Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On Commitment... And Being a Polygamist.

Marriage is the stupidest, craziest, most sensible, soul opening, frustrating, enlightening, heart opening thing I've ever done.

Hands down.

I doubt it. I doubt myself. Many times.

But because I've made a commitment I have to show up every day. Whether all is plain sailing. Or rather shitty.

And as a child of divorce commitment is the thing in the world that most scares me. Because I know there are no guarantees. No happily ever after.

Sometimes I think I should be committed... in the other sort of way.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Donut Man

My mother emailed me last weekend to tell me the donut man had died.

He was only 53. Just dropped dead.

I only met him a handful of times. All in the short exchange of buying fresh hot donuts. A profession which would naturally endear anyone to me. And I still feel sad that I will never see him again.

Last time I was over in the UK, one of our first stops was the donut man. To introduce my children and tell him how often I reminiced about his donuts with them.

He was a kind man. A caring man. Someone who appeared to do what he loved, with what he had, where he was.

He made great donuts. The best I'd ever eaten. And served them with love. I always felt great having interacted with him. He cared about his customers, what he made... and did it for at least 15 years. He was a part of the high street.

It's rare in this world to come across people who love what they do. Who do it whole heartedly.

We have a man who runs the petrol pumps near us. In his 70s I'd guess. I go away from our interactions with a full tank of petrol. And a full heart. He calls me lovey, and always has a smile and a kind word.

Doing what you do wholeheartedly. Whatever your chosen work.

It fills me up.

I remember you fondly, donut man... your kindness, and your delicious donuts will be missed by many, many more than me, I know. Bless you.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Swimming with Sharks

She sat in the boat. Soaking wet. Hair tousseled. Trying to talk to camera. Her voice starts to shake. Tears welling up.

I realise now I don't need to be scared of the sharks.

They're just getting on with their lives, doing what sharks do. I was always terrified that'd they'd hurt me, eat me. But when I got in the water they were curious. But they had no interest in hurting me.

All my life I've been so close to sharks but never dared to get in with them. I was scared for my life.

But I just did. And it was Ok.

It was exhilarating.

It was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. But it was so worth it.

And I know that I don't need to be scared of them any more.

This is all true. Something my kids were just watching on TV.

But it's a mighty fine parable for us about fears. Creative fears. Fears of speaking out. Of swimming with sharks...

Prepare... and dive in. Your fears will not consume you.

As I have found again and again...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gatekeepers at the Creative Portal

Have you ever seen a sheelanagig?

These carved female figurines stood as guardians, carved over the thresholds of medieval church doorways in Celtic lands. Hand on their vulvas, holding them open, drawing our focus to the opening... 

They are the strangest discrepancy in a world that is hell bent on covering our womanhood.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Creativity is a cunt

"Whenever a taboo is broken, something good happens, something vitalizing."
~ Henry Miller

I did warn you we were going to be talking sex... and this isn't even the post I had planned...

Cunt... it's been a bad word for too long.

So when I say creativity is a cunt... you may hear "creativity is a bastard, it's hard and mean and out to make your life a misery"...

And that's the way our culture sees it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OK, sex it is so

Listen there's something I've been holding back...

For a long time now...

And for good reason.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Feminist, pagan, self-help, New Age, hippy...

These are some of the words that come up as people try to define my books...

And I always feel a little weird about them... cos none of them really fit.

Sure part of this is the creative ego yearning to be considered unique... but there is more...

When you write a book... or go about your life... you don't tend to spend too much time trying to fit yourself into categories... specially when you're not into dogma or clubs or labels by nature.

You just do your thing... and it all makes perfect sense. Because you're just being you... in fact you kind of presume that the rest of the world deep down thinks the same way... they've just developed a few strange surface layers which need peeling off before they get down to it.

Then the time comes when you have to try to use pre-existing labels in order to categorise yourself ... and your work... you know, when you do that thing called publishing a book.... or redesigning a website....if you don't no one will ever find you...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Clearing

Every so often I feel the clutter in our house build up to screaming point... or suffocation.

When I have been preoccupied with big creative projects, I don't have the energy or headspace to do anything other than get meals in front of people, keep the mountain of dishes from toppling and burying us alive, and making sure that homework gets done most nights.

But the clutter builds and grows.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life-changing, paradigm-shifting books by women, for women.

The industry says there’s no money in publishing. They talk about the death of books.

A visit to the London Book Fair tells a very different story.

There is PLENTY of money there. With a couple of thousand stands. Each manned by 2-20 publishers, editors and agents. Suited and booted to the nines. Talking with calculators in hand. Hunched over desks making hushed deals. There is plenty of money changing hands… what they mean is there isn’t much money for authors. All the money is being spent on staff. And offices. And glossy brochures. And dinners. And printing pretty books. And erecting huge stands. And lots of over fed middle aged white men and ladies with very expensive hair. That is where the money is. Not in the pockets of those who created the work. Who were having to grovel to get a place at a table to talk to a powerful editor.

As an author I can’t tell you how wrong this felt. Intentionally intimidating and phony. Corporate yuck.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cherry Blossom Picnic

This weekend saw our annual much-anticipated family celebration of spring, adopted from our soul- heartland Kyoto, Japan: o-hanami, the cherry blossom picnic. We have really made it our own at this stage - we are now on our third one.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Myth of Happy Families - Why it Just Can't Work... and How You're Doing Just Fine

How's your day?

Chances are you're tired. Or beating yourself up at getting cross with a child. Or have just had to break up a fight. Or are hiding on the internet just to get five minutes peace.

Or perhaps you are feeling very chuffed because for the last half an hour everything has gone perfectly. You are, for the moment anyway, living the dream. You ARE the perfect parent.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creative Integration... what happens when you decide to stop hiding and claim your whole self.

Thanks for all the feedback on Facebook and by email about my mega freak out yesterday.

I walked in the door and announced to Mr DA that I'd just had a freak out.

"I know" he says " I read it on Facebook."

Ah, yes, Facebook is public! But always good to know one's husband follows one's ramblings.

"But I'm freaking out"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A New Name?

As you can see I have just put up the new blog header to try it on... but something is stirring in me ... the powerful need to combine the content and approach of The Happy Womb with Dreaming Aloud... rather than having my split personality over two blogs  - so the focus will be on nurturing, supporting and empowering women's self expression and embodied creativity... This is where my uniqueness as a writer and teacher lie. And it's where the power is in my voice... and the insight I have to share.

The initial purpose of the redesign was to cut down to one blog... but that was going to be by dropping The Happy Womb and becoming a more mainstream creativity blog. But actually the women's work COMBINED with creativity is absolutely where my soul is.

Dreaming is not where it's at right now in my life I feel...

So I'm feeling that it might need an ENTIRELY NEW NAME... as originally Dreaming Aloud came from my time at Juno magazine, which is now in the past ( my time there, that is, the magazine is going from strength to strength). And I'm not sure it really expresses my new vision. (obviously I am VERY hesitant about rebranding... as you can imagine, having built up Dreaming Aloud over four years....

This is a very last minute turn around having spent weeks creating design and copy for the new Dreaming Aloud... and I have a designer starting work NOW!!!!

But I feel it's better to turn it around now, when I'm at these early stages than after having launched the new site.

Tell me does what I've told you resonate with Dreaming Aloud as you understand and know it, or do you think a new name is in order?


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