Collaboration & Community: Artists & Writers

I was delighted to be asked to participate in preparatory creative writing workshops with Clogh Writers as part of their collaborative project Handling Fossils with visual artist Sarah Lincoln (Sarah, pictured, right below with writer Jane Meally).

At a mesmerising event last night, guests were treated to visual interpretations  of the land around north Kilkenny by way of a mixture of Sarah’s still photography and film and invited to digest poetry and prose written and read aloud by Clogh Writers group.

We were brought into the magical world of fossils – underfoot, embedded in the landscape and yet not always visible – and wonder.

The readings were interspersed by exciting visuals which asked rather than answered questions about how we view and engage with our past – and the land around us.

In particular, Willie-Joe Meally’s recital of his poetry powerfully echoed the beauty of the accompanying pamphlet which featured one of Sarah’s arresting images of him holding a piece of coal. (see picture at top of the page)

After the presentation of Handling Fossils I made my way to the back of the community hall where guests were invited to handle some of the tools used to mine coal and find fossils, and, even more interesting, examine some of the fossils.

Collaboration between communities and across landscapes bring exciting creative results – and last night’s celebratory event in Clogh Community Hall in Kilkenny was certainly testament to that.

Connect with Sarah Lincoln and her work by taking a look at her website.

Community Writer-In-Residence: Celebrating Creativity

What a great day yesterday on International Women’s Day where we marked the end of my Community Writer-in-Residence post at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

We listened to some wonderful women read their writing aloud, we discussed the themes, the experience of being in a liminal space and allowing oneself to be open to the joys and frustrations of creative processes.

We celebrated creativity, and giving voice.

Here’s to keeping precious that space to express and give voice, and cherish our creative selves.

Thanks goes to Dublin City Council for funding three Writer-in-Residence posts in the community – the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (with myself), Pavee Point (with writer Lisa Harding) and the Dublin Adult Learning Centre (with writer Nessa O’Mahony)  – all in conjunction with the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Wisdom in the Old of yesterday; Lessons for the Young of today

I’ve recently returned to an old hobby of mine: actively looking for rare books on topics of interest, and savouring them like you would a delicious slice of exuberant cake.

This week’s find is a beautiful 1948 edition of How Long the Night by Lina Haag.

I’ve just finished the harrowing tale and am conscious of the shivers that run through me as I turn each page. We hear of human beings who are towers of strength to Lina; human beings who lose heart, but ‘break faith, never.’

I might be fetched at any moment for interrogation.

I experience a physical reaction to the story not only because of the truth in this tale but because of the repetition of stories and struggles – similar, thought not the same – that I hear every time I turn on the news.