I've been struggling this week with the artistic design of the covers and marketing materials for my new Creative & Mindful Collection of Books, Cd's and Video Workshops, so in response, rather than stress over it, the best way to deal with my lack of design clarity, is to take myself completely away from the task in hand and do something else. Then hopefully, I will return afresh in a few days. That's the plan, anyway.
So, I decided to record a new story that came to me after a meeting with the lovely storyteller, Eleanor Shaw at Y Ffwrnes Theater, Llanelli where she is the Adopta Artsit and also runs her business People Speak Up. I went to see her because I had a feeling that People Speak Up would be a perfect partner for collaboration with one of my creative projects, Sound Memories Dementia Friendly Radio Station ... anyway, I digress , as we chatted, we started talking about the ancient stories of the Mabinogion, and how they are not particularly woman friendly. In fact, women are mostly depicted as either devious, powerless, suffer some kind of abuse or come to a sticky end or become a nun.
On the way home from our meeting, I started thinking about Blodeuwedd, The Woman made from Flowers, portrayed as an adulteress who beguiles her lover into killing her husband, but the plan goes horribly wrong and she ends her days as an owl, whilst her lover ends his as a standing stone.
But ... from the outset of the story, she was completely dis-empowered. For a start, she was made for Llew, and not for herself, from beautiful flowers ... then she was trapped up in his castle and forced to be his wife. Now, I ask you, what woman made from flowers would want to be stuck inside a castle all day, instead of dancing in the Summer fields? And besides, Llew doesn't come across in the story as a very nice person, in fact it sounds to me that he was a bit of a control freak. So, when he was away at battle for months at a time, it must have felt wonderful for our Blod, to be back out in the fields playing with butterflies, where she belonged.
... And whilst there, she meets the hunky hunter. As soon as their eyes lock, it is the first time she has known love. Bless her, we've all been there, haven't we? When all sense goes out of the window and we listen to our sacral chakra.
Do you feel differently about her yet? Off course I am not condoning her behaviour. It is never acceptable to plan to kill one's husband. I'm sure my own partner will be very relieved to know that! But if this story is written from a different perspective, one of empowerment from the outset, rather than dis-empowerment, I began to wonder how it might pan out .. and this is the premise for my new story: Empowered by Flowers, a re-write of Blodeuwedd.
I have recorded the story on my phone to send to Eleanor to make her smile and meanwhile, as a break from my design indecision about covers for the new collection, I have amused myself by making some handmade bespoke books within which to hand write Empowered by Flowers.
It actually feels empowering to hand make these little tiny books and to write them by hand because women were not permitted or taught to write until much later than men. Hence, we have not had a hand in writing our own history. Sitting to hand write a story from a woman's perspective, about a woman empowered by flowers, feels somewhat empowering in itself. (I apologise for the emphatic use of the word empowered in that paragraph, but really, I felt empowered to use it, so I did, lots).
It has been a lovely way to spend my evenings. I don't need an excuse to write stories and make books. I LOVE doing it. I am hoping that this very hands on creativity will give my brain some inspiration, a vision for the cover design for my published books, so that I can return to a more graphic design based creativity soon.
Oh yes, by the way, if you would like me to make you your own bespoke collection of handmade books containing my re-write of Blodeuwedd, Empowered by Flowers, feel free to drop me a line on facebook. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, know that we are all flowers tied together in one very beautiful bunch.