The gifts you bring… The wobbly, poorly-lit photograph of the #Sunflower you can see is a gift I recieved on Monday from a student (I’ve received a LOT of gifts on a daily basis over the past week and I’ve had to resist the urge to lick my postman every time I’ve seen him, but those who have delivered via non-mail methods have endured a lot of hugs…). I wasn’t expecting anything at all & I don’t think my little friend was expecting me to respond in the way that I did which was to squeal, cuddle her and to keep telling her it was the ‘Perfect perfect perfect gift for me!’. She doesn’t know about www.wtd-magazine.com - why would she? All writing and reading equates to schoolwork and a mad woman telling her to smell trees, imagine life on the moon and read, read, read whenever she can - and therefore she doesn’t know that the current issue’s theme is, of course #Sunflowers
Further to this she doesn’t know that this last month seems to have been the busiest time of my life and that after tutoring my super cool little dude of a friend I was convinced I was going to spark out as soon as I got home. I’m at the bone-burning, limb-swollen, twitchy-eyed end of tired and constantly chanting a mantra of ‘There’s still so much to do!’ to anyone who’ll listen. I don’t HAVE to do that much. It’s not an obligation. It’s my choice. And it just so happens that I’ve started a new job, a new business, I’m in the middle of completing a temporary job, rounding off another job, I’ve been at the hospital a lot, I’ve started a writing challenge (see @AlcottRocks) with @ginquinn, and my social life has blossomed again…
And @writersgifts and I, with the brilliantly talented What the Dickens Dream Team and Curiosity SuperStars (which is growing by the day), are in the middle of making the magazine (www.wtd-magazine.com) bigger, better, bolder and brighter than it’s ever been. We’re cooing and cheering on our less-than-a-year-old doddery-limbed, nervously-giggling, ever-smiling-and-enthusiastic little mag towards becoming a printed-lick-and-flick-sniff-the-print-circle-your-fave-bits-fold-the-corner-of-your-favourite-page proper-sized magazine that you can HOLD IN YOUR HANDS. It’s exhausting. It’s exciting. It’s going to be excellent when we get to that physically printed published place… We’ve a lot to do (Victoria, Ben, the team, and myself will be updating you a LOT on exactly how we’re planning to do this VERY soon and how YOU can be a part of that brilliant process), so when my little tutee gave me this beautiful big #Sunflower my energy zinged back and said, ‘You know what, you div? Just get on with it! Keep going! #Sunflowers are symbols of optimism, life, positivity, new beginnings… Have a nap. Eat a banana. Bang out some 80’s pop. And then get back to doing what you need to do. You kept saying you wanted to be useful and busy? And guess what? Now you are…’ Funny, how when you ask for something, you more than often get it.
So, here: consider the #Sunflower a gift for you too, be it a surge of adrenalin or the gentle nudge that you can do whatever it is you need to do to keep going, and that life will never give you anything more than you can handle. And thank you. For reading. For supporting. For spurring us on. For contributing in any way, shape or form. I’d just like to point out that an amazing group of people from far-flung places and very different walks of life have given and are giving so much of their time and talent to #WhatTheDickens in numerous ways and we are so grateful to them. To you. YOU are pretty bloomin’ aces and you can keep that with you ALL day, ALL week…For as long as you like really. So all that’s left to say is: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
#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.