Art by Arielle Bobb-Willis
Just over a year ago, I moved from the gloriously distracting Sydney coastline to Melbourne, in the hopes that the notoriously bad weather and thriving arts community would provide a creative cocoon to nurture my writing practice.
Little did I know I’d be spending six months of 2020 in complete lockdown, in an urban one bedroom apartment with my partner, unable to venture more than 5km from my doorstep.
Aside from throwing the odd tantrum and working through a seemingly endless list of online courses, I’ve spent a good deal of lockdown tending to ritual fire as a way to commune with the non-human peoples and places that I’ve so dearly missed: the clear waters of the Sassafras creek, the wild winds coming off the southern ocean, and the soft cushion of pine needles on the Sequoia grove floor.
I’ve also initiated a depth inquiry into my ancestry, following an abiding longing to connect with the paternal lineage of my african grandmothers, my black roots, and in doing so have uncovered a nourishing network of support sitting just below the surface all along.
Needless to say, I got the creative hibernation I asked for (and more).
The poet, Billy Collins, describes poetry as “the history of the human heart”. This winter I have found a new note in my poetry through unlocking chambers that contain hidden stories, both from my own past and those who have gone before me. And so it occurred to me that while I've been traversing through this seasonal rite of passage, my identity as an artist has also been in transition.
As we grow, so too does our creative self-expression. As best we can, may we companion our growth with curiosity and presence, to stay with the edge of what is alive for us in the sometimes daunting terrain of our own hearts.
In other words, let art change you, and let your art change.
With chocolate-coated coffee beans and daydreams of faraway lands,
// Poems from the Edge of Extinction: An Anthology of Poetry in Endangered Languages, edited by Chris McCabe (and this talk by the editor on the intimate relationship between poetry and language, for those who want to hear more).
// The album Wanci by Tarawangsawelas
// Mask art by Magnhild Kennedy (Damsel Frau)