‘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. 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
It was twelve minutes past one the day Sadie ran out of words. A Monday she recalled, just after lunch. She’d retreated to the arbour to the east of the garden, the sunlight drizzling in through the vine leaves, the insipid summer heat dissipated by the shade.
Lunch itself had been an unremarkable affair, the legs of the iron-wrought table playing a tuneless melody as the wrap was assembled. Tortilla, lettuce, avocado, parmesan, a couple of drooping slabs of tomato. They angered her, those tomatoes which had lost their lustre, their brightness. What right did they have to give up?
The conversation turned to the usual, the usual, the usual. When would it end? Mid-sentence, his, not hers, Sadie stood up, the chair scraping harshly against the rough patio stones. A surprised ‘where are you going’ drifted after her, the words floating on the hot haze, trying to follow her to the cooling seat.
It was there, as her body sunk into the pebbledash pattern cushion that she ran out of words. She tried to call out an answer to the question still hanging in the air. Like a guppy her lips puckered and pursed, air expelled with the tiniest of breaths, barely audible. Was there a hint of a whimper on the exhalations? Was there a hint of life even?
Sadie tried, again and again, her lips increasingly an inanimate part of her body, lifeless, detached. They moved like her daughter’s play dough, malleable enough, formed into the required shape, yet failed to fulfil their purpose. She tried another formation, a big round ‘O’, the attempt foiled by utter silence. Her eyes copied the shape, a wild, agog expression fastening upon her face; a rigidity trickling down her body.
Was this it? The day that had haunted her since childhood. The day she ran out of words.
Memories play a pivotal role in all our lives, and in one piece of writing, I let my consciousness take a back-seat as I explored my own past. I’m delighted to share ‘I Remember’ as it is featured on Sally Cronin’s inspired ‘Posts from Your Archives’ series. I’ve turned comments off here and look forward to seeing you on Sally’s blog!
Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post:New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020
This is the first post by author Annika Perry and I am sure as you read, memories of your own from your childhood and teenage years will resurface and be enjoyed…
I remember the splash of the waves against the side of my grandfather’s wooden boat, my brother standing proudly by the mast.
I remember sitting in the back, snuggled like a chick under my mother’s arms, the sea salt and my long blond ponytail lashing my cheeks.
I remember being passed to land like a bag of sugar, an exulted terrified scream then the freedom of the warm rocks beneath my feet. Away…
Revered for thousands of years, Lavender still holds us enthralled. The fragrant plants are a delight themselves whilst its distilled essential oils have been used for millenniums for aromatherapy, perfume, herbal medicines, culinary herbs.
It was with excitement and joy I found myself at Jersey Lavender within a couple of hours of landing on this jewel of an island of Jersey. Established in 1983, the lavender farm boosts 9 acres with 55,000 lavender plants of six varieties.
As if in a trance I wandered amongst this haven, my palms gently sweeping across the flowers, inhaling the heavenly scent. I found myself closing my eyes … my emotions filled, a dream realised on this first day of my anniversary break.
Anna hadn’t noticed the time slipping away as she worked in the library. Engrossed in her study of anatomy, books covered every surface of the desk, some lying on top of each other at an angle, others closed with scraps of paper marking various sections.
the alarm rang, and a flurry of activity stirred Anna from her studies.
minutes until closing everyone. Ten minutes. Please bring any books to the desk
if you need to check them out.’ The librarian headed to another room repeating
had the three hours gone? Quickly Anna slammed the books shut and dashed around
the library returning a couple to the shelves. The remaining three she lifted
into the crook of her arm and after putting her papers and ink pen into her
satchel she headed for the desk.
you are, dear. Better fasten up your coat, it’s a blustery night out there,’
said the librarian, recognising the diligent student from the past few weeks.
‘You’ll take the tram back, won’t you? Don’t get caught out in the rain.’
Anna nodded briefly, whispered a quiet ‘thank you’ before grabbing her books. She found it hard to talk to strangers and the warmth and kindness of the librarian only made her miss home more. There she never had a moment to herself apart from her brief solitary outings on the rocks, here loneliness engulfed her.
‘Goodbye. Have a good weekend,’ called the librarian.
too,’ replied Anna with clarity and determination. ‘I wish you a lovely weekend
too.’ There, she could do it. Everything would be fine.
The librarian had not been exaggerating about the weather as outside the wind whipped around Anna, sweeping her coat around her legs and rain spiked at her face. Undecided she stopped at the corner. To the left was the tram stop but she barely had any money and perhaps the girls might invite her out to a cafe with them tomorrow afternoon. She didn’t want to back out through lack of funds. To her right lay the shortcut to the school; only a kilometre, all along the streets. With a determined spin Anna turned and marched off down the road.
lights were further apart than she recalled and as the temperature dropped mist
formed on the ground and drifted around her ankles as she walked. Her feet
scuffed the pavement and with a stumble she corrected herself, the books precariously
balanced in her arms.
‘Not long now,’ Anna said to herself as she started to hum one of her mother’s lullabies. The fog became denser, the lights from the lamps dissipating until only distant balls of yellow hung ominously in the air. Where was everyone? Shouldn’t they all be going out to the cafes and bars? Of course, she realised, that was the opposite direction. Here there were only a few houses in the distance and to the left a park; she’d forgotten about that. She tried to peer through the murk into the park, to the lake she knew lay in the middle but saw nothing. Just blackness.
Anna walked faster, her shoes trilling along on the pavement, her breathing faster. Behind her she heard some steps. Loud and heavy. No, this was silly, she was imagining it. The steps sounded closer now and with a shock she started to run, the books flying in her wake, her satchel dropped to the ground.
Suddenly an arm violently grabbed her around the waist and started to pull her towards the park. Anna screamed and instinctively reached out to the black iron wrought railings at the park entrance. She must never let go.
man had both arms around her waist, tugging, squeezing hard as he tried to drag
her from the railings. Anna screamed and screamed. She couldn’t stop. Her shrieks pierced the air. His
hands were over one of hers, trying to prise her fingers from their grip. She
held on – just. All the time screeching for help. A feral animalistic wordless
cry of sheer terror.
His fingers clawed at her fingertips and with another scream she finally let go. Her other hand remained clutched to the railing. The man released his hold for a fraction, Anna hoped for a second, he would leave her. In vain as she saw his arm rise and he threw a sharp punch in her stomach. Silence collapsed around them. Anna fell forward, her head slumping onto her knees, the man’s arms quickly around her and lifting her up. Like a rag doll she hung for a moment in his grasp. Limp. Lost.
going on here? Let her go!’ The voice came from across the street and more
shouts joined this first one. Footsteps echoed in the silence of the fog. ‘Let
her go! Let her GO!’ On their command Anna was dropped to the ground like
discarded rubbish and with a thud she hit the ground, landing on her side and
rolling into a ball.
you alright?’ Tightly curled up, she lay unmoving.
did he go?’
go and call the police, you stay with her.’
disembodied voices hung around her. Anna felt a lady sit on the ground next to
her, talking, saying something; the words remote and distant. Indecipherable. A
jacket was bunched as a pillow beneath her head.
‘Mamma, Mamma,’ moaned Anna
’She’s trying to speak. I can’t make it out. Can anyone give me their coats? Any blankets, anything. She’s shaking terribly. God, look, this is bad, I can’t stop her shaking.’
found her bag. And some books were scattered just a bit away from here.’
‘What’s your name? Where do you live? Listen, we need to call someone.’
voice was becoming more emphatic, increasingly desperate.
recognise the uniform. It’s Hellsson School – I’ll give them a call. I’ll be
back in a moment.’
Hellsson School? Why did that sound familiar, wondered Anna. She was sure she’d heard of it before. Who were all these strangers and why wasn’t she lying in bed? With that thought she closed her eyes and found welcome oblivion.
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
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’.
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.
Rules and boundaries have a certain appeal to me and when I was recently challenged to try my hand at the unusual Etheree poetry format I accepted quickly!
Etheree follows a syllable count up (or down) by one syllable at a time. In other words, in the pattern of 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 syllables. It does neither need to rhyme nor to hold to a particular metre.
My first poem follows the trauma of a recent flood, just days before a big birthday party. With the distance of time it’s been comforting to write about it here!
The following fictional poem takes up the eternal encompassing trauma of the breakdown of marriages witnessed around us on a daily basis.
Many thanks to Dr. Mary Ann Niemczura for asking to read my Etheree poems. She is a wonderful and supportive friend I made here on WordPress and it is always a delight to read her poetry. I encourage you to take a look at her blog by clicking here.
Don’t you just have a split reaction to interviews? Slightly daunted to start with but excited at the prospect?
On my recent visit to Esmé’s at Esmé Salon ‘Share, Care & Inspire’, I couldn’t wait to partake in her ever popular 20 + 1 Interview Questions and the questions flowed with ease through both my blogging and personal life. … no need at all to be apprehensive!
The air crackled with a chill that September afternoon, the first trace of damp etched into the atmosphere.
Emma saw her first, then the rest of the children turned towards the woods at the edge of the park. Like an apparition, the woman stumbled out from amongst the trees and undergrowth resplendent in her cerise woollen coat. A coat peppered with a menagerie of coloured notes, all pinned on at angles.
Her mutterings at first were only audible to the sparrows in the trees, to the skittish robin, to the strident magpies marching across the tired grass. The ground was churned up by football boots, dried into uneven lumps of decay.
‘Where is it, where is it?’ she mumbled gruffly. Erratically the woman spun around, her eyes cast down eagerly on the ground, with a keenness of a child looking out for Father Christmas. Her eyes bristled with expectation, joy then with a sudden turn, angry filthy swear words spewed across the park.
Appalled Emma careered backwards, right into her friends and the cascade of children toppled like dominos, silent in shock. Righting themselves, the disheveled group at first failed to notice the approach of the woman; concern engraved on her face, bewilderment fluttering in her eyes.
‘Have you seen it? My child?’
Agog, they barely listened, their attention held fast on the woman’s coat and the pinned notes.
I’m sorry. Appeared many times. I’m lost. Please help. My name is Emma.
‘Please help me,’ she said. ‘I must find it.’
The children fanned out across the park, not sure what they were searching for, occasionally shouting out a find to Emma the older. Emma their friend remained with her namesake. Ahead of them a note tossed like an autumn leaf across the terrain, swirling in the strengthening breeze.
‘Stop it!’ shouted the woman. ‘There it is!’
Emma dashed over, picked up the dusty note, glancing at the elegant handwriting.
Mum, you’re lost. Not I. Come home. Address is on the back. Love, Mark xx
Emma the child handed over the piece of paper.
‘Mark! I found Mark!’ The woman’s primeval screech of elation echoed into the billowing dusk; a joy swallowed by her very next words, tiny as pinpricks, thin as slivers of silk.
The above piece of writing was inspired by a prompt from my writing group for our work to be ‘set in a park, in any period, in any location with any number of people involved, you or your character/s have lost or found something.’ Owing to burgeoning numbers of keen writers in the group our homework is now restricted in length.