Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Another week - and what a week!

Last week's check-in did me good. It felt like the blog is being anchored in my life, rather than operating simply as a notebook for poems, haiku and scribblings (much as I enjoy all of those things ), so I thought I'd just give a little time to checking in again today. Tomorrow, I'll be away from the computer, and for another ten days, perhaps, so also it gives me a chance to say "See ya later".

As the post's title implies, this has been a busy week, ending with me tired (and preparing to travel tomorrow), but I want to mention the writers' workshop I'd referred to last week. Deirdre assumed it was a week-long workshop (because I said I'd been all week at it), but it was in fact a 2-week workshop on Women Writing. We were reading, reading, talking, hearing about more and more writers, sharing, preparing for a performance (we finished with a marvellous showcase this afternoon), treasure-hunting... oh... and even doing some writing, too! It was a rich, rich experience, like being in a "fine food" shop, where you stock up on all kinds of treats you couldn't possibly consume straight away, but can put in your larder for lean times or occasions where a special treat is called for. We were reading Virginia Woolf, Margery Kempe, Susan Glaspell, Jamaica Kincaid, Ursula K Le Guin, Sojourner Truth, Dorothy Wordsworth, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Marge Piercy and Nikky Finney... oh, and Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue; creating lists and lists of favourite writers in all kinds of genres. It was wonderful being in a group where the dialogue was continued day by day and created a sense of community that was deep and supportive. Two of the participants are taking their work (with another group of poets) on a tour of Australia - departing next week - and last night some of us were able to get a preview of their performance at a fundraiser with many poets, musicians and artists coming together to wish them well on their journey. What a treat!

Today's finale of the course was preceded with a field-trip (the treasure-hunt). It's a strange thing that I'm regularly reminded of the riches, depth and breadth of my Irish/Celtic heritage by people who come from abroad and share their enthusiasm for things I've known about but not really given a great deal of thought to - aspects of our history, mythology, archeology. All three met in one of the central themes of the two weeks' work - the Sheela-na-Gig. I won't go into detail (because I'd only be quoting someone else anyway), but will say the Sheela is a female form found carved in stones on medieval Irish and British churches and they are fascinating in terms of their original intention and meaning, and the meaning and power they can have for us in the present day. This article has a lot of information, and gives some sense of the spirit of the Sheela-na-Gig. While there are many recorded examples around the country, there are believed to be more which may be hidden, lost or simply not recorded. Some of those which have been recorded have been moved, stolen, hidden or defaced, so sometimes people go to see a Sheela only to discover they can find no trace of her. Carvings may be so weathered that it might be only in certain lights that they can be identified, and when our little group of seven women arrived here

today in search of this Sheela, (not my photograph, but borrowed from here)

we scrutinised the stones of the walls where she is said to be, but could find no trace. ... And yet, in a strange way, it was as though we had found her anyway. It would have been good to take away our own photographs, but we know at least we have been where she is (or has been), and that is enough.

Now, of course, having been exposed to the world of "Sheela-hunters", I'm intrigued and wanting to see at least one in situ, and am gathering information about those I might find near my home place.

So that's been this week's main event! And of course, there was still the sunshine, there was ice-cream, there were afternoon hours in the garden, there has been the collection of items to use for the SpiritDoll I'm planning to make. There's keeping up with happenings in the SoulCollage world, and following the blogs of many pals. I don't always comment, but I love the presence of so many friends out there who share their days with me.

I'll be back in ten days or so. Hope everyone is continuing to enjoy summertime.


At 29/7/06 2:07 am, Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Great post - thanks! Did you know that in Australia - and to a lesser extent NZ - the word for women is sheila? (before PC and women's lib this is - not so much now) As in "Lots of good-lookin' sheilas." (or whatever.)
Intersting hearing you say you are looking for a sheela and it is in fact a figure of a woman. :)

At 29/7/06 3:21 am, Blogger pepektheassassin said...

Sounds WONDERFUL! Have a great time and tell us all about it when you return! I really enjoyed reading this one, too. Be well.

At 29/7/06 4:19 am, Blogger deirdre said...

Thanks for the information. I've seen sheela figures in mythology studies and am fascinated by them. I too am quite proud of and grateful for the richness of my heritage. We're so much more than sad songs and good beer. :) I plan to go to the website you mention here and learn more. Have a wonderful time.

At 29/7/06 3:44 pm, Blogger Tarakuanyin said...

Happy travels! I feel a bit homesick when I read your blog, but it's a good feeling. One day I'll be back.

At 31/7/06 8:38 pm, Blogger kerrdelune said...

A wonderful post, and I have always been a fan of the Sheela-na-Gig. enjoy your rambles and come back to us with many adventures and stories.

At 2/8/06 10:11 pm, Anonymous tinker said...

The writer's workshop your attended sounds fascinating.

Thank you for the link - I remember reading (and wondering) about the Sheela-na-gig a few years ago; then I got distracted with a million other interests in the world. I'm glad to have found them again.

Hope you enjoy your time away! We'll be waiting to hear all about everything, in your next "check-in," when you come back.

At 7/8/06 5:12 am, Blogger Amber said...

Oh, gosh, that sounds WONDERFUL! *sigh* I would love love love to have done that! What an amazing experience. Good for you!



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