year of courage

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2013 – I still remember its first day. Mister Robin was singing high just outside my peerie South African sister’s home in the Chilterns. The sun had engulfed late morning. She woke me so gently. I was just about to start what she aptly named “my year of courage” – the start of my brand new life.
Although the term “abandoned” does not feature among the list regarding marital status, you don’t wipe out 22 years of married life in a few days…
How right she was to name it this way.

20131231-020243.jpg I returned home to my 60N Latitude with a heart re-charged with courage and the will to harness my life.
I will not delve into details, but will celebrate its highlights.

With “From shore to Shoormal” on the way to my doorstep, I prepared the book’s homecoming on this side of the Atlantic in view to launch it in Lerwick at the local book festival. Although Donna, my co-author, thought of crossing, our publisher would turn her voice.

Two main projects – NTS Ignition and ArtiPeeps’ Transformations – would keep me occupied with verse & performance. Again, Tai knows my creative writing function as “rails” along the path.

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Within the Westside Writers’ Group, friend & author, Marsali Taylor steered another publishing project – the group’s primal anthology – entitled “Wirds fae da Waastside”. She also penned a first review for “From Shore to Shoormal” for the local newspaper. She and Laureen Johnson, co-Editor of the New Shetlander were my top choices for such task, since both can read English & French, on top of Shetland dialect. How fortunate & privileged to have such reviewers. My gratitude to both, as BBC Radio Shetland broadcaster, Marie Blance, for a February interview for The Book Programme 🙂

As spring gave way to summertime, I discovered a new passion – sea rowing among a team of great friendly ladies, who welcomed me among their “clan”.
And reinforced creative bonds with neon artist, Lili Morgan, through a new collaboration entitled Music.
Yet I would also discover the joys of keeping up with home & grass (!) as well as sharing my homeworld with visitors from other parts of the planet – gosh, how many times have I cursed Odin & Thor for hiding islands in seafog!

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My resilience & love for “my Treasure Islands” won every time.

Within those months, I learnt so many new skills – from replacing a door sealant to handling power tools of all kinds. Summer is a short window to prepare home for the winter. With help & advice from two great friends – Magnie & Richard – I don’t feel so cold inside storms.

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I also learnt my own limits, notably with grass cutting… Though my love for “wild” in “wildlife”, I accepted tall grass can live among flowers, bugs and nettles. I swapped a streamer for a scythe. Maybe next year, I’ll do better.

With September came Mr Blades, my publisher from New Brunswick. The book would be launched at Wordplay on the first weekend without fault. Joe discovered Ninian sunset & northern lights on arrival. To our surprise, we read to a lovely full house and made that day memorable.

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Friends & guest readers, Marsali Taylor & Christian Tait – shared their own work, smiles and talent. Together with Steve Davidson & Alan McKay, who provided magic music, Joe and I smiled. The room was graced with both famous & unknown faces, who delighted spirit & heart. My deepest thanks to all involved – friends & public who attended this first book launch. Donna’s spirit filled the moment.
I say “first” launch, although two days before, another book came into light – the Westside Writers’ Anthology… So “first” happened on a Thursday (!)

With October, came a new friend – kindred spirit – Stephanie Spindler for a month. We both marvelled at the grandeur of my homeworld when she notably drove us to that magic peninsula called Eshaness. It never fails in sheer blue light 🙂

With Tai’s & friends’ renewed encouragements, I faced winter with a strong heart. Whereas creative collaborations continued within ArtiPeeps, Ovid & a new experience would keep me occupied at night. As light vanished, I found my way amidst a mix of old & new friends from the Open Door Drama group led by fiend & Theatre Director Izzy Swanson. Pantomime would lead back to Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre till the winter solstice.

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So, there we are. On the final day of 2013, I am looking to a new dawn. Tai’s in the bush with her loved ones. Joe’s deep in snow. Everyone’s love and words of encouragement – either as family or friends – carried me through this frantic year.
I am grateful to your kindness. 🙂

May 2014 bring new light, good health and joys to each of your days.

Happy New Year / Bonne année / Glückliches neues Jahr to you all 🙂
May you find peace & happiness inside your heart.

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Filed under 2013, 60N, atlantic, celebration, colours, december, home, island, life, north, poet, review, shetland, spirit, winter, wishes, world, writing

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