I’ve Missed You

Tulip and Valerian
Tulip and Valerian

I’ve just been out gardening and it felt like nature was urging me back here to Social Bridge which someone once described as being like a garden. I remember being thrilled with that observation as I like to think of it as a place of creativity.

I really want to thank everyone who left comments and contacted me behind the scenes while I was off doing other things. Somehow the connections one makes through blogging are a lot deeper than one often realises.

I come bearing a poem which makes me think of my late mother who  had such a passion for writing, nature and gardening. She loved this time of year and is very much in my thoughts as her anniversary is on May 31 ~ hard to believe it could be almost 6 years ago now.

I'll Sit by the Red Valerian

I'll sit by the red valerian
with my cup of tea. Early evening.

If it comes at all, it will come
punctually, having remembered
this place in summer's geography.

Ah,look! And it's brought another.
They punch the florets. I lean
to the hum of invisible wings.

Inches only between us.

What do their nerve-cells recall
of the waves biting up, salty?

That inkling they must have had
of all this - somewhere else - existing. 

(Anne Cluysenaar: Migrations, 2011, Cinnamon 

Where are Blogs on the Pecking Order?

Copper Coast, Co. Waterford
Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

I’m getting the feeling that blogs are moving in from the wildest peripheries towards the core of the world of writing ~ from poor relation to ‘acceptable social animal.’

I say this because I seem to be hearing far more interviews with bloggers on mainstream topics, especially on radio.

Is anyone else out there feeling the same?  Or where do YOU see blogs in the grand scheme of writing?  What type of social animal are they at all? Please tell me what you think from where you’re sitting?

Annestown, Co. Waterford.
Annestown, Co. Waterford.

Blogger’s Block ~ 12 Quick Remedies

Slippery Slope

I keep coming across people who say that they have ‘hit the wall’  with blogging and find it next to impossible to motivate themselves to write any kind of a post.

Here are my thoughts on how to beat ‘bloggers block;’

  1. Bear in mind that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ post;
  2. Keep a note of possible post topics (ideally in the Drafts Folder with a Working Title) that hit you at the oddest times;
  3. Aim to post frequently ~ even short, short posts ~ as blogging is rather like fitness and the more you train the easier it is;
  4. Remember that what might seem absolutely mundane to you could be quite extraordinary and fascinating to your readers;
  5. Get out and about for inspiration rather than trying to draw it from the Internet;
  6. Write about things that YOU feel passionate about rather than setting out to ‘please’ your readers;
  7. Look at the Search Terms that have brought people to your Blog and identify a question that you would like to address/answer;
  8. Take a pile of photographs and write about an aspect of one of them that appeals to you;
  9. Write a post and ask your readers what they would like you to write about;
  10. Invite other bloggers to contribute to your blog;
  11. Write a post about blogs you really enjoy;
  12. If all else fails, write a post telling the world about your blogger’s block. You’d be amazed how much support, practical advice and inspiration you’d get!

I’d love to hear YOUR tips for dealing with ‘Blogger’s Block.’ 

Fresh Angles
Fresh Angles


Stone Age ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 332

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.
Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.

I don’t know about you, but I managed to get beyond fifty years of age without ever building a tower with stones. I came upon one in my travels around the web a while back and finally got to create my own today.

It was one of those intensely natural experiences, not unlike collecting sticks in the woods or picking strawberries. The wondrous variety of stones which were waiting to be chosen on Tramore Beach made it all the more magical.

It got me thinking how easy it is to overlook,  just not see or do, life’s simplest pleasures.

What is Creativity Anyway? ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 296

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

The contributions that are flowing in to my Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection have been bringing me to places and thoughts that have only ever simmered under the surface.

One of the most thought-provoking emails came from Dale Rogerson who lives in Montreal and whose lovely blog is the well-named  http://www.dalesdelectables.org

Dale sent me a photograph of a de-commissioned railway bridge in the Griffintown area of Montreal.

Photo: Dale Rogerson

The minute I saw the poignant image of what appears like ‘disconnect,’ I felt a really strong sense of connection as the bridge reminded me of the dismantled railway line between Tramore and Waterford and the wealth of history and heritage that is associated with it.

Towards the end of her email, Dale raised a very interesting point about creativity:

I am in the process of building up my own little business - catering, making birthday cakes, teaching others to cook.... Imagine, I used to think I was not creative because I couldn't draw or paint like my father did! I didn't associate my baking and cooking with being creative! 

I’m wondering now how many of us have limited views about creativity and judge ourselves against a highly specific interpretation of  what ‘creativity’ is all about. I know I’ve always had a tendency to see creativity in terms of activities like needlework and embroidery which bring me back to horrors of never getting passed beginner’s darning when everyone else was making dainty blouses and summer dresses!

Having read Dale’s comment, I’m now beginning to think that there’s no end to what creativity can mean.  Whoever designed that railway bridge in Montreal certainly had a  creative spirit!

I’d love to hear your views on what Creativity means to you and also to receive YOUR contributions to this Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection. Just email me at jeantubridy@aol.com if you would like to join in.

(Oh and how I wish I was creative enough to design a Logo for the Festival!)

Colour, Creativity and Connection ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 291

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

As we prepare to greet November, I would like to invite you to join me in the Inaugural Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection which I am planning for the month of November here on Social Bridge.

The aim of the Festival is to bring warmth and colour (in all senses) to the darkest month of the year.  I associate November very much with both Remembrance and Thanksgiving, broadly defined, even though we don’t celebrate these days here in Ireland.

If  you would like to share a photograph, drawing, painting, poem, piece of prose or any combination of these which you feel represents Colour, Creativity and Connection, please leave a comment or email me at jeantubridy@aol.com.

Let’s build a few bridges over the next four weeks!

Bridge on the Green Road, near Waterford City

Creativity, Arts and Sport ~ Gatherings from Ireland #185

It seems to me that it is widely assumed that ‘sporty’ people and ‘arty’ people are poles apart and as one who loves both sport and the arts I’ve grappled with this for years.

It has all come to a head today because  there is a writing ‘do’ that I’d love to go to this evening BUT what about Wimbledon? Needless to say, I’m asking myself  How could anyone organise anything on men’s quarter finals day at Wimbledon which is bound to go on late into the evening?

But that’s just the warm-up or should I say the ‘preface?’


Back in 1976, I first came upon the concept of paradigms through T.S. Kuhn’s book  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  It’s a book that I always keep very  close at hand because it has always seemed so useful in trying to grapple with what can seem like different ways of thinking, different worlds.  I know, as a young sociology student, I wasn’t really meant to be using Kuhn to help me see how it was possible that someone would think that ‘doing a line’ could only mean ‘ having a fling’ when, of course, it could mean ‘being a line judge’ at Wimbledon or wherever.

I firmly believe that both sport and the arts require creativity.  To me, they are like opposite sides of the same creative coin. I think, though, that those who frequent the different camps don’t realise how much they have in common. And worse still, I think there can be a tendency to categorise kids from a very early age as being either ‘arty’ or ‘sporty.’

Yes, ‘natural’  talent and leanings come into play with regard to both sport and the arts but I think we need to look at them as being within the same broad paradigm ~ a paradigm in which there is so much common language.

So, now I must dash and check on the latest scores at Wimbledon.  As for the writing ‘do’ tonight, I think that calls for yet another way of ‘doing a line!’

Happiest Days? ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 165

I suspect that everyone has an age at which they believe they were at their happiest. I instinctively look to when I was three years old  and spending endless hours on the beach here in Tramore, Co. Waterford.

Looking at old photographs, I can see that this was a time when I was developing my absolute love of the sea, swimming and of  having the freedom to be creative.

What days do you see as your happiest?

Spade Listing in Practice on Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford

Writing about Spade Lists and the importance of adding creativity and colour into the everyday grind just recently http://wp.me/p1ip9d-xk drew me out to Woodstown Beach yesterday. I was definitely in need of a break from the sweat of  coping with computer issues and  ‘running errands.’  Yes, I bought a big yellow spade and dithered about the bucket, as I’m not entirely about Bucket Lists. But somehow, the vibrant green bucket that was latched on to the yellow spade  insisted on coming too.

Woodstown Beach is just a few miles from Waterford City and has a sheltered charm as it lies a little back from the wide open sea. To my mind, it has the best selection of shells of any beach in Co. Waterford and is delightful in the way, like Stradbally, that it combines both trees and sea.

Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford

 Running on to the beach, swinging the bucket and spade, I felt like the miles of sand was an open canvas.  Nature was creating all round me, the tide coming in ever so gently, seagulls digging,  fluffy clouds playing like huge soft duvets.  Down on my knees in the fine warm sand just above the tide line, I started my digging thinking about Australia, and of course, the water came up to meet me with a few lines of verse swirling around from my poetry friends down there.

The bucket edged its way forward in a little gust of wind. Pile in handfuls of sand, smooth it down, quick turn to get the best of the mould.  The sheer anticipation, sense of wonderment and pure connection with the sand was even better than I had remembered when I wrote the Spade List post the other night.

Lured by the whispers of the sea, I took off shoes and socks and made my way into the soothing water where tiny waves were weaving shapes and tumbling with rippling grace all round. All sense of  daily wear and tear ground away in these stolen moments.

Now to start my Spade List!  How liberating to write in the sand – no need for pencil, pen, computer – just one finger carving letters through the heavy grains. This isn’t a writing competition; there are no lines or margins. One huge page that the incoming tide will read and remember as it absorbs the creation that is mine but which has plenty of room for people the world over to share. So  join with me and take time to pour colour, inspiration and creativity into your life.