Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Christmas

.. from me and the neighbourhood cats.
Robert, (in the sleigh) you probably know by now, the others are his friends Buttons and Pip (with hat), at least they think they are Robert's friends. They are frequently to be seen in my house, eating, and playing with the cat-nip toys, and if they get a chance, they make themselves comfortable for a nap!

Anyway, I would like to thank you for being a reader of my blog, for having your friendship and support.
Wishing you all that is good for the year ahead.

ps. As I no longer have a Facebook or Twitter account (find it all too confusing...) but you think this Blog deserves to make a presence there, please feel free to link it on your page. Thank you!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Writing, creating and being happy

December already. Almost another year done. Won't dwell (yet) on the year it was :-) but would like to tell you what I am up to of late.
As you might remember, I had intended to work on a book partly inspired by Disability Studies. The initial idea was mostly about Disability Art, but it has been morphed into a much 'closer to the bone' kind of project. And I am loving it! 

Mindmap- the start of making sense of what I was doing!
In a nutshell I envisage that it will be a ‘scrapbook’ of thoughts, enquiries, essays, poems, photographic images and artworks about living with chronic illness/disability. I draw on my personal experiences of fifteen years of living with chronic illness with an emphasis on nature and art in learning to live well within the boundaries of adversities. Other resources come from Disability Studies, my previous work as palliative care nurse, social care worker and artist. I am researching artist and others living with chronic illness/disability (I've came across some amazing writers who then brought me to writings by philosophers to old books about nature). Also finding some great material in the personal stories of illness, and Life, expressed in non-fiction; novels; newspapers articles; radio interviews; quotes from movies; poetry and responses to my blogs. In these non-academic sources I found the clearest expression of truths about living with disability/chronic illness, at times even raw.
Disability/Chronic illness mindmap
What an exciting journey I am on! 
I try to work on my writing about an hour a day during weekdays, which does not always work out, but I know that even at a few hours a week, the writing will eventually be done. One word at the time!

But, the project became so big (in my mind) that I became scared of it. I realised I had to brake it down in small bits. The initial mind map created during the stay at Annaghmakerrig, made it a little more manageable, but it needed more 'disection'. I made the second mind map  a while ago for the Disability/Chronic illness Section. As I never seem to do thing the orthodox way, I started to print out the quotes and thoughts I read in books and pasted them onto large rolls of wrapping paper under the relevant headings. Now I could see the wood for the trees! (I know, so much printing... but I had to make that concession to allow me to work away from the computer...) When I get to write about a particular subject, longhand, I can just look at that section. Relief!! Also a huge relief when a literature mentor read some of my work and very much gave it the thumbs up.
quotes all over the place!

So, I am reading, learning, cutting and pasting. A bit like (play)school? 
I must say that I am grateful for not being in college this year. I know, I know... It was not easy to get to that point, and yet it is sooooo right. Grateful also for the support I am still receiving from the Disability Support at UCC.  More exciting news from that front, but that is for another day.

I do get to do a little bit of creative work like weaving and sculpting. Again, a little bit at the time, but did manage to finish one piece, which was inspired by one of the books I read: The alchemy of illness by Kat duff. "We also nourish our souls by doing those things that make us feel happy, fulfilled, or right with ourselves and the world from even one moment, no matter how sick we are." This bit and the fact that she makes a lot of connections that we are one with nature. 
"(We are all) One with Nature" © Corina Duyn 2013

I've made the very consious decision that for the next few months I am focussing on my writing and art,  and learning to understand my life with chronic illness in much clearer terms. I don't go out a lot as my energy just doesn't allow it. But, I am very content with my decision and abilities I do have.
On that note...
wishing you all well.

and if you happen to be looking for books for Christmas gifts, please see the next blog with some great offers.

 ps. As I no longer have a Facebook or Twitter account (find it all too confusing...) but you think this Blog deserves to make a presence there, please feel free to link it on your page. Thank you!