25 years ago today I lost my mother to cancer. While there is much I can say about the experience of losing someone so young, I will leave that for another day. But today I reflect on the incredible joy she brought to my life. She was a remarkable artist and craftswoman. She would weave gorgeous tapestries, rugs and blankets on this enormous loom in our house. The sheer physical presence of such a great piece of artistic equipment, was a very important signifier in my house, that art was important and it should fill large parts of your life. The work she created was deeply connected to her Swedish roots, and it also infused much of the surrounding landscape in which she lived. Many of the wools she utilised were hand dyed using heather and other local plants, so the land was literally part of her art. In addition to showing me that art could be both beautiful and functional (I still enjoy curling up under one of her blankets), she had a fierce sense of social justice. Fairness and equality underpinned all that she did, and that has stayed with me in all that I do both personal and professional. She blazed bright and hard in the time she was here, and I carry that fire onwards each day. Birgitta Kristiansson (Lisa to her friends) was a true torch in the dark.
Having one of those days where I need to remind myself that you can’t force yourself to be creative. These things take time. So, I am going back to some writing exercises and idea starters to just kickstart my brain. I often find that I just need to ease myself into a state of flow. Go easy on yourselves, sometimes you either need to walk away (literally) or give yourself some simple prompts to boost your creative brain.
One of my favourites is to pick a place (e.g. a bakery), a character (a journalist) and a simple situation (the phone rings – its her dad), and then just start writing, and see where it goes. Also, Writing Prompts on Reddit can be a fun place to get good ideas to get your ideas flowing.
If any of you Ireland-based folks are heading to the All Together Now festival this weekend, I will be hosting an incredible Brownbread Mixtape show on the Sunday with some of the finest spoken word artists in the world (Jasmine Gardosi and Erin Fornoff), as well as performing some classic radio-style comedy skecthes with our resident troupe The Brownbread Players. There will be plenty of singalongs, silly stories and a rousing rendition of My Blood is Boiling for Ireland too. It would be great to see some warm, friendly faces at the show. Pop by and say hello, and stick around for some of the other LEGENDS onstage at the event throughout the weekend!