Thursday, 30 April 2009

What is Self?

Nicki's post "keeping inspired" resonated with stuff that's buzzing round my head just now about how we take the good things from western individualism but allow ourselves to connect, collaborate and be part of something bigger (a community, a planet) without merging, surrendering or smothering our differences. It seems to be a tricky struggle in our current culture, and I feel somewhat exposed to admit my need to belong and be part of something. This is what I came up with...

To be totally myself, in the absence of others…who am I but a reflection? What is me? A bundle of stories and conditions from the past, or an interface with the now? There are words I can use and feel solid in; woman, lesbian, feminist, anarchist, humanist, environmentalist, writer. These describe a space I occupy, but I’m not sure they’re me. It isn’t that I don’t feel solid, unique, but being human is also being part of something – not being the sound of one hand clapping. “Me” is simply a coalescence of thoughts, star dust, cells, events…I rub off and am rubbed off on. I am supposed to worship Western Individuality and the Cult of the Self but I hold being a champion of difference alongside being connected and in community. The importance of belonging is as strong as the need to express what is “me” freely, strongly and fully. So I slip towards other humans who occupy similar spaces and I feel part of something larger than just me, but the overall shape of the “us” is in harmony with the shape I occupy personally. And if I stand still amid the trees for long enough I can feel my feet throwing roots deep into the earth and I realise I don’t need to feel afraid of being connected to the whole planet.

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Conversation Pieces

Conversations between writers can be fascinating. Can we continue a dialogue here by responding to each other - in poetry or prose, or a mix of genre?

Take a look at LikeStarlings, a place for talking in poems, where the following project is taking place.

The idea is simple:

1. Pair poets who don’t know each other

2. Start with a poem by one of them

3. The other writes a poem in response, within a week

4. The first responds to that poem with a poem

5. That exchange happens again, so four new poems, and a conversation of five, are written

Can we do something similar? But of course our idea could look something like this: some of us will know each other, the response needn't be identified as a poem, we don't need to restrict the process to pairs, and we can have as few or as many exchanges as we please.

Responses invited to:

I seek reasons,
strive to meet
love in the afternoons,
returning deliciously cold,
fingers sodden
mouth frail.

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Keeping Inspired

At the last meeting we agreed to experiment with some exercises here in the hope that we can inspire and respond to each other's themes. We also want to have some fun in the process, and provide something for you (the reader) to read!

Here is my opening encouragement and stimulus for inspiration. Although I wrote this some time before I joined Sapphist Writers, it does help me to celebrate the work that we're doing as well as our future ambitions.

I will come direct:
no second-hand mediocrity;
not a ritual required.
We are women
impelled to be
totally ourselves.

What does it mean to you to be totally yourself? When are you impelled to be nothing less?

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Well here's my first bloggeroo!! How exciting. Hmmm...what to write? Oh no! - White Page Phobia sets in...or not really because I'm writing already aren't I? Although it's just a stream of consciousness really, or stream of drivel in the hope that someone will have a literary tissue with which to clear it all up and blog something really interesting in it's wake so that all traces of this first and experimental blog disappears off the bottom of the screen never to be seen again. I'm fascinated to find that if you don't concentrate you can end up writing bolg and there's no spell checker so you have to keep looking up from 4 finger typing to see what mistakes need to be rectified...but I think bolg could be a word, it could nicely describe the kind of drivel one sometimes sees on blogs...bit like this piece ;o)

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