Aw, shucks *gets a bit embarrassed* thank you so much for your lovely comments on yesterday's post - i went to bed feeling emboldened while also wondering what the hell i had just done. If I'm allowing myself to be this visible in February, what am I going to be doing by the end of the year?! If you met me in person you'd see that i'm not quite as demure as that little clip might suggest, although having said that, that was definitely my poetry head.
Inspired by Christine's book signings last year and Jonatha's UK tour, I'd love to be able to do a - what shall we call it? - blog tour. Can you imagine it? Me and a suitcase of poetry books and cameras, travelling around the world giving poetry readings over mugs of steaming coffee, snapping Polaroids as I go. Actually, let's take the dream up a notch - i'd love to take Unravelling on the road, as a book tour and series of weekend workshops. That would be truly amazing.
I'm feeling very excited about the possibilities of connecting creatively with others - the e-course is giving me a taste of it, and is exceeding all my expectations. I feel very honoured to be sharing my ideas and for them to be making a difference. Suddenly everything i've been through over the last few years makes sense to me now.
So until I can do my Unravelling tour, there's more connecting to be done online and in person. I'm cooking up a special e-course for the summer months, which should be fun and gently challenging, before we start Unravelling again in September.
Holly over at Decor8 is a design blogger extraordinaire and a lovely soul to boot; she's just announced that she'll be offering a blogging e-course in April! I'll be signing up for this, and not just because i want to see her video posts :)
I met Liz of Be Present, Be Here when I visited Seattle way back in September 2006; she's recently announced the wonderful Be Present retreats which she'll be co-hosting in June on the Oregon coast along with Judy Wise and Jen Goff. I won't be able to attend the first retreat, but i know that for those who can it'll be a soulful few days by the sea; they are kicking off with self portraiture, which is something i definitely need to delve into more...
And finally, there are the Squam Art Workshops in June and September. I was dying to attend last year but had just moved to Bath and needed to find my feet; well, those feet have now been found and i'm so happy to share with you that i'll be attending the autumn workshops! Really looking forward to connecting with everyone and having some creative fun. The classes all look so inspiring and I'll be breaking down some major barriers (with a sledgehammer) by taking Jonatha's songwriting class - naturally i reserve the right NOT to sing! If you're still thinking about whether or not to attend, there's an interview with Squam's founder & director, Elizabeth McCrellish, over on Decor8 which got my heart racing.
So tell me: who else is going to Squam, and do you want to meet me in the woods for a secret poetry reading by candlelight?
And if you can't attend this time (and i know how boring it can be when people bang on about stuff like this in Bloglandia) stay tuned because I'm going to be doing more poetry readings here... really loved doing it, really loved letting you hear my voice. Love the idea that we all get to know each other a little better... so if you feel inspired to do something similar in a video post, let me know so i can come join you with a mug of coffee.
The Friday song: Like I Belong to You by Julie Collings
It was a spur-of-the-moment thing; my hands are tired from too much typing but i wanted to post something. I had this ee cummings poem in my head and wanted to share it.... i've been posting videos over on the Unravelling course blog and as my lovely co-conspirators will tell you, it's been painful for me to do this; all my worst inner demons start shouting in my ear as i watch myself on screen. So i blow-dry my hair and put on make up and try to find the best possible light... and then five minutes ago i thought sod it, and with unwashed hair, no makeup and my glasses to hide behind, i read this little poem for you. Not ready to talk to you yet... maybe another time.... Be kind, folks, I'm ripping off the Band Aid.
I first did this exercise here nearly three years ago, and this morning i woke up wanting to do it again (official reason: to limber up my writing mind; unofficial reason: it begins with P). If you want to play along you can either do what i did just a moment ago - stuck my finger in a book to find a random letter - or leave a comment and I will email you a letter; then simply list ten words you love that begin with that letter, and tell us why you love them.
Sensual: I love the sound of this word in my mouth, the way it rolls over my tongue and spills onto my lips like blackberry juice. There is a swathe of sensuality inside me that’s been trapped there for too long and I want to let her out of the cage. One day soon.
Serendipity: really, who doesn’t love this word? It’s pink and pretty, candyfloss-coloured cakes and smiling faces, happiness and hope, lucky clovers and fortune cookies.
Susannah: I genuinely like my name. Over the years I have been called Sue, Sus and Susie – interestingly never Susan – and after spending my early years not liking my full name, here I am at 36 loving it. I’ve grown into it.
Surreptitious: this is me sitting on my sofa, sneakily scoffing strawberries dipped in chocolate. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.
Sanctuary: my home, my family, my friends. My blog. My heart, my mind, my creativity. My cameras. All of these things give me sanctuary when the storms rage.
Supernatural: I’m not a religious person, but I believe in… things. I have seen… things. When someone you love dies, the barriers between life and death fall away for a while and you seemingly commune between the two. In your closed-off suffocating state of grief you’re more open to the airwaves; your paper-thin skin feels more, you see more. There’s suddenly more to see.
Simplicity: I adore this word. I want to live and breathe this word every single day.
Soporific: this makes me sleepy just saying it. I see fluffy clouds and pampas grasses swaying in the breeze. I feel the warmth of the blanket covering me as I snooze on the bed, a quiet afternoon of not much happening, a book beside me on the quilt, the words falling off the page as my eyes begin to close.
Synaesthesia: every time I read an article or watch a documentary about this condition I experience a keen wishing I had it too. To taste words? To see a symphony of colours every time you read a book? To visualise mathematical problems as three-dimensional creations? My heads spins at the wonder of it all.
Succulent: I wonder: do all S words have mild sexual connotations because sex begins with S? I’m looking at my list and nodding my head. Succulent makes me think of aloe vera and unctuous creams, plump lips and dimpled thighs. Slicing into a roast chicken and the juices run clear; mangos eaten in the sunshine; kisses that never end.
Other S words of note: surrender, sandalwood, sybarite, sanguine, serotonin, synchronicity, sans serif, stanza, she, suture, seaside, sultry, sarong, sashay, schmooze, sweetheart, sunshine, sundrenched, Schadenfreude, snazzy, satire, saturation, secret, saucy.
These photographs feel like my life right now - a blank canvas of possibility that is being filled with rich colours and meaningful objects, thoughtfully arranged. I've been simplifying things - friendships, expectations, demands on my body - and focussing on what's the most important to me. At the moment that involves getting up at seven every day and working hard, cooking meals full of flavour and spice, wearing clothes that wrap around me in layers of colour. It involves me paying my bills on time and feeling glad that I am able to look after myself. Taking pictures that are full of heart.
i spend way too much time on my own, i know this, but i've never been a particularly gregarious person. I like to spend quality one-on-one time with a friend rather than in a group; i like my own company and the more of it i have the more of it i need. At the moment I'm comfortable in my simple single life; I don't know how i'd fit anyone else into it, but maybe i'd figure it out, if the right someone came along.
I've always carried this expectation that life wouldn't work out as i wanted it to - that i didn't deserve it somehow. I guess it's understandable that a period of deep grief could solidify this belief and make it a living reality - that i was so extraordinarily unlucky - but actually, something else has occurred. As i moved out of the grief, and healed layers of the past stretching back decades, i've come to appreciate the simple things, the quiet times and the fallow months. As my days become filled with more meaningful work, I'm starting to believe that good things can happen, and will. And do. That the dreams i carry closest to my heart can be achieved. Today I feel the furthest from my grief that I have ever felt; at the same time it has been a quiet day of reflection, as i count down to the anniversary. It's funny how we can be our strongest and most sensitive self all in the same moment.
I've been itching to blog about this but i had to wait until my copy arrived (thank you, C!) ~ I'm in the spring 09 issue of Artful Blogging, a fabulous seven pages no less! Unfortunately it's not available in the UK so i haven't had the pleasure of seeing it on the shelves, but still, it was pretty sweet getting it through the door. There are some lovely bloggers in the issue with me, including Cori Kindred and Geninne Zlatkis, so do go get yourselves a copy and enjoy it with a mug of coffee. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how well blogging and magazines mix, considering how blogs are like magazines in so many ways; i love the community aspect of blogging; i love having a magazine in my hands and pages to touch. Yes, it's the perfect mix :)
My Sunday song: Lady Divine by Alela Diane
I mean, honestly, is there anything sexier than a guy who's got style? Not self-conscious preening, but that who-me?-i-just-threw-this-on casual elegance that the Sartorialist is so good at finding. Okay, maybe there's some preening here, but how much are we loving number one, eh?
The latest Toast catalogue is yet another exercise in the power of photography and styling. Shot by Jenny Zarins and styled by Gaelle Paul, I want to dive into the pages and live the bohemian life depicted there. It's never quite the same when i've visted the shop, but i have to say that the ladies in the Bath store are really friendly! Last time I was in there we were chatting about what they should put in their shop window. As ever, I'll be hanging out for the summer sales...
I've been so lucky with all my blogger meet-ups over the years; there's always this immediate intimacy between you when you've been reading each others' words for a while and you just cut through the crap and get straight down to being yourself. It's always so refreshing. So when my mate Swirly set me up on what felt like (for both of us) a blind date with Ms Jonatha Brooke I was curious to see how we'd get on, cos my gut feeling was that she was another sister. This chick is so ridiculously talented I was expecting to feel intimidated, but actually, all i wanted to do was hug her while grilling her about her life as a singer-songwriter, a profession that is so alluring to me, yet utterly terrifying too. Jonatha is over here in the UK doing a bunch of gigs to promote her new album and luckily for me she was due to play in Bristol, half an hour from Bath. A lunch date turned into 24 hours of glorious girlie fun, with lingerie bought, wine swilled and silly songs composed. Having this lady play her guitar in my living room was an honour (and i'm secretly thrilled that i got to hear her sing in my shower :) It was so sweet to wake up the next morning to find this adorable pixie knitting on my sofa.
So if you're looking for some new music, with lyrics straight from the heart, check out JB - she's very kindly agreed to do an interview with me which i'll post here soon, as there is much to be learnt about soulful creativity from this inspiring woman. I love how the disciplines can cross over - poetry, music, photography, art, heart, soul...