Developments on July’s Commitment

Longsands, Tynemouth

“How can the antagonist’s flaw(s) / strength(s) best affect the story arc as a whole? (Draw a card for each.) ”

I pulled the Spirit Weaver card for the flaw aspect of this prompt. Wha does this mean in terms of the mixmoir?

This is indicating how what I’m trying to create, the story is affected by magic. Or more so the lack of magic as I’m not truly or fully drawing upon my magic and dreams in order to complete the project.

This card is showing its to me to communicate how I’m not utilising my full power in order to manifest this dream, this book because I’m looking at it the wrong way/ handling it the wrong way.

I’m floundering in low vibrational energies, negative thinking about this book, its content. The stuff I actually put in the book, what I’ve been writing about had been forcing on the negativity instead of focusing on the good.

Okay writing about racism and white supremacy culture isn’t good for the soul, my mental well-being for sure. And reading about it again and again isn’t good either. I know that higher vibrational energy would come through the joy of wanting to create/ write it.

The making out with my lover kind of feeling, which I have experienced with this project in the past has been missing of late. As well as within the content; the sharing the joy and pleasures of being in nature.

Maybe I could make a commitment for July when continuing with sharing about the mixmoir daily that I could focus on the good stories, the good experiences.

Maybe, I could be looking for the good news to share in the book. The good interchanges and interactions. No doubt this would help raise my vibrations and in turn flow into the book but also how I’m living my life in the present now.

Maybe I could every time I’m with nature , I could capture the experience, in words and image, and share them here and build my mixmoir around these moment. Being with her and cherishing her.

July is just around the corner

A393, Cornwall

June is coming to an end. My challenge for this month, through posting each day, was to share content from my mixmoir as well as sharing about the process. I know I haven’t posted here everyday, or touched my mixmoir everyday either. But I know I’ve been much more engaged in the project this month than any other month this year because of this challenge.

To give myself a fair chance in getting to grips with the mixmoir, and because we are easing into Summer, with the school holidays imminent, I intend to continue to turn up for this practice in July.

I’m factoring in energy levels, commitments and time in the forthcoming month, and rather than change track now when I feel as I’m just getting into the swing of things, I’d like to go deeper into the mixmoir, especially around my current thinking about healing.
I’m satisfied with my decision. And this has only inspired me to continue. #onwards

Intrinsic – a new anthology of writing

It is with great delight that I share with you this forthcoming publication.

Late last year, I submitted a completed mixmoir essay to Eleanor Cheetham, at Creative Countryside. This was the end result of an application submitted on invitation by Eleanor last August.

Now, coming next month, through a successful Indigogo fund raising campaign, Intrinsic will be out in the world. And I’m overjoyed to see this project succeed. It’s been a while in the making, which isn’t a complaint as I am an advocate of ::SLOW:: but it was touch and go if this project was going to come to fruition due to finances. and that would have been a great shame and disservice if this beauty was lost to the world.

An anthology of 12 deep-rooted connections with the more-than-human world, this book is not like any other nature writing text out there. This anthology supports and uplifts the diverse voices which exist within this writing genre at the same time as expanding and redefining what nature writing can be.

I’m one of the twelve writers featured in this anthology. I took the time, and the much needed space, to explore something that I’ve been carrying around within my body and soul for a while; the link to the sea for my ancestors and me.

Seascape- Grief and Grievance and Healings is the title. It’s a narrative mixmoir piece rich in memories and hauntings, voices and references. I’m really proud of this baby and it was such a delightful process of creation throughout it all.

Please consider checking the anthology out, published by Creative Countryside and available to buy next month, July 2022.

Musing On Palimpsest

Within each moment, we are all these different layers of being, at the same time

Invoking palimpsests – composite surfaces, sutured landscapes, seamed memories and layered absence and presence.

Like palimpsest; a manuscript written on, lines and words laid down before to be reused and altered. Trace elements, remnants of the past words, lives and stories linger.

Just as within the landscape there is a layering of different landforms, reflecting different timeframes and influences, so too within our bodies there are layers of identities built upon over time and space, histories and legacies.

Look closely to see the different layers mingle and become one in the present. Echoes, cries and laughter move as one in memory and body. What’s happened and no longer happening defining me.

I’m a living memorial of a people who no long exist.
I cannot not and should not be wiped clear of their testimony.
I owe it to them to hold them in my body, heart and mind.

Laid down in our bodes and souls, in the fabric of my being like layers within the ocean, hidden depths of influences and meanings living, festering in the darkness, to someone erupt to the surface, seeking air seeking justice.

Why I’m Writing a Mixmoir?

Mixmoir is a word I’ve created. Mixmoir is used instead of mixed-genre memoir or a mixed creative non-fiction memoir. Mixmoir is so much easier to say, to use and is short-hand for a rich creation I’m working on now and have been for the past 5 years.

At the moment, the mixmoir is a collection of personal essays, poetry, photography, paintings, quotes, visual journaling spreads, zine. It’s a mixture. And I’m okay with this. I could be stressing about how is it going to be marketed or where is it going to sit on the shelf in a bookshop. But I’m not really bothered about any of that.

For me the point is to write the thing, in anyway it wants to be written. However it wants to show up on the page is how I want it to be. How I will record it and present it.

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

–Franz Kafka

I’m allowing the book to be written the way the book wants to be written. As a human being, I’m a mixture of so many different cultures and heritages and influences. To pretend to be one thing and to write/ create/ produce in one genre is false, is a construction in itself. As I do not live and breathe in just one vein/ way or along one path. There are multiple paths back to the soul, and creating a mixmoir is my way of exploring all the paths.

Sticking to one way of creating this book would be a limitation on my way of expression. It would be cutting out elements of myself, moulding myself into a box, which is limiting and stifling and controlling. My creative expression wouldn’t have free roam and therefore would be stale and pale and just not me.

Therefore, a mixmoir is the most true expression of myself and experiences and I’ve been enjoying the journey so far. I’ll let my editor/ publisher worry about where this creation will sit on the bookshelf. My concerns right now is writing the damn thing.

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.

The Focus For June – Mixmoir

Mixmoir Day 1.

For the past few months, I’ve been managing to turn up here at this blog daily.

I’ve been sharing my obsessions and you’ve been following along. Thank you for sticking with me.

June cannot go by without me attempting to continue the tradition/ challenge/ focus. And I think this is going to be the toughest yet!

There’s some magical energy that comes along at the beginning of each new month that I’ve just got to dive into and ride the wave to where ever it may take me. It’s about surrendering to the process and trusting that it will not lead me astray.

So what is the focus for June. It’s Mixmoir Time.

What is ‘Mixmoir’? This is the new name I’ve come up with for my mixed-genre memoir which I’ve been trying to write now for 4 or 5 years, I think. And I am writing it. That’s no lie but sometimes I’m creating more words/pages/pieces than others. I allow fear and distractions and that sense of failure to get in the way of me showing up and completing the damn thing.

At the back end of 2021, I put in for an Arts Council England, Developing Your Creative Practice grant to receive the time, space and money to complete this beast. As there has been no announcement of success here, you will know that I was not successful. Competition at this point for public funding is fierce. And to be honest, I’m not really sure if I was feeling the application.

Also with hindsight, now in June 2022, when this project was due to be complete, I’m pleased that I didn’t receive the funding because 2022 has been a year of tribulations so far. Knowing that I’d have to deliver on the completed manuscript at the end of this month would have been too much pressure with everything else that’s been happening. I actually feel grateful that I’ve had a flexible start to 2022, with me being more or less in control of how I’ve been spending my time. The bank balance might not be in agreement but there is much more to life than making money. Peace of mind, health, practicing ::SLOW:: and ::CARE:: have been taking priority and I’m not complaining.

So what to expect for the month ahead?

Well nothing is set in stone but expect extracts from the Mixmoir, reflections and musings on the practice of slow writing and the process of creating a mixed-genre creation. I’ll also be pulling a card a day while working with Mariëlle S. Smith, Fleshing Out The Narrative: A 31-Day Tarot and Journal Challenge for Writers. This is hoped tp give me some further focus not only on getting some words on the page but also to go behind the scenes and shed some insight on the reasons for writing this Mixmoir and why this form and what I hope to achieve through it’s completion.

The deck I’d be using to support this journey is The Earthcraft Oracle Deck by Juliet Diaz and Lorriane Anderson and illustrated by Daniell Boodoo-Fortune. This is such a beautiful deck with messages/ wisdom/ guidance which support my continuing connection with Mother Earth. And what better deck to use that this as isn’t the Mixmoir exploring my relationship with nature? It all makes perfect sense and will hopefully aid a fruitful and productive month of writings and musings and happenings.

I hope you with stick around and join me. #onwards.

Turning Up For The Process

Visual Journal 08/05

I feel as if I’ve hit a sweet spot at the moment in terms of my visual journaling/ journaling/ art journaling. sharing my practice is helping.

I’m filling my creative pot with images, text, words, voices and some are coming out on the page. But some I’m reluctant to bring out.

Again I’m thinking of my Mixmoir ( I’ll talk more about this soon) and how I’m censoring and silencing myself out of fear.

Fear of getting it wrong. Fear of failure. Fear of being branded a fake (again!).

But turning up each day for my visual journaling practice is supporting me to move forward to open the floodgates and to write the damn thing.

I trust the process and that’s all I need to do. The rest will follow.