Dark Angels Post 102
Welcome back to our weekly note.
It’s Gillian Colhoun here. As editor for the past year, I’m bowing out with thanks and gratitude to all of you for continuing to read and contribute to our newsletter. It’s been a real honour to read all the fantastic responses from you week after week. And if we didn’t get round to asking you to participate, don’t worry, we’ll be coming for you later in the year. So from next week I’ll be handing over the editorial flame to Susanne. No doubt she’ll be in touch asking for your news and updates.
In the meantime, it’s yours truly in the hotseat.
1. Tell us about something you’re working on right now.
Myself. As indulgent as that sounds, it’s the most honest answer I have.
I’m part way through training as a forest therapist. The practice has initiated seismic changes. The interior transformations have been intense and welcome. More surprising is how wondrously curious I am about the science behind the movement. I find myself reading about monoterpenes, phytoncides and negative ionisation for days. More exciting is a recent invitation to work alongside Alex Gesse (a board member of the International Society of Forest Therapy) to further develop the language of nature connection. Can’t say too much about it now, but I’m totally thrilled. Can you tell?
My fledgling side hustle, The Bright Fields (alongside creative bestie Sharon Young) is growing up fast. Thanks to many of you for giving us your support. We’ve expanded our offering, taken on wholesale clients and will be launching a new editorial series called Above Tree Level. We’re amplifying the voices of those who do extraordinary things every day. Look out for it towards the end of the summer.
In the commercial world, I’m currently co-designing a regional programme for the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing sector. It’s all about inspiring companies to create cultural and economic staying power. This will not be easy. Send all good vibes.
2. Can you recommend something for us to read?
During my time as editor of the weekly notes, this section has been the biggest gift. I’ve single-handedly boosted the bookselling economy and enjoyed so many of your recommendations. A book I return to time and again is The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. If you’re not familiar with her work; if you admire writers like Chekhov, Faulkner, Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf, then Eudora will be a real find. This interview in the Paris Review is worth a look too.
3. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever read or received?
I can burn through hours in one sitting reading the processes and advice of well-known writers. Problem is I don’t consciously observe any of it. That said, I have found wisdom in unexpected places.
The only failure is not to try. George Clooney
“You want to be a writer?” I say, “Great, get bored.” Jerry Seinfeild
Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Mike Tyson
4. Share one thing you do when you get stuck.
One of the benefits of getting older is having available all the years of evidence you need to know yourself. I used to think a deadline needed to be stretched to the very limit for me to be creatively productive. But the truth is I didn’t need the impetus of anxiety, but the total opposite – a complete lack of stimulation. I have always struggled with focusing my attention. My mind can be everywhere and nowhere. What works for me is the Seinfield thing – getting bored. I take myself to a physical place where my mind and body is so devoid of distraction, I can’t help but have an idea, sometimes against my will.
5. What’s your desert island book and why?
Wow, serves me right for asking this question in the first place. It’s a tough one. Mainly because a desert island is bound to be hot; and that’s me in a mood for a kickoff. I’m a cross bear in hot climates. My first thought? Wuthering Heights. Mentally, that would transport me back to the cold in a beat. Second thought: what if there’s a tropical storm on this island? Emily would only feed the fear. Third and final thought is to bring P.D. James’ book Talking about Detective Fiction. I’m a crime novel nerd so I can use the time and chapters to work out which buggar shipped me off to this godforsaken island in the first place.
Normally I’d use this space to thank the weekly contributor. Instead, I’ll say thank you to the wonderful Dark Angels community 💚.
We are Nature: Aracena, 23rd – 28th September
We have almost reached capacity for this September’s long-awaited return to Finca El Tornero del Rebollar with Neil and Gillian. There are still some roomshare combinations available in the house and space for two tents in the garden. Interested? Check out more details on the course here, or email Susanne directly.
Weekly Tuesday Gatherings
Join us for a reflective hour of reading, writing and communing led by Neil Baker. Everyone is welcome; in fact invite a friend along. We meet at 7pm UK time. To join us, click here on the night. There’s no need to register in advance and we’ll be using the same link every week from now on.
Be well, keep reading, keep writing and know that we’re always here..
From everyone at Dark Angels
Also published on Medium.