Welcome to Issue #2 of my Ree-Writes newsletter.
I’ve got a brand-new little flash fiction story to share with you in this issue.
It’s called “The dream which fell into the ocean”, and I wrote it especially for this newsletter. I had actually planned on sharing some of my older writing pieces for the first few issues, so it was a nice surprise to find words flowing, and I took full advantage.
I’m including a shout-out to the talented artist of the original paintings in the accompanying illustration to the story: Rambha Dobson (my mum💕), who kindly provided permission to use her works. Merci Maman 🙏💗
It’s funny to map the genesis of ideas and how creativity unfolds. For “The dream which feel into the ocean”, it started with me staring dreamily at my mum’s original paintings. They inspired a tiny piece of micro-fiction, which I tweeted. I then developed the tweet into the story you can read below. Then, as I thought about how to illustrate it, I hit on the approach of digitally combining my mum’s paintings. They were the original inspiration, after all! And so, I came full circle.
I hope you find your synergies and energies in your creative journeys, and I hope you find the stories, ideas and links in this issue inspiring in some way.
Writing & Creativity Cool Finds
Did you know there is a library with books no-one can read? Where art, books, reading and the future get woven together into a present that will last for 100 years. I found this project to be an odd mix of amazing and emotional. It struck me in that place inside where you can swim and swim, but you still can’t find the words to describe the feelings there.
This is a piece you need to immerse yourself in. Make a delicious cup of tea, turn off your notifications and curl up to read it. It’s ethnographic, creative non-fiction and even creatively academic. Dense writing that’s rich and chewy and inspiring. Each word is a footstep across the landscape, the present and the pasts in palimpsest, and soaked in nature.
Not that I’m signing contracts all over the place, but here’s a reminder to read the fine print in the contract as you walk the line between writes and rights. This is eye-opening stuff.
Ahh, Excel spreadsheets! So very useful. And so very mundane. Definitely not for the creative side of life! Well, let’s re-think that, shall we? Fair warning: you may find yourself travelling through forests of green as you try and pick your jaw off the floor. If you’re only going to click on one link in the whole newsletter, make it this one!
Something I created
The dream which fell into the ocean
One night, the dream wasn’t being called to by anyone. It was alone as it sat on the edge of its cloud and swung its legs idly backwards and forwards into the night sky.
And then, it happened.
The dream wasn’t sure how. One moment it was on its cloud, the next moment, something shifted – a breeze, a breath – and then the dream was falling, falling, falling down towards the night ocean below.
It landed without a splash.
It lay there for a moment, bobbing in the calm water as it found its breath. The world was all ocean down here. Waves and ceaseless movement and wet and salt tangs and cool air and a symphony of sounds stretching all the way back up to the night sky. So very different to the clouds of wide winds and whisper-soft silences.
The dream stood up.
The ocean surface was uneven and wobbling. The dream found a precarious balance and began walking. Careful steps across the silken, dancing surface.
It walked for a long time. It walked with the tide, across the waves, under star and blue and star and blue skies, often in silence, and sometimes humming to the seaweed, the fish and merfolk and water sprites that it met.
With every step the dream took, it left behind dream-footprints to slowly surrender beneath the waves. With every step, the dream changed. It coloured itself differently. With the way light pauses in water, with ocean songs, and with the endlessness of night. It learnt to slip and spin. It learnt how to run fast and strong, with fury and with gentleness.
One day, waves carried the dream on to a wide shore with coarse and smooth sand, with living shells and empty, broken and discarded ones, and living and lost seaweed. The dream sat down at the very edge of the ocean, and felt the unusual sensation of having solid sand swirling and slipping and washing under its feet. It had been used to only ocean for so long now.
The dream lay down in the tiny waves of lagoon water, stared up at the blue sky and billowing clouds and sun, and it rested and waited.
And that was where you found it.
Backstory: This story was based on a tweeted microfic. It’s the reasons I persist with Twitter, even with the very low engagement I have time for. Sometimes tiny ideas lead to bigger ones.
A Book or Piece of Art I Love
This is an illustration by Grant Snider. It’s a panel that’s an extract of a longer multi-panel cartoon, but I’m afraid I can’t remember the original cartoon’s title any more.
You see, I found and cut out this illustrated panel a long time ago. Maybe 15 years, probably more. It lives at my work desk and has travelled with me across multiple work desks and across hundreds of miles. It’s still pinned above my work desk at the day job today.
The impossibility of perspective which plays between 2D and 3D realities as the character sleeps on a flat-looking-but-should-be-upright tree trunk, the romance, solitude and dreaminess of star-gazing and deserts, and the importance of providing yourself with soul food.
I love Snider’s illustrations. He has done many pithy and wise and hopeful – and just plain beautiful – illustrations about experiences of writing, drawing, reading, daydreaming and being-in-the-moment. They always strike a chord and they always make me smile.
He has released several books now, and you can find an up-to-date list here.
One last thing. You can imagine my surprise when, years after I first cut out this panel, I saw and realised and (finally) understood that it was an homage to artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s The Lawrence Tree (1929). The original is beautifully striking and moody.
But I’ll confess that I prefer the Grant Snider cartoon. Probably because I found it first? And because I love everything about the homage, including the additions. But as a result of learning this connection, I’ve become a lot more attuned and aware of O’Keeffe’s incredibly imaginative art works.
Randomly Interesting Wandersome Shares
I grew up with the pyramids of Mauritius. Basalt stones carefully piled into pyramid shapes in the middle of sugar cane fields. I always assumed they were put together by labourers (enslaved and then indentured) who had to clear the entire land before of fields before planting could take place. But this article suggests a whole other history, focusing on what we don’t know. It certainly makes for intriguing possibilities…
A long read: Hawai’i’s last outlaw hippies. The proverbial paradise that was never lost, but that has attracted those who are lost and those who want to get lost, and those who are now being told they need to get lost.
I found this piece about The Cello and the Nightingales exquisite. It lovingly paints a beautiful, complex picture about a love of music, wonder about nature, and how so many hearts were touched. The piece is all the more poignant because we have the hindsight to know how this moment took place in-between the unimaginable cruelties and horrors of two world wars. It’s also not just the moment that was beautiful, but that the article itself is written with so much love.
Du fond du coeur, thanks for reading x
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