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A journey to Spain….break out time!

I am an eternal optimist and a striver even though logistics for ‘movements’ can be restrictive and horribly frustrating. My Arts Council grant includes part-funding for a number of days that should be dedicated to writing and since the beginning of the year, I have had three attempts at organising this – all failed for one reason or another but mainly due to the excessive hike in prices this year. Also because I need accompaniment and am unable to travel and sort myself out on my own.

But I have finally managed to break out! All the required conditions came together and I will be travelling to Jerez de la Frontera and Seville in Spain on 29 August for 13 days and exploring the inspiration of flamenco dance and music. My friend and writing colleague Amy Zamarripa Solis will be filming and helping me to post blogs and videos during my travels. I will possibly have a couple of lessons in flamenco upper-body movements to use when performing in my wheelchair, so there are bound to be some good laughs in store.

During my trip, I will be exploring the link between North Indian-descended Romani people who migrated to Spain and brought their music and dance with them to Andalusia. I’ll be taking pleasure in the Royal Andalusian ‘dancing’ dressage horses (I used to go horse riding). I’ll touch them, feel their strength and admire their beauty. I might even try and find a performance of the female flamenco dancer who dances a duet in the bull ring with a prancing white horse.

This long-awaited journey will open my body and soul, and drench them in sensations, smells, sights and sounds. Then I will write, pour words onto paper, and sing and rejoice at the fullness of life. 

Please sign up to updates from my website. You can also follow my story via the Twitter hashtag #PowerchairWriter @leblackwood or on my new Facebook page. Many photos, blogs and videos in store!

My recent Inscribe blog – jumping hurdles & telling it like it is

As an Inscribe Writer, I was asked to send a blog for the August edition. But what could I write about? Dilemma, dilemma – should it be about my recent literary exploits, the successes and developments? Or maybe something humorous?

Then it hit me, or rather rose like a swell from my gut – be brave, I told myself. Shout out, tell it as it is, attempt to be a voice and inspiration for others on this incredible platform and just hope for the best.

So it poured out. How life can be a total bitch but with hard work, determination, faith and a dose of humour, anything can be overcome. Also, how being surrounded and supported by GOOD people, anything is possible. Thank you to all those who believe in me, have bolstered my self-confidence and have treated me with some TLC and understanding.

I laid it on the line in this blog, something I have been doing for a while on my Facebook page but with mixed reactions. Some don’t like it when confronted with the exposure of their own narrow views; others applaud my ‘gobby’ comments.

What I have learned is that there will always be people who will want you to conform, be quiet, cow your head to the ‘norm’, pretend your limitations don’t exist to ‘fit in with the pack’ (or mainstream).

It takes courage to stand up and take flack for being honest, and I have enough for all those whose heads are bowed and cowed. It doesn’t matter if those people are the majority because as any minority, we have the right to exist, be ourselves and have our place in society.

If my blog can give courage or succour in any way, then I am happy.

One person replied to me directly and here are some of the comments that left tears in my eyes:

“I am sat here with tears streaming down my face and heaving as I write to you. Your blog resonated with me immensely! You have just written my story! You have no idea how much your piece has helped me today.  Last Friday, I had a flaming row with an older relative. He made me feel absolutely worthless. I have a lump in my chest since then which threatened to choke me. Reading “Small World – Big Aspirations” however, has loosened that lump. Perhaps reading it a few more times will help get rid of the lump completely…thank you ever so much for your absolutely inspiring and medicinal piece. You have given me a dose of energy to help push me forward.”

You can read the blog here – feel free to share and comments most welcome. Let’s make this go viral and touch as many failing hearts as possible!

Lynne E Blackwood’s blog for Inscribe programme:

“Small World, Big Aspirations” peepaltreepress.com/blog/inscribe/small-world-big-aspirations