[CANCER] #100Voices: Reflecting on and Sharing Experiences of Cancer with @TheChristieNHS // #BreastCancer @YBCN_UK

I had been talking to Ben Heyworth about the Macmillan social media/cancer bid I was putting forward, and he told me about a patient-led project that he’d been working on – #100Voices:

Ben Heyworth talks about the patient reference group here:

So today I was able to participate in the final event (the final 8 people!), held at the Whitworth Art Gallery (designed to bring out the artistic side of us, rather than the clinical setting of a hospital). The event was facilitated by Ben, along with Tim Jeeves (artist, writer), and lasted a couple of hours.

The event was set up very clearly as being one in which this was really about us doing this individually, in confidence, and at any point we could choose whether ‘the one word’ we were going to pick would be used (at all), and whether it would be used with our names. It was also made clear that it is known that in thinking through our cancer experience, it makes us vulnerable, so someone would be on hand if we needed to pop out for a walk around the gallery. The consent forms were read, but the signing of this was left until the end of the session, so we knew what we were agreeing to, having seen the finished product.

Tim started by talking about his own experience of cancer, and how that has informed the kind of work that he undertakes, the kind of art that he produces, and how he helps people to articulate their stories through creative means.

We were asked to introduce ourselves simply by name, where we’d travelled from, and by what mode of transport, before being asked to fill a whole sheet of A4 with the outline of our bodies (with or without clothes: many jokes about the amount of time we’ve spent whipping our clothes off in hospital rooms, and if you’ve had prostate cancer, how you really can’t be shy about this – I went for with – but this is still not an image I want to share). Then we added in the scars on our body, first those from cancer, and then those from any other incidents in our lifetimes (however small, quantity over quality was here), before writing what happened alongside some of the non-cancer scars.

It was then onto 3-4 minutes to tell a story about one of those non-cancer scars – this I don’t mind sharing:

It was 1994. The housemate below me had fallen asleep listening to thrash metal at top volume whilst I was trying to concentrate on writing an essay and unable to focus. Eventually, I got up, went downstairs and kicked hard on the door, several times. Obviously, I couldn’t be heard, and all that happened was that I caused medical trauma to my toe.

From that, we then picked one word to share (without context) with the group – from which most of us, then, in our heads, created our own stories about what might have been other people’s stories – both individually, and what story the group words could tell.

Next, it was writing down how we were likely to describe ourselves on a demographics form – race, gender, class, religious, disability, sexuality and age – and thinking how if you saw all those words, it wouldn’t really capture the essence of who we are, so then it was onto another 3-4 minutes to write down a range a of words that might help people conjure up an image of you (yes, academic, life-explorer, pockets and cheese all made their way onto mine).

Another 3-4 minutes was then given to turn one of those words into a story, again, I think I’m happy to share this:

I’ve always described myself as a life-explorer. Cancer is not something I wanted to explore, but on diagnosis this was the first conversation I had with a friend – how was I going to tackle cancer in the same way as previous challenges/opportunities, and find a way to get through it with the least amount of pain/stress, looking for opportunities to connect with other people in this new community of need. Very unsettling time, but making social media and cancer a research experience gives it an extra value.

It was then time to pick ONE word from that to write upon a coloured acetate sheet, which will be added to a wall in the Christie – where the light will shine through all these words. We were encouraged that there was no wrong word, and even if the word was negative, that can help, as, as cancer patients, we tend to be given a barrage of positivity, and if you’re having a down/hopeless day sometimes it’s helpful to know that others have had a difficult time with it too! After a bit of discussion – and eenie meenie minie mo (all the words in bold were possibilities), we we asked to draw out our slide on a piece of paper, go over it with a permanent marker, and then transfer that onto the coloured tile. This was mine:

The word 'Unsettling' on a red tile, with images of a line going up and down, a vortex spinning around the top, and Munchen's scream
As I posted on Instagram, I ‘settled for unsettling as that’s how I feel a lot of the time – unsettled and lacking control.’ This is even more true post-hospital treatment, as I try and find my ‘new normal’ and keep crashing into expectations – mostly from myself, but also other people – about what I’m capable of at the moment – and as I wait for more scan results, and the worry that the ‘cancer merry-go-round’ could all start up again!

Having signed off our consent sheets, it was time to go home. I took the opportunity to head towards the Christie, and go and sit in Maggies, as thinking about the body, its scars, and the results I’m waiting for, and random new things happening that cause concern, brings up all kinds of things for me (yes, it’s also unsettling!). It’s such a lovely safe/welcoming space (can’t wait for the fire to go on):

Alongside a couple of chats with the lovely staff, it gave me a chance to catch up on a few work communications before heading out into the dark:

Here, I bumped into a friend from my Moving Forward group, before collecting a friend who is working on a programme about the Christie for Audible, and wanted to interview me about my experience as a patient there.

It was great to see the YBCN video that I’d contributed to on Facebook (celebrating the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month):

Academic Event

[EVENT] #TrollingtheArtist with @MsMapes and @NatashaCaruana. A @RedEyeNetwork Event

I’ve just returned from an interesting, and challenging evening at RISE Manchester, at an event organised by the RedEye Photography Network. I was asked to chair the session, in which photographic artists Sarah Maple and Natasha Caruana discussed their work, and the impact of trolling – both being trolled, and being the troll, has impacted their work as they seek to provoke conversation and discussion.

I introduced the artists, largely drawn from the biographies they had given on the site – I had also visited their sites – but with a family funeral not leaving much time for research – went for the ‘respond to the material as in front of me’ approach, as I scribbled away in the talks – one side for notes, the other side for potential questions (you know me – right tool for the job, and tonight pen/paper was the right tool).

Sarah Maple: Pound Shop Exhibitionist

sarah-mapleSarah introduced us to where her interest in challenging feminist work started, with a piece of work at Art School, which caused controversy and offence, and seemed to highlight the split in expectations between men and women.

She spoke of her personal experience of being brought up as a Muslim in a Catholic school post 9/11. She mentioned how ‘old-fashioned abuse’ was received pre-Twitter for her artworks – how ‘feminism’ was not really the thing it was now, but how her work got the conversation going – you can read a lot of her ideas in a Guardian article – which she mentioned in the talk – in which she wasn’t sure whether reading the comments ‘below the line’ would help or hinder her thinking.

Sarah questioned whether there had been a platform like this before, which allows public shaming and humiliation of artists? She talks about having moved from a position in which she felt complicit with berating women to work that is outspoken and political … but which many critique as an attention-seeking, silly girl. She hackneyedhas taken that response and turned it into art, turning comments into billboards – but it didn’t work as expected as a performance because having seen her face-to-face, the ‘mob mentality’ and its associated cruelty didn’t come to the fore. Sarah was due to post another blog with the Guardian re trolling, but ironically, the Guardian decided not to run it because of the expected negative backlash … therefore changing the narrative and limiting the conversation.

Sarah moved onto talking about her work ‘Anti Rape Cloak‘, questioning victim blaming, and coping with comments such as ‘with a face like that, no one would want to’, etc. She’s currently working on looking at ‘freedom of speech’, and questioned whether it was right for moderators/sites to delete comments – where are the boundaries? She referred to the number of feminists who have given up seeking to change the conversation, because the backlash is too difficult – therefore returning to a place where the discourse is controlled.

Sarah referred to the way that Disney has shaped so much of the narrative around women, showing them as passive characters, whilst men are active (and the enduring popularity of old images), problematic GAP campaigns, and Page 3, which have all shaped our environment. In 2013 she responded to the case of Caroline Criado-Perez and the abuse that she got on Twitter, with a video ‘Freedom of Speech‘, which she showed as a final piece – in which she responded to slaps around the face with increasing emotion, and increasing difficulty in speaking. The room was left in complete silence at the end.


Natasha Curuana: Married Man, etc.


Natasha started with a notion of being both trolled, and how that gave her the confidence to use trolling in some of her work – what does it look like from both sides of the screen? She questioned the performative techniques that we use, and our perceptions of betrayal. Having grown up in the circus, life has been constructed as a performance.

In 2008/9, Natasha’s work went global with her work ‘The Married Man‘, leading to a huge amount of discussion – both positive and negative. She had been reading a magazine at an appointment, and came across an advert for rekonnect “your affairs are our business”, offering you the opportunity to “be a mistress too”. At the time she was also reading Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle, reading how if things are repeated, they become pleasurable – and was becoming interested in how technology is changing relationships.

exhibitionShe started meeting with married men who were looking for affairs, going on 80 dates with 54 men, having had conversations with hundreds online, several phone-calls and then face-to-face. She took photographs on the first dates, with a disposable camera (the men knew the photos were being taken – and didn’t include their faces). She soon found, that unlike the romance, etc that is depicted in material about affairs, she was being treated as a counsellor by men who felt lonely, and that they had no place – unlike their wives (often as mothers). By the end she was meeting 3-4 men a day, trying to manage to remember names when most had used a pseudonym online and then a different one in emails, and then confessed their ‘true’ name once met face-to-face. Natasha’s performance was to mirror what they wanted. She felt she was playing with power roles, and in questioning the ethics of what she was doing, she considered that they were cheating, but then so was she in the role she was in. She was clear on her boundaries, was not targeting (nor seeking to reveal) individual men – so it was more of an anthropological approach. She always met for coffee, with the table becoming the ‘theatre of desires’ – but also a barrier. The work was exhibited in galleries, as a slideshow, and online – one photo for each of the 54 men she dated – offering a fragmented insight into the experience. Natasha described this as this being about the audience and their friends and family – provoking conversation, and removing herself from the process. We listened to an audio piece from recordings at meetings – this piece is only ever shown live and is not online – it is intentionally gritty/not clean, and gaps can be made up from the imagination. Words such as trust, fun, and disposible came through, as did the man who said there were many prostitutes in London (but he wanted something else).

The press (e.g. Telegraph) has given many opinions on her work, but Natasha never ‘explains’ what her work means, she just lets it exist. This means that when she gets online abuse, she has to let it be, and not respond. This included criticisms about the ‘quality’ of the photographs, questioned her professional authority – including her ability to teach students photography. There was a strong sense of how people see photography and ‘what it should be’ – she decided to turn this criticism into inspiration, questioning expectations of a certain aesthetic.


Natasha now collects comments as part of the artistic process – questioning whether this is an important time to make art – including what is said, and the user names shown. Deliberate choices related to ethics included allowing 3 years to lapse between collecting the photos (2008), and showing it in 2011-12.

Between 2011-13, Natasha starting collecting ‘Fairytale for Sale‘ – in which she became a troll. She questioned whether the work of a troll, and the work of an artist, to provoke comment from the world, is the same. Starting from images seen on sales sites, of women selling their wedding dresses (but blanking out their faces) – she contacted them asking for high-res photos of them in the image (posing as a bride looking for a dress), preferably in ‘the trophy moment’ (demonstrating everlasting happiness), asking for fine detail on the dress (whilst looking at the masking techniques used, and the accompanying conversations). Natasha described building up relationships ‘that would not have happened in real life’, noting that this was built up around the time of Kate/Wills wedding, when women wanted to ‘be a princess too’. Unlike in the past, however, the dress was not a treasured item – but a disposable/performance piece – once the day had been documented, it could be sold on (not always immediately). With the faces of the bride (and groom) masked, the focus of the observer could move to other objects in the photo – what narrative are they telling (why is that groom holding a suitcase – where is he going?). She created a typology and trends – noting that the sea (or green spaces) were typically the trophy location.

wedding-dressesNatasha describes what she was doing as ‘trolling’ because she was using an anonymous pseudonym, and asked all why they were selling (posing as a bride to be, who was somewhat superstitious). The trolling in this exercise was inspired by her experience of being trolled with The Married Man – maybe she didn’t need to reveal who she really was. She questioned whether trolls are ‘agents of online digestion’ who ‘weaponise exploitative material’. She collected together examples of the photographs that she had collected, along with a tag cloud of reasons for why people were selling their dresses (size, diet, space and dust seem to feature large).

Natasha is currently working with the Open Data Institute (set up by Tim Berners-Lee – who can still remember when he knew every page on the www). This includes looking at divorce data – which, ironically – seaside towns is where the highest numbers are (so why was the sea so heavily featured in wedding photos?!)



After the two presentations, I settled in for a conversation with Sarah and Natasha, drawing in questions from the audience. I introduced myself as someone who is an advocate for shaping a more positive environment online, a space that is a part of ‘real life’, so echoes commonly held beliefs, but also brings out specific behaviours. I mentioned the importance of ‘disinhibition’ in shaping behaviours that people see as ‘OK’ online, often forgetting that they are dealing with human beings, and bringing their vision of ‘normal’ to bear on the comments. In 2013 I started a piece on anonymity online, which I hope to pick up again next year, and included this quote from Caroline Criado-Perez:

If we don’t like what social media is presenting us [with], we should look at society instead, not just the tool they communicate with. (Interhactives)

Some links:

We talked about links between Natasha and Sarah’s work, the dark humour evident, questioned whether the digital allowed better responses to trolling and not just suffering more at the hands of it, whether online reflects offline power status, the difference between cyberbullying and trolling (if there is one), how far works were curated/scripted, including the problems with constructions of masculinity and femininity (and our expectations). Most of the conversation was captured on Periscope:


Thinking about Thinking Digital #TDCMCR

For the last few years I’ve managed to attend Thinking Digital in Newcastle … and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a duff session at one, and definitely some mind-triggering sessions! So, when I heard it was coming to Manchester, which I’ve just moved to, that was good, and when my work offered me a ticket, even better! (Cover photo Thomas Jackson Photography)

Monday Afternoon

A tradition of Thinking Digital is that there are workshops the day before the main conference, including personal development, tech thinking, practical applications, etc. I popped along to EON Reality, where we were given a sense of where augmented and virtual are now, and where they have come from.

We then were given an opportunity to see many of the current tools, including the previous version of Oculus Rift, and a cardboard device for your mobile phone that’s only £6-7, “sat” in a roller-coaster, saw a shopping device, “rebuilt” an engine, did some plumbing, looked in the back of an eye, and was soothed by a 3D shark! Interesting to see where technology is going!


This was the full on conference day, with some familiar names and some new names. I don’t pay that much attention to the schedule, because the speakers are always interesting, even if it’s not directly where your interests lie – but if you want to see who was on the schedule…!

Eddie Obeng

The conference formally kicked off with Eddie Obeng, who I have heard speak before. Always an engaging speaker, drawing us in with audience-based exercises, Eddie argued that we learn more if we laugh (concept proven). He says that our world has changed (been disrupted by digital) and that we haven’t kept up. We make too many assumptions about communication which are broken – are we too busy speaking to listen; are we too busy looking back over the past to look to the future? If we’re looking at our digital devices 200 times per day, then that’s an average of every 3 minutes, when it takes 20 minutes to get into a deep/creative thinking state – so are we therefore not thinking?

The following created the most laughter…

The idea of ‘digital obesity’ was one that many appeared to pick up from this talk, with Eddie arguing that we ‘binge’ on content – which is easy to use, convenient and free – and therefore addictive. Asked what his ‘fruit and veg’ equivalents were in relation to digital health, he indicated a timer in case he disappears down a wormhole, awareness of habits, ensure are listening and not just broadcasting. There was a bit of a negative tone to it – I’m not sure I agree everything is addictive for all – but definitely plenty of ‘food for thought’.

Conrad Wolfram

Next up Conrad Wolfram, the man behind Wolfram Alpha … and the knowledge engine behind Siri

Conrad is particularly looking at a world in which we have information overload, questioning whether more data has improved our decision making, and arguing strongly that we should understand what the computer is best at, and what the human is best at, and look for processes that make the best of both. 

The importance of the interface was highlighted (look at the difference that Apple has made with a simplified interface) – make it attractive and useful to increase engagement. Conrad finished by saying that we’re entering a new era of computer automation, and those who understand this will control much of the data… and thought this was an interesting question:

Julian Treasure

 Onto Julian Treasure, an audio evangelist:

We need to listen, but we also need to be aware of the power of our own words. And we need to be aware of a number of draining factors when speaking:

There’s a lot of negativity online, and a lack of listening … I loved the quote that we should complain about those things that we can do something about, otherwise we are just contributing to ‘viral misery’. Be careful in offering opinions – ask if an opinion is welcome first. Avoid the words should, just, but! 

In opening discussions, can you ‘receive, appreciate, summarise, ask’, and consider whether you can ask ‘clean’ questions (without pre-providing answers). Think about the words you use – if a pair of shoes is ‘awesome’, what words does that leave for a sunset? Consider the acoustics of your space – Julian questioned how people get work done in an open-plan office, get well in a hospital ward, or learn in school… 

Adrian Woolard

Adrian moved to Manchester 2 years before the main move to Manchester, originally part of a small R&D team – in the face of lots of negative press (especially from the Daily Mail) about the idea that anything particularly creative could be done ‘up north’. Core words that they focus upon:

We heard about a number projects undertaken, including one I’d missed despite the fact that I mostly enjoy Casualty!

Adrian came back at the end of the day with the results of a ‘love this thought’ experiment run over the conference:

Northern Powerhouse Panel chaired by Martin Bryant

A ‘hurrah’ session looking at those who have good experiences to session, or want to share more of what is being done to reach towards the ‘vision’ of the #NorthernPowerhouse

Collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, great quality of life, although was a question how much we should lump together e.g. Manchester, Gateshead and other Northern cities – are they just ‘not London’?

LJ Rich

LJ Rich (who you might have seen on BBC Click, TEDx, etc.) I’ve also seen before – risk-taking, music-mixing inspiration! LJ was looking at how to re-create the sensory experience of e.g. walking through a forest (where there’s a lot of noise, but it all works together), by ‘sending us into space’… a large cinema screen depicting stars in space (in motion), music from LJ (tweaked with laptops), and … a packet of popping candy – taken by everybody at the same time! ‘Out of this world’!


Stephen Waddington

Head of Engagement for an organisation gave a whirlwind tour through some of the worst and best of organisational online presence:

Too many organisations are still trying to use command and control, creating a beautiful online presence, but not ensuring the product behind it is up to scratch – and then people will use those beautiful spaces to moan online – which do people take more notice of? We saw examples of ‘not thought through‘, ‘left hand/right hand‘, ‘meaningless‘, ‘needy‘, ‘poor automation‘. Good advice – don’t post just because you can, note that authenticity, transparency and openness are encouraged by the online platforms through the building of trust. Heard about Amazon, Patagonia and Lego who all have evolved their businesses to make good use of the possibilities of digital, rather than trying to use digital for old marketing models.  Does the message from The Cluetrain Manifesto still ring true:

We are left with the question – do you have a company that’s smart enough to build a community around itself rather than market at “them”?

James Girling

 Largely a musical interlude, prefaced by the comment that artists now need to be prepared to present their music in bitesize chunks:

Peter Gregson

The most tweeted quote from Peter Gregson:

I’d agree with

Pam Warhurst

Very inspiring story from the bottom up (from someone who has worked top-down!)

Pam highlighted the importance of food to communities (I’d second that – was what we used for ‘Lent Feast‘ on #bigread11), food cuts across boundaries, creates conversations, provides a new language – once we know – we teach others how to do this. Repeated message: this is not rocket science – you just need to get started. She talked about just getting on with it – turning a patch of waste land into a vegetable garden – about 6 months later the council provided a bench and started mowing the grass surrounding it (that provoked a spontaneous round of applause from #TDCMCR audience). The police have got involved (which changes those relationships), people eat the food, help care for it, show it off as a tourist attraction, has rebuilt pride in the village – has had so many benefits – and another simple/inexpensive idea:

Pam ended with a plea for the ‘Incredible Northern Greenhouse’ rather than the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, called for us not to measure everything in economic terms, and final sentence “believe in the power of small actions because you really can change your history.”

Tom Chatfield

We then moved onto Tom, a digital culture specialist, who is an ‘enthusiastic digital critic’ – there’s so much good in it, but we can make it even better. He encouraged us to look at the amount of time that we have (referencing Eddie Obeng’s call for deep concentration) to ensure that we take care of our limited resources of energy and thinking, and use them well:

The illustration used was outcomes for parole hearings depending how far away they were after food:

Interpreted by one as:

We were introduced to the notion of online being built upon the ‘casino business model’ – just one more click, to look at the questions we’re actually answering:

Top quotes ‘Many digital business models grossly undervalue our time and attention.’, ‘We need to be careful that tech doesn’t turn all our time into the same kind of time: do something different!’, consider whether you’re too busy liking things to actually live them… take care – your email inbox is essentially a to-do list written by other people! (ah, the joys of Inbox 0, combined with ToDoIst, etc.!)

I was given a free copy of his book ‘Live This Book‘ – an interactive paper text – looking forward to checking that out!

Emma Foster & Kevin Moss

A look at ‘digital storytelling’ (a rather underfunded art):

But looking for ways to encourage more engagement, participation and production:

Lemn Sissay

Lemn is a poet who has recently been appointed as Chancellor for the University of Manchester – coming from a background where was abandoned, renamed, so a humorous but vulnerable story of loss and finding an identity.

Lemn opened with a call for positive discrimination, because we need to work against ‘positive discrimination by default’ which is basically what the status quo is. He considered whether we are a unique generation – both pre and post the internet (though I would question – every generation is pre/post something). Talking about why he blogs, it’s not about the readership (sometimes 1000s, sometimes 5), but because he’s alive, and can reflect upon himself/his life. Returning to the question of diversity – he encouraged us to change the question of ‘why’ to ‘why not’?

Back to the plea to ‘do something’ – see how you can help:

End of Conference

Read more about Thinking Digital Manchester, or watch the sessions via Reframed TV… and look out for TDC London, March 2016!


Visiting #AiWeiWei (@aiww) at the Royal Academy

Yesterday evening, after a few worries that the train wasn’t going to make it in time, I visited the Ai WeiWei exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. I was coming to London for another event, and my cousin asked if I wanted to go .. and being a bit of a Danny Wallace mood (‘Yes Man‘), I said yes. I like to try things with no expectations, but I have to admit feeling a bit cautious about how pretentious it would be (I went to an exhibition at the Baltic, Gateshead in the summer and  just shook my head around it, and have seen more paintings titled ‘untitled’ than I ever wish to see again in my life) – as I’m more of a popular culture girl than elite culture! All I knew was that I’d seen his name on the news as someone who had been under house-arrest and after a global protest he had got his passport back earlier this year. I (deliberately) went in blind – not even checking Wikipedia for some basic information before I went in…

As I wandering around, it reminded me of essays that I wrote for my degree (PDF) along the lines of ‘what is art?’, as several of his pieces made little sense without the audio guide. I know one can seek meaning on one’s own terms, but for conceptual art, I like to see the meaning that the artist has imbued it with – and boy, was there some deep meaning in these pieces of art.

Straight by Ai WeiWei

In the first room a piece of wood had been carved to shape the rise and fall of China’s terrain, in the second – in a challenge against technology, vintage pieces had been reworked using traditional craftwork (no glue). The third room (above) is the one in which I sat for a long time … 12 metre-square of scaffolding rods rescued from an earthquake in China have been hammered out straight, and piled up in the form of richter-scale measurements – surrounded by the names of all the children who died in the earthquake … seeking to highlight the poor nature of building – in return for a quick profit, a heavy price was paid.

There are protests against mass culture, pieces rescued from political vandalism, comments on mass production and advertising, ancient vases repainted and smashed to pieces as political commentary, comments on surveillance, consumerism, and Chinese life… and has much to say about contemporary communication – using Twitter and Instagram particularly for (visual) political and social commentary. Left us with lots to think about … over a Portuguese meal in Canela Cafe.

IMG_20151009_201545I was expecting there to be signs everywhere saying ‘don’t photograph’ – I have no idea what the standard RA policy is, but there were no restrictions on photography – honestly these pieces are so big, and there’s so many people around, I suspect the RA has realised that sharing on social media, etc. encourages more visitors as commercial quality photos would be hard to capture.. I wonder! Touching some of the pieces also didn’t seem to be restricted … very different from the notice engraved into one of the marble walls!

See my photos on Facebook (public album).



#BIGRead14: Love

From: Seed Resources
From: Seed Resources


So, for me, Lent starts today. I had no understanding of Lent before I started working with The Big Read 2010, aside it was something for which people gave something up, and I’m more keen on the idea of taking something up than giving up.

It was 2-3 years ago that I gave up supermarket shopping for Lent (as in any of the big supermarkets) – which has had a long term impact on my shopping habits, and caused me to find more interesting places to shop, and has meant that rather than mindlessly buying random food as I wander round Tesco, I have a better range of food. I did go on several big shops when first I came to Durham from the excitement of having a kitchen all to myself, but that is getting clear now, so can soon start experimenting with more fun foods and new recipes!

Last year I tried to do #notbusy, the basis of was sit still for 10 minutes and do nothing – those of you who know me will know that this is not an easy thing for me .. so this year I’m glad to be able to combine with poem-prayers each day from Stephen Cherry. This is the bit that stood out for me from today’s poem ‘Love‘:

Worthless the effort,
worthless the strain,
worthless the travel,
worthless the cross,
without your love.

Really interesting range of images if you Google ‘art love‘ – and not just romantic love… and check out Wordnik’s definitions.

Ironically, I say I find it hard to do ‘nothing’, but I have slept for around 15 hours out of the last 24, and I think am almost ready for bed again!

From Wednesday I’ll also be looking at Giving It Up with @MaggiDawn, and #bigread14 will start using #Do1NiceThing