Thursday, 1 October 2015

The end / Reflecting on a month of daily blogging: the freedom of structure

At the beginning of September I decided to give Cassy Fry's DIY Creative Club challenge a go. A creative response, everyday, to a prompt:

Looking through the prompts I knew some I would find easy, on motivation and happiness, but most could stump me, and definitely be out of my comfort zone.

I've just come to the end of the challenge, and I can't quite believe that I actually stuck to it. I might have missed a few days but I still kept with it. I completed the challenge. And I loved it!

I've felt stuck in a rut with this blog. All the while my life had difficulties I could share and stigmas I could tackle, I was writing. But I didn't want to do that anymore. I didn't feel like I had to.

I've barely written this year and I'd got to thinking I couldn't write anything other than being on a soapbox spouting anger or hope.

So to write simply responding to a pre-set prompt was a bit of a revelation. Turns out I have other life experiences to talk about. And I could be a bit creative!

It was so nice and so freeing to be confined to this structure. As contradictory as that sounds.

Often I'd think I had no response at all, and then it would just appear.

It was also freeing sharing things that I wouldn't have otherwise. Pieces that would have stayed as drafts, with anxiety about how good they were, or what they were, or why anyone would care.

And I'm not saying all of this has been great, but it's been worthwhile - for me. To write outside of struggles, and sentences, and having to prove a point. It's been exposing in a different way - letting myself be creative. Forsaking changing people's minds for playfulness, for creativity for its own sake.

So if you want to read my responses, here they are:
Back to schoolHopeThrowbackInto The WildDanceLight & Dark (waking up after passing out)ToolsLoveSuperpowerNow PlayingDisguiseCollageMotivationDramaDream / WeirdMagicInspirationStyleHappiness / SparkleFull moonPoetry / The End (this is it!)

And a huge thanks to Cassy Fry for putting this challenge together. Sign up to her DIY Creative Club mailing list for more good ideas and playlists and general inspiration from this lovely lady!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A poem: I Hate by C.K. Williams

I watch a lot of performance poetry but I don't read enough.

This was shared and it just hit me. Hard. It's brilliant, beautiful and heartbreaking - and potentially one of the best things I've read. So I wanted to share:

I Hate
I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound,
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling,
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird;

not as remembrance, grief for so many gone,
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions,
petrified roots too deep to ever excise;

a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being,
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what,
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love;

not even war, fuck war, sighing for war,
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease;
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,

echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world,
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge,
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise,
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment,

din from which every emotion henceforth emerges,
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides:
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,
of, still, always, ever sadder and sadder sad joy.

[Shared via the Poetry Foundation. Source: Poetry (January 2009)]

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge. On the theme of poetry, head here for some I wrote and recorded this year - just giving it a go.

Full moon

We stare up.
In awe we're open mouthed
As is he
That man in the moon
Weary from another day watching over us
Weary from his journey

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge.

Saturday, 26 September 2015


Are you happy?

Do you know how to answer that question?

Is it something you try for?

Does it feel false because it's not all big smiles, but you're generally content?

It's an odd one. Right now, I'd say I'm happy. Happier than I've been in a while. I have a sense of balance and I'm doing exciting things, and seeing more of the good people in my life. But it still seems odd to say "I'm happy." But I am.

Maybe we always want to say we're fine, list the stresses, list the highlights. That it's never as simple as happy. I suppose it's the goal and maybe that's why it seems so ethereal and elusive, this saccharine concept that's hard to realise or accept. We can be happy in a moment or an afternoon but overall are we happy or are we fine? Does it matter?

If you have it as a goal without changing anything you might struggle, it's not something that can just appear. I think it's about doing more of the things you enjoy and doing so mindfully rather than out of habit - connecting with loved ones and creativity and anything that you love, devoting time to it and to yourself. And then happiness will be a by-product of that.

I think we all have a baseline, where we naturally sit, and that baseline can change with a new job, relationship, friend, etc and then you'll sit there. My baseline has definitely improved a heck of a lot over the last few years for many reasons.

These are just thoughts, but originally the prompt of happiness made me just want to write a long list of the things that make me happy, so I'll finish this rambley one with that.

Things that make me happy:
The question "does anyone fancy a cup of tea?" / Staying up talking until the early hours and laughing and being honest with someone I love / My mum holding my feet / Curtain call at a brilliant show / People sharing good news, especially people I really care about / Getting so absorbed in a really good book it feels like you're in that world / Unpacking a bag of new clothes, removing the tags and placing everything in the wardrobe / A walk somewhere lovely, preferably after a roast / A knock at the door meaning takeaway has arrived / Getting a message from someone saying that my writing has helped them, to understand or be understood / Feeling proud of people I love / Feeling proud of myself when I've pushed myself / Doing something unexpected and novel / Animals at the zoo / People rallying together to help others

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge.

Friday, 25 September 2015


I used to dress to disappear.

As a teenager it was all black and oversized or just purely functional, with an ironic tshirt thrown in now and then. I guess I had grunge aspirations without fully committing.

I was adamant that appearance shouldn't and didn't matter. I'd judge girls who thought it did, while not feeling at all comfortable in my own skin.

I grew up to learn you can be interested in looking better, or different, and also know it's not the most important thing. It doesn't mean you're superficial, and it can let you be confident and more yourself.

That felt like a relief, and a game-changer.

I used to dress for comfort.

When I got ill I'd hit the floor and come round cringing that my dress was too short to be in this position so publicly.

My dresses got longer, to retain a sense of privacy but also I suppose I was growing up. Finding my style. Learning what looked nice, and what I felt comfortable in.

A full-length dress felt the same as pyjamas: it felt cheeky getting away with being so comfortable.

Now I dress for me. For fun.

I find the balance - always comfortable while enjoying putting things together - finding colours and shapes that suit.

Clothes that put a smile on my face.

I don't know how it all works but I know what makes me feel good.

I look at others style and it can feel like art.

It feels exciting - the overall look, and thinking how they thought to put it all together.

And when people say they would wear something but couldn't get away with it I want to shout YES YOU CAN.

Life's too short to not wear what you want or to worry about it. So have some fun with style, or don't, but never do or don't wear something because you think people think you should or shouldn't. That's silly.

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge.

Thursday, 24 September 2015


I'm inspired by people that work hard, and love fiercely
People that don't judge, but are warm.

It's not about big personalities that dominate but rather not giving up, not forgetting, and so never being forgotten,
but not worrying if you are.
Knowing you're not the most important person in the room.
But the task at hand. The caring.

I'm inspired by women like my mum and her best friend
Who have cared for so many. And are warm and loving and resilient, amidst all difficulty.
They've learned and grown and adapted, until the end.
With a smile. And a joke.

I'm inspired by people who care about, and with, their creativity, to the point of making themselves vulnerable.

I'm inspired by people who say yes to what seems like everything
But it's not
Because they know know how to say no.

I'm inspired by people who aren't afraid to take up space
But who also make sure other people take up space.

Strength isn't about being the loudest person in the room
It's anyone who's got back up after they've been knocked down
And anyone who's done that, again and again
Without building a wall

That's what I'm inspired by

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


There's a magic in the night.
In the cold air that hugs me tight,
as I pull my coat closer

In the smell of something burning
In the familiar streets, in the mundane
And in the quiet satisfaction, of a day done well

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge.