Category Archives: Art and Photography

Finding Mother: Anaïs Nin

My love for Anaïs has been with me for many years. When I was a teenager I had heard of her but living in a small town with no good bookshops or a comprehensive library meant I never found her on the bookshelves. In my early twenties it was then I began collecting her work and my creative life changed forever.

I had been a writer for years but I didn’t necessarily want to be published, I hadn’t pushed hard I just did it for fun.

I had never really wanted to write a plot-driven story, although I have written plenty I had felt more of a pull towards poetic prose. I cannot explain why I decided to write like that, I was under no influence from the books in the library or the school curriculum.

anais tea

I am a dreamer. A fantasist. I live in my own bubble that is carpeted in velvet, it smells of sweet incense, my walls are lined with books, my elixir is tea and my record player never stops playing Nick Cave. I had grown up in a family that came from a non-surrealist generation; stories had beginnings, middles and ends – just like life. We are born, we live and we die. I had so much more to give, so much more to live for than follow this linear way of life.

Anaïs taught me how to go inside myself and write this all down, I was living a second life. I yearned for time to pour my heart onto paper but I had to work, that is what I had been told.

You have to work, you have to get a job and even if you hated it? You had to be grateful to have a job.

There were a few things that kept me down as a young writer, a free-thinker. A teacher once told me my interpretation of a poem was wrong and I needed to think less outside the box. This particular poem was so old and so over-analyzed that there was no conclusive answer anyway so I felt this was a rather harsh reaction to what was just a young teenage girl finding her creative feet. I was disheartened by this and to be disheartened at a young age by daring to be a free and creative thinker does haunt you. Hence why, when discovering Anaïs for the first time, it felt like someone had opened up my chest and let the pressure out. I had found another Mother, this time it was to nurture me in my creative endeavours.

Although I appreciate her with every word I write, when I feel at a creative roadblock I always seek her out, like a Mother, I find solace in her arms.

I feel very lucky to have been included in the Anais Nin Literary Journal: A Cafe in Space. My piece Skybound (fiction) is featured in there. You can find it on Amazon

All photographs belong to the Anais Nin estate.

Gaea: A Pagan Photographic Project by Ellie Smart

“Gaea – The Great Goddess. The spirits, deities and elements are part of her as is everything that lives on the planet. I believe that all life is sacred and that my needs are never of greater nor lesser importance than the needs of any other living being, either animal or plant.” – Janet Bliss

‘Gaea’ is a photographic project created by Ellie Smart. It explores Paganism in the UK through a collection of pre- Christian religions and spiritualities. The project follows people on their pathways through Paganism, which aims to generate a positive discussion about an often-misunderstood way of life.

Before Christianity, there were multiple faiths that revolved around nature, the elements and spirits; today these faiths come under the umbrella term of Paganism. Paganism can range from Celtic beliefs, to Egyptian beliefs, but primarily it’s a belief in the connection with the earth, spirits and elements.

“Paganism is not concerned primarily with the unusual or supernatural, but with the miracle of ordinary life in all its facets.”

The project is ongoing and Ellie is inviting Pagans to get involved so, if you want to contact her then please do so: photo@elliesmart.co.uk

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