In the international and local contexts, 2017 has been extremely challenging, full of uncertainties. Closer to home, there have been dark times for many people who are dear to me. I am therefore extra grateful for all of my wonderful creative adventures this year. I share just a few in this post.
I have facilitated well over eighty creativity and creative writing workshops.
I recently began working as writer in residence in a local primary school, and am loving every moment.
I’ve been involved in an intercultural arts project, and in research into the impact of arts participation in prison.
I have continued to sing in Lisburn Harmony Ladies Choir, with all the benefits of making music with 60 wonderful women.
I have helped to organise 10 autism-friendly screenings @QFT, and enhanced my very limited knowledge about autism.
I have discovered new artists, authors and poets, and attended concerts, the opera and the theatre. I was blown away by Winnie Li’s powerful novel, Dark Chapter, a fictionalised account of how she was raped during a visit to Belfast. This novel preceded the Me Too# campaign, identifying many of the issues involved in breaking the silence.
I have visited some inspiring places this year, many of them on the West coast of Ireland. In the enigmatic spaces of Connemara, I felt a connection to one of my favourite writers, John O’Donohue.
The culmination of my creative year was the publication of my first poetry collection, Elements of Distance, by Lapwing Publications. The creation of this collection was supported by the Arts Council NI, and by a wonderful mentor, the poet Moyra Donaldson. I am looking forward to the official launch of this book early in 2018, and to more creative adventures.
Last night our local park was closed, the gates taped like a crime scene, and potential visitors warned of the violent storm that was imminent. I lay in bed and listened to the symphonic winds, welcoming their energy and hoping that they were blowing away the negativity of 2017. Happy New Year, all.