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.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's Christmas

Yes, I finally found a tree. After it sat sadly in my living room for 2 days, I found two friends to help me decorate it. Now it is twinkling and happy. Yes, I bought all my gifts, and wrote and posted all my cards. Yes, I am going to have a lovely Christmas, and I wish all of you every good thing for Christmas, and for 2007. I'll be with my family, and will check back in early in the New Year. Blessings to all.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

If it's not Thursday or Sunday, what then?

I realise this blog has shifted again over the past few months, into a space I use to post for Poetry Thursday or Sunday Scribblings, and not much else. My SoulCollage cards are on my SoulFragments blog and Trixie does a bit of musing for me on her blog, so what else might I be doing here? There was the beginning of reading True Balance, and I posted my reflections here on the first and second chapters - relating to the first and second chakras. Then, September came, I went off on a trip (oh, I did post a small slide-show on that wonderful trip to the South of France, didn't I?), and when I came home, there were classes to prepare, plans to put in place for the redecoration of my house... It's not surprising that, while I kept up with reading a lot of blogs, I didn't post a whole lot here about my life. I was too busy just trying to keep it going in the real world. And then, I signed up for NaNoWriMo, and achieved my target - completed a 50098-word novel in the 30 days of November, while simultaneously juggling painters, flooring-men and having a dose of shingles (What? Stress? Me?)

So, what is the blog about, then? Yes, it started to chart the Artist's Way, and that was wonderful, and the community of bloggers it introduced me to has been such a source of inspiration, encouragement and sheer fun for me this year, it's been hugely important. I think what I've lost sight of in ways is that as January began this year, I had no idea this world existed, no idea of the possibilities, potential and capacity there was in blogging. I'm sure I haven't used it to its fullest potential for me (and I've been fascinated with the journey of so many of the people who began the Artist's Way at the same time), but I realise that doing this is in itself another creative expression that I haven't really given myself credit for.

When I had my birthday at the start of this month, I did what has become a tradition for me and wrote a list of what's been special about this year. I included Blogging, but I didn't really focus on it as something I learnt or achieved. It was scary to begin with. Internet? EEEK! Posting pictures, creating links... it was all new to me. Kara helped. Kat helped. What I realised was that if I hit a snag, someone else had been there just before me, and had worked it out, and then later in the year, I found I sometimes was the "someone" for a new blogger who wanted to know how to do something I'd figured out.

During this year, I've completed a great deal... projects that I've dreamt about have come to fruition. I finally graduated with my degree in psychology (an 8-year journey), completed my training as a Bach Flower Remedy practitioner (3 years), got to travel to the US (lifetime ambition), to train as a SoulCollage(R) facilitator (dream engendered at my first ever encounter with the process more than 3 years ago). I mustered the energy and resources to transform my home from the drab place in which my marriage came to an end to a light-filled, warm space in which I begin the next phase of my life. Hey! I even wrote a novel! I had my national radio debut! I've had poems published in a couple of journals. I've met wonderful people - online, in reality, here at home and on my travels. I've stood on the shores of three oceans. I've spread out the pieces of myself - the good, the bad, the miserable, the joyful, all the shades in between, and I've been pleased that this year has been a year of forward motion, a year in which I've been glad to be alive, and glad to be me.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poetry Thursday. Streets.

This week, Poetry Thursday invite us to take the theme of Streets I Have Known. I had a street poem. It's locked into a computer I can't get into. That's a problem for tomorrow, so I wrote the streets of my childhood/early teens instead.

The Journey Home

William Street,
smell of chips and vinegar
from the Golden Grill:
Boyds’ window full of
what I want, what I want next;
the Woollen Company, with a mirror-door,
for a Harry Worth trick –
became a ritual, don’t pass without
kicking up one leg,
looking in the mirror
at my marionette reflection.

Pass the bank corner,
and the Pavilion (scene of first dances,
maybe first kisses),
where William Street
yields to Mulgrave Street,
Horse and Hound,
the Mart, bacon-factory with its
squeals and smells.

The jail’s high walls, and the school of music,
where I happened to see the President of Zambia,
on my way home from school one day.

Asylum – walk on that side of the road,
kicking leaves in autumn, watch out for Berry Moss,
or the Shouting Man, or the Blue Boy.

Walk on, where Mulgrave Street becomes
the Tipperary Road, the road home,
past the Fairgreen, past the balconied houses,
turn the corner, across from the butcher’s shop.
St. Anthony’s. I am home.

Find more street-journeys HERE

And for anyone who would like to catch my radio-poetry debut, it's HERE - you have to click on "Listen to the Latest Show", and the whole programme is good, but it's not all poetry. It has music and memoir also. There's a poem by Paul Perry to start (about the 12th minute, and mine comes in around the 54th minute!)

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday Scribbling. Punishment and Reward

This week's theme at Sunday Scribbling is Punishment and Reward.

Punishment: ....Socks with holes in the toes
Reward: ...........Chennille socks on a winter day, soft, warm cosy, luxury

Punishment: ....Living in a space that's carrying old, painful memories
Reward: ...........New walls, new floors, new sense of moving on within
............................this space

Punishment: ....Whatever food is quick and available
Reward: ...........Something freshly cooked, tasty - at the table, not on lap in front of the TV

Punishment: ....Blaming myself for things undone, things I've been
............................meaning to do
Reward: ...........Letting myself recall all I have done, patting myself on
............................the back.

Punishment: ....Isolation
Reward: ...........Alone-time

Punishment: ....Life sentence
Reward: ...........Life, Life, Life

More Punishments and Rewards HERE, and if you're a fan of Trixie, she's back again HERE


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday. The Meme

This week at Poetry Thursday, we're invited to complete a meme on what poetry means to us. Well, before I go and read what anyone else has to say, I thought I'd write out my top-of-the-head responses to the prompts/questions.

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was …"Bed in Summer" from "A Child's Garden of Verse, by Robert Louis Stevenson. My mother gave me a gift of this book when I was about 6 or 7, and lots of those poems stay with me. They are part of the culture of my childhood, and remain as reference points for my sister and I. Just a couple of months ago, she quoted from it, when she was on night-work, and had to sleep during the day, and I knew exactly what she meant.

2. I was forced to memorize (name of poem) in school and … Too many poems, and I've forgotten most of them. The Lady of Shallott stands out. I loved it, but was a bit of rebel when it came to memorisation. I don't even memorise my own poems, and wish I did. I love to see a poet recite their work without needing to refer to "the book"

3. I read/don’t read poetry because … I read because it feeds me. It nourishes me. It brings light into my life. Poetry says so much that I thought couldn't be said.

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is …Primo Levi's "To my Friends", I can't find a link at the moment, but think I used it in one of the early Poetry Thursday posts. Yes.... HERE IT IS Just in case you don't have time to follow the link, here are the few lines that catch my heart whenever I read

........I speak for you, companions of a crowded
........Road, not without its difficulties,
........And for you too, who have lost
........Soul, courage, the desire to live;
........Or no one, or someone, or perhaps only one person, or
........Who are reading me: remember the time
........Before the wax hardened,
........When everyone was like a seal.
........Each of us bears the imprint
........Of a friend met along the way;
........In each the trace of each.
........For good or evil
........In wisdom or in folly
........Everyone stamped by everyone.

5. I write/don’t write poetry, but … I write poetry, but always think my last poem is my last poem, because I have no idea where they come from, and doubt that there will ever be any more, and then... along comes a poem, I write it down, and still doubt it... is it a poem, really? Is it any good? Does it actually say something? And given some time, when I look in my notebook next week or next month, sometimes I am pleasantly surprised to find a poem I seem to have written that I like.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature … Yes. I seldom read an entire book of poetry, even of a poet I love. I pick and dip. But then, with fiction I seldom go back, even to books I have loved, whereas poets... Yes, I return again and again. AND... I love to share poems. I'm much more likely to insist that people listen to this poem than that they read that novel.

7. I find poetry … everywhere.

8. The last time I heard poetry … Hmmm. Was it my own voice? Eeek. Yes. I was recording some poems for a radio programme. First time ever. Not yet broadcast.

9. I think poetry is like …sunshine, like rain. It is the stuff of life. What makes us grow.

Find more Poetry Thursday memes HERE

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: The Last Hour

The last hour has seen twilight fall, slip in to cover my garden with the grey veil of evening before the afternoon’s half-way over. It has seen the rain abate and return, abate and return in full force, carried on the howling wind that sweeps around the gable, whips the shrubs and trees into a new December dance.

This hour – in a winter Sunday afternoon – has been one of chocolate and coffee, of yesterday’s newspapers scattered on the kitchen table. It has been a time of wandering the house, still in pyjamas and dressing-gown, plans for a shower – later, later – and touching new things. Soft pink scarf and gloves, the petals of white lilies, the dull brass of the Tibetan singing-bowl my sister brought, the smooth wood of the stick with which the sound is drawn out of the bowl.

This last hour has seen moments of nostalgia dismissed, and moments of maybes fostered. These last minutes of this last hour see me at my table, the dog settled on the rocking-chair, the fridge humming and the boiler doing its heat-up, click-off, heat-up, click-off magic that keeps me warm and cosy inside, while the blue-tits outside fluff their feathers when they come for peanuts and a share of the greasy fat-ball I hung just the other day.

The last hour has been a lazy hour, an hour of awareness of a class to prepare for tomorrow night, a letter to complete, forms to fill in. They’ll all wait to tomorrow. This hour has been one I will forget. Not the hour in which major decisions were reached, or any thought has been followed to a conclusion. It’s been a drifting, moodling hour, the hour in which I put away the dishes used for my birthday supper, washed Kathryn’s plate, sorted my socks and put on a load of laundry. The bowl of dusty stones I carried from the living-room still wait to be washed at the kitchen sink.

And the twilight deepens, and the hour I write of recedes. A gust from the east blows the last of the leaves from my neighbour’s birch across my garden. The animal of the wind waves its arms through my berberis and forsythia. I gather some warm towels, soft fresh clothes. Now I’m ready to go shower, get ready to leave my little nest for an evening meeting, glad to have reflected on the little pleasures and small, sacred things this hour has witnessed, glad now that I have had this hour.


For more Sunday Scribblings on the theme of "The Last Hour" , go HERE

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