New Year – New Projects

-By Fleur:

It’s 2011 and I’m feeling excited, hopeful, curious and keen along with a large helping of anticipation about the events and experiences this year will bring. The thing is, the New Year isn’t going to bring me anything really – is it! It’s going to be a year when I bring far more to the table of my life. I have some solid resolutions – some personal – some I’m willing to share with yourselves, maybe now, maybe later – which have ignited a fire in my soul and which have changed my perception of my life and even my own self – let alone the way I am relating to the world around me.

My Creative Voice projects (resolutions) for 2011 are as follows:

‘Soundscape’ project in China

Kalim and I are working on a funding application which will enable us to visit China for 6 weeks- 2 months in the summer. The deadline is this coming Saturday and so I am currently focused on the application and all the letters of support and other information I need. If we are successful with our funding bid then we will be volunteering for Hua Dan ( in ChengDu and working with young people who are survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and with children of migrant workers. We will be devising a ‘soundscape’ performances and recording with the young people, telling a story through singing and beat-boxing techniques, speech sounds and imitation of nature and machines. More about this – when/if successful! As you can imagine, we are both truly excited about this opportunity. I lived for 10 months in ChangChun, North East China in 1998-1999 and even though it wasn’t always easy for me and I experienced dramatic culture shock, I learnt so much when I was there and developed such amazing friendships that I have looked back at that time with great fondness. FIngers crossed!

My creative literary voice

I have been writing short stories, chapters of books, poems and lyrics since I was about 10 years old. English was my favourite subject at school, reading was my favourite past-time (as my parent’s quote back at me – I once dumped a boy (I think I was about 14) with the words, “I’d rather read a book than go out with you!”) and writing was a form of expression which took me into another world – where anything was possible and everything was wonderful.

Those of you who know me personally and those who have been attentive to my web-presence (there isn’t much of one, but it’s there!) will know that Victoria Leith and myself compiled and edited a book back in 2005 called ‘Make a Difference in Just One Day’ which was a collection of diary entries from all around the world, all written on the International Day of Peace (21st September) where people from all walks of life had a go at doing something for peace in their local community, with their family and friends. This wonderful, inspiring, moving and heart-connecting book is still yet to be published, but hopefully will be available to buy this year, as we have one publisher making happy noises!

My resolution for this year however, is to write a novel – working at it, chipping away at it and believing in it so that it is ready to be read by 2012. I have written about a third of a science-fantasy novel already, but lost my faith in it and got all stuck on what would be and what wouldn’t be possible – so it’s still waiting to bloom into something magical. I might pick up from where I left off and just get it written – damn it! Or, I might continue with the idea I had (a murder-mystery set in Cardiff) when I wrote for two days (only two days! my oh my)  as part of the amazing world wide phenomenon which is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) back in November 2010. Maybe I’ll write from a totally different angle and include my experience of my husband’s journey with MS and my life in Germany. Can I handle that one yet? Whatever I write, even if it’s unpublishable and just for the fun of writing – it WILL BE DONE! It has to be…

‘Seed’ House Concerts

One nice thing that’s coming up is a weekend of performances in Northamptonshire. My good friend and very talented composer, Richard Leigh has asked me to sing many of the songs from his recent album, ‘Seed’ (prayers and writings from the Baha’i faith) – which is so lovely as I adore these songs, and I love performing with Richard. They are called the ‘Seed House Concerts’ and will be the second time I have sung these songs with him. When I lived in Northamptonshire many moons ago, we formed a band called ‘Kai’ and wrote an album’s worth of songs together, which we performed with Anne Sparkes. Richard on piano, guitar, viola, violin and backing vocals, Anne on Marimba, percussion and backing vocals and myself on vocals and (for one song!) violin. Singing in ‘Kai’ was a bliss and I do miss those days.

My resolution on this front is to write another album’s worth of songs this year and find a group of people to help me perform them. Kalim and I are definitely going to be rehearsing more songs together – as we intend to perform in China also.

So, what are your creative resolutions from 2011? Let this be the year that books get finished, albums get written, songs get sung and paintings get painted and framed! It doesn’t really matter what the final result is – it’s the process of sculpting, expressing, emoting, absorption and discovery which is what I am committing myself to. How about you?