Since the words we use reflect our worldview, controlling language helps control the picture that we see of the world. – Paul Kingsnorth
Seeing in the end of the old year and into the new is a time I always take for reflection. Visioning and re-visioning my dreams and plans for the year to come is something I do to focus my energies for moving forward with purpose and grace.
As I mentioned in my last post, my guiding word for 2021 is SLOW. To support this process of living into my word with intention, I spend time working through Susannah Conway’s workbook Unravelling Your Year. This year, the pulling of a tarot card for each month of the year is missing from the workbook for some reason, but I’ve followed this ritual for so many years now, that I didn’t need anyone else’s guidance to do so except my own intuition.
So using Kim Krans’ The Wild Unknown Archetypes deck, I proceeded to pull a card for each month of 2021, and one final card as a guiding theme for the year. When I pulled the final card, there were two stuck together so I went with the two as my guiding principles. The Crone and The Hunter were the two cards that will become my over arching cards of 2021.
I intend to go into detail about what each of these cards signify and could mean for the year ahead in the following posts. I will also share about each card pulled for each month in a post within each month moving forward too. This is a good way to keep focused and coming back to the magic and potential that each card can offer as I journey through this coming year.
I was hoping to finish for a Christmas break sooner in December than I actually did. I wanted to ease into the holidays, getting snug and cosy and reading to my heart’s content. Of course even the best laid plans go awry. But I still managed to clock up some reads, as I got ready for 2021. What is going to be my focus the new year? I think there’s some clues within my December reading list.
Here are the books I read this month:
- Black Bodies, White Gaze – George Yancy
- Keep Going – Austin Kleon
- Creatrix – she who makes – Lucy H. Pearce
- Slow: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Hectic World – Jo Peters
- The Year of Less – Cait Flanders
- The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
This month was a bit sparse on the reading front but there were still books that got finished.
- The Festive House – Alison May
- Autumn Skies Over Ruby Falls – Holly Martin
- The Taxidermist – Shazea Quraishi
October turned out to be a great month of reading after I set myself the Sealy challenge; of reading one book of poetry a day for a month.
Here’a the books I got through:
- Other Poetry, no.23 – anthology of poetry
- Writing for my life – Nancy Levin
- The World Don’t End – Charles Simic
- Our Dead Behind Us – Audre Lorde
- Butcher’s Dog 12 – anthology of poetry
- Butcher’s Dog 13 – anthology of poetry
- What to look for in Autumn – Ladybird Book
- Facts about the moon – Dori Anne Laux
- Undersong – Audre Lorde
- Postcolonial Love Poem – Natalie Diaz
- What the Water Gave Me – Pascal Petit
- It Ends With Her – Brianna Labuskes
- I am an Island – Tasmin Galidas
- The Crossroads of Should and Must – Elle Lune
- Danger on Peaks – Gary Synder
- The Goddess Oracle – Amy Sophia and Mara Rashinsky
- Blue Front – Martha Collins
- The Autumn House – Alison May
- The Winter House – Alison May
A few weeks ago, when I was in the thick of my separation and wondering how I was going to get through the rest of 2020, I made a commitment to myself to designate October as a creative retreat month. I’m not going anywhere, but I am protecting my time to retreat from the world and outside commitments in order to focus on my creative practice.
Due to circumstances, I’ve allowed things to get lost in transition. Focusing on what brings me joy, like reading and writing and creating haven’t been top of my list for ages, it feels. So protecting October, my favourite month of the year, my birth month, as time and space to re-engage with my creative projects and start some new ones felt right for me.
Only a few days into October, and I was inspired in a poetry workshop to attempt #thesealychallenge. This challenge is to read thirty-one poetry books or chapbooks in the thirty-one days of August. I know it’s October but I’m coming late to the party. But I feel this is just what I need to relight my fire, put pen to paper and write poetry.
So far this month, I’ve read 5 poetry collections and chapbooks. What I’m doing while reading is also collecting words, single words which I like the sound of, or I find are being used in new and usual ways. Words that stir my interest and create a reaction.
What this reading is doing is inspiring me to write again. So from just reading other people’s work, immersing myself in the world of poetry again, I’ve created 6 new poems. So I’m going all the way this time, and trying for 31 poems by the end of the month; 31 poems in 31 days.
This has already gotten me through a block, a fear that was starting to take hold of me that I might be only able to write while in crisis, while in an unhappy state. But by producing something over the last few days, I’ve now put that fear to rest. I’m back, reading and writing, writing and reading.
This month was a hard month to concentrate on any longer reads. My reading was bitty and more about current affairs with The Guardian newspaper getting many hits. Other featured websites were The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Orion and The New York Times.
The readings was what it was, what it needed to be to get me through each moment, each day.
The one book I read, while I started many, was A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson. A poetry collection exploring the Grenfell disaster intimately which went on to win the T S Eliot Prize in 2019.