It’s been an inspiring few months. Writing has helped me to heal and find my voice, and I love helping others do the same. I’m really enjoying my time as the Irish Writers Centre Writer In Residence with Womens Aid. The work coming out is heart-warming and eye opening.
I was delighted to be part of the second curation of the Poetry Jukebox, alongside Maria McManus. There are many powerful poems on here looking both directly and indirectly at the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Have a listen outside the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. This curation runs until 10th June.
I’ve really enjoyed some mini residencies with schools in the north as part of Poetry Ireland’s Writers In Schools scheme. I was moved to tears by some beautiful feedback from one school where every pupil sent me a personal note. One said she always thought poetry was boring but now she knows it is beautiful. Another said she’s now keeping a poetry notebook and writes in it every day.
I’m looking forward to the next few months when I’ll be working with people who have eating disorders. I love helping people to find their voice again.
I’ll also be running another Heartfelt Writing Weekend. Here’s a lovely comment from a previous weekend: “This was the first workshop where I was ‘given permission’ to be myself, to write from my spirit – my heartbeat. I feel free.”
It’s a real joy to see some of my mentoring clients getting published and being shortlisted for awards.
And I’m working away on a new sequence of poems, thanks to a SIAP Award from the Arts Council. Here’s hoping the rest of 2018 is just as inspirational.
I had a fantastic night reading at Muldoon’s Picnic alongside Paul Muldoon, the Horslips, Maria McManus, Martina Devlin, Peter McVeigh, Stuart Neville, Ann Enright and Michael Longley. It was one of the many great events as part of the inaugural John O’Connor Writing School in Armagh.
This was the first time Paul Muldoon hosted one of his famous ‘picnics’ outside of New York. It was wonderful to be a part of it.
As writers we have a voice. As writers we have the power to be an illuminating, dissenting voice that invites others to think differently and freely.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” From Propaganda by Edward Bernay.
I’m really enjoying facilitating workshops for Big Telly’s Wishing Trees project. We’re collecting the thoughts, wishes, memories and dreams of people in the Coleraine area, and writing these on red ribbons which will be tied to trees on either side of the Old Bridge in Coleraine on 17th February.
It’s really interesting that although you can only write a short sentence on the ribbon, you still need to be aware of all the aspects of good writing –be specific, use the 5 senses to create a vivid picture and write from the heart so the end result will move people.
If you see me walking around Coleraine in my Big Telly fleece, come up and say hello.
I’m having a great time running writing workshops with the over 50’s for Big Telly Theatre Company. The stories and life experiences they’re sharing are amazing. It’s reminded me of the importance of seeing the richness in your own life when writing. What may seem everyday to you can provide an amazing insight to someone else. Never underestimate your experiences or your view of the world when you’re writing.