Reading Poetry (ish)

As I mentioned earlier in the month, reading and writing/ writing and reading go hand in hand. As I’ve tasked myself with a poem a day this month, I’ve also tasked myself with reading poetry and wider as it all feeds into the creative process.

Dal Kular, a dear friend and awesome imagineer, brought Foluke Taylor and their writings to my attention. I’ve been taken by Foluke’s writing around creativity and repetition so when Dal mentioned the book, Unruly Therapeutic, I knew I had to pick this book up and read it. And I’m so glad I have done just that ( well still reading it in fact!).

This is a hybrid, break down the structures kind of book in terms of how it’s written but also how it centres the Black woman’s experience. It’s music to my ears on so many levels. More so in being real, and allowing the thoughts and concepts presented to meander. To double back and repeat. There’s even a music playlist at the end go each chapter as an indication of what Foluke was listening to while the book was under construction.

I’ll return here with a review of length, but for now I just wanted to mark the reading of this text and a recommendation to get out and buy your own copy, as I’m not lending mine out!

Black Motherhood, Conjure and Poetry

Wallpaper created for A Country Journal of a Blackwoman(Northumberland)

I recently talked about the coming of April and how more poetry would be appearing on here as I attempt to ‘play with words’.

You can not imagine the delight as well as confirmation I received this morning while reading an article for the commissioned essay I’m writing at the moment around (Black) Motherhood.

A bone of contention with me is when I see the words ‘mother’ and ‘motherhood’, even though I have birthed children, I do not see these terms applied to me. ‘Mother’ and ‘motherhood’ come with the connotations of white and whiteness for me.

Test it yourself. Be honest. When I first mentioned ‘mother’, what image came to mind for you? If not a white woman and child. I’ve seen image after image of the idea of motherhood, the natural beauty of ‘The mother’ and nine times out of ten the image is of a white woman and child. As if a Black woman is not/ cannot be seen as a mother, even though a Black woman is the source of the whole human race. Go look that one up!

Anyway, I’m going off topic here ( but not in terms of the hybrid essay I’m writing for the forthcoming special Demeter Press collection, The Mother Wave: Matricentric Feminism as Theory, Activism, and Practice (2023)).

Reading this article this morning, ‘ Conjuring the Ghost: A Call and Response to Haints’ by drea brown, there is a mention of poetry lying in the body, coming from that dark place within where our true spirits lies hidden and growing, argues Audre Lorde. But poetry is also our way, Black people’s way, or theorising and making sense of things. Through our stories, narratives, riddles, poetry; playing with words and language, we not only gain an understanding and reimagining of our lives but these are also tools of surviving.

As Black women, speaking from my lived- experience here, through our creativity, through our playing with language in such a spirited way, we enter in the process of not just theorising and strategising but also self-making and through this practice passing this on to others. Passing on this power to others. It’s what we do, have been doing through time. Starting with the mothering we do of ours and others babies

Moonlight, mothlight caress

When light drips from the moon, I wonder what she sees in me.

As her light stalks through cracks, does she feel the longing threaded through the hairs of my arm, and slicing through the rim of my smile?

When light bulges from the moon, thrumming the water of my weight, does she sense my hunger for a lover’s hips touching my inner thighs, for a breath down my neck, in caress?

When the moon’s light fingers me from sleep, to wind circles over my skin, moth light, white light, does she taste

the salt in my bones

the sugar in my sweat

the howl in my throat?

The Power Of Repetition

“Sometimes it can be the fear of writers block that keeps us from writing. We believe we don’t
have the words. We get stuck. My one word answer; repetition. I learned the value of
repetition through being a parent. Mothering is deep study in practices of repetition. Doing
and saying the same things over and over again. Recently I listened to Black feminist and
performance memoirist Gabrielle Civil2 speak on repetition. She offered a spiritual as an

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
sometimes I feel like a motherless child
sometimes I feel like a motherless child
a long long way from home

What being a mother taught me is that the repetition is not for nothing. And the point that
Gabrielle Civil makes is that it is not, in fact exactly the same thing over and over again, but
subtly different each time. It is building. It is, she says, accumulating to get you to something
new.” Taken from Creatique, Foluke Taylor.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

I am becoming whole.

if Only I Was Creative

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I do believe that we’re all creative at our core. It comes down to just some of us listening to our core, providing space and time for our creativity to makes itself known and seen.

So when I think how I’m expressing my creativity these days, straightway I think I’m not creative at the moment. Coming off the back of the BALTIC commission, I’m tired and exhausted. And I really don’t have an external deadline or event to be working towards. So the outward facing, showing some of creativity is not present. That is if I’m falling into the comparison trap or looking at what at the end product and not being satisfied with the result or allowing fear to creep in and ask, what am I doing?

At this point, I have to check myself, as this script I’m running is not necessarily true. I’m {BEING} creative everyday when I turn up to the page to write in my visual journal. I’m pushing around feelings, thoughts, ideas and inspiration within these pages that at some point morph into something else. I’m facing my fears on the page. I’m living a creative life through the conversations I have with strangers while walking a dog, to the food I put into a soup, to the choices I make around how I adorn my body each day.

All of these practices, ways of being, are nourishment for my soul, are creative endeavours to keep me honest with myself. make be vulnerable at the same time as empowering.

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.

Falling Behind Or Going At My Own Pace?

The last week has been a bit of a patchy presence here. It’s been a bit hit and miss. And I could beat myself up and think I’m falling behind or I could just look at it as going at my own pace.

I’m of the mind that with this challenge, connecting and sharing about my mixmoir each day, isn’t the kind that lends itself well to playing catch up. I think these words and images of catch-up would be hollow and lack much development for the whole book. They would be just filling up space and hitting that target of posting on the blog each day. Which in the scheme of things doesn’t really help/move forward the mixmoir.

So consider this going forward: if I don’t post here each day in June, I’m not going to play catch up in order to have 30 complete posts for the month. However, if on one day I feel the urge to post more than once, then so be it ( like today maybe?)

I just appreciate the flexibility I’m creating here for myself as well as offering myself patience and grace. This is a learning practice but I’m grateful that it is part of my practice now.

Solvitur ambulando

Solvitur ambulando – “it is solved by walking.” Coined by the 4th-century-B.C. Greek philosopher Diogenes while attempting to response to the question of whether motion is real. Diogenes got up and started moving. He walked to try and solve the problem.

“It is solved by walking.”

The women from The Angelou Centre Walking

I read yesterday that there are no new beginnings. No beginnings because when we start something, we are already coming at it from the middle. We’ve already been in the thick of it, knee deep in the things that are important to our lives. The issues that hold our attentions and hearts. So when we start working on them, we’re already in the middle of the experience for us.

When we finish the project it’s not the end it’s just a marker on the journey. The journey will continue beyond this or that point. We keep on trying to make sense of our lives. To experience what is in our bodies, hearts and souls as long as we live. Is this not the whole point of our human existence? Of our creativity?

To get clear on our view of the world, or even our experience of the world as we move through the world and share these asides, moments and realisations with others through our creativity?

Solvitur ambulando

Diogenes of Sinope

There is nothing that cannot be solved through walking. There is a latin quote that says this phrase in just two words but who am I to know latin or even to hold this knowledge in my head. It is a foreign language, a foreign culture to me, living in my Black body but it is still passed off as something I should know. As an educated person in Western society that I should know. Not that it is alien to me and is not mine.

My heritage and culture, is denied to me, or is hidden, or re-constructed on a pile of lies. It takes my time and effort to unearth it all, for me and for others. Still through all that effort, to unearth and bring to light, fact and fiction, it’s not recognised. It’s not valued and is dismissed as not being good enough.

White Supremacy Culture is alive and kicking, And I keep kicking up against it no matter what I do or be. Try to do or try to be. I’ll always be found wanting.

Another day another page

Visual Journaling Through The Night – 05/05

Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep. Story of my life at the moment.

Could be the change. Could be tummy pains. Could be anxiety. Who knows.

I just know sleep will not come. So instead of mindlessly scrolling I got the journal out again and explored the thoughts and feelings that were at the forefront of my mind.

To go to Paris again in June or not? I fell in LOVE in Paris when I booked a few days there in August 2009 to complete the PhD.

I needed to get away and just focus on the manuscript and be done with it. And Paris was the ideal place to go as it was quick and easy and cheap to get to but it would have plenty of sights and sound and tastes so feed my soul as I dredged it all of everything goes in order to complete the PhD.

It was such a magical time where I would walk most of them day, stop for food and drink and work on the manuscript and then walk some more. Photos galore. And then I would run during the evening through the streets enjoying the fading light and voices and sights of families coming out to socialise.

It also holds a dear place in my heart as I was pregnant with Miss Ella during this trip and didn’t even know. She was definitely a gift.

So I’ve been itching to travel again and go back to Paris now as I’m much older and wiser and have more of a sense of self to really appreciate all this beautiful city has to offer my thirsty soul.

But as my late night/early morning muses explored, I can’t justify the expense of going at the moment, well June, as money is tight after a few weeks of little work due to sickness and tiredness and lack of forward planning on my behalf.

So I’ll continue to dream of Paris hopefully be able to share my plans to re-visit this magical place somewhere in the near future.

Until then I’ll dream about it with my eyes open. As there’s no sleep coming my way.

Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep!