FOR YOU. To ALL of you who have shared your stories in any way shape or form - be it through poetry, art, interviews, photography, memories, reviews, articles, flashes or any other type of outlet - to #WhatTheDickens this is for YOU. To ALL those people who have read, continue to read, & to those who ALWAYS retweet my numerous tweets on Twitter about #WhatTheDickens & to those people who have retweeted just the once, this is also for YOU. Without YOU we can’t make the magazine all that it is so please take these pebbles and ribbons built in to a clumsy gesture of gratitude and know that those goldeny-brown pointy things around the big word in the middle, are what YOU are. Thanks again. Always know that I - and I know @writersgifts does too - appreciate your support & enjoyment of the magazine so much. Also know this: there are great, great things to come & we are VERY excited… ;)
This message is for YOU. This is what YOU are. Never forget this. Never allow anyone to make you think or feel otherwise. Make sure you treat others and are treated fairly, equally, respectfully and kindly… If people aren’t treating you this way then start expecting to be and start communicating that you should be. Message over. Onwards and upwards!
A great, great little boy with about twenty-seven brothers and sisters came over to me after I finished building this and told me nine times “That is such a great sandcastle. It’s so great…” He kept calling over various siblings who weren’t as enthused but each time, he repeated the compliment. So very, very sweet. This gift is for him.
#GoodNews gifts… I keep travelling back to the past in search for answers to the challenges of now and I keep finding my sixteen year old self in an art studio discovering land art and the work of Andy Goldsworthy for the first time… I remember feeling a huge relief and joy that I could build pieces of art using the gifts of nature and that letting it drift, scatter, erode, and fly away was a part of its process, growth and beauty. As someone who’d spent hours creating perfect portraits and imitations of other fine artists’ work, I’d started to get a bit locked in. That fine line was always slightly out of reach and made my hands tremble all the more. Then along came Goldsworthy’s nests and streams and leaves and icicles and a new sense of freedom. It was ok to finally let go… I wanted to offer #GoodNews gifts and stories to people instead of tags. I went to the beach and I started building. Seagulls, dogs and children gathered around me and adults hovered nearby. I like to think that the gifts I made added a little something to their day and most importantly reminded them and me that we always have all that we need. We just sometimes have to dig a little deeper to find it and trust that it’s there.
I have always got on with my Canadian cousins. I adore them. It’s weird because you can literally count on your fingers how many times we have actually met, but then that’s the joy of families: they really can be the most beautiful thing. When my dad’s brother and his wife emigrated to Canada some thirty-odd years ago, there must have been a part of them that questioned if the move was the right choice: putting themselves in a country where, essentially, they knew nobody, thousands of miles away from both their respective, growing families.
Thankfully, my Uncle and Aunt did make the right choice: they lead a great life in Canada and have two gorgeous daughters, both older than me. In recent years my Canadian family has grown marvellously. Both of my cousins are now married, so I have cousins-in-law in both their fabulous husbands, and the younger of my cousins has a five-year-old son (Logan), who is just a dream.
This year, my eldest Canadian cousin fell pregnant with her first child. She and I have always had a weirdly close friendship, despite both the age- and geographical-gap. There are endless photos of the two of us dressed up, putting on a show and being ‘the entertainer’. In some of these photos we are together, snapped during the numerous trips my family have made to Toronto or her family have made to the UK; in others we are not together, but have been photographed in either my father’s or my uncle’s respective collections, looking exactly the same with our showmanship. Like two peas in a pod.
The news she was expecting her first child was #goodnews enough for me, then. But then I heard about this: her baby gender reveal party, which is quite possibly the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Even if I am, like, totally biased.
At my cousin’s sonogram, she and her husband decided to find out the sex of their baby: only they didn’t. The technician wrote the sex of the baby down and sealed it in an envelope, this envelope was then passed on to a close family friend (and, it transpires, a baker extraordinaire) and the part was planned. There, guests came together to vote for whether they thought the baby was going to be a XX or an XY, have drinks and celebrate in the joyous news that this fantastic couple were starting their own family.
The friend/baker, meanwhile, had brought cupcakes with either a blue or pink filling. No one at the party (except her, having the sex of the baby) knew what colour the filling was. Guests gathered around as my cousin and her husband bit into a cupcake each, revealing to the crowd – and to themselves – the sex of the baby for the first time.
It’s an incredible, amazing moment, highlighting the joy that a new life can bring. My cousin’s air-punch when she sees the blue filling made me cry with joy. I am now trying to convince my housemates to get knocked up, just so we can recreate this moment in Blighty.
Hope you like the video.
Occasionally a niggle runs through me that #UppityUp and #GoodNews on here and on Twitter will irritate people. That I’m being judged as some sort of sickeningly over-optimistic do-gooder. That the constant sharing of ‘good moments’ from each day wear people down and that some might think that I’m insincere that it’s not really ‘me’ to be so uppity-up and determined to be positive…I have a biting sense of humour, savage at times and I sound off when I think the world isn’t turning as fast as it should or if I think someone is being unfair. I’m rude, I’m crass, I’m overly over-enthusiastic, I’m opinionated, I’m…going on about me and of course #UppityUpGoodNews IS NOT about me, it’s about EVERYONE. I’m passionate about this project and I long for it to flourish and spread far and wide because I believe and know that whatever we focus on grows and if we focus and feel thankful for all the positive aspects in our lives and inspire ourselves and other people then logic tells me this can only be constructive and progressive and, hopefully, enjoyable. (Forgive the rambling nature of this post but I am racing against a clock and I’m determined that after far too long a break I owe it to all involved to deliver a post!
So, of course, from the feedback of family, friends and strangers, I know that the majority of people enjoy #GoodNews and are keen to share and be involved somehow and I love that because of course it’s what I want but also because it highlights the beauty of collaborating…
Just this morning I was shown an article about a community that work together to grow vegetables in various areas of their town. Roundabouts, parks, and verges are full of brocolli, radishes, carrots and an array of other foods that the residents all care for together and everything that is grown is shared with all. There is an understanding of: we work together, we grow together, we eat together…kind of. The fact that the project was set up in memory of a man who died and loved his veg makes this scheme all the more glorious, I feel, and shows what great things people can achieve when they unite. (It also eases my discomfort at being made to read this story from a newspaper which I, even in all my optimism, struggle to tolerate in any form.)
Of course there are times when collaborating doesn’t work. Battles of control, ego, and different aims can lead to something potentially brilliant and beautiful drifting into a hazy memory. However, and this is my Goldberg way of thinking, even if these projects don’t come to life straight away seeds have still be sown in a sense and the very best of ideas nearly always find a way of bringing themselves to life in some form or other in another time or place with other people so all is not lost…and that’s #GoodNews.
I’m currently involved in a number of collaborative projects and in discussion with various people about future plans as well as waiting to return to creative and business endeavours that are currently on hold for one reason or another… I love working independently. I crave solitude, peace, air and space to write, paint, and make. There’s a freedom in solitude. However, I love, and always have loved working with others. Even as a teenager I set up mini drama, writing and art projects and I was constantly offering to help people with their work. Often this was to my detriment. A noteable memory from a Parents Evening was various teachers remarking that my ‘imagination and way with words and images creeping’ into various other students’ work. I felt useful. My friends felt smug. I was more than ok in helping them make their stories and art work into the best they could be. Why wouldn’t you create something unless you want it to be the best it can be? Yep, I really did think that and believe that, and if I’m honest I do still a bit. I have given far too much to a number of people recently be it in ideas, encouragement, whatever… I don’t want to stop giving but I do want to balance these things out and make sure that all that I give is for me, for the people I love and for the universe. Yes, that sounds naff but I’m not really bothered because it’s what I believe and it’s what I live by. I enjoy giving, I enjoy sharing and I won’t stop but in any collaborative project equality is vital be it in that everyone either gives equally or that it’s publicly acknowledged who has done what and respect is given where respect is due and reward applied in one form or another.
All I can say in regards to #GoodNews as I only have three minutes left is that it is a very equal, positive collaborative project and you know how much you want to give and what you deserve. I aim to promote positivity and all that we have in our lives and I hope that feeling is shared by all that come to this blog or who share #GoodNews.
Please, please, please share any #GoodNews that you have and know that this space is for all of us. Have a great weekend.
I was out this afternoon walking my friends dogs on the way to Cissbury Ring and I noticed a red piece of paper out of the corner of my eye. I picked it up and read the words that said “This is your story. You are the writer. You get to decide what happens next, what your hero deserves, where they’ll go to, what they’ll learn and who and what they’ll love. You do have a choice, Always project to the world what you need. Life in mirrors. Let the Universe know”
I found several of these notes and was so happy to have found them, I will scatter them somewhere else for others to find.
What a beautiful idea.
Thank you to whoever wrote them