Grace and Gratitude List: High Summer While Shielding Edition - text next to photo of wildflower meadow with poppies and cornflowers

Gratitude & Grace List: High Summer While Shielding Edition

Inspired by my dear friend Gala Darling, I’m taking my love lists out of my (hot pink) journal and sharing them with you.

It’s an odd time to look at things I am grateful for, because normal I catalogue small joys here. At this time, I’m deeply aware of the position of privilege I hold and to be able to think about small pleasures is great good fortune in this painful time. I also hold that I am focussing on small pleasures because, like many, I haven’t seen anyone outside my household in 5 months. I’m still shielding, still navigating the risk during this pandemic as a disabled woman.

Here are some more things I’m grateful for:

Little Things I Love:

Raspberries in the garden * Attending meetings safely via Zoom as a disabled woman * Twice weekly Welsh conversation practice * Ethical flowers that arrive by post, like magic * Related – seeing my first peonies in person * Rose and frankincense facial spray * The Ordinary skincare products that my best friend from secondary school introduced me to * * Using my new stack of index cards for creative discovery as I learned in Esmé Wang’s fantastic workshop * Spending all day with the dogs * Kindle Unlimited keeping me supplied with books while the libraries are closed * And friends and loved ones who are lending and sending books to me (from lovely independent book shops like Broadleaf Books and Chepstow Bookshop) * Being with my dogs all day * When the sunlight fills the garden like honey * Journalling my way through the pandemic with The Isolation Journals * Studying online with amazing teachers like Alexander Chee, Lidia Yuknavitch and Terese Mailhot * Playing my harp on the porch * Listening to classic audio books *

My High Summer & Shielding Gratitude & Grace List:

A great interview with Lidia Yuknavitch on writing from the painful places.

What a fantastic interview with Rene Denfield on writing challenging characters.

I wanted to get a ticket for this but didn’t think it would be accessible to me. But the Primadonna writing festival is now online.

I can’t count the number of people who have recommended Nikesh’s writing substack to me, but I’m already on board. I love it and now I’m recommending it to you #WritingLife #AmWriting

More thoughts on writing and trauma.

I’m so excited for the launch of Just So You Know, an essay collection of marginalised voices published in Wales. I’m excited to be an advance reviewer, so look out my for experience with it here soon.

This is a great anti-racism newsletter.

Oh, an Alice Walker Poem annotated with reflections? Yes, please.

How do I write about my identity authentically? Related: Writing The Other: 3 questions before you embark.

I love journalling and am so intrigued by the intentional memory keeping practices here.

The names of colour shades – is it cognac or wine? Find out.

Do you find your focus isn’t going where it needs to be? Strategies for avoiding bike shedding.

What an amazing conversation on creative use of footnotes. I am on the internet for these moments.

Large white house with teal door seen through Grace's wheelchair wheels. Leaves on the ground under the chair.

I’m running a new workshop this month, There Is a Charge For the Eyeing Of My Scars: Marginalised Voices Writing About Pain. It’s commissioned by Literature Wales and The Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales, whose support kindly makes it free for participants. You can read more about it and sign up here.

In this workshop, we’ll reflect on and process the gaslighting, manipulation and abuse of marginalised stories being mined/stolen and shared. 

We’ll explore questions including: 

– What’s the appetite for our pain? Who is the audience? What’s trained their tastes until now? 

– What’s the cost to us of writing about our pain and trauma?

– How does our story fit into the wider conversations? Where is our value recognised (or not) in the world? 

– How can we centre our joy when we’re only asked about our pain?

– How can we write both pain and joy in a trauma-informed way?

– Equipping for editing: how to handle cuts to our personal history.

Join the workshop here.

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P.S Want more radical resources? Check out my Patreon for seasonal journal  prompts, monthly meditations and revolutionary retreat guides.