When I became suddenly hearing impaired in 2016, I initially plummeted to a very dark place. It is by trusting my authentic, creative self, that I have almost magically been able to turn my life around, exploring new, deaf friendly ways of being a writer & performer. My blog brings you with me, as I step forwards on this experimental adventure. Who knows where it will take us next ...
So excited to share with you this little fairy taster of my composition 'The Tethered Fairy Ring: A Symphonic Poem for Ukulele' being performed here by myself and Susan Berry in a beautiful old church in the centre of
St. Quentin les Chardonnets
Lower Normandy, France.
An authentic unedited film of the full 20 minute performance is now available:
Kindly email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for details of cost & postage.
Many thanks and much love to you in advance for supporting our work.
I find myself at a point of great transition, with many important things hanging in the air; Where to live, how to immerse myself full time as an 'artist' in my own right, the financial concerns, physical exhaustion, broken heart ... I expect you know some, if not all and more of this list too, yes? Rather than worry about these things in the way I would usually, rather than make endless lists of how to solve all my problems simply by ticking off the things on the list, I have been allowing my thoughts to float past me on a flowing river of life. A bit like a really important game of pooh sticks! Watching ideas float alongside each other as they bob and jostle, travelling light beneath the bridge.
And I stand on that bridge, calmly focussed on my breathing. I have let go of the constant stress of finding potential solutions. I have done this by imagining they are autumn leaves of all different sizes, textures and colours. I have looked at them and wondered at the beauty of each one without lingering and then let them go back to the flow of the river, waiting to see the other leaves that come. This evening, a new leaf came. one that has never come before; one that is making my heart skip a beat. A thrilling, challenging, exciting, immersion into how I want my life to 'be'. A chance at total truth; a beautiful, blissful risk. The river has stood still, this autumn leaf does not want to leave and the river does not want to take it. I will sleep with it under my pillow ...
... but in actual fact, it transpires that some trees
are even MORE awesome than you first guessed!
This is me (left) and April Song.
You may recognise my dear friend
and soul sista from earlier blogs.
Today, after a wonderful catch up in Greenspace Gallery, Carmarthen, we didn't feel we wanted to go home, so we went to the woods at
Carmarthen Museum in Abergwili.
I have been coming to this woods for many years. It's usually full of dog walkers when I come at tea time, but this afternoon, it was pretty much us, apart from the odd person or dog.
And we happened upon this exquisite tree
With cascading flutters of butterfly leaves
April knows a good deal about trees.
Their names, their healing qualities,
which ones make good buttons ...
But she did not know this one
So, I took photo's and then when I got home I sent one to my friend Rob. This is Rob (below) at The Men's Shed Project. I'll let you work out which one looks clever enough to know everything there is to know about ... well ... just about everything it seems, though he doesn't shout about it. On the contrary, he's most unassuming about his wisdom and wizardry.
And it tuns out that our tree is really a rather ancient and rare species called
Now then, there is a male tree and a female tree and they pollinate each other, one having cones and the other having cone shape reciprocals.
This has worked for them since dinosaurs ate their fluttering leaves. However, this particular tree is the last breed of the ancient species.
Here's a wiki link incase you're as fascinated as I am in this beautiful find:
It gives me great pleasure on National Poetry Day to tell you about a very meaningful piece of poetry that I was involved with this week. On Tuesday, I was invited to take part in Reconstructing Ourselves. Here is a quote from their website to explain the project:-
'Recontrsucting Ourselves is an Arts Council Wales funded project exploring the stories, lives and experiences of breast reconstruction patients and staff at Morriston Hospital, Swansea.
As part of this new Artist in Residence scheme for ABMU healthboard (running from Apr 2014-Sep 2015) Prue Thimbleby (www.prue.thimbleby.net), Sarah Wright and Rhian Solomon (www.rhiansolomon.co.uk) – a duo of Artists and a clinical Anthropologist - will be working alongside clinicians and patients from Morriston hospital – listening, talking, interpreting and recreating the detailed dialogues and narratives of the people that they meet.
Sarah Wright will be leading a research strand to the project - asking the question; 'Does giving patients the chance to record what they want to say to the consultant and playing this at the start of the consultation improve the outcome?'
Rhian Solomon will be leading art workshops with the patients, facilitating creative works in response to their experiences.
The project will culminate in a symposium and exhibition which will show the results of the research, a new collection of work by Rhian Solomon which wil be informed by art workshops with patients and staff and a series of digital stories(www.swanseastorytelling.com) told by participants involved in the project. The stories will be facilitated by Prue Thimbleby and will involve photography students from TheUniversity of Wales, Trinty St David. The university will also be supporting Rhian Solomon through access to their specialist workshops and studios.'
I was contracted to do 2 things at the Symposium: to perform my daily practice of music & mantra in showing how I have applied the arts in reconstructing myself and to spend the day at the event as an Ethnographic Poet.
Here is the first page of my report from my work as an ethnographic poet on the day to explain my role more clearly:_
Evaluative Dialogue with Ethnographic Poetics
Ethnographic Poet, Cheryl Beer, combines the skills of a participant
observer and poet to collate dialogue that represents the thoughts and feelings
fed back by event attendees, project participants and speakers at the
Reconstructing Ourselves Symposium.
In creating a dialogue through immediate response poetics, we are enabled
to integrally apply the arts in measuring itself.
Although the influence of the ethnographic poet cannot be divorced from the
dialogue content chosen for the poetic structure, the poems created reflect the
tone and emotion, sentiment and political view from recipients, rather than that of the poet.
The ethnographic poet is a conduit.
The skill of the ethnographic poet is to hold the poetic framework as
objectively as is possible within qualitative research, whilst acknowledging
the presence of self, so as to capture the essence of the symposium dialogue.
Cheryl Beer has 35 years of experience within ethnographic poetics,
applying this honed skill in many arts settings. For instance, she collated
ethnographic poetics from 270 members of the public from across 7 counties, to
write a collection of 30 songs for part of the research regarding the '21 Year
Vision of the Arts' kindly funded by The Arts Council of Wales, Arts Connect
and The Welsh Government.
More recently Cheryl's work has been part of an academic journey during
her MA Drama, influenced by the research
of Frances Rapport (2013) embedding ethnographic poetics firmly within the
debate regarding the validity of such research as qualitative analysis.
At the Reconstructing Ourselves Symposium, Cheryl performed some of the
dialogue as a spoken word poem in the morning and she engaged 7 attendees of
the symposium to participate in a final sharing of music and ethnographic
poetics in closing of the event.
Reference: Rapport. F. (2013) Fragments: Transcribing the
Holocaust. Hafan Books. Swansea
So, as you can see, the application of ethnographic poetics in this context quite literally is part of an Arts & Science Movement that is changing the lives of women who have undergone or are undergoing breast reconstruction.
The very exciting news & so apt for National Poetry Day, is that the poems are now going to be made into one of the books within the exhibition showing at Morriston Hospital and you can arrange to go and visit and read them alongside all of the amazing life changing work.
If you would like to go to the exhibition, here's the link to the contact page of the website where you can get hold of Prue Thimbleby, the Arts in Health Co-ordinator:
While in France chanting mantra in an orchard for the month of September, I struggled to blog for a number of reasons. First, the blooming internet coverage was a tad patchy but even when I could get on line, I could not get blogger to upload.
I carried on writing but went completely old school. Yes, a pen and paper! And do you know what, it felt wonderful.
Also while I was there, I started making concertina books.
Alison Smith who owns the gites is an Artist and she showed me how to make some lovely books and taking her lead I got myself well and truly book - hooked.
So, this is what I think is going to happen now, although I am leaving space for the idea to grow. I am going to write a book about my time in France, sat under the apple tree in the orchard. You know, a strange thing happens when you spend this amount of time with a tree. I really did fall in love!
I didn't think it was possible to fall in love with a tree, but it is and if you listen very carefully, she has so many lessons to teach. And this will be the central focus of my new book.
I'm not sure how many books, or if I will hand make them, or how it will work but for now all I know is that I am writing a book about my relationship with a tree in France
and that I like making books.
I think these 2 things fit together well.
Off course, through Parlor Press, my community publishing company, I have made it possible for literally 1000's of people to be published over the last 15 years but this time, it is me that I am empowering to live the dream.
And what is great is that it doesn't feel selfish, or self absorbed, it feels right and kind and loving and self caring.