Theresa Bell

This is a post that has been upcycled from the old website. It is even more pertinent as some delicious soul managed to forward it to Theresa…. I was a little overwhelmed when that happened, a bit stoked because she really is a favourite poet. So favourite I have yet to reply and say thanks for her thanks.  I will, of course when I can arrange the words between coffees and children. Until then I re-post this article (please note I am having difficulty loading some of the content and plan on rectifying  that shortly, that’s the plan):

Thank You Theresa Bell

Every now and then someone: a painter, a songwriter, or a poet, comes along whose work seems to echo your soul. Their timing is perfect: the work turns up just as you need it and this coincidence brings a smile. Its shared and familiar truth brings a tear, a cup of tea for the soul; a pat on the shoulder, an ally, a comfort…. Teresa Bell, an Australian writer and poet, is that “someone” for me.

A couple of years ago a friend gave me a copy of Teresa’s book “36 Formless Writings”- I was immediately beguiled. The book is beautiful: elegant and concise. It’s front cover is decorated with a drawing by Joy Hester, a favourite artist of mine and further flicking revealed a reference to Kathe Kollwitz, another favourite so my sense of affinity was secured. Now, excuse me here as I digress a little: When I first began this blog I was very aware that I didn’t want to venture into the personal instead I wanted to keep it ‘art’ focussed. I especially wanted to avoid the “mother” thing, despite how much it informs my point of view. However, as I write this that line I drew in the techni-webby sand might be blurred. When I received my copy of “36 Formless Writings” I was in a vulnerable place. Struggling a little with the shift and adjustments called motherhood. Loneliness, sleep deprivation, mood swings, longings and vague dreams were churning and it was less then fun. Teresa’s writing was a door to a small bit of healing: familiarity can be so kind. Pieces like this became mantras…..

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that last line reads: a “small happy life”….sorry  about the reproduction
                    and this became faith:
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This year she popped back into my life: so did vulnerability. As I mentioned last blog: I am pregnant and the news, (in all honesty because that is the stock I prefer to trade in), was a mixed bag. I am so very keen to welcome a lovely new member to our lovely family, but this pregnancy has been hard. Emotional. Draining. Vulnerable. And bubbalugs hasn’t even been born yet. As all of this emotion crescendo-ed into a teary trip to the doctors, that same friend wrote to tell me that she had just received a copy of Teresa’s new book. It was dedicated to all those who have suffered or are suffering from depression.  I smiled, there it was again: coincidental familiarity. A consolation to ward off the loneliness and the selfish pit of absorption that took colour from the world. My friend also sent me this:
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Ah the release that a few familiar words can give. The recognition of ourselves in others stories is such a powerful aspect creation I believe. The above consolatory, poetic, rub on the back. A new mantra. A touch of hope.  Thank you Theresa.
However, I must tell you that it is not just coincidental and the fatalistic nature of my encounters with her words that I value so much in Teresa’s books, in her poetry. Not by any means, because I also love the slip between dream and reality she creates. The poetic sense of magic realism she captures in her “real world” quotes. I love her awareness of the page, of the paper and how her poem sits upon it. Of the restrained and pared back use of images and typography. The lack of rhyme, but the ever present awareness of rhythm and repetition. Yup I learn a lot from Ms Teresa Bell and  I wish I could thank her in person: you never know this might find her in the wide-weird-fatalistic-coincidental world of the web.
( and as we now know: it did….www making wishes come true)

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