Favourite Christmas Posts

Just sharing my favourite Christmas posts from facebook.

  1.  A reading of Dickens’ Christmas Carol by Neil Gaiman (begins about 12 minutes in, lovely introductory talk about treasures at a museum)

 

2.  Wishing all faiths peace.  I love this image representing many world religions.

Faith
From The Facebook site Faith

 

3. Literary Christmas Quotes from Writers Write – some interesting quotes from writers.

Here are just two, read the rest at the post.

What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for? ~Salman Rushdie

Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home. ~G.K. Chesterton

 

4. Maya Angelou – a message from Maya’s family who keep her facebook alive.

“We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.”
-Maya Angelou from Amazing Peace
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! The Angelou Johnson Family

 

5.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s First Christmas by David Langness  A beautiful story of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s first Christmas.

” Not until 1911, when Abdu’l-Baha initally traveled to the West, did he encounter a modern celebration of Christmas in its Western form. Released from forty years in prison for being a Baha’i, he came to England from the Middle East, and among his hectic schedule of speeches and meetings and public addresses, Abdu’l-Baha:

…witnessed a performance of “Eager Heart,” a Christmas mystery play at the Church House, Westminster, the first dramatic performance He had ever beheld, and which in its graphic depiction of the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ moved Him to tears. – Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 284.

The drama, written by the English poet and playwright Alice Mary Buckton, who later received Abdu’l-Baha at her home in Byfleet Surrey, tells the tragic story of a woman who fervently prepares for the Christmas visit of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but then vacillates when a homeless refugee family shows up at her door. Read the play in its original form.”

 

For celebration of the ‘glory’ and ‘to make a better world’

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Glory – (c) June Perkins

The realm of glory is not something I can depict in a realist photographic approach. It is something, unknowable, untouchable, and so my focus is more to the essence of the shape of things, the abstract.

“Verily His Call will draw thee nigh unto the realm of glory and will cause thee to extol His praise in such wise that every created thing will be enraptured, and to magnify His glory in such manner as to influence the entire creation. Truly thy Lord is the Protector, the Gracious, the All-Informed.”
-Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah

This year I’ve joined the wonderful team of photographers over at nineteen months.  Each Baha’i Month, we post a photograph we’ve taken and quote that inspires us.

Check out some of the other inspiring contributions HERE

It’s a super busy time as I’m about to begin tutoring, doing an online course on crowd funding, half way through the first draft of my novel,  have a number of works I am editing and keen to begin writing, as well the usual family joys and challenges. My household has three teenagers all embarking on their dreams (one’s at university) and vision for future life. Sometimes I am not sure how I’m going to balance it all. Reflecting on a spiritual theme each month in this way helps to put it all into perspective.

Why create art?  Why write? Why live?  It all seems to be a process of finding balance and a spiritual centering.

So few writers make it in financial and ‘being known’ terms, but does that mean they should give up working on their craft, telling their stories, polishing, sharing and finding joy in that process?  Of course that was a rhetorical question.

Whilst it is true having a wide audience gives authors and artists a sense of validation, and being listened to, yet it is those who write for the way it allows them to connect with the glory in existence itself and build community that will never ever give it up.

This week I have been particularly inspired by Maya Angelou.  I find myself watching many videos where she tells stories and shares her thoughts.  This one truly sums up why I do art – ‘to satisfy my soul’ and ‘to make a better world.’

Wishing you all the best for your week of creativity, and a special thank you to the team of people mentoring and editing my work at the moment.  Your support means so much.

June Perkins

Poetry Perculation

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Finding Buds – June Perkins

A perfect poem can arrive from the muse in one heart beat sitting, or it can take years.  It can come from an inspirational or challenging event from that day (like the recent passing of Maya Angelou) or it can be hidden in a notebook and just need us to rediscover and rework it.  Hooray to the writer’s notebook and the buds of creativity within!

I wrote the idea for This Wheel Doesn’t Turn almost a decade ago.  I threw it into a digital notebook and didn’t feel the least inclination to share it but I couldn’t throw the idea away;  one day,  looking back through my notebooks, I decided it had clear potential, however, it had too many ideas competing for attention.  Just one line  was worth retrieving and working with.’ This wheel doesn’t turn. ‘  The setting was clear, and I took other ideas from the original draft, to blend through the poem.  The poem was ready to be fully born.

Some poems need time to mature because the poet has not picked the right form; the words have to be filtered into a form that works for that theme.

Sometimes a strong metrical beat is needed so the poem has a power read aloud; whilst other poems work with visual tricks.  I found that ‘This Wheel doesn’t Turn’ was a poem that needed rhyme, mostly to add to the humour of the piece, and it became stronger by working on the beat.

‘This Wheel Doesn’t turn’ wasn’t a poem needing visual tricks , but latelyI have been thinking about how to be a modern ee cummings, so we shall see.  I think today ee cummings would love working with three dimensions and animating words in all the various computer programs.  What do you think?

Writing everyday or close to everyday and returning to words from years ago, or just yesterday, to apply the filtration of editing to the power of creativity or intellectual rigour can give a poem flight.

As well as my many digital and paper notebook, I have blog after blog. Some blogs, like poems, are full of words and ideas I wouldn’t change, whilst others I pull apart to write new pieces and am tempted to delete yet I hang onto them knowing they might come in handy.

I have begun to keep a paper notebook again to put down random ideas, and beautiful words and names I hear – like Azarella (not even sure that’s how it’s spelt yet) but the sound was so enticing I thought one day I must write around her.

(c) June Perkins

No barriers

wall

Love recognizes no barriers.

It jumps hurdles, leaps fences,

penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

Maya Angelou

gate

The day wall came tumbling down in Germany
I was answering a university exam question about how it might never come down
hope was confirmed the exam turned upside down.

I hope that day comes again and
many more walls that need to be shaken
receive the sledge hammer of
human love global love so walls of
war, poverty, prejudice are overturned.

By June Perkins

Close to the Bone

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June Perkins – Firelight Song

There’s too many stories in my head
I want to tell them
so I can be free.

They begin by spilling onto the page in fragments
but which ones will stick there and make their journey to a reader somewhere
all jostle with each other and have characters who demand
‘give me my journey and my fate
or author you better beware.’

I want to keep up with my characters
but just as I am focusing another character says, ‘pick me.’

There are some who have an urgent voice and push others aside.
They want my attention first.
They emerge from both shadows and light, from optimism and despair.
Some days sorrow is stronger than the light.

They emerge from memory, and dreaming
nightmares and insight.

There are others who begin with promise and
fade away like puzzles that need more mulling over.
I have this feeling they’re going to resurface just when I want
to sleep or finish another story that isn’t quite there.

But I have to find focus.
Who is speaking the loudest,
strongest, most poetic, intriguing, and most questioning?

Sometime I have to take a break
centre myself by listening to music
Tracey Chapman, James Blunt, Dylan, 2cellos, and more
and in listening to their music more ideas emerge

I look for side tracks where the answers lie
in that stillness I see that my writing passion comes
from characters close to the bone.

They may originally come from the real world.
as I write of them they make me weep, laugh, and bring me extreme frustration
kind of like life
kind of life memory
kind of like my children in their teenage incarnations
kind of like imagination.

I could command them
but sometimes they’re sure they command me.

I am hoping Maya Angelou might dance with my characters
let my characters rise
And as they rise breathe into the soul of the story
become flesh on bone
feet on dancers
fingers on hands
soul on body.

They want to justify their existence
tell their story
do their dance
be close to the bone.

(C) June Perkins