Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If not me, who?

Emma Watson in her recent speech to the UN - "If not me, who?If not now, when?"

What an incredible call to action and resolve from this remarkable young woman. Yesterday I listened to another young woman tell of her belief that if she has a baby it will be the death of her career. Not only that, but she would be 'letting down' all the colleagues and mentors who support her career and have invested in her.
She and the women in the room accepted this as fact.

Women are so manipulated by their desire to be competent, to 'do the right thing', to 'play nice' that they do not see power and choices, only compromises. That the value, possibilities for success and ambitions of a woman decreases when they have children is true, but that it has to be this way, is an utter lie.

I am tired of holding back, of 'playing nice' of being more concerned about appearing too aggressive, too forthright, even 'unattractive' and so reverting to holding my tongue and being meek.

I could claim my power and choose my life.

Why not?


Women suffer from their own limiting beliefs as much as by socially imposed limits. We are excellent at 'playing the game'. That 'feminism' is a negative even shameful word, is testament to that. As is the disgraceful fact that men and women in the media now actively seek to undermine her words and cause by sexualising and exposing Emma Watson

We buy the magazines.
We watch the shows and the films.
We worship celebrity.
We talk about 'thigh gap'. (What man in the world gives a rats ass about 'thigh gap')
We accept and condone the proliferation of pornography.
We accept the conventions of beauty and worthiness.
We self hate.
We fear making ourselves too big.
We apologise.
We bring each other down.
We let our daughters do the same.

I have done it all.


But we don't have to.
As citizens of the developed world we have more power than we realise.

In the west, women have gained so much. But we hold ourselves back.
We do not have to subscribe to a masculine paradigm of beauty/work/wealth=success.
We have choices.
We can influence.

Imagine a society where parenting, community, love, expression, age, care, children, art, culture, individualism and connection were valued as much as sexiness and the size of your pay check?

We can take up space.
The acceptance of limitations and polite apologies for speaking up and expressing opinion can stop.
We don't have to play that way.

This needs to happen.
For the millions of girls to be married as children.
For the millions of girls who are denied basic education.
For the millions of girls in our own countries who see no future, only welfare and abuse.
For the young men who take their own lives rather than express what they see as weakness.


We can stand firm in our own shoes.
We can hold back the polite apology.
We can refuse to be limited.

Hold each other up, men and women together.
'Be bloody, bold and resolute.'

If not us, who?
If not now, when?


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Why I write



Why I Write

I write to amuse myself, to see what comes out or, as someone famous once said, 'to find out what I am really thinking'. To be quite honest, I think my thoughts are better on paper. Words stumble and fumble out of me and I lower my eyes and send out unspoken apologies when I try and speak. Writing is clearer, more strident, more ... what I really think.

I write because if I don't write I become dark and mean and bitter and twisted and frustrated and I froth at the mouth and spit fire.

I write because it puts what's inside of me on the outside of me.
Its sweet relief and gentle progress. Word therapy.

I write because I am shite at drawing and painting.
Because words are the way I paint pictures.
Words are the bomb.
Words are bombs.

Writing leaves a mark. Good writing leaves an indelible mark.
To write a picture that another person can look at and say 'Hey, hang on ... that's me!'  - now thats something.

How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

I am not sure what genre I fall into? As a blog writer I think my writing is different as it aims only to share a moment with the reader. More forthright blogs that teach or tell or have themes can be so fantastic, but my blog writing does not seek to teach or instruct in any way. I am just sharing thoughts and ideas as they come in a stream of consciousness. My only agenda is the desire to connect.


Why do I write what I do?
Last year I lost my father and I couldn't stop myself from writing about that. Its not easy to read other people's difficult emotions, I know that. But after one of my posts a woman wrote this to me "I lost my husband suddenly, inexplicably, almost six months ago. Your beautiful words here sum up exactly how I feel. Thank you." 

A few short months earlier my beloved aunt died and I couldn't stop myself writing about that. My cousins read my blog post as my aunt's eulogy. 

I wrote two posts years ago - one about restlessness and the other about presence and they struck a chord with other women. 

Thats why I write what I do. In the hope that what I express touches and connects me to someone else. That the story I am writing is not just my story and that what I write could mean something to someone I have never even met. 


What am I working on?
Today I started work on a novel - a story for young girls. In ten months time I will have a first draft in my hands. 

I write for my luthier at www.philipsmithluthier.com

I have joined a Writing group and now I call myself a 'writer', just in case its true.

And  I have invited a friend to work with me to turn this piece  into something. She has agreed to help me create a book from it, agreed to turn the words into actual pictures and I will watch her in awe.



How does your writing process work?

A recent course called "Unlocking Creativity"  taught me the discipline of short, timed bursts of writing to themes. No time to edit or proof as you go. Silence that inner critic and "Just get it out, baby, get it all out!". This process taught me a LOT.


Did you ever watch the Elizabeth Gilbert TED talk where she describes the Greek concept of the muse and the Roman concept of 'genius' as a being or force separate from yourself? A force that inspires and generates the work of writers and artists? Where the inspiration works through you and is not of you? I get that. 

When I write blog posts I lie sequestered in my bed - (my favourite place in all the world) with my scruffy dog curled up like a hairy doughnut nearby.  I look out of the window, through the magnolia tree with its fairy flowers or its barren stalks and  up to that sweet little nest at its top.  I take in a great big breathe then I write ... whatever. I have been known to type a whole post on that ridiculously small keyboard on my phone. Being alone and writing relatively uninterrupted, in our tiny Smith house bursting with five people and a dog, is the most lavish luxury I have. I dream of a study, one's very own room, just like Virginia, but until then ...




This post has been written as part of a 'blog hop'. Bloggers all over the interwebs have written posts about why they write.  Thanks to Deb at Sew Craft Goodness for inviting me to participate. Part of the hop is to invite two more bloggers to participate, but I think all the bloggers I know have already been a part of it.But,if you would like to post on why you write, please leave a message in the comments and I will link you here with a photo and a bio! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Me and Ken Burns







The luthier made a truly stunning thing - a baroque instrument, a viola da gamba. He diligently took photographs of the entire process from the rough bits of wood to final completed instrument. I gathered up the shots and made a wee film of it with iMovie. It was a fantastic process. I didn't really know what I was doing, but nutting out how to crop shots and drop in music and lengthen clips and zoom and all was really fun.  Jane Campion, eat your heart out! Well, maybe not quite yet.


What the luthier does never fails to astound me. His work is superb and sculptural and fine. This instrument, with its beautiful Baroque quirks, caught my heart. The size (smaller than a cello), shape (flat backed with sharp edges) and its extraordinary range (7-gut strings of sound, - and when they say gut, they do mean gut) and its unique, sweet feur de lys embellishment, handpainted with love by the luthier, all came together to make an incredible objet d'art. 


So, if you would like to see how to make a viol in 4 and a half minutes, please do watch this little film, cropped and edited with love by moi. 


iMovie. So good!

I do just have one question though. Why do they call that zoom-y, croppy effect "Ken Burns"? Who is this Ken Burns? Anyone?

I obviously have no idea, but his natty, zoom-y effects are quite jazzy. Thanks Ken!