Wed, 11 Aug: If you’re new to writing, if you’ve not done any in a while, if you write all the time —
If you feel unsure in woods, comfortable in wild places, or somewhere inbetween —
You’re so welcome to explore nature writing online wherever you are. Join us on Wed, 11 Aug, 7pm BST!
I’ve been writing about writing, trees and stuff every week for I don’t know how many months. As well as sharing what I’ve been watching, mostly comedy.
This week I’ve added a section about relaxing too. And I’m expanding what I’ve been watching to ‘media’ more broadly.
Looking forward to all the ways I explore relaxing & reading in future. ✨
Table of Contents
Receiving pleasure and joy
After a week, or more, of intensive focus, I need a few hours — or, half a day — to remember how to relax and unwind. But when I do remember, I do it exceptionally well.
Drawing and painting
A week ago, I spent Sunday watching Hindi (and Danish) films. This time, I’ve been reading, drawing and painting. Pretty delightful.
I had a lovely online hangout with a friend who’s holidaying somewhere sunny and hot right now, so I got to experience that vicariously. And I saw a friend in person whom I’ve not seen in nearly two years too. So, that was lovely.
Reading nature writing
I loved chillaxing with the essay ‘Shifting Baselines’ by Callum Roberts in Granta #153: Second Nature. So much of it resonated with me. There were lines where I was bouncing about excitedly. Because some things have been fuzzily colliding in my brain and then suddenly they’re clearly expressed on a page, beautifully. Enjoyed it so much that I wrote my own essay in response to it. Just for fun on a Sunday morning, because why not?
as the boot of human progress presses ever harder upon the earth‘Shifting Baselines’ by Callum Roberts, love the Orwellian metaphor of this
Exploring & enjoying Granta online
- Granta 150: There Must Be Ways to Organise the World with Language – Winter 2020
- Granta 133: What Have We Done – Autumn 2015, with online edition
- Granta 131: The Map Is Not the Territory – Spring 2015
- Granta 102: The New Nature Writing – Summer 2008
- Subject+Object, an essay by Seamus Heaney
- Online: African Renaissance, an essay by Nelson Mandela
I was at an intensive writing course with Arvon this week, and it was brilliant. Some tweets about it below.
I love my process and I can play more!
Here are some of the pivots I’ve made and what I’m exploring now. So much richness to sit with and get deeper into.
- Playing with different forms in my writing
- Reading more: I made a list of collections and poets to read. I started reading poems after Writers’ Hours, and writing about some of them in my weeknotes, so I’m excited about that new habit.
- Experimenting with how I generate poetry
- More writing from, and into, 1) artwork, 2) music, 3) my own poems, 4) other people’s poems in collaboration
- Exploring visual arts and music: Did a lot of drawing & some painting, signed up for drawing classes & an art history course, and got advice about learning cello online. Loving this, so generative and fun.
During the week I said, ‘I write slowly’. Later in the week I thought, I’ve been writing fast this week, faster than ever before. So, I reject that previous assertion. I throw off that identify, born anew I say:
I used to think I need to take a long time for drafting and redrafting. Yes, I will put stuff aside and let it marinate, let it sit & soak up the flavours, let it develop. Sure, yes, that’s still true. And, also, whilst it’s doing that, I will keep writing, and fast!
Areas for development
- Intentionality of my spacing and punctuation (continuing to play with forms)
- Exploring more the themes and sub-themes of my writing
- Considering getting a mentor
Writers’ Hours – yay!
I continued to participate in Writers’ Hour every day, even though:
My brain has been feverish with workshopping. The intensity of growing. Muscles snap, bones stretch. Thinking in poems. I already did that but now I can't stop.
Crafting your collection at Arvon, with Nii Ayikwei Parkes & Rachael Allen
Drawing & painting
I got myself some new art materials to explore with different media, and it’s so fun!
Wow, I don’t think I did anything tree-related this week, whoa!
Sylvia Legris: The Garden Body: A Florilegium
…and a few other poems I enjoyed this week
- ‘Tonight, in Oakland’ by Danez Smith. You can listen to it, after hearing Danez talk about it a little first.
- ‘The Farm’ by Joyce Sutphen — audio & text — via audio poem of the day
- ‘The End Game of Bloom’ by Deborah Landau
- ‘I Thought a Tree Dying’ by Sandra Doller — audio & text
W. B. Yeats: He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
Yomi Ṣode, Roger Robinson & Caleb Femi on poetry and music
Power Lines: Music: Yomi Ṣode, Roger Robinson and Caleb Femi on Radio 4 talking about poetry and music. Joined by Chi-chi Nwanoku founder of Chineke! Orchestra.
Run-diomhair Cheanannais (The Secret of Kells) – Irish – saw this by chance on the BBC’s website. It’s about books, drawing and magic, loved it.