A Launch from 10.

I was privileged to be able to attend the launch of a book called Ten Swansea Writers earlier this month. Two of these writers are good friends of mine and, in the wake of such a great evening, I hope I may be able to count a few more of these talented folk amongst them now too. (Please?)

One windy Swansea Wednesday, I joined a horde of happy people who were gathering in Tino’s on Wind Street (appropriately). I was met with a voucher for a free drink (always a good start) and proceeded to mingle. After a time, we settled down to hear the work of the aforementioned ten writers, many of whom turned out to be very fine orators too. The range of writing was as broad as it was deep, spanning the wonderfully absurd to the deeply personal and moving. An eclectic mix of talent.

These writers could justifiably have filled the whole evening with their own readings, but were generous in giving the middle slot over to Open Mic. Here the variety of talent continued. At one point, however, a strange woman leapt up to read her poem about wearing a hat. She was caught on camera below. (If you see her, do not approach; she is not armed, but is known to unpredictable, erratic and possibly dangerous.)

Other pictures from the evening can be found here.

https://m.facebook.com/WelshWritingDesk/photos/?tab=albums

Do go and take a look, and perhaps find out how to purchase a book. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Flowers and Fruit

Allegorical title, that.

So, aeons ago, it would appear, I blogged about forthcoming plans.  As it stands, only one of these is in the process of coming to fruition, another is still gradually growing and yet another has unfortunately had to be pruned away.

In reverse order, the FaB Intervention has fallen under the secateurs of necessity.  The day when this event is due to take place coincides with my need to be doing something else entirely.  This something appears in the form of project management for the community garden of Sustaining Life, another of my ventures.  (Take a look at http://www.facebook.com/sust.life if you want to know more.)  Mel Ezra, co-host of FaB, tells me that it is likely to be an annual event, so Blue Morpho could still be spreading her wings again in future.

The fruit which is gradually growing is my intention to put pen to paper and write a book.  It’s happening.  Sporadically.   That’s better than not at all, right?

The plan which is coming to fruition actually features flowers.  Thus:

resilience

This was produced for the forthcoming Art of Caring Exhibtion, a response to the theme of Resilience.  (More details here: http://www.caringandcare.blogspot.co.uk )

So, yes.  Flowers and fruit.  Hope you have enjoyed them.  As always, please let me know what you think.  If you leave me a comment, I can also drop by your virtual residence too..

Dith x

Forthcoming Attractions

Man, this blog needs a dust! It has been neglected for so long. Time to put that straight, or at least make it less wonky.

Well, the Art of Caring Exhibition (which I blogged about here ) and A FaB Intervention (blog here ) are both approaching again. I need to get my act together and work out what to do for each of these fabulous events, curated by equally fabulous folk. (Waves at the curators, you know who you are!😉 )

The Art of Caring is on the theme of Resilience this year, and a few ideas are sloshing about in my head at the moment. The strongest at present is the image of plants pushing their way through cracks in paving, but I think the character of people who keep getting up, day after day, despite chronic illness is also worth exploring. One, the other, both? I guess something needs to be put down on paper in order to answer that question.

By contrast, I’m reasonably sure that Blue Morpho is going to make a repeat visit to Bath this year. I have not yet decided what my alter ego is going to do exactly, but encouragement and leaflets are likely to be involved. Not vastly different to last time, but I’d like to add a twist to my complimentary compliment slips. Perhaps with some element of paying things forward being included.

I’m also putting pen to paper these days in an attempt at longer form prose writing. Oh, okay. I may as well say it. I’ve finally started writing my first book. 40-something years is more than long enough to just think about doing it, the thing isn’t going to write itself!  My discipline is appalling though, I have no schedule or routine. I suppose I should instigate one really, as carrying a notebook in which I write when the mood takes me is only going to get so far.

So, there you have it. Some forthcoming attractions from the fertile soil of my mind. I just need to tend these seedlings and produce something now. Did I say just? Hah! Having the idea is the easy bit! Wish me luck…

 

A Poem about Poetry (for National Poetry Day)

It must be lovely
to be free
verse.
Free to do
as you please.

Free from the tyranny
of rhyme
and reason.

Free to stay out partying until the wee small hours
and not emerge from your bedroom
‘til after lunch.
Two
days
later.

Actually, no.
That’s nonsense
verse.
(How could a poem even do that?)

There may be
no rhyme,
but there must be
some reason.

There may be
freedom
from pedantic iambic pentameter
– and the need to rhyme all of the time –

but

boundaries
must
be
respected.

Even
in freedom.

Especially
in freedom.

9.11 A personal perspective

On the 11th of September 2001, which is embedded in the consciousness of so many as 9/11, I was working for Swansea Community Farm in Fforestfach.  It was very early on in the development of the farm project, which explains why I was carrying out some photocopying and collating in the office of a local primary school, where the farm rented some office space also.

When I first heard of the disaster, I was wrestling with copious amounts of pastel paper, which constituted the reports for a forthcoming Exec meeting.  I did not realise the significance at that point, as I was simply picking up on snippets of a conversation between the two school staff who were also in the copy room at the time.  I caught something about a plane crashing into a building in America.  I assumed that they were talking about a light aeroplane with a maximum of four passengers, and had no idea of the size of the building in question, or even where in America it took place.  My concentration was mostly devoted to the intractable heaps of pastel pink, purple and yellow paper, so I asked no questions.  I did not know the people to speak to anyway.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully and I did not return to the subject until I was visiting my friend, B, later in the evening.  She had her television on, which was unusual in itself, and I found myself watching an image of a plane crashing into a skyscraper.  I assumed it was footage from some Hollywood blockbuster or other, a disaster movie of some kind.  It was only as I continued to watch that I realised that this was no movie, but it was most certainly a disaster.

The footage was being shown on a continuous news programme and I recall watching, transfixed, until the hour rolled around and the news began to repeat itself.  It appeared somehow disrespectful to turn my attention away at any time before this point.  I felt it to be the least I could do for the people who tragically lost their lives in that terrible event.  The least I could do.

. . .

Approximately one year later, I found myself at the site of the Twin Towers with an American friend.  I was moved to tears by the tributes which were attached to the boards around the site, and was amazed at how untouched the surrounding buildings appeared to be.  I recalled the shaky amateur pictures which appeared on the news for days, even weeks, after 9.11.  Panicky people, greyed with dust, running frantically from the scene of destruction.  The first time I saw such pictures, I made another assumption which later proved to be wrong; I assumed they were taken in some war torn Middle Eastern country.  Only as I paid closer attention to the news story behind the pictures did I realise that they were showing an event occurring in a ‘civilised’ country.  I chastised myself then, for I had felt a form of detachment when I had assumed that the traumatised people were ‘not like me’, and yet had experienced more fellow feeling on discovering they were ‘like me’ after all.  One of the least comfortable places to discover indifference is where you hoped to find none, especially when that place is one’s own heart.

When I visited Ground Zero, there was no sign of any dust and wreckage on the outer side of the carefully boarded-off site.   I remember peering through a crack in these tribute-papered boards at one stage, to see a JCB moving earth with the implacable detachment only machinery can possess.  I drew my eye away swiftly, feeling a pang of guilt for daring to be so ghoulish, for ‘rubber-necking’ at the site of such pain and loss.

This feeling was not one shared by one particular gentleman at the site, sadly.  I hesitate to name him a gentle-man, for he possessed no such gentility as far as I could tell.  After all, what sort of person profits from selling souvenir t-shirts and the like at such a place?  I was appalled as such opportunism, as was my companion.  I have never been over-fond of the readiness of our American cousins to ‘say it as it is’, but I was very proud of Haydn that day.  She went toe-to-toe with this ungentlemanly man and told him what she thought of his behaviour.  Sometimes, a situation calls for more than British reserve and respect.  Sometimes, a more overt reaction is needed; something needs to be said or done.  Sometimes, the least a person can do is not enough.  It is simply not enough.