Thoughts on lockdown creativity.
Welcome back to my second blog.
Many of you wrote to me about the process of writing and creating. In the first blog I wrote about the temperamental nature of my creativity and how it comes in waves. That seemed to resonate with a lot of you which gave me great comfort to know that this is not uncommon.
We are all energy. It is only natural that we react to the energy that is in our company at any given time. I have found that in recent years, the feeling of being in tune with others, has really elevated and I am far more aware of it. Certain environments will lead to a very creative mindset, whereas other environments, will do the opposite.
So when lockdown started, I felt nervous because I had been in a really productive and creative mindset. Or so I thought. I was embarking on this new adventure and the world was my oyster. Then, all of a sudden, the world seemed to stop and felt a little upside down.
I think we can all relate to this feeling. The new normal. What is that? What will it look like? It took me a few weeks to settle into a lockdown routine. It had been all go, go, go. Even the songs I had been writing were upbeat and high energy. Which looking back now, really represented where I was at in my head. In recent weeks, I have started to write again. But this time it’s from a new place. For the first time in years, it’s from a place of reflection, space and inner peace. I never didn’t feel at peace, but having this time to just be, has made me realize that it’s something that I haven’t given enough respect to in recent years.
I feel that my relationship with my health, my family, my friends, nature and my time here, have all been nourished in this lockdown time, even though I haven’t been able to physically see anyone. And this is showing up a lot in my writing.
I am thankful for that. I’m thankful for small things now, like a swim in the sea and feeling the waves crashing over my head first thing in the morning as I’m still half asleep. And that feeling of the wind stinging my face as I run to get my towel. I’m thankful for phone calls with my friends and family and to have the time to actually ask how they are doing.
I have started to call my Grandmother every single night since lockdown began, and it’s so special. She tells me about her day and the robin that comes to see her every morning. One day we got off the phone and five minutes later I wrote seven verses about her beautiful friendship with this robin.
‘Each day after that, the robin passed by
Her quiet protector, a friend from the sky.’
Her ability to notice him and give him her attention was so beautiful. Another day she told me how her late mother had a great love for roses. She would pick roses from the garden and dry and press them in a book that she loved. She told me that when her mother passed, she found all of these beautiful dried roses, inside the pages of these books that she had hidden away. This story is so incredible to me, and it inspired me to write a song called ‘Wildflower’ which will definitely be on my album.
‘She found the wildflowers, beside them a note
A poem from her Mother, and on it she wrote.’
The detail in the little things, is something that I can personally say, I had been overlooking for the last few years. Always too busy and preoccupied to take the time to ask or to notice or maybe even to feel.
I have found that writing down what inspires me has been a game changer. I will get up in the morning and go for a swim, have a coffee and some breakfast and then go to a space in my home that I have dedicated to writing. It has all of the things that I love hung on the walls and the poetry books that inspire me on the shelves. This has been so helpful as it gives me a place and a purpose every day.
I know from speaking to others that this can be a hard time to write because we have lost an element of control that we had before. But I honestly feel like, surrendering to the tough days and feeling that hardship face on, can unlock some of the most creative parts of our being.
I have also been so inspired by other artists who have been so honest about what this period of time has been like for them. I watched a live interview with Michael Mc Glynn, who is the founder and composer of Anúna, and also my cousin. He spoke so honestly about the uncertainty of this time we are living in, but finding beauty in the uncertainty. His words have always inspired me. My time in Anúna was pure magic. Being part of that body of sound was a feeling I will never be able to put into words. But as a fifteen year old girl, I remember feeling like it was an outer body experience. Almost as if I was in the water and the waves of the music were keeping me afloat. I always go back to Michael’s music if ever I lose my way.
I feel so deeply saddened by the recent events in the the world and especially saddened that it has taken a man being murdered on camera, to highlight to many, the pain, the injustice, the suffering and torture that has been going on for so many years. It must be so raw for anyone that has been fighting this fight all their lives. The fight of inequality. The exhaustion of the daily battle because of the colour of their skin, or where they grew up. It saddens me so much.
I had the privilege earlier this year to work as a vocal coach on the play ‘The Linen Room’ which was directed by Tina Noonan and opened in the Abbey Theatre, in Dublin, back in February. The play depicted the day to day struggles of being an asylum seeker in Ireland today. It highlighted the misconceptions, inequality and racism that people living in Direct Provision experience, every day.
The actors and actresses, were all living in one of the Direct Provision centres at the time. The play was very real and unbelievably emotional and eye opening. In the lead up to the play I learnt so much that I did not know before. The people I met were remarkable in every way. Some of their journeys getting to Ireland were unimaginable. I would not have coped had they been the cards I was dealt. I have become a lot more aware of racism. It lives in every town and it is our duty to call it out and shut it down, every time.
As a privileged white person it is difficult to know how much or how little to say on the topic of racism. I will never understand what it feels like to not get a head start in the race, but I have learnt that I can be an ally. We all can.
We are just the heartbeats of our time in this life. What we do with that time is what will change how things are. Staying quiet and keeping your head down will only fuel the fire of inequality. If you have not suffered, then listen and learn from those who have. Stand with them. Relentlessly. Even if those around you, who got a head start, do not agree. Stand up, speak out, if you say the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing, then learn from that and keep going. I will never understand, but I will stand and be an ally, in any way I can, to change the inequality that I see, hear and witness every day.
Thank you for all of the love and support and for sharing, streaming and downloading ‘ One More Day’. If I’m really honest, knowing that it has helped some of you through some of the tougher days, is the reason I do it, and will keep writing and creating. You are my greatest inspiration. So thank you.
I hope you keep you all updated as the weeks go on. I’ll keep sharing the process with you all.
Until next time stay safe and stay well. x