@lagannavigator – 2019/20 #WaterwaysStorymakingFestival #Free #CreativeWritingWorkshops #Waterstones #Belfast #Lisburn #EastsideVisitorCentre #IamWriting

Following two incredibly successful editions, the Waterways Storymaking Festival No. 3 is in full flow and receiving submissions. If you’d like a little prompt for your inspiration why not avail of three FREE public workshops.

  1. Waterways Storymaking Festival Free Creative Workshop, 10 October, 2-3.30pm, Waterstone’s Belfast, 44-46 Fountain Street, Belfast with fab facilitator Lynda Tavakoli. Register to attend register to attend by contacting heather@thewaterwayscommunity.org or calling 028 9266 3232.
  2. Waterways Storymaking Festival Free Creative Workshop, 17 October, 2-3.30pm, Waterstone’s, 30 Bow Street, Lisburn  with fab facilitator Lynda Tavakoli. Register to attend register to attend by contacting heather@thewaterwayscommunity.org or calling 028 9266 3232.
  3. Waterways Storymaking Festival Free Creative Workshop, 23 October, 6.30-8.30pm, Eastside Visitor Centre, 402 Newtownards Road, Belfast with me, facilitator Olive Broderick . Register to attend register to attend by contacting heather@thewaterwayscommunity.org or calling 028 9266 3232.

Hope to see you!

WATERWAYS STORYMAKING FESTIVAL 2019/2020 Submission Guidance

Fabulous and growing response to this now annual homage to people’s connection with waterways. Here are the details of this year’s call.

Do you have a story, memory or link with the River Lagan?

The Waterways Community is inviting people who are interested in the rich heritage of rivers, canals and waterways and we aim to encourage people to record their memories and to create new stories and visual memories of their waterway.

With a theme this year of ‘Altogether Now’ we hope to inspire people to reminisce and record their memories of a waterway that is special to them. We aim to connect people through sharing their stories and memories of the waterways.

Calling out to individuals, community groups and schools to take part in the Festival. Categories are entered on a competitive basis and are designed to be accessible to everyone irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or ability. Specialist facilitators encourage and develop skills and capture memories, this makes our Festival exciting, it allows everyone to express their creativity celebrating waterways past and present.

Workshops will run from August 2019 to end October 2019. Open session workshops will be held at Waterstones in Lisburn and Belfast (see above)

All stories and poems submitted will be collected and published in an anthology of works following the festival. Prizes will be awarded at our awards event in Craigavon Civic Centre on Saturday 1st October 2020.

The categories for the competition are:

  • Age 11 and Under

  • Age 12-17

  • Age 18 and Over

Stories should be no more than 500 words and poems should be no more than 30 lines.

Deadline for submission is Thursday 31st October 2019 at 5pm.

Submissions should be emailed to storymaking@thewaterwayscommunity.org

Submissions By Post
If you are unable to submit a piece of creative writing as part of the Waterways Storymaking Festival online via email, we are happy to accept hand delivered or postal entries to 148 Hillsborough Road, Lisburn, BT27 5QY.
Entries must have contact details and age category.

SOME ONLINE INSPIRATION?

A small number of readings and resources to spark your imagination.

Jo Bell ‘Lighter’ – commissioned for the 250th Anniversary of the Lagan Navigation.

‘The Lagan Canal’ by Harry O’Rawe – we follow in the footsteps of May Blair and her work of gathering stories collected in her publication ‘Once Upon a Lagan’. How important it is to record the communities connections – Lagan and Linen – before they slip away out of current memory.

Find out more about the Lagan Navigation on the Lagan Navigation Trust’s website.

72 Seasons: Tristichs 21-30 April #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!” Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons

For Poetry Month 2019, 1-30 April, I have been creating a daily three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. I haven’t been quite as disciplined as in previous years, letting a few days lapse at a time. I am remembering that my grandfather kept a diary where he entered fragments of facts of the day – amount of seed ordered, a visit, a doctor’s appointment. I always wondered about keeping a diary with such spare wordage coupled with a consistency of updating. I have found the process very anchoring – enough that I might continue it for my own pleasure. There is a real, but easily forgotten, wonder in playing a day-to-day life part in the earth’s turning – and the continual joy of feeding! The final 10 below. The previous two lots of ten are also on the blog.

21.04.2019

‘new ruins’ on display at the Abbey

lonesome hoot of a reclaimed CIE train

memories of the level crossing at Buttevant

22.04.2019 (Earth Day)

not wasting things that might-not-come-again

moveable feasts and coinciding celebrations

the last of the stash of easter chocolate

23.04.2019

freckles on fresh eggs shells

chilli jam

seeded wholemeal bread

24.04.2019

wednesday: the working week

wondering about the truth of weather forecasts

the usefulness of sodium bicarb for brown bins.

25.04.2019

a windy day is not a day for thatching

april is not a month for hay-making

being a hoarder is not without advantages

26.04.2019

middle parts are mandatory

at times neither memorable nor noteworthy

friday is not the end of everyone’s work week

27.04.2019

another 10 year milestone

food and friendship are the best of company

relief of boarding a double-decker bus

28.04.2019

middling news from home

comfort of clearing out old stuff

wild garlic pesto, locally foraged, is a gift

29.04.2019

wildflowers

a patch of daisies that escaped the cut

dandelions half blossom, half clock

30.04.2019

last day of April

nothing unusual about rain

always, nonetheless, a little extra to the ordinary

72 Seasons: Tristichs 11-20 April #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!” Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons

For Poetry Month 2019, 1-30 April, I have been creating a daily three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. Unlike other years, I am using the older proponents of haiku as my mentors with their focus on close observation and their trust in the moment-as-it-is and with an emphasis (though not strictly observed in my case) on the natural world. A nod here too, as always, to the go-between that is Imagism. Find the middle 10 below.

11.04.2019

talking about art

artificial air

a real fear of falling

12.04.2019

scent-notes non-blending

garlic sweat and aftershave

blocked sewer and sweet magnolia

13.04.2019 – Castle Ward

first bluebells

a dandelion clock poised for take-off

animal scat mostly composed of seeds

14.04.2019

last sunday of advent

adding lemon juice to warmed fresh milk

curdled milk to baking soda

15.04.2019

high wind

sirens

a recorded version of Fauré’s Requiem

16.04.2019

a day for looking forward

weather forecast – good and bad in it –

making lists

17.04.2019

new takes on old recipes

top-hat types: hen-shaped mallow and candy eggs

frozen berries with experimental crumble

18.04.2019

this walk by the river is called Jane’s Shore

I don’t know who Jane is

the hollow stump seems to have become hollower.

19.04.2019

hot cross buns

gluten-free crumpets

everything is improved by melting butter

20.04.2019

im Lyra McKee

holiday saturday, spring sun on a bluebell path

and were you there? did you see which hands held the gun

that, just last night, took the life of this sacred woman?

72 Seasons: Tristichs 1-10 April #NaPoWriMo 2019 – #lettersfromladyn

“At first their names too were borrowed from the Chinese, meaning that they did not always conform to the vagaries of our local climate. Eventually, in 1685, the court astronomer Shibukawa Shunkai revised them and in their present form they now serve to illustrate a natural, poetic pilgrimage through the ever-changing landscape of the Japanese year!” Read more: https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/05/the-poetry-and-precision-of-japans-72-microseasons

Happy Poetry Month and hoping this finds you well! From 1-30 April, my plan-of-action is to create a three-line piece on the theme ’72 Seasons: Three Lines that are True’. Unlike other years, I am using the older proponents of haiku as my mentors with their focus on close observation and their trust in the moment-as-it-is and with an emphasis (though not strictly observed in my case) on the natural world. A nod here too, as always, to the go-between that is Imagism. Find the first 10 below.


01.04.2019

a shade above third of the standard size –

narcissi and

makeshift vase.

02.04.2019

unremitting, three-part-call.

unseen collared dove

unkempt backyard.

03.04.2019

Steeped in luck”

the long dry spell is over – mammatus clouds,

as seen in photos, over the Copper Coast and Teconnaught.

the slow dragging éisssst of tyres over surface water.

04.04.2019

a Thursday

sun, rain, gale, storm

a sense, you could say, of there being time for things

05.04.2019

all the furnishing has been lovingly chosen

nothing inpires

only the houseplants radiate light

06.04.2019

Mournes hidden in a heat haze

behind the Cathedral, gravestone carvings

‘good’ and ‘love’

07.04.2019

enough funds

at this rate

today

08.04.2019

yesterday now

nothing substantial

planning the next adventure

09.04.2019

sting to the bright day

a new skill mastered

joy of an easy-to-cut turnip

10.04.2019

(found)

only identified by her last name He

4 bees lived in a woman’s eye and fed on her tears

she was cleaning a relative’s grave when they got in

– Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/10/doctors-discover-four-live-bees-feeding-on-tears-inside-womans-eye

The Power of Words – marking #HolocaustMemorialDay 2018

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“I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me. When I write I can shake off all my cares; my sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!

Anne Frank, written in her diary, 5 April 1944.

I read Anne Frank’s diary at about the same age as she would have been writing it. I knew about the Holocaust at that stage and when my father gave this book to me to read  I suppose it was that dimension of it that he was thinking. I, however, became totally immersed in this girl’s story, her family, and her wish to become a writer that I forgot the bigger picture of this kindred spirit’s one, incredibly significant, publication.

I remember arriving at the back page, the epilogue of sorts, and reading about what happened to her with such disbelief and heartbreak. I thought that such writing would make my friend-across-time immune to such an end. But it didn’t. The vibrant girl in the Amsterdam annex has stayed with me.

Just one voice. How it’s been a witness for not just her or her family but to an atrocity – an abuse of human rights – the scale of which I cannot imagine.

I worked in my twenties to build up a small specialist library on the subject of equality (and discrimination) in third level institutions. I read a lot, between the cataloguing of them and setting them on the shelf, of books dedicated to defining and removing the processes of discrimination between classes and types of people. I learned how words can be dropped in to drive a wedge between ‘them’ and ‘us’ and where that leads.

My professional path through life, also brought me a series of lectures, as a student of marketing, on propaganda, this precursor to our ‘post-truth’ era. – the reality of it – the attempt to establish some kind of ‘good’ line between what it is and what actions it produces and words generated to tempt people to buy goods and services.

Words. Words before action. The power of words to influence action. Words that can be used for good or for evil – as this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day literature reminds us.

I set the intention always now – no matter what I am writing – from poems to advertisting copy – that good, safe and life-affirming outcomes may follow on from my words.

The Power of Words – Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place annually on the 27 January – the aniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. It marks not only the Holocaust but is a day to remember the millions of people murdered in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. It is a chance to honour the survivors, and to work to challenge hatred and create a safer, better future.

It is a privilege to be involved on this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day Programme with its ‘Power of Words’ theme.

AFTERWORD: Thanks to all who took part in both events. I very much appreciate you being there, and the energy that you brought to the events.

Creative Writing Workshop (Down County Museum, 27 January 2018, 10am-1pm, FREE).

This poetry writing workshop will give participants the chance to create pieces exploring the theme. I’m looking forward to meeting the participants tomorrow. If your eye falls across this before the end of today and you’d like to be involved. There are some places – contact: 028 4461 5218

‘Power of Words’ Poems on a Sunday Afternoon (Down Arts Centre, 28 January, 2.30-4.30pm, FREE)

Participants from the workshop are inited to share the work from this event at a special Holocaust Memorial Day ‘Poems on a Sunday Afternoon’ happening at Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, on Sunday 27 January, 2.30-430pm. This will form the normal ‘feature’ segment of the afternoon.

As always, all who attend are invited to share work – their own or, a favourite (or a mix) – that celebrates the words in all it’s forms and in this case the power of words.

Booking isn’t required. Looking forward to meeting at either or both events all being well.

Do check out the full Holocaust Memorial Trust programme in Northern Ireland, there are some very thought-provoking events, that engage beautifully with the theme, happening this couple of weeks: http://www.hmd.org.uk/events/find/Northern%20Ireland?page=1

I want to thank particulary Shirley from the Trust in Northern Ireland for her support of this event’s programme.

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Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing 2018 – #SHANW18 – deadline approaching

Hard to believe the anthology is in its 17th year. I was fortunate to work with a wonderful Bangor group in November as part of this initiative.

Anyone living in Northern Ireland is eligible to make a submission for the anthology and the deadline is Friday, 15 Dec 2017, 9am sharp (so I’m thinking it’s a Thursday deadline with an all-nighter factored in).

The anthologies are always an excellent selection of new writing (whether the poets are newly writing or longer on the road). The winner of the Seamus Heaney Award is then selected from the poems that appear in the anthology.

This initiative is co-ordinated through the LaVA programme at Community Arts Partnership and all the details can be found on their website HERE.

 

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“Where my River Flows” – @lagannavigator deadline extended to 5 December

Ormeau Bridge in late 2001 was the first time I was aware of being in the presence of the Lagan River.

6tag_071117-135743This autumn, I’ve had the privilege of working with a range of groups exploring and writing about connections, memories, links to the Lagan River – or other rivers that people have connections with. I’ve learned there is much more to Lagan River than I had previously imagined.

I would like to say a huge word of thanks to all who worked with me and shared so creatively their insights, experiences, recollections and links to this mightly amenity that flows on regardless – and touches the lives of so many, connecting place to place, and also connecting generations and ways of life – disappearing and approaching.

E-book Submission Reminder and Extended Deadine Confirmation

These workshops are part of a call out from Lagan Navigation Trust as part of their first Storymaking Festival to everyone for submissions to an e-book which will showcase the river through the eyes of those who know it best and those who live in the communities close to it.

Some updates

  • Lagan Navigation Trust have let me know that while they have had a good response to their call, they have room for plenty more so they have extended the deadline until the 5 December.
  • They are also accepting pieces on the more general theme of ‘Where my River Flows’ (for those whom the Lagan is not their river).
  • They have let me know that they are allocating some prizes to be chosen from those who submit, as well as possibility of having you piece selected as part of a video (generously supported by the Community Arts Partnership) see next:
  • Linked to the video creation, if there are any budding filmakers, they also have a limited number of places available for workshops with an experienced cameraman and filmaker who will work with a small group to create a short film based on poems and stories about the Lagan. This would be happening between now and the middle of January and you will have the opportunity to storyboard the video, learn to use the equipment and go out and film with the guidance of the facilitator. The film would be aired at the storymaking event in February at the Lagan Valley Island Centre. To book a place contact maire@lagannavigationtrust.org

You will find all the details, guidelines and online submission on the Lagan Navigation Trust Website.

Lagan Navigation Trust Storymaking Festival

The Festival will close with a celebratory event, as part of National Storytelling Week, with awards being given for selected stories in each age category. The event will be held on Friday 2nd February 2018 at the Island Hall, Lagan Valley Civic Centre, Lisburn.