I spent Christmas lying low and avoiding social media. I don’t do Christmas so just wait for the hubbub to pass
This year I surrounded myself with voices that have moved me greatly. Authors, activists, performers and a group of women.
Margaret Atwood spoke with wisdom, consideration and frank meaning behind every word on Radio 4’s Today programme. Her conversation with Greta Thunberg should be heard by every politician and world leader. Two women, young and old saying it like it is with such insight and intelligence but also just stating the obvious that is staring us all in the face.
Extinction Rebellion have put some of their Rebel Academy lessons into audio files, so I listened and learned.
I warily signed up for zoom conversations with Gateway Women for women childless not by choice (CNBC). https://gateway-women.com/
Regular readers will know what a big part of my life GW has been, but a chat on Christmas Day, when being childless and single is the most difficult, seemed like a potentially bad idea. Why would I want to bring all this to the fore when I could just stare at the TV and numb myself?
The solo childless women chat was in the evening, and about 15 of us around the world talked, cried, raged and laughed together. I sobbed so hard at one point I can’t imagine anyone could really understand what I was saying, (for me it was the triple whammy of being single, childless and disabled) but woke up the next morning to messages from several of the women in the chat checking up on me and sending me love. We have all been sending each other messages of love and support over the past week.
I joined a more general CNBC zoom on Boxing Day and we talked about our connection in a club nobody there wants to be a part of. It is a deep connection.
We also had another solos chat on New Year’s Eve with more shared tears and laughter.
I have also joined a CNBC chanting circle. We meet every Sunday evening. Luckily we are all on mute but the words to the chants are about bravery, sisterhood, being a woman, being loving… It is therapeutic to chant with other CNBC women even though we can’t hear each other. I can hear my own voice and I let the words and sounds reverberate and heal my body and soul.
Jody Day, founder of GW can be heard on TED and YouTube. This week I listened to her on a podcast where she was given the amazing title of The Beyoncé of Childlessness. The Beyoncé of Childlessness
My access to books is through audiobooks as I can no longer pick up a book or device. I am therefore immersed in voices as books play a huge part of my life.
I use Audible and have just discovered BorrowBox, an app that allows you to borrow audio and e-books if you have a library card. I have just borrowed and started Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, written and read by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Kae Tempest poet, spoken word artist, rapper, singer, author blew my mind the first time I heard them. I have listened to them a lot recently.
I had listened to the albums Everybody Down, Let Them Eat Chaos and The Book of Traps and Lessons when they first came out and many times since and have returned to them again this Christmas.
Watching them perform Let Them Eat Chaos Live on stage is the most mind blowing performance I have ever seen.
Kae commits their albums to memory and performs them without stopping. It is raw, emotional and breathtaking. They recorded their most recent album, The Book of Traps and Lessons in one take.
They recently put on two Facebook live conversations. One was with Flea of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who I was unaware I had turned author. The other was with Willy Vlautin whom I had not heard of before. I could have listened to these conversations for hours.
I had already listened to Kae reading The Bricks That Built The Houses. Over Christmas I listened to Willy Vlautin reading his book Don’t Skip Out On Me. Both brilliant.
The author reading their own work affects me deeply, and none more so than Kae Tempest reading their latest book On Connection. Written during lockdown, it is non-fiction and about the connection between artist, text or artwork in whatever form and audience as well as human connection and so much more.
When I finished listening to On Connection I listened to the track People’s Faces and sobbed…Kate Tempest. People’s Faces