Juggling Balls

A new month equals new focus. Reflecting on the month gone and planning for the month ahead. Already, I feel as if I’m juggling so many ball but I know I’ve been carrying them around for a while. And I do pick them up gladly, it’s just some days I feel a bit overwhelmed.
It’s sometimes difficult to keep a handle on everything, to engage and move things forward. It always cones down to time and never having enough of it to get everything I want done, done. And then when there might be a window of time, I don’t have the energy to complete any task. Times like these are about keeping the faith and believing in the process.

Projects on the go NOW: ( Part 1)

1. Arts Council Funded creative project with writers around the First World War.
2. Heritage Lottery Funded project with Muslim girls around the First World War.
3. Developing Living Wild Studios as a creative business. Need to update/ rejig the website first.
4. Facilitating a creative retreat in Iceland this June. Planning schedule and securing two more people.
5. Stocking Folksy Store to sell my paintings, prints and collages.
6. Complete the writing and developing of my first e-course around visual journalling.
7. Explore my Iceland landscape abstract photography and paintings.
8. Develop my self-portraiture project through further research and practice.
9. Return to my Flaneuse research to feed into an offering in Paris. Research trip needs to be planned.
10. Start the planning for a women’s gathering in The Highlands through a research/self-appointed residency in March.
11. Start responding to the writing prompts from Eat My Stardust.
12. Listen to the second recording from Liberated Lines and write.
13. Complete final draft of poetry chapbook and send to Culture Matters ASAP.
14. Start the research and writing for my next full collection around our relationship with the land.
15. Continue with my self-directed study around seeking the Goddess.
16. Complete my Creative Journey Facilitator Training with Lisa Sonora.
17. Return to my developing creative non-fiction memoir around death.
18. Complete research around further grants and funding for women’s well-being projects.
19. Continue research for social enterprise – air on skin (working title) to encourage more ethnic minorities to develop a relationship with Nature.
20. Start self-appointed residency – North Sea Writer-in-Residence.
21. Return to second recording of Wild Soul Woman Facilitator training and respond with notes.
22. Get more sleep. Drink more water. Get more exercise. Eat more greens.

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My Creative Year in Review – Part 1

In recent years during December I’ve taken the time and space to reflect back on the past twelve months in terms of my creative life. It is always inspiring and surprising to remember the things I have achieved as well as the mistakes I have learnt from along the way.

Following this practice of review means that I enter the next year, fired up and focused about the choices I want to make going forward.
If I had to sum up 2017 in 3 words it would include courage, voice and business.

Let’s take a look at each month ( the year will be split into two parts) and see what happened along the way to carry me into 2018, older but so much more younger in terms of wonder and curiosity.

January came in cold and dark. The ideal time to go deeper into my practice of hygge. During my winters walks #TheHealingPeopertiesOfTheSeas was conceived as a one day symposium all about our relationship with water. This has still to take place but the concept is out there and can be found on IG  and Twitter. Holding this idea throughout the year has meant that I’ve been curating short 10 second films around water. These will be available to watch and add to during 2018.

February was the beginning of my exploration of voice. Having been chosen to take part in an Arvon foundation residential course for writers wanting to make change happen, I met a whole heap of interesting people who supported me on my journey of claiming and using my authentic voice around the theme of my body in the environment. This led into further publications of my creative non-fiction poetic writing here. I was also exploring my voice through painting by completing Painting the Feminine with Connie Solera. This was another opportunity for me to embody my multi-layered identity, providing the tools and techniques to support my self-expression.

March saw me return to Iceland as part of a self-directed residency with The Westfjords Residency. To spend an extended amount of time in an isolated village miles from a major town was testing. I questioned what I was trying to achieve by doing this, in terms of my creativity as well as my life. It was unsettling to some extent as all my usual boundaries were missing and for a while there I did flounder. I also experienced some racial abuse while in Reykjavik which made me question my relationship with the whole country. March was definitely a learning curve which manifested in a deeper love of Iceland which meant before I left I made plans to share this love with my family.

April was another month of learning as I not only completed a Woodland leader training course in the Highlands of Scotland but I also went live with my new website and brand name Living Wild Studios. I’d procrastinated enough and it was time to be seen, showcasing all of my creative adventures under one roof.
It was a scary time but one that I wouldn’t change as I went with my gut and created a beautiful website I’m proud to call my home. It’s varied and dynamic and changing to reflect how I’m changing.

May seemed to have gone in a blur. I know it was a time of disrupted plans due to Alan’s mam being in hospital for an extended stay. It was a time of sticking close to home and putting my family first and foremost. But I did try to keep moving forward with Living Wild Studios as a business, extending my reach through social media. To be honest, I didn’t really enjoy this month as I was trying to operate in a way that wasn’t being authentic to me. I had to explore my relationship with social media, with the pubic arena at large and withdraw to do so. This was good for me, for my sanity.

I continued my social media hiatus into June. I felt I was just settling into my own space and voice by the end of May so wanted more time away from distractions to listen within. This was an important month for me to dive deep into the Creative Facilitator Training I had started with Lisa Sonora this year. I had been building up a resistance to the course as it wasn’t as I had thought it would be. I expected more. But then I realised that this is an experiential course and I get out of it what I put into it. All along I’m using myself and my experiences and beliefs as the learning examples so in order to learn and move forward I had to be more engaged. A light bulb moment which saw me returning at the end of the month to social media to share my visual journaling practice, the foundation of my creativity, much more extensively and thoroughly than before.

Ordinary Things



There are three slender things that support the world; the slender stream of cow’s milk into a pail; the slender blade of green corn in the ground; the slender thread running over the hands of a skilled woman. – ancient Irish triad.

A recent book I picked up is The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for thr Turning of the Year, by Caitlin Matthews. The quote above is featured for today,  22 October.

Within the Celtic world, the cow is important. It is a unit of wealth along with grains used to make the daily bread.     Before the industrial revolution, all clothing was made by hand. Labour intensive procedures carried out by the women of the household took the unwashed wool, into spinning, into creating the fine linen cloth to wear next to the skin of all the family.

Foodstuff, grain and material; three ordinary things that support any society in it’s existence. To survive. 

Today’s meditation ends with the question, What three ordinary things are the supporters of your life? Make your own personal triad.

Only when the question is asked do I consider what are the essentials for my existence. Ordinary things on a day to day basis I probably take for granted. But when I stop and consider it, I may not be thinking of them every single minute of the day but I know what I am grateful for, especially during this period of change; personal and seasonal, when things are dying but only for new life to be born. In time.

My personal triad, those three clear notes that resonate throughout all I do in life are: water, within and without; creativity feeding my body, mind and soul; and love that wraps around me for myself and for/from others that makes sure I am home where ever I roam.

Now I ask you the question, What three ordinary things are the supporters of your life? 

Countdown Deals

 

Just popping in quickly to let you know that rubedo, the memoir I self-published in 2016 is on a countdown deal with Amazon this week. Totally forgot all about it, as I set it up a couple of weeks ago and then time got in the way. This is probably the only time I’ll be offering any discount deals on this title, as I work on the next instalment.

Get your copy while it’s cheap. Happy reading. 

A Decision

“Life purpose is not a given —it’s a decision.” Eric Maisel

At the end of April, I declared to the world that I was taking a break from social media for the month of May, maybe longer. I didn’t say this to garner attention. I said this because I think it’s rude to be in conversations with people and then go silent. I was just letting my friends know the score; I was having a break.

I am having a break. I need a break. Something, in the past, I would have ignored. I would have just kept on trucking. I was the strong, independent black woman. I earned that label not because of who I was but what I did. I was super productive. I was everything to everyone. You wanted it, I’d get it for you. I was always trying to prove myself, to them, to others, to myself. Not anymore.

April was a hell of a month for good and bad reasons. April is the birth month of my children, so those were the happy occasions. A time to celebrate two beautiful people. But in between those dates, fell Woodland Leader training, project planning and implementing, launching the website and a whole heap of illness. Not for myself but for my mother in law. And that situation continues. But something had to give after that month of trials and tribulations. Emotional drains and scars. And it was me.

I’d spent the month propping everyone else up at the same time as fulfilling my own hopes and dreams and I just got burnt out. It got to the point that I had no more to give and didn’t want to give. One morning, I thought it would be a lot easier to not wake up at all. Of course I did face the day and the next as I’m that strong, independent black woman, right! But I had to release some pressure, cut myself some slack and coming off social media looked like a good place to start.

Now let’s get one thing straight, I don’t spend hours and hours on social media. But it is a constant stream of connections and conversations for me. At times, and I wish it wasn’t, a space for validation too. There was a time back in 2015, that I turned my back on Facebook and only went back to it because a course I signed up for was delivered through a Facebook group. I didn’t really get into Instagram until September 2015. Then I saw it as a good way to get the creative juices flowing again through sharing images. Words? Words were still scary for me. Off limits, came with too much baggage and damage. And twitter, well twitter was twitter.

However, the people I have connected with through social media have helped me immensely. And they might not know that. But they’ve helped me believe in myself again as well as the common good of humanity. I ‘thank you’ my online community. I do class you as my friends. And because of that, I know I can take the time to step away from social media.
No way do I see this as taking our relationship for granted. But more so of cherishing our connections to the point of feeling that I’m not really contributing anything if I’m struggling with myself. I feel that it’s okay with you if I have to step out of the room from time to time to retain my sanity. I know you’ll understand and support my well-being. I know I would do/be the same way with you.

It’s been 10 days since my last posting on social media. Some of those days have been a dark drag. I did lose my way there. Today is the first day, I am able to get out of bed at a decent time, and greet the day with a smile. I am letting go of my stresses a bit more. I’m factoring into my day meaning oportunities. I’ve gotten back into the chilly embrace of the sea. She was needed. Today, I’m appreciating the light a bit more and being grateful for the life I live a bit more.

take me to the huts

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Two columns of huts.
Fish lynched on nails.
Thick flesh dries deep.

Perhaps he brings home a big catch. Much bigger than they could ever eat in a week, this family of five. Perhaps, he hangs up the surplus in his shed. Sliced in two lengthwise, nailed by the tail, or maybe where the head should be, flesh juicy to the sun, while he thinks what to do with so many fish and so few mouths.
Perhaps, in time he forgets about this problem. Only catching a whiff of fish sometimes when the wind blows in from the west. Remembering he needs to sort them out some way or another.
Perhaps, it is his firstborn who ventures in drawn by the smell as well as the cracking like ice sound. Now the fish is dry and hard as rock. Fallen from the nails they crack into many pieces like candy.
Perhaps, this child tastes a piece and falls in love in this moment with dried fish forever. There’s a sweetness and saltiness as it melts in his mouth. He’s dreaming of butter and garlic and smoky paprika and the sea.

 

April – A Poem A Day

Fishing

The worship of fish, for subsistence and profit, declines in response to the fishing quota system. Villages hugging the shoreline struggle with time and the departure of the young. At Thingeyri, out there in the fjords are three massive green nets holding artificially reared super fish. Trout. Not native to the area along with the multinational< company owning them.
One day, a hole is found in one net. How many fish escape, no one knows. How the fish survive in open water, if any, no one knows. If the escapees mate with the other fish, no one knows. It’s not the companies problem. It’s not an issue worth investigation. The hole is mended. The trout continue to be farmed to yield their optimum value. White white flesh to satisfy the foreign customer’s tastes.

red headscarf tied tight
bent and slow
she walks to harbour

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April – A Poem A Day

connection

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the snow is pristine
the water is cold
the silence is rippling

she does not come here to talk. she does not come here to appease. she is here to connect. to the Earth. to the Sea. to Herself. so she does not take kindly to the wide vacant stares that question her presence. she uses the solid rock of the mountains and the copper grasses peaking through the cracks as a special welcome just for her.

 

April – A Poem A Day