Sunday, 20 June 2021

Framed by an Island - Joan Lennon

February 2020: I was at the Fair Isle Studio for a month-long writing retreat.  It was wonderful, wild, overwhelming, challenging and fabulous.  

I read and wrote and wrestled with a recalcitrant stove.  I laid down the bones of a book-length series of narrative poems, telling the stories of three different women living in three different times in the past and the future, and their experiences of the Isle. It was all still taking shape at the end of the month.  Then I flew home from Fair Isle, on a beautiful clear day, and straight into the arms of the pandemic.  Like many, for a long time after, I couldn’t write or read.  (Of course I am hugely privileged and of course so many others had and are having a much much worse time of it.  I know this full well - I'm not a monster.  But I'm interested in myself.  And if you take writing and reading out of the equation, it's not completely clear what myself is.  More than hugs or pubs or going to the cinema, I wanted those things back.)  

My memories of February became first blurry, then implausible, then began to disappear. 

Other non-pandemic stuff got in the way too, but then, slowly, slowly, I started writing again, non-fiction first, and then poetry, and then back to fiction.  The Fair Isle poems finally came to life, and I started working with Anne Sinclair who is translating them into the Fair Isle dialect.  And then ...

Out of the blue, I got an email to say there had been a cancellation at the Fair Isle Studio for 2 weeks in June and would I be interested?

Would I!

And so I'm back in the little blue house, getting strong in the northern summer light.  And the stronger I get, the more access I have to writing and reading and being me.  It's been a pandemic framed by an island.  And now, as the saying goes - onwards!

Fair Isle is insanely photogenic in all weathers.  While I am here, I'll be busily posting photos on Instagram and Facebook.  

Joan Lennon Instagram

Joan Lennon Facebook


Susan Price said...

Onwardsd and upwards!

Anne Booth said...

How gorgeous! May everything go very well in all ways for this second time on that beautiful island!

Penny Dolan said...

What a lovely post to come across today.

How heartening for us to be able to visit the lovely Fair Isle through all these photos.

Power to your pen, and an inspirational kick to your keyboard.
Have a great time in the little blue studio.

Onwards and upwards, for sure.

Sue Purkiss said...

Such beautiful pictures!

Rowena House said...

Wonderful! I hope all the bad memories disappear under the magical influence of Fair Isle. Hope the puffins and fulmars are still there.

Joan Lennon said...

Thanks for all your comments - it's wonderful to be here!