I had a seasonal image pop in to my mind the other day, and it turned itself into a short story. I thought I’d share it here…
The people were looking around for the next distraction from their routines. On the breeze, they caught the scent of the Creature, and followed.
This is a piece that was published online with the Elsewhere Journal. I wrote it after I’d been on Dartmoor (in Devon, UK), and was trying to express how it makes me feel, and what it prompts me to do — it’s a feeling I don’t quite encounter anywhere else.
Here’s the original, and I’ve reposted it below:
Earlier this year, I’d been thinking about how my sunflowers made me feel. I wrote about it and entered it into the Green Alphabet Writing Prize (a competition organised by the Flipside Festival, in conjunction with Friends of the Earth), and I found out I’d been longlisted! The idea was to take a letter of the alphabet, and write a poem or short piece of prose on an environmental theme. I chose ‘E’ for ‘Encounter’. Here it is:
In the next three weeks, I’m going to these three talks at the RSA in London:
1. Creating Freedom — filmmaker Raoul Martinez will tackle “economics, philosophy, politics, criminology, psychology and environmentalism, and shows that the more we understand how the world shapes us, the more effectively we can shape our world.”
2. Together Is Better — “global bestselling author and leadership guru Simon Sinek offers inspiration and advice for finding purpose and fulfilment in life and work through our connection with others.”
3. The Power of Disorder to Transform our Lives — “renowned economist Tim Harford explains that embracing chaos and mess is the only way to be truly creative, innovative and resilient.”
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be in an audience at the RSA in London, watching Krista Tippett in conversation with Elizabeth Oldfield (who is Director of the think tank Theos).
Krista Tippett is a bit of a role model of mine. She’s a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times best-selling author. In 2014, she received the National Humanities Medal from Barack Obama for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning Annie Dillard is one of my favourite authors. Her non-fiction narratives and explorations have helped me see things I would never have otherwise seen, and have given me ‘permission’ to probe deeper into my own wonderings and curiosity. If you’re into nature and discovery, I highly recommend her simultaneously beautiful and brutal book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
In The Writing Life, Dillard offers her nuanced thoughts and stories that will interest both non-writers and writers alike. Feeling her soul and light and quest for deep truth come at you page after page, like waves breaking, is both intimidating and illuminating; reassuring and provocative. Her mind and prose have inspired me to ‘shine my own light, and not hide it under a bushel’. Highly recommended for artists, creatives and seekers!
I love Anne Lamott’s writing. In Bird by Bird, she gives great writing advice told through the lens of her wisdom, experiences and funny stories.
I think good writing is about telling the truth, and telling what you know. Here, Lamott uses her truth and vulnerability, shares what she’s learned along the way and encourages and provokes the reader to just start writing! Highly recommended!
I read this book when I was in India co-hosting a community development forum. Being lucky enough to travel with the charity work I do, I am frequently and sadly reminded of the obvious forms of gender inequality around the world. But I’ve been reflecting too on more subtle and pervasive forms of female discrimination. The status quo in so many areas (women being paid less, not taking top jobs, feeling guilty for being a working mother, being reticent about going for promotions, etc) mean that women don’t sit at the table, and don’t take part in important conversations. And right now in our world, we really need thoughtful, real, strong women leading these conversations.
“Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO and one of Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business – draws on her own experience of working in some of the world’s most successful businesses and looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale.”
The book is an empowering and practical guide to sitting at the table (both dining room table and board room table) and being heard. Recommended!
I LOVED this book, which explores how people conceive and champion new ideas. It’s full of powerful ideas that will be useful whether you’re a leader, an artist, an entrepreneur, or a parent. Highly recommended.
“This extraordinary, wildly entertaining book sheds new light on the Age of Disruption. What does it take to make a meaningful difference? And how can you apply this insight to your own life? By debunking myths of success stories, challenging long-held beliefs of process, and finding commonality among those who are agents of profound change, Adam Grant gives us a powerful new perspective on not just our place in the world, but our potential to shake it up entirely.” – JJ Abrams, director of Star Wars