Thursday, 7 August 2014

Aroma, Lammas and Earth Witchery


Image from We Heart It
Following on from my previous post about natural perfume, I successfully made my first fragrance!

Friday 1st August was Lammas, the first of the three Pagan harvest celebrations leading us into Autumn. It is usually celebrated with baking bread and brewing ale and having a feast in honour of the Irish deity, Lugh. And during this feast we give thanks for our abundance and our blessings (I didn't bake bread, nor did I make ale but I dedicated the evening to him all the same!) Harvesting, creating and working with natural ingredients - I thought this would be the perfect time to put my aromatherapy knowledge and crafty hands to work.

Image from Tumblr
I created a portrait perfume of my sister. If she was a colour, she'd be indigo, if she were a taste, she'd be an exotic floral herbal tea, if she were a sound, she'd be the sound of windchimes, if she were a shape, she'd be a star. And so using this synaethesic palette, I made a blend of Frankincense, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Jasmine, Neroli and Mandarin. I perfomed Reiki on the blend and have stored it in a dark purple glass jar for it to brew and with the high energy of Lammas infused, it'll charge her with the highest vibrations when she wears it. It's almost ready to bottle and every day I give it a shake and check on how it's coming along - I'm so happy with it, it has created the exact effect I wanted.

If I were to describe the scent it would be this:

A deep femininity that blossoms in the dark hours, a seasoned maternal energy ribboned with a youthful sparkle. A warm night of laughter in an Eastern land. Looking up at the stars in an exotic garden at midnight. Fairylights streaming across a path lined with flowers. Crystals draped around one's neck, feet bare upon the ripened earth.

Image from Tumblr
To continue my day of Earth Magick, I meditated and gave my thanks and offerings, laid out some crystals and burned some incense. I took out my Native American Tarot (Vision Quest) cards and drew one in honour of my connection with Spirit. I pulled The Shaman card which I later placed under my pillow for me to absorb the energy of it while I slept:

Image from Google search

This feels like exactly where I should be, crafting with nature and using ancient medicine. Old methods and herb knowledge are coming back to me in full force and although I have a shelf stacked with reference books, it is my intuition that's telling me which flowers, resins, oils and herbs to use for each purpose. And I just feel so blessed to have this gift.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Return to the Willow

Yesterday I went to Lush's Gorilla Perfume exhibition for the launch of their new perfume collection "Death, Decay and Renewal". I miss working for Lush for the sheer joy of being surrounded by beautiful aroma all day long, and walking through the cleverly interactive and inspring gallery, propelled my love for bespoke perfume. I managed to get just a couple of pictures of the exhibition before leaving, smelling of "Death and Decay" and "Staying Alive" as I went - two incredible fragrances I will definitely buy when they are released.




This is something I've been delving into again over the past few months after reading the novel, "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" by Patrick Süskind (which is now one of my most favourite books ever) and finding Tanya Moulding, a tradtional perfume maker who creates artisan fragrances using natural oils. This has all led me to creating my own perfumes. I am currently working on a scent for my sister, based on her personality, her aura and essence and what she represents to me. I will create portrait scents for people I know and also fragrances that conjur up images, thoughts, music and colours in relation to the blend of flowers, plants, herbs and many other beautiful and natural smells - something that Mark Constantine, creator of Lush and artisan perfumer establishes with his blends.

Image from Tumblr
Throughout my life I have been learning properties of herbs, oils and flowers and working with them on an emotional and soul level, it is simple, beautiful fragrances lift the spirits and for me, they have sparked story ideas and have helped me to pursue other artistic projects.  Overtime I have come to  figure out that I have a mild case of Synaesthesia (a condition some people have when one sense merges with others), I see the days of the week and numbers in colours and each colour has a taste and a scene. I get images of landscapes and music through smell and I can describe a person through colour, sound and taste too. I've started using this to my advantage in my writing, in the ways that I am inspired to create characters and set mood and tone.

Image from Tumblr

So in developing this lifelong interest in natural aroma, I am exploring other crafts and artistic projects that will enable me to connect each sense in order to enhance my well-being. I have experience in making candles for the mind, body and spirit but it won't stop there, I want to be making soaps, perfumes, oils and incense on a regular basis and anything else that will set my Synaesthesia off into creation. Afterall, I am a qualified Herbalist and I need to remind myself of that.

Image from Tumblr

I have been told by numerous mediums and healers that I have been a Medicine Woman and an Apothecary in previous lifetimes, working with nature is in my cellular core - I have the tools and the know-how so why not fill my life with it?

Image from Tumblr
While on a trip to Venice recently, I walked into a Bespoke Perfumery and I could barely speak the entire time I was in there out of overwhelming joy. Old apothecary cabinets lined the walls, vials and glass jars were labelled in Victorian print and while looking around me in this dream of a shop, I was also mentally decorating my future Natural Magic workspace, an apothecary of my own full of plants, flowers, jars, oils, vintage perfume bottles and gorgeous dark wood furniture.

Image from Google search
And so, the return to myself has happened, I am not who I was two years ago when I stopped writing this blog but I am again who I always have been. I moved, finished my novel, joined a psychic development circle, found my twin flame and best friend, freed myself mentally, released shackles and cleared all the things that stood in my way and in turn I remembered all the things that kept me going in the first place - my intuition, my creativity, my spirit and the clarity of my senses. This will all lead to the establishment of my writing and my personal pursuits - for if I don't have my imagination or my dreams, I wouldn't know how to fall in love with those moments when I stop and absorb the world. And if one can gather the senses into a theatre production of symphonies, smells, textures, tastes and colours, then there is all the more reason to enjoy what the world gives us to play with.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

When

My life has become infected with 'whens'. When I get some cash. When I can write. When I get a home. When I get to unpack. When I get all my things back. When I have a bed. When I run my workshops. When I can afford this. When I can do that. When I have the space.When When When. I exist now entirely in a stream of thoughts about an uncertain future. I've been playing the game like a good little girl. I have given 'benefit of the doubt' to all circumstances. I have found at least one positive out of all the negative. I have trusted. I have had faith. I have hoped, oh god I have hoped. And it's all ran out. There are no more answers. All dim flames that were burning through the darkness are being snuffed out one by one.

I need to smile again. I need to laugh again. I need to be at peace again. I need to sleep soundly again. I need to wake up knowing that I am moving forward.

Escapism doesn't work anymore. Distraction doesn't help.

The books are dwindling. Time is no longer on my side. Creativity has put its coat on and walked out the door. Relaxation is obsolete.

I looked back over a set of tarot cards I've been eyeing up for a while, another when. A small when but still another to add to the pile. I've gone over the images again and again because the artist, Paulina Cassidy inspires me. They make me want to write stories but the words aren't coming out. They'll come back to me perhaps. When.

Of all the cards, I pulled this one off the page of her website because I thought it was beautiful:


It means Despair, Loss, Hardship, Survival, Abandonment, Neglected Health, Poverty, Rediscovering Hope.

That sounds about right.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Inspiration Everywhere but Not a Drop of Ink

Image from Bookmania.tumblr.com

Well, have I said already that I'm not doing much writing? I'm thinking about it all the time. And it must frustrate you to read yet another declaration of literary inability but imagine the frustration I'm feeling all the livelong day - I'm not lacking in ideas, so what's the bloody problem?

To get to the bottom of this and closer to my workshop facilitation project, I went to my Meditate and Create art class last night. With a few sheets of paper, a box of pastels and the warm and friendly teacher, Caroline McCready I was led through a series of exercises to work out what my conscious and my subconscious mind are telling me about myself. Quelle surprise, when instructed to draw myself with my left hand (linking in with the subconscious mind) I drew a book.

I was put in touch with Caroline by a great acquaintance, Dee Appolline who is a teacher, healer and now an author on her subjects. With her I discussed what my next steps would be to unblocking these barriers that the powers of my own mind have created. The Gateway Studio, the space in which Caroline runs her workshops is the perfect place for such a thing. It's light, beautifully decorated, cosy and has a kitchenette for tea and biscuits. After having a chat with Caroline, I came to learn that she also started up her art sessions to heal herself as well as give that opportunity to her students. She is also very happy to work with me and rent the space out for writing workshops. So as soon as I get my confidence/finances/living situation in order, I'll be good to go. The practice, the unlocking and the comfort of being in a room with people who have a similar problem with literary expression can begin.

So far I've got a pilot written up of a 2 hour workshop, but as for my actual writing....well...*cue deflating heart*

To distract myself from thinking that I'm just wasting my hours away, I've been on the hunt to see what's out there to get me and others alike excited. It's all Book Geekery, wordsmithery and general Literature turn-ons. Incidentally, good book/literatue/writing blogs and websites are hard to find but here's what I did stumble upon:

whitepaperquotes.tumblr.com

A blog dedicated to handwritten quotes and excerpts of great writers and great works. The team who run the blog all handwrite these themselves and upload them. This doesn't seem particularly genius and the handwriting just adds to the aesthetics of the blog and give the quotes an extra air of poignancy. What I have liked about this is that one will pop up on my homepage that will be very apt and lovely in that particular moment. One of my favourites is:



Now this one really is for the geek in me. It pretty much is what the title suggests, a gift company for all things literary. Stuff like mugs that say "Go away, I'm writing", funky bookends, page print jewellery designs, magnetic fridge poetry, quotable chocolate bars and all sorts of other joys for enthusiastic readers and writers. I don't mind one bit if any of you wants to buy me one or all of these as a present:

Cotton tote bag



Poem teatowel - Carol Ann Duffy isn't a favourite poet of mine but I like the idea



"Happily Everafter" mug with an excerpt from Much Ado About Nothing - my favourite Shakespeare play



Letter pressed cookie cutters - ah yeah!




I've got plenty more ideas if you need some.




A cool blog that throws a few things at you that might be of interest book-wise. There is an archive of beautiful libraries from around the world, excerpts and recommendations of awesome bookshops.
This blog told me about this cool market happening every Sunday in my own city:

Goldsmith's Row Book Market


From what I understand, this market is fairly new. In east London, a book market has emerged full of Penguin titles and other leading publisher's bests in new, second hand and rare edition. I'm looking forward to checking it out.

dictionaryofobscuresorrows.tumblr.com

This blog is brilliant and is a total delight to read. It's a unique dictionary of 100% original words that this blogger has created himself that define relatable and rather acutely observed emotions . It's genius and his writing is brilliant. Here's a few of my favourites:

heartworm
n. a relationship or friendship that you can’t get out of your head, which you thought had faded long ago but is still somehow alive and unfinished, like an abandoned campsite whose smoldering embers still have the power to start a forest fire.

moledro
n. a feeling of resonant connection with an author or artist you’ll never meet, who may have lived centuries ago and thousands of miles away but can still get inside your head and leave behind morsels of their experience, like the little piles of stones left by hikers that mark a hidden path through unfamiliar territory.

gnasche
n. the intense desire to bite deeply into the forearm of someone you love.

degrassé
adj. entranced and unsettled by the vastness of the universe, experienced in a jolt of recognition that the night sky is not just a wallpaper but a deeply foreign ocean whose currents are steadily carrying off all other castaways, who share our predicament but are already well out of earshot—worlds and stars who would’ve been lost entirely except for the scrap of light they were able to fling out into the dark, a message in a bottle that’s only just now washing up in the Earth’s atmosphere, an invitation to a party that already ended a million years ago.

Well, I'm certainly delighted with the visual and mental stimulation that the web has to offer, but there is also the sweet bliss of losing myself in a novel - I'm still thoroughly enjoying The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern but right now I've got a brain overload so I'm off to not write some more.




Friday, 21 September 2012

September Has Been...

A real strange one. Full of ups and downs. Jam packed even. This time last year I was on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and what an amazing time that was. If I could wind the clock back for just a moment so I could feel what I was feeling then, I'd be recharged with zest and wonder. I can't believe it's been a year since I took off around the world; the sheer excitement and freedom I experienced will always remain a top memory. It'll be nearly a year since I found Lo in Bali and a year later, I'm wondering where I'm at now.


Writing has been tough and I feel masses amounts of guilt for not setting aside time to do it. I know why I have these blocks now and the Universe is waiting for me to get on with it. I've been comforted by the confirmation that it is innate in me, it is in my core, so deep to a cellular level that my life's work will revolve around writing. Smaller projects have been put on pause (especially Write Club) but when I don't manage to write, I read a lot. And as long as I'm doing one or the other, I'm still involved with my world. This month I've been reading:

  

100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (still chugging through it; it's my literary Everest for the moment)

The Story of O - Pauline Reage (not pictured, but there's no real need, it's a plain black cover; bit of a "meh" sort of book. Glad to have read it though)

Waiting for Autumn - Scott Blum (a Spiritual Quest must read)

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald (a classic I should have read a very long time ago - I loved it)

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern (a quarter in and I'm dazzled, it's so beautifully imaginative)

Waiting in the queue I've got The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey and 1Q84 - Haruki Marukami.

And so I've have been constantly inspired and I'm narrating mentally all the time (as per usual)  but to get things shifted, I am planning to run a few workshops where I will go on this journey with other people. Let's write, inspire each other, figure out what our own blocks and hang-ups are and progress together!

I'm working on some class ideas, excercises and tools to bring into my 'no rules, no boundaries' writing sessions. When I'm ready to go, with a venue in place, I will post up a blog/meetup/facebook page etc

It's also about bloody time that I started offering therapy services. Again, once a venue is in place (i.e a home) I will be setting up a practice so if anyone is interested in Angelic Reiki, Colour Therapy or Aromatherapy Massage then please let me know...

...no point me having all these skills and qualifications if I can't use them, eh?

As a sidebar, I've attended a couple of classes/workshops and still have a few more to go. I went to my ballet taster class and I bloomin' well loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be and what's more, the pain in my feet gave way to the joy of dancing. I was totally fine, even when I was made to skip and trot across the studio. My legs felt alive and it almost felt like they thanked me for waking them up. I got the blood pumping through them and I was incredibly energised. Unfortunately though, the pain in them has been terrible ever since, resulting in me wearing herbal medicine bandages that I was recommended at a Chinese herbal shop. I'm now on the lookout for a foot specialist and shall continue my ongoing saga of healing the nerve damage in my soles. It's certainly not going to stop me from signing up to the full 8 week ballet course beginning in October though.


I've got a Tree Wisdom distance course set up for this weekend and a Healing Art class on Wednesday to keep me going...it's themed around the Root Chakra which is precisely the Chakra I'm working on right now. Starting with some crystal healing, I bought a beautiful piece of Garnet and Fire Agate to keep in my pocket.


I've also been reflecting and drawing cards to make some sense of everything that's been happening. The most resonant cards I drew this week are:

The Shark card from Messages from your Animal Spirit Guides deck


And from the Ascended Masters Oracle deck:


Key points being: Take action, take leadership, harness your power, now's the time to make a move, target your heart's desire, shake off your fear, stop waiting around, write, teach, take charge.

I think that certainly makes it all clear...

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Alone With Somebody Else

'pensive' from We Heart It


You love your own company and you crave to be by yourself quite frequently, but all those other times when you wanted to be with someone, you created little moments with them because you felt the need to make those small but sweet memories, something to use your nostalgia on.You somehow knew on some level that they wouldn't always be there and when they weren't you sat there looking at the wall, at your feet, at your whole life.

Sometimes, you can have that friend that tends to feel very much the same, practices the same rituals that you do with whom you can just be who you always are to yourself. You're not being negative, you're just being honest and this person won't try to show you the 'bright side'. You know when to cheer up, you know when to come down and it's important to have someone around who can allow you to bounce between the two when you want. The both of you may be in completely different circumstances but you've been in the same spot before and there's nothing more to say about it. You might be lucky to get a tear, a sigh, a giggle and some insight all in the same sitting.

But you can take those small but sweet memories and change them into something new, recreate them to give them new meaning: sharing a favourite programme, getting each other cupcakes, walking hours away around the streets of London and sitting on a curb or a set of steps to pause again and let each other look into the distance. You may have been in that very same place before with all those people you miss, but now you're there with someone who you won't have to.

And when that friend isn't around and you're all by yourself again, you can turn to those other things that also allow you to feel what you want.

Your favourite music will soften you in the darkness and some great words on a page might give it all some sense when you're ready to reach for the light.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dance



On Friday night, the curtains went up and I was sat in the Colliseum Theatre watching Swan Lake. It was my first time watching the ballet but it felt more like a really hazy distant memory. Like a sap, I welled up within in the first few seconds of it starting. The music, the set, the tutus, the sequences and more than anything, the Snow Queen blew me away.

It got me thinking about my own dancing hang-ups. I've always loved dancing, I wanted to go to classes when I was little but never had the opportunity. Instead, I would make up my own choreography in my bedroom and dance everyday to my favourite songs. As I got older, I danced less often and well, life got in the way. I stopped excercising altogether until I took up yoga later on, the only other thing that resonated. My body wants to be flexible, graceful and strong in the legs but that all got hindered when I got these nerve problems in my feet, rendering me unable to even walk barefoot around the house.

For 6 years, they've stopped me from doing what I want to and to avoid stepping on painful flooring, I've forgotten what it's like to feel all that energy in my legs and strength in my movements. After a healing session over a week ago, I was told that it is possible for the nerves to regenerate and with some dedication, my feet can be healed. And so my reaction was to scout for an adult beginners ballet class. I've found just the perfect thing, I've found the perfect shoes and soon I'll take my inner child to a dance class and heal my adult self. My legs seem to know it's coming, they're wanting to stretch and bend more in anticipation.

About 3 years ago, I wrote a poem about a dream I had, and it feels more close to me now than it did at the time:


Past Life

I twirled and twirled on my toes
in another time, on another plane.
That floor was mine upon which
I could prance and swish, no longer a wish.
I wore ballerina shoes, soft pink
and spectators were there I think, watching me
I could bend and hop, my body was free to feel
each move, such grace.
Not sure which country or place but I was there
and it was me and I was dancing, spinning like so.
A ballerina I was, a long time ago.



Thursday, 2 August 2012

Back in the Saddle

The longer I leave it, the more I have to say and the more I have to say, the harder it gets to write.

I haven't been on this blog for nearly two months now and as predicted, London swallowed me up in a whirlwind of activity.

We began our new venture with the celebration of Summer Solstice in my favourite UK town of Glastonbury...this is a picture I nicked from my friend who managed to capture the Sun coming up at about 4.50am on the 20th June.

We marvelled, drummed and rambled. There were cows and a Devic tree, a group snooze in the car and a picnic in the fields. Unfortunately, our day was cut short when we got a phonecall from home telling us that my cat, my Rocky boy had gone missing. He must have been shut out while we loaded the car at midnight the previous night. I put posters up and wept and walked around the neighbourhood twice a day calling his name. I couldn't imagine starting my new life with Lo without Rocky in the picture. After four days of heartache and dissapointment whenever the phone didn't ring or a neighbour didn't knock on the door with the cuddly Garfield himself, Loic and I decided to hop on a bus to a friend's house. Upon coming back from the shops to top our Oysters, I heard a desperate meow as we walked past a van. I cried out "Rocky?!" and he came out from under it and ran over to me. The joy of reuniting was immense. I couldn't stop embracing him.

So it's been very much like this the whole time we've been back: ups and downs.

We went to see the exhibition about Native Art as promised to my Navajo acquaintance only to find out that he couldn't make it to London due to "passport issues", we went on that Foraging for Herbs walk and that turned out to be just lovely. I collected clippings and took pictures, Natasha, the herbalist taught us how to collect and make a tincture, how to identify Fennel, Lady's Mantle, Lemon Balm and Calendula and how to use them.

Jobhunting was the next frustration, I managed to get a job in Mysteries, a magical shop in Covent Garden that sells crystals, incense, books and buddhas and does psychic readings; a perfect part-timer for me, but unfortunately Loic wasn't as lucky. After hundreds of applications and near-misses, he didn't land himself anything but a job in France for the whole of August as a campsite co-ordinator in the mountains - we decided that he needed to take the opportunity and so he did. He's gone now, until the beginning of September. And although I've got a lot to be getting on with, half of me is missing.

But I'm here at my mum's and sometimes at my sister's, still living out of a suitcase. I wonder when this ridiculous cycle will end...a proper bed would be nice, my own things unpacked and put away or hung up on the walls to make me feel like I've got a home. A home for me, a home for Rocky and a home for Loic. I'm manifesting it like a maniac, being patient and stating to the Universe that's what we need. The Universe obviously seems to think that we need to take a detour.

On the writing front, I've joined Write Club a short story writing excercise club co-ordinated by my fellow writer friend, Joe. Once our stories are up from last week, I'll post up a link to the blog...

And the other fruits of my literary labours are live and online, the website text I wrote for my favourite restaurant in Bali can now be read here: http://www.charming-bali.com/

My dear friend, Cisco created this site with his magical web design powers and gave me the chance to be a part of the project. And if you ever go to Bali, don't leave without eating at CharMing - everything about it is delicious!

I'm sure I'm forgetting a whole load of things that have gone on in the last 6 or 7 weeks but I'd rather get back to writing about things that matter now or inspire me, so seeing as though this was a quick recap of a blog, the next one I promise will be a little more profound and better written.


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A New Chapter and All That....

So another ending, another beginning...and I seem to have been riding that cycle quite a bit the last year or two but isn't it exciting when you can change your scene and start fresh?

This may very well be my last post in Bali, in fact, I'm sure it is as I've still got the last bits of packing to do and more goodbyes to say. As happy as I am to leave, I will always look back on this island as the monumental point in my life where things got shaken up and rearranged, and so rapidly too.

When I think back, it was only eight months ago (feels like eight years) when I set foot on Indonesian turf and faced some things the Universe clearly wanted me to face: fears, reoccuring patterns, confidence issues, relationship values....you name it. The challenge was on from the minute I left the comforts of the city I know so well and love, the place I was born and the place I lived in as if it were a gate that kept me safe from the big wide world. So Arizona showed me the deeper levels of Spirit and Love, San Francisco gave me the freedom to be who and whatever I wanted, Singapore taught me greater independence and trust in myself, Nepal showed me how to toughen up and be practical and Bali...well Bali put all those things together and offered me a package deal: conquer this and you'll go home a very happy and lucky person.

Here is where I met Loic and that was the beginning of a very beautiful story which continues to amaze me each day and now he's joining me in the Big Smoke; he'll see the other parts of me, the things that shaped me into the individual that he met sitting at the next table having a coffee. My place, my family, my friends. And yet we'll be sad to say goodbye to the friends we've met here, but just like the nearest and dearest we left in England and France, we know they're here and we'll always know what we shared with them. Facebook, email and Skype help to keep the connections going of course.


So new jobs, new home, new start and I've found a lovely path in falling in love with a Frenchy, he loves to travel and I love France. And I won't even have to give up my love of travelling and holidays for too long as a trip to Lyon for a wedding is already on this year's calendar. One day I'll live there too and it's funny, I pictured myself there a long time ago...riding a bicycle down cobbled streets, writing in cafes and being inspired by all the art, history and buildings that France has kept so close to its heart...London was never supposed to be it forever. The other great thing is language, Lo gets to perfect his English and I finally have the chance to be fluent in French, something that should have been on my CV for years but with slight negligence on my behalf, I never quite got there...but I will I'm sure of it. 

And I'll keep writing so watch this space...fingers crossed, in a couple of weeks I'll be posting the good news of new jobs for us both and a new flat. I'm giddy at the thought of being able to finally unpack ALL my possessions, including the ones still sitting up in my uncle's attic and put them somewhere I'll call home and that's where they'll stay, until the next chapter of course.

Goodbye Bali.

And in the words of Vinnie Jones: "it's been emotional".

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

London Calling

And so the countdown is on...just over two weeks until I'm back on British soil and thankfully, the last couple of weeks have kept me busy enough for it to feel like it's flying by. My friend Hannah and two of her mates came out to Bali for a fortnight and it was really good to visit a few places I hadn't seen yet and to introduce them to the things I'm quite familiar with.One of them being Linga Longa Bar, our favourite hangout spot where Fran took to the stage on more than one occasion to entertain the crowd with her powerful, jazz style voice. We had fun in Ubud and dined around Sanur, not forgetting a few games of pool at the scuzzy but fun Angel bar; the only place in Bali where I get to hear my favourite tunes...Hendrix, Clapton, Zeppelin, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and even Queens of the Stone Age are always on the playlist. For those of you who aren't on Facebook, here's a few pics I nicked from the girls:

Woody, Fran, Hannah & me in temple attire

Lo and I chillin in the water




Me feeding fishies at Tirtagangga palace
Lo putting us to shame at Angel bar


Me and Hansy
Dinner in Ubud
So it's been all fun and games but the end is nigh and I've got to get my head down and finish up some work before we cross waters. I'll miss Bali for friends and certain places of course, but UK is a calling and with a few exciting things lined up for when Lo and I get there, I'm raring to go...here's what we've got booked so far:

* Spending Summer Solstice in Glastonbury - my favourite town in all of England! There'll be drumming, meditating, tree-hugging, love-spreading, rejoicing, garland-wearing and lots of other cool happy hippy stuff.

*Going on a 'Foraging for Herbs' walk - in July we're going on a jaunt around Regent's Park, led by a Herbalist and natural remedies expert who will show us how to, well, forage for herbs in London and will show us how to use these wondeful plants in cooking, cosmetics and healing...the nature geek in me squeals.

*Seeing Swan Lake at the Coliseum - tickets are booked for The English National Ballet production this August! It will be my first live ballet and I'm giddy at the thought...I know I'm gonna love it.

*Going to the Contemporary American Indian Art Exhibition at Highgate Gallery - I made friends with a Navajo artist called Troy Whitethorne when I was in Arizona and when he said he was having an exhibition in London, I promised him I'd go and see it. It's on from 8th-21st June so I'll be landing just in the nick of time. I'll be tired, I'll be jetlagged and crazy busy but a promise is a promise and I'm all about supporting what has become a very precious culture to me.

Aside from these exciting dates in the calendar, not only will I be loving the reunion of me and my city (and hugging and kissing the life out of my friends and family) but I also get to take Loic around as it's been roughly 10 years since he's been to London...the best way to get into the city again is to be a tour guide for someone else so there will be many an outing to museums, galleries, coffee shops, gigs, pubs, parks, theatres etc. There'll also be much gorging on cake, pastries, cheese, wine and all the food that Indonesia isn't really best at...ditching the motorbike for our good old reliable legs again is going to be much needed.

There are so many things that we've missed about Europe that I'm quite sure that we won't be bored for quite some time...but for now, let's enjoy what the rest of this island has to offer before we wave it goodbye.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Excerpt

Here's a piece from my unfinished collection that I've been working on, just to give you a taste; I've decided that there'll be prose in there as well as poems. This particular one doesn't have a title yet:

We walk into the bedroom in the dark and you stand amongst my wreck. Black hiding an undressed life and you wander into it as if you have seen it before, even though you don’t see it now, my gallery of posed questions and the paper meals that feed my hunger for answers. You make the room jump when you walk past the mirror. A quick stream of colour flashes back recognition of you more than it does me. And yet I still don’t reach for the light as you carry on going; maybe I’m waiting for you to intuite some more, perhaps show me what I’ve never been able to see.

Our conversation from back there out in the world didn’t follow us in and I’m not sure what to do with the silence. Perhaps it is better to contain it here in the dark; no makeshift words to construct in a space that is already too full. No prompted reactions expected, no critique or applause to await. In this obsidian box I could paint whatever you want, some stars perhaps? Or do you prefer just a navy sky and a clear prominent moon?

I hear you turn on your heel and this actress isn’t yet ready for the lights. She hasn’t rehearsed enough; she might wither before an eager face. I know you were pleased by what you saw at the preview, back there out in the world. I recognise the same smile that freed itself from your lips when I looked up from my glass. Only this time it is decorated with midnight and it looks ever the more beautiful.

Now that you don’t see me, what do you see? See with your heart, feel with your eyes. Peer into me while I’m in nothingness, because you have no present comparison for beauty.

I take one step and pause before the next, one foot teetering behind the other like my thoughts do; carefully laying themselves down. I’m nearly ready to expose you to it all, from young womanhood to present day; storyboards that don’t have endings, shards from dropped feelings never cleaned up. I’m close now because I sense you by your warmth and it changes the air between us.

And before I can tape together the words that would fit right here in this space, you find the switch because those lips that part ways for flattering smiles kiss mine suddenly in the light.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

In the Shadows

Every now and then I rediscover an appreciation for an art and then like a maniac I indulge in it for a condensed period of time and long to be able to create the same, but of course I can't do everything! I do however need to be constantly inspired seeing as though what I do involves a lot of imagination. I am incredibly visual and things not only stick better in my mind if I see them, but also I write from my photographic memory and it's the little details in each image that spur on a brand new idea.

Image from We Heart it
I once read in a very helpful book that when we write, we must write with our most honest voice and explore our 'shadow selves', the darker parts of ourselves. It is important to question and pick through what it is that makes us, us. Things have much bigger impact if they are somewhat curious or bizarre and for myself in particular, I admire things that are beautifully tragic, or tragically beautiful, however you wish to see it.

I've done a lot of this 'shadow self' thinking and I've often discussed with friends how we sometimes love to feel odd, different, a little dark (in a Tim Burton way) and sometimes even melancholic. I'm a sucker for putting on a sad song if I already feel sad, I'll wallow I admit - but how else can I describe that emotion if I don't explore it and really feel it?

Image from the movie Sleepy Hollow

But more to the point, dark things can be poetic and beautiful or at least on the surface, visually stimuating. I pick myself apart a lot, especially in this blog, if you hadn't noticed already!

I'm working on a collection of poems at the moment (amongst a tirade of other projects) and I promised myself I would write it with that voice, delivering the dark and the beautiful that rise up within like a serpent in those silent moments. Each poem will be set in 'darkness' or night time to be more accurate, with all its unsettling connotations as well as its magical ones.

My favourite show as a little girl wasn't My Little Pony but Knightmare and my favourite Roald Dahl story was The Witches. My favourite movies were films like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Lost Boys and at five years old my ears pricked up the first time I heard the song "Poison" by Alice Cooper. But of course, I don't just have a gothic's heart and managed to come into adulthood quite tame despite my querky interests as a child. I complimented them with the fluffier things in life like Disney, Sylvanian Families and Motown music (the rocker in me won the battle in the end) - the 'light' side of ourselves is just as important. 

So to make this blend work in a creative way, I sift through art until it strikes that chord and I think 'that's my style'...this week, two things have popped up: shadow theatre and ballet. I love shadow theatre and it's an art that I didn't really take heed of until I came across an amazing performance in Exeter. It was winter and it was late at night and on the side of the old town church, a dark fable was shown from a projector, the giant shadows twisted and danced upon this perfectly chosen building and I was enamoured. I unfortunately didn't get the name of that performance or the company that displayed it but I did find this shadow animation on YouTube which gives you the idea of shadow theatre if you've never paid attention to this sort of thing before. It's pretty and enchanting and I admire just how much work and creativity has to go into something like this.

video

The second thing that had me "ooh" and "ahhh" was Angelin Preljocaj's ballet interpretation of Snow White which showed last week at Saddler's Well Theatre in London. This darker, sexier version is something I really want to see and could be inspiring on so many levels. I'm absolutely gutted that I wasn't home to see it but I'm hoping it'll come back sometime in the not so distant future.

Snow White Ballet Performance


 “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

― Carl Jung