During the last week I’ve taken advantage of some of the sunnier moments to take longer walks along the canal. With all the Souls and Saints and Samhain days behind us, it’s officially late in the season now. The leaves on the tiny ash growing in a pot in the tiny back garden turned golden, now brown. The leaves on the canal paths are getting compacted, from rain and footfalls. Everything is folding inward, contracting.
A friend reflected recently (and I am paraphrasing): in the fall before everything in nature dies, it is all brilliantly beautiful, and we swoon over that; we undergo the same process, but as we age, we don’t see the beauty in us. I have been appreciating this sentiment over the week. I am trying to sharpen my awareness both of the world out there and of my own transformations. I am also folding inward. In the afternoon I am already wondering if it’s cold enough for a fire, already bracing for early and long darkness. What I’ve noticed of the outside world is that when the general brilliance of autumn fades, the spots of color that remain pop more brightly. The rowan berries and rose hips. A button of moss on the pavement. The white puffs of swan feathers along the canal.
Things inspiring me this week:
- The way Lisa O’Neill threads colors (red, orange) in such a subversive and poetic way in this song (you may only be able to see/ hear it on Instagram — apologies if it does not embed automatically, I am not super tech-savvy). Anyway, I have needed it to cope with the seemingly inescapable buzzing of US election stress, and the very real fears of threat implicit in any outcome.
2. This mesmerizing snippet of Rialto Twirlers, a short film by the artist Anne Maree Barry, about “a precious and hidden Dublin majorette subculture.”
3. This gorgeous sumptuous velvety poem by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, “While Bleeding,” after which I could never quite think of bleeding in the same way again — “the weight of red, the wait for red” — and which also calls to mind people in Ireland living in period poverty (and how we can help). Hear the poet read the poem here.
a.) (As before) respond to any of the three things I shared above. What does it make you think of? What does it make you feel? What does it remind you of? What does it make you want to do/ see/ be?
b.) What color or colors are drawing your attention right now? Write about a specific color, even if you don’t know at the outset what meaning it has for you right now. Start just by listing everything you see in that hue, then see if you can write everything that comes to mind related to that particular color. If nothing comes to mind immediately, take a walk and start to notice what your eye is drawn to. Relax your gaze. Don’t look for it. Let it find you. Then write as soon as you can!
See opening prompt for more instructions.
P.S. No pressure to share. However, if you benefit from sharing, here are some options:
a) share on social media with the #6x6_2020_ie and find each other.
b) if you want feedback from me, I am happy to do it for a small fee. Decide at the start if you would like feedback on 3 prompts for 30 Euro, or all 6 prompts for 60 Euro, payable by PayPal (you do not need an account; I can send you an invoice) and let me know at seamusfeathers2017 at gmail dot com). Send a maximum of 1000 words of your writing to seamusfeathers2017 at gmail dot com by midnight on Sundays, and I will turn it around to you (probably!) before the next prompt.