to act upon it, fail to live it.
As we settle into our new home, the time and space has arisen to speak my needs and concerns to Alan as well as to check in with him about his needs and concerns. We’re still part of this dance, growing all the time as individuals and together. But it never ceases to amaze me as you hold a crystal up to the light the myriad of shapes and colours and delights that are revealed.
For the past week, I’ve been sharing my practice of visual journaling on social media. I do this because I love to share what I do but also because I love to break down barriers, those obstacles we put up between us and our creativity.
If you take the time to watch these quick and simple videos, you will see that it’s easy to get beyond the blank page. That it’s easy to start getting our thoughts and feelings down on paper. All we need to do is DO IT! To make that start and see what happens. Not sure where to start? Watch the videos. I use craft paint or acrylics or even water coloured paints. Anything that gives the page an explosion of colour and moves me out of my critical mind and into my body, into the moment.
Here are the videos showing my step by step approach for getting from the blank page to a page of images and words that inspire me to keep dreaming on paper.
If you like what you see consider coming along to the next workshop that I’m running around visual journaling.
Visual Journaling 1
Visual Journaling 2
Visual Journaling 3
Visual Journaling 4
You may have missed her story.
There’s a loud silence
when a black woman is brutalised/raped/murdered.
Front page headlines seldom carry outrage,
hardly carry a mention.
My heart catches fire every time
I have to decipher the details
through a pinhole of shadows.
I see her being followed home from that party.
Them two stalking her apartment
thinking she’s got money just by the way she holds herself.
Or at least her grandmother must.
They break in. Gag and tie her up in the basement
where they each take their time to beat and rape her.
What I remember from between the missing lines
is those bastards making off with a few dollars,
an iPad and a laptop after they set the house on fire.
You may have missed her story.
Let me tell you another story along the same brutal missing lines.
10 lines. That’s all I’m setting myself to write each day.
I’ve been blocked and not blocked. Fearful and not. Holding back and remaining silent. Setting myself a little structure, and the minimum, hopefully will free me up to write.
10 lines a day. I plan to post one of these 10 line poems/ prose here every Friday for the next few months or so.
Let’s see how I go.
at night lit up
like a beacon
A nation divided. At the point of civil war.
A heathen Priest, who everyone trusted and respected who was called upon to decide. After hours of meditation, he proclaimed that we should believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we should to keep our pagan sacrifices and the eating of horseflesh private. It was agreed. People were baptised and the Priest throw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall, now know as Godafoss.
April – A Poem A Day
Closed to air plane traffic, cracks in the asphalt house dandelions and buttercups. Radio silence. Zero fumes. Thingeyri airport ceases to welcome travellers.
And yet drop by on a Tuesday night, and you will hear music. The last accordion men in the hanger play as if the traditional dances of Iceland are in full swing still. Grey haired, stooping, hoarse men of age put their arms and fingers and memories through their paces. Their beautiful youth moves through each moaning note. No music is written down. Unless a boy is amongst them this merry-go-round music will die with the last accordion man.
Over the roar of the engines
and the thumbing of the wheels
the wheezing heart of old switches
April – A Poem A Day
The sun moves west. You walk the road out of town to meet it. Your progress is slow as you keep stopping to hold the moment. To wonder as the pinky peach light. In awe you question this reality. As the water lights up from within a golden glow that draws you closer. Close enough to touch. Something stirs inside you, deep within that sings in tune with this present.
A lonely concrete hut
rusty roof taste
metallic mixed with fear
April – A Poem A Day
There’s no place like London. I was down there for a couple of days again last week. A flying visit you could say.
I caught up with an old friend from Uni. I love that we are still close friends and that we’ve been through so much together. We don’t live in each others pockets, and sometimes we have gone years without seeing each other. But when the chips are down, we know we can count on each other. We have always been there for each other. I am so very grateful for this friendship and unconditional love.
While in London, I took in a few exhibitions. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalgar Square, so I popped in there for a few hours. I didn’t pay for any of the visiting shows, as there’s far too much to see in the permanent exhibitions.
I was so inspired by what I saw. I was taken through British history through the portraits of Kings and Queens, writers, artist, movers and shakers of each time. There is more to come out of this visit. I am allowing the ideas to percolate in their own time. But I felt my ignorance of British history while in there. And I think this stems from a feeling of not belonging in Britain. Feeling unwelcome here as well as rejecting my British heritage also.
I found walking around, looking at these faces a newfound pride and interest in what made this country the way it is today. And I know my ancestors, black and white had a hand in these developments.
I look forward to exploring this rich vein of knowledge and activities further through my reading, writing and photography. I am excited about what will unfold.
This week saw the end of one series of tensions and worries to make room for a whole new set of other ones.
Our eldest, Nathan, got his ‘A’ level results this week. He did tremendously well. A* in Psychology and Business Studies, A in his extended project and B in Geography. He is going to his first choice University, Liverpool.
He’s been working hard for this next step for years. And we have supported him all along the way, no pressure just love. We are so proud of his achievements. Not just academically, but with the remarkable young man he has grown into.
So today we went out for a family meal to celebrate his success. We only went locally to a pub but it was lovely to sit down together and talk about the next steps. Until I realised that he would be leaving home sooner than I anticipated. Within a matter of weeks, Nathan will be off to University, living alone in the halls of residence, studying Geography. I can hardly believe it. I knew this day would come. But I’m not sure I’m ready for it.
I thought we had him till October at least. Of course wishful thinking. I know I pushed for this to happen too. I always said for him to get out of home, and go away to University as that’s the time you really grow up and stand on your own two feet. He knows we’ll always be here, we’ll always have his back. But he also needs to experience life out there, alone, take on more responsibility, continue his development into the most beautiful man inside and out that I have ever know. And I might be biased, but I call it as I see it.
I wish him luck and love as he enters this next stage of his life. I will miss him greatly but I know this has to happen for him to become an adult, I have to let my baby go.