Travelling back is wearying. It’s not just hauling luggage, the stairs that seem to be everywhere, the cramped quarters on mini-buses and planes. It is also about the virtual luggage- the ideas, the projects in progress, the images and triggers for creativity. I woke up in the B&B this morning and had another character development occur.  (And as I may have mentioned before, I am not a morning person!)



Yesterday before heading to the airport Kay Carmichael and I took a long and leisurely look at all the galleries at the Manchester Art Gallery. We had visited earlier in the week with the group to use art as creative writing triggers. As we saw in the Pre-Raphaelite galleries especially, I noticed that the prompts work as a two way street. Many painters took their inspiration from text-poems, The Bible, Shakespeare and classical myths.

These Chinese statues felt particularly apt for our two week writing sojourn. Creativity thrives on contemplation and inspiration. The statue behind inspiration shows the figure peeling back his mask-like skin to his original face. This is a Buddhist concept akin to our original blessing of creativity.

When I left Cavan I had had a winter where I wasn’t sure if I would ever write much other than blogs ever again. My creative well felt dry. These last two weeks have really topped up that well. For this I am incredibly grateful to the Cavan Arts and Social Inclusion offices and the EU. They funded this trip to fire creativity in people living in Cavan.  I return to Cavan and the daffodils are out in the garden. I feel like a creative writer reborn.

Ireland often frets about the state of its economy. But if you nurture your creative artists something magical happens to the wider society. NYC was on its knees in the 1970s. But the likes of Lou Reed and Andy Warhol squatted old warehouse lofts and just got with the business of being creatives. Today those neighbourhoods they gatecrashed are some of the most valuable bits of real estate on the planet. Similar has happened in London where grotty Hackney of the 1980s is now BritArt Central.

We just have to believe we can do it here as well and trust in the process.

Bee Smith has been sojourning in Yorkshire and Manchester with eleven other Cavan Residents as part of the EU funded Leonardo da Vinci Life Long Learning programme. This trip was coordinated by Catriona at Cavan Arts office and Emer in the Social Inclusion Unit.

Thanks to my Cavan Creative Colleagues of the past fortnight: Kate (who kept us on course throughout), Amanda Jane, Carina, Dearbhla,Ita, Kay, Tricia, Brian, Gerry, Joe and Kelan. We are all amazing writers.

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