Dear Creative Spirit

Dear Creative Spirit,

Thank you for the gift of creativity.
For the ability to read and write
May I learn to trust Write,
to gain confidence that my words matter.

Thank you for placing these gifts in my hands.
Let the faith you show in me
give me belief in my own ability

Thank you for my precious imagination,
A world without is incomprehensible.
Let it run free and wild.

Give me strength to let loose the reins,
to overcome my many fears and worries
that bind and shackle me.

I see my spirit floating freely
As creativity is unleashed

I imagine these moments of epiphany
I will find you, I will find infinity.

I know there is nothing I cannot do
Thank you for letting me know.

May my words help others, be a support;
May they find enjoyment, humour and
the spirits of their own
lifted within my words.
Giving hope.

My heart is full of joy and excitement
at the thought of my creative capabilities.

©Annika Perry

‘Dear Creative Spirit’ is one of the first exercises set by Julia Cameron in her ‘The Artist’s Way’ and after my initial hesitation of what to write, I found myself inspired as I addressed my own Creative Spirit.

I came across a rough draft of this recently and since have edited it to this final version here – I hope it gives others the ability to trust in their gift. Lack of confidence in one’s capabilities is often the hindrance to even start writing and sharing one’s work.

Clearing out is a task I throw myself at with glee! For some this is a chore, understandably so, whilst for myself, the opportunity to revisit past items, letters, papers is an act of time travel!

Amongst the haul, I unearthed a calendar beneath a desk, papers were strewn on top, dust neatly and evenly covering the surface. I cleaned down the pretty cover and flipped through the images.

The artist is Erkers Marie Persson and for many years she painted for the Swedish Calendar. In her paintings, she tries to capture the wonder of bygone eras when generations mixed easily with each other. The pictures included in my post are taken from this delightful calendar which our company gave away to customers! Thankfully, I retained one as well!

Over Easter, I will be enjoying a ‘home-holiday’ and taking a mini-blogging break, popping in now and then. I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing holiday time!

“A childhood without books — that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.” Astrid Lindgren

CREATIVE HAVEN

Often we let our dreams remain just that — a fantasy! A longing etched in the heart and mind, slowly dissipating into oblivion.

One such dream had lightly rested in my spirit for a long time and finally dared to take form within me last spring. For a week or so the idea gently took root, and as always I tried to stomp out the ridiculous notion! It would not obey and instead reached deeper into my consciousness, my dream took on a dramatic design. At last, I could see it! My writing studio!

For another week I pondered the possibilities, the position for such a building in the garden, exploring the numerous different garden offices for sale as well as taking into account the overall cost.

With all the boxes ticked I approached my husband to discuss the plan and his enthusiasm mirrored mine! After much deliberation we settled on a building and time-frame — delivery was organised for the middle of January!

It was wonderful in the midst of this dark and traumatic month here in the UK to have this positive exciting new project underway.

I revelled in planning all the elements of the venture, from the construction to the completion, overseeing all the various stages.

First trees and bushes had to be cleared; I bade a fond sad farewell to a beloved acacia tree and climbing roses. In its place, two super guys laid a cement base and the light and airy feel to the corner lifted my spirits and I could not help but give a little twirl on this temporary perfect outdoor dance floor!

All ready for the cement!
Me in a celebratory twirl on the newly dry cement base (Thank you to Pam at ROUGHWIGHTING for encouraging me in this dance, no snow alas!)

Whilst waiting for the building electricity was an urgent necessity and a professional company explained that this would need to come from the mains in the house. Furthermore, a trench 600 mm (2 feet) deep needed to be dug from the house to the new building for the armoured electrical cable. My husband took on this unenviable task, digging in all weathers, and for all his hard work I happily listened to his descriptive monologues of each varying layer of clay (there are many!)

The final trench

Soon enough the building arrived and the two guys came back to erect the kit-form building.

Floor bearers laid and start of wall construction and panels added!

Within four days, the piles of wood and building parts had been transformed into a magnificent new garden office. At their suggestion decking was laid all around the building and this complemented the modern sleek design perfectly!

Ta-da! My Completed Writing Studio!

With the exterior completed it was time to tackle the interior and at first I was daunted by the gaps between walls, ceilings and floor. No fear, I was reassured by my husband, as all would be finished beautifully and during the coldest days in the year he filled, painted, added skirting, coving, trims as necessary.

In less than two days the electricity was all put into place and at last there was light and power in the building. All in time for the new carpet and curtains.

An opening ceremony was held one sunny evening and with great aplomb, I cut the ribbon strewn across the handles and we stepped inside. My mother poured the champagne she’d brought and we had a wonderful celebratory time picnicking on the soft carpet!

Finally it was time for a heave and a ho! Three days later all my furniture was in place, which included ‘borrowing’ a bookcase from another room and putting my all-important ornaments, knick knacks and pictures into place.

My writing desk side!
The computer desk side!

The pièce de résistance was the most unusual and stunning present from my mother — a beautiful Tiffany lamp. Can you see the dragonflies flitting about?

I have now fully moved in and I am ecstatic. Ensconced within this cosiest of writing retreats I’ve found that creativity has flourished! It is peaceful within, the rain on the roof a mediative tune for my soul, the tap-dancing pigeon gracing me with its presence in-between nibbling seeds below the bird feeder just a metre or so away from me. The light is startlingly sheer and invigorating. Within me the transformation has been astounding, my heart is full of joy and energy, life feels lighter and more positive. Already I feel inspiration bubbling within me!

“Dreams are the illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.” Marsha Norman

A snug welcoming haven even at nighttime!

Note: All photographs by & copyright ©Annika Perry

ON THE SOUND OF WINGS

After hours, days, weeks,
My body and mind in constant turmoil,
I find myself enjoying the warmth of the sun.

Lunch time sandwiches finished, I sit back.
The silence deafening.
My ears ringing.

No cars, no voices
No planes, no lawnmowers.

The world stopped.

Only now are we learning to cease.
To recall that we can think, feel.

Be one with nature.

In the loudness of nothing
I hear the buzz of a dozy bee
Just waking to a world
It thinks is the same
As before.

A constant cracking noise has my head swivelling
Where is it coming from?

I notice a blue tit on the seeds
With infinite peace, nibbling the inner goodness,
Cracking, cracking them open
To reveal the heart.

I move my legs and startle the bird.

In this moment a whoosh of spirit overcomes me.

With intense clarity.
I hear the flap of the wings
.

A light breeze wafts through the lilac tree
And in the process picks up my spirit
Sends it along the path of the departing bird.

A spirit that floats with oneness of the nature surrounding me.

A peace of such infinity overwhelms me,
I look back and see myself on the wooden chair.

Should I fly on, should I return?

The me looks a bit confused, lost, serene.
A bundle of emotions … I look forward,
Reminding myself never to forget
Reminding myself never to fear.

I drift back, re-joined, re-coupled.

An epic ephemeral epiphany.

©Annika Perry

Dear Young Reader …

Imagine you’re writing to a reader in the future! To a new soul, yet to unravel the magic of books! What would you say to them? Would you share stories from your own life? Or inspire them with passionate prose or perhaps offer up playful poetic musings?

Just such a request was sent out to writers, scientists, artists, and other cultural trendsetters across the globe by Maria Popova. One hundred and twenty-one letters were received including ones from Mary Oliver, Jane Goodall, Neil Gaiman, from composers, philosophers to a 98-year-old Holocaust survivor.

Over eight years, together with her publisher friend Claudia Bedrick, they collated the letters, matching each of them with an illustrator, artist or graphic designer … bringing each letter individually and vividly to life!

I read about the creation ‘A Velocity of Being’ last year and ever since couldn’t wait to hold this treasure of a book in my hands. Although released in January, they had underestimated the demand and my book finally arrived last week.

With deep reverence I opened the box, with surgical skill (or so I liked to think) I cut gently through the tightly wrapped cellophane. I’m sure I heard a drum-roll as I opened the pages and started to read … my heart singing in harmony with the emotions and thoughts of the letters.

Here a just a few snippets:

“No matter where life takes you, you’re never alone with a book, which becomes a tutor, a wit, a mind-sharpener, a soul-mate, a performer, a sage, a verbal bouquet for a loved one.” Diana Ackerman

“Yesterday I swallowed a book. Opened it, read it voraciously, then gulped it down in a single sitting. … A book, and the universe within, is the touchstone for today, yesterday, and — wow, I can’t wait to find out what I read tomorrow.” Anthony Horowitz

“A writer can fit a whole world inside a book. … . Somewhere, is a book written just for you. It will fit your mind like a glove fits your hand. And it’s waiting. Go and look for it.” Neil Gaiman

‘TO GLASS UNSHATTERING’*

Music is an integral part of our lives, winding its way into our souls even before our birth. The array of sounds touch us to the core, reflecting our emotions, creating unique feelings, supporting us through crises, lifting us to new heights of joy. The variety of music is infinite and the range of reactions it creates within us is never-ending. 

Lately I’ve been lucky enough to come across three pieces that sparked absolute awe within me, carrying me beyond the realm of the conscious to purity of just being. 

The first one is a favourite for buskers around the globe, with the haunting refrain echoing around shopping precincts, tumbling down cobbled alleyways. For some reason many see this as a ‘simple’ tune to sing. Nothing could be further from the truth; it demands deep soul-searching  from the singer, one so raw that the unadulterated passion is etched on the singer’s face, until the searing intensity of the song is felt by all. Jeff Buckley brought this Leonard Cohen song to millions around the world, and it was my favourite version until I saw this one below. 

Many thanks to Laurie Buchanan at Tuesday with Laurie  for introducing me to this breathtaking and heart-stopping ‘Hallelujah’ by K D Lang, which had me in tears in the end as the singer greets Leonard Cohen who is seated in the front row.

To lighten the mood my next tune is from on of my all time favourite songs; one that saw me through university and beyond. The first time I heard it was on a sunny day in Scotland (a rarity in itself as many of you will know) and it was one of those perfect days. Sitting on a window ledge with my legs dangling out I listened to this song for the first time as I watched the golfers at the 18th hole in St. Andrew’s. As I heard ‘Africa’ by Toto my spirits soared, life was technicoloured glorious!

Recently, I came across a new piano version of the song. The energy and vitality of Peter Bence, the pianist, is contagious, his enjoyment totally absorbing and fervent. Who knew the inventive sounds of a grand piano? For many musicians the piano lid bangs and the pulling of the piano strings might be cringe-inducing … but wow! The ultimate sound is spellbinding and unforgettable! 

The final offering is one of the most original and eye-catching lyric videos I’ve come across. It is particularly apt for all writers out there and has a marvellous retro feel to it. The message of the song is both stirring and heartfelt, the tenderness and beauty of both the music and lyrics merging to the sublime. I hope you enjoy ‘Taste’ by Sleeping at Last as much as I do and many thanks to Sue Dreamwalker who introduced me to this song on her post Fixing From The Inside ~ To fix the Outside.

Before the video, here is just a taste of the chorus:

‘To fists unraveling, to glass unshattering.
To breaking all the rules, to breaking bread again.
We’re swallowing light, we’re swallowing our pride.
We’re raising our glass, ’til we’re fixed from the inside.

Thank you so much for listening to this musical interlude, and as always I look forward to your comments and discussions! 

*From ‘Taste’ by Sleeping At Last.

SINGULARITY

For many years I have been an avid reader of Maria Popova’s learned articles. She is a gifted writer and created Brain Pickings in 2006 to cover such diverse topics as literature, philosophy, science and art. Since 2012 Brain Pickings has had the honour of being included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive.

In one recent article readers were introduced to the wonderful poet Marie Howe and her poem ‘Singularity’. Inspired by Stephen Hawking’s work, the poem was written to a short deadline; a daunting undertaking for someone whose creations are often years in the making.

The incredible and striking poem would not leave me and I hope you find it equally as thought-provoking. Below the poem is a video with an explanation and reading of ‘Singularity’.

SINGULARITY

by Marie Howe

          (after Stephen Hawking)

Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity
we once were?

so compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money —

nobody hiding in the school bathroom
or home alone

pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.

For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you.
   Remember?


There was no   Nature.    No
them.   No tests

to determine if the elephant
grieves her calf    or if

the coral reef feels pain.    Trashed
oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;

would that we could wake up   to what we were
— when we were ocean    and before that

to when sky was earth, and animal was energy, and rock
was
liquid and stars were space and space was not

at all — nothing

before we came to believe humans were so important
before this awful loneliness.

Can molecules recall it?
what once was?    before anything happened?

No I, no We, no one. No was
No verb      no noun
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with

is is is is is

All   everything   home

Finally, I want to thank everyone for the beautiful and thoughtful comments on my previous post. Owing to a viral infection morphing into a nasty and debilitating chest infection I, along with the whole family, are unfortunately ill. I will reply when possible and return fully to blogging when better.

FLOWERS AHOY!

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This time of year is a struggle for many gardens, and particularly in the UK as it endures an unusually long heatwave. For most of us, watering is not so tricky, but I wonder how this oasis of peace is faring on the ‘open’ seas?!

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Who’d ever imagined a garden on a boat? Not I! On a tour of this most unusual ship moored in Harwich I was wonderfully surprised to be greeted by this most unexpected addition on the deck of the ship.

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Thinking about my own passion for gardening, I realise it is a wonderful source of solace. The peace and tranquility brought by the tending to the plants, seeing their growth, caring for them is incredibly soothing. So it has been throughout time. Viewing the garden on the ship I felt an immediate sense of serenity, a hint of magic, the flowers sparkling, the details in every nook and cranny a delight to discover. The garden oozed with tranquility … it was hard to tear myself away and continue the tour.

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“Don’t underestimate the therapeutic value of gardening. It’s the one area where we can all use our nascent creative talents to make a truly satisfying work of art. Every individual, with thought, patience and a large portion of help from nature, has it in them to create their own private paradise: truly a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.”  Geoff Hamilton

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“It goes back to the garden telling a story. You make up bits and play with them to see if they ring true. Sometimes this works out first time and all is well and good, but as often as not you have to fiddle and reshape until it is right.

In the garden or allotment we are king or queen. It is our piece of outdoors that lays a real stake to the planet.”  Monty Don

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Sunset over Harwich Pier, courtesy of Tony O’Neal at 

I will write much more about this fascinating ship in a later post this month but wanted to share snippets of this tenderly loved and cared for garden today.

PS. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and comment on my last post ‘Loyalty & Trust’. For anyone who didn’t see my addition to the post during late Tuesday afternoon I found to my utter surprise that my reviews had been restored! A fantastic result and I was appreciative of their email apology later in the week, albeit without any explanation.

 

HAPPY MIDSUMMER

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Glad Midsommor to you all!

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A day when the heart can fly with joy, the spirits soaring with life and energy!

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Where both the body is nourished by good wholesome food, and the soul is rejuvenated through stillness and sharing.

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Where the mind flows between the present and the past; the two often seeming to merge. When the memories offer contentment and happiness, the present likewise a source of comfort and joy.

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Whether celebrating this Midsummer, the longest day of the year, or not – I wish you all a wonderful day filled with love, compassion and adventures!

To end this brief post I’d like to share a quote I came across recently – the words like a thunderbolt of wisdom!

‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply give you courage.’ Lao-Tzu

May we all find such courage … experience such strength.

Photos courtesy of Pixaby

HATS FLYING / SPIRITS SOARING!

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Ever since I started blogging, I’ve never failed to be astounded and inspired by the superb and moving posts here on WordPress. Some posts have become part of my regular weekly reading, and Feminist Friday by Bernadette at Haddon Musings  is a post I never miss.

Her post celebrating the life of a woman or women mark the start of my Fridays and I always sit down to read in the knowledge of a rewarding, interesting and uplifting article.

Last week’s article on Anna Quindlen’s graduation speech moved me to tears. It is a wonderful and brave speech, extolling life and love, celebrating the actual art of living! I felt heartened and warmed by the strength and power of her message and I hope it touches your heart as it did mine. I reread it. What a wonderful life-affirming message for these young people.

Here are just a few snippets to start with. The rest of the article can be read by clicking the link below:

“But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

“Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work

“Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous.

“And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted.”

Please click the following link to read the whole speech viaFEMINIST FRIDAY 2018 

55-12266-anna-quindlen-photo-2-1390852019A quick aside, as I’d never heard of Anna Quindlen, I looked her up and discovered she is a renowned American author, journalist and commentator. In 1992 she won the Pulizter Prize for Commentary.

PS. Comments are turned off for this time, to leave space for any thoughts on Bernadette’s blog.

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